Saving Sammy
Cold Case S04E05 Saving Sammy

Season : 4
Episode: 5
Directed by: Paris Barclay
Written by: Tyler Bensinger
Production Number: 2T7905
Airdate: October 22, 2006
Date of Crime: November 2003
Previous: Baby Blues
Next: Static

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Lilly reopens a 2003 case in which an autistic boy's parents were shot and killed in their car when her boyfriend brings her information that the boy might have witnessed their murder. Meanwhile, Lilly pays a price in her relationship with Joseph for seeing Ray.


April 18, 2003. Brent is sitting at kitchen table working on a mosaic, putting the yellow pieces off to the side. His sister, Ruby, is on the phone with her boyfriend, Doug. Their parents arrive "take-out Tuesday" food. It's Brent's favorite. He repeats what mom said. Dad tells Ruby to get off the phone. Eventually, she complies and sits down for dinner. Ruby says she's going to study with her boyfriend Doug later, if that's OK with her parents. "Study?", Dad asks. Ruby says the racket at Doug's makes studying impossible at his house. While they are waiting for the clock to reach 6:30 pm exactly, Ruby teases Brent about his removing the yellow pieces. It seems he believes his fish, Sammy, doesn't like yellow. She asks if she can eat in her room. Parents say she can wait 30 seconds. At exactly 6:30 pm, Brent, who is autistic, says it's dinnertime and they dig in.

Later, two shots are fired. We see the parents dead in their car. A clerk at the PD puts two file boxes marked "Harris" on the shelf.

Lilly is looking at the Harris file. Joseph says an orderly told him about Brent when he was working a DHS job. Brent was at home at the time of the murders, and later, he would blurt out a long number. Joseph explains that autistics often have photographic memories. Brent used to be high-functioning but that changed after his parents' murders.

Lilly and Scotty go in to see Brent. They mention the murder and he spouts out the number: 065739.1. Lilly asks what the number has to do with the murders. Brent just repeats the number. Scotty asks again but Brent remains silent. Then Lilly notices the car odometer in a photograph: it's set at that number. Lilly figures Brent must have seen his parents' murders.

Lt. Stillman reads Steve and Lisa Harris' files. The theory at the time was that it was a carjacking gone wrong. They were a block from home and Ruby said they were on the way to the local drive-through. There never were any suspects to the carjacking but six months earlier, the Harris' tropical fish store was burned down.

Brent is confronted about the murders but he just repeats the number. They ask what he saw when the number was 065739.0. He says the light turned red. It was raining and someone with running shoes with red lettering came to the car and opened the door. The lettering said, "Are you high". They can't seem to get anything else out of him.

In the hall, Joseph says he also went to Ritter Union High School where Brent attended. Lilly tells Scotty to go ahead while she has a chat with Joseph. She tells Joseph it's been hectic; an old friend is in trouble. Joseph wants to know what kind of an old friend. Lilly tells him that Ray asked her to marry her once, but he isn't exactly the settling-down type. Joseph asks if she's that type herself. She says it doesn't matter because "I'm here with you." As she turns to leave, Joseph asks, "Are you?"

Nick and Will go to talk to Ruby who is now living with foster parents. She says she visits Brent every weekend but he barely says a word. She mentions that she's turning 18 soon and wonders if Brent will be allowed to live with her. Nick asks why she lied to the cops. She insists Brent was alone in his room but admits that she was on the phone and just assumed. She tells them that it was Take-Out Tuesday and to someone who is autistic routine is everything. However, sometimes their parents would take Brent along to get him used to change. She doesn't understand what this has to do with anything. They tell her that they think Brent saw the murders. They mention the shoes. It reminds her of a tagger, Greg.

In a flashback, we see Ruby making out with her boyfriend at school. She hears Brent being bullied by a boy who wants his math homework. Ruby arrives to rescue Brent. The guy acts tough but Ruby knows he's just a white guy from the suburbs. Then Doug steps in to help. Doug is bigger and the guy backs off. Ruby says, "If you touch my brother again, I will kill you." The guy replies, "Not if I kill you first, skank." Doug slams him against the wall and asks, "Did you say something, punk-ass?" Greg backs down and Ruby leads Brent away.

Ruby says the guy dropped out after her parents were killed. Kat and Will track him down and find him painting a mural. He doesn't know who Ruby is but Kat mentions the "autistic kid". Will says the killer wore shoes like Greg is wearing now. Greg says these shoes are new. Kat suggests that he might have been wearing a prototype. Greg says he tags shoes for lots of people. They don't think he would just let it go when Ruby dissed him in front of all those kids. He says he didn't let it go but he didn't kill anyone.

In Greg's flashback, we see Brent sitting in the principal's office, hitting his head against the wall. Ruby comes to tell him that their parents are here to take him home. It looks like Greg sprayed yellow paint on him. Ruby says Sammy misses him. Brent says Sammy is a fish: "He doesn't miss people." The parents are upset with the principal who had promised someone would be looking out for Brent. The principal says there is only one special-needs counselor for the entire 9th grade. Lisa is furious with her excuses and tells her not to dare tell them to write another letter to the school board. They've done that a dozen times. They're going to remove him. The principal is fine with that decision. She knows the alternatives are expensive. Lisa says to Steve, "Too expensive." Steve says, "It's time for Plan B."

Kat and Will ask about "Plan B" but Greg doesn't know what Mr. Harris meant by that.

Scotty tells Nick that he's been reading up on autism. They can't lie and have no sense of humor. Scotty asks Brent about the day he was pulled out of RUHS and mentions "Plan B". Brent says, "Save Sammy."

In Brent's flashback, he's sitting in the car, holding a plastic container with Sammy inside. He drops the container and some guy picked it up.

Brent says Doug saved Sammy. Doug is brought in for questioning in Lt. Stillman's office. He says Ruby froze him out after her parents died. He thinks he reminded her too much of the past. They ask him about saving Sammy. He says Ruby told him how autistics can't keep time straight. It was another night.

In a flashback, we see everyone in the basement except Brent, but he comes down and sees all the other fish tanks. This upsets him. He says Sammy doesn't like other fish. Ruby tells him to go back to his room. Mom says they talked about transitions and this is one of them. Dad says he is going to have to get used to the other fish being here. But Brent doesn't calm down and he drops Sammy. Doug picks it up and suggests that Sammy would like to see the other fish. Brent points out that the males of Sammy's species live alone. Doug says he's just talking about having Sammy look. He turns on the light on the tanks. Ruby says she can tell that Sammy likes it.

Lilly figures that burning down the store for insurance was Plan B.

Lilly goes to visit Ray at the hospital. He's getting out. She says she's there to say goodbye. He's thinking of going to California and he wants her to come with him. She says she has to stop running sometime. She kisses him and says "bye". He kisses her more but then she pulls away and leaves.

Ruby is brought in for interrogation. Lilly and Kat confront her about her parents burning down the store. Ruby gets indignant but then she admits that they had to. She says that a couple of months before they yanked Brent out of school, some jerk offered them hope.

An administrator at a special school, North Bend, said they concentrate on social and emotional development. However, their waiting list was so long that they're not even taking names. There is an alternative, though. For a $20,000 cash incentive, Brent's name would go to the top of the list.

Ruby says the insurance company said the store had faulty wiring and never paid the claim. Lilly wonders if the parents went back to the administrator and threatened to report the bribe request.

Will confronts Harvey, the administrator, at the school. Will knows Harvey only makes $42,000 a year but lives in an $800,000 waterfront condo. Harvey says he does get gifts from grateful parents. He says he recommended a free school in Vermont to the Harris family. He says he made calls and the Harrises were going to move there.

Lilly goes to Joseph and he says he found a halfway house for Ruby where Brent can live. Lilly mentions she's been calling him. He says he went by her place the previous night but she never showed up. She says she went to the hospital to say goodbye to Ray. Afterwards, she walked all night and now she's here with Joseph. He says it sounds like it was a tough decision. She says it was. Ray knows everything about her, but she insists she wants to be with Joseph. He's not sure she's willing to stick with him. She asks, "Can't we try?" He says he left her key on her table. She begs him not to leave. He says he's not her consolation prize. He starts to walk away. Her voice breaks and she says, "I don't want to be alone." He says, "Maybe you do." He leaves.

Scotty and Nick go to see Brent. Nick wonders why they aren't asking the normal sibling about Vermont, but Scotty says she lies. Scotty tells Nick to take off his yellow tie. Nick refuses. But when we see them enter Brent's room, the tie is off. When Nick mentions Vermont, Brent rattles off a long series of numbers and letters. Scotty asks where he saw those numbers.

In a flashback, the Harrises are in the car. Steve says, "OK, OK. Forget Vermont." Then two shots are heard.

Nick knows the last part of the number, SW38, is a Smith & Wesson .38. He figures he first part must be the serial number of the gun. They look it up and find out the gun was registered to Steve Harris.

Ruby is interrogated again by Will and Lilly. They figure she didn't want to move away from Doug. Scotty is listening in the observation room. Ruby says none of them wanted to move but she understood why they had to move. Lilly starts talking about her sister who was a real screw-up. Mom always had to pay attention to her sister. It was like Lilly didn't exist. Ruby insists it wasn't that way with her family. Lilly goads her and Ruby blurts out, "He didn't mean to do it."

In her flashback, we see Brent coming home and putting the gun on table. He starts separating out the yellow pieces.

Ruby says he buried Brent's bloody clothes and the gun in the backyard. She asks, "I won't be able to take care of Brent now, will I?" Will says, "No."

Scotty goes to Brent and tells him that Ruby told him what happened. When Scotty relates parts of the story and mentions the gun, Brent gives a phone number with a 215 area code. Scotty asks whose phone number it is. Brent says, "Sammy's house."

In Brent's flashback, the killer's cell phone rings. It shows the number Brent just repeated.

Scotty says that's "your" house. Brent says, "My house." Scotty puts his hand on Brent's shoulder. Brent tenses up but doesn't otherwise react. Scotty says he's proud of him.

Scotty and Lilly go to see Doug who is tossing baskets on court. They tell him they've got the phone records. Although his time-card says he left work at 9 pm, no one can remember seeing him there during the time of the murders. He starts crying. He says Brent is the lucky one, not being able to feel anything. He loved Ruby more than anything. He insists he didn't want to kill them.

In his flashback, we see Doug opening the door as the Harris' car stopped at the lights. He points the gun and says he can't let them take her away from him. "She's my air. I can't breathe without her. I will die. I swear." Steve says they'll forget about Vermont but Doug doesn't believe him. He apologizes and shoots. Then he sees Brent in the back. He opens the back door and leaves the gun when the cell rings.

Coldplay's In My Place plays as Doug is led out. He looks at Ruby. The administrator is arrested for soliciting bribes. Stillman places the file boxes back on the shelves. Brent and Ruby are reunited in Brent's new room at a halfway house, painted like an aquarium. She presents him with Sammy. Parents appear to be looking on. Lilly goes home and sees the key on the table. She takes it and lies down on couch with her head resting by her cat.


Main CastEdit

Guest CastEdit





  • Train "Calling All Angels"
  • Michael A. Levine "Saving Sammy's Theme"
  • Puddle Of Mudd "Blurry"
  • Nickelback "Someday"
  • Michael A. Levine "Saving Sammy's Theme"
  • Feeder "Love Pollution"
  • Ryan Adams "Wonderwall"
  • Closing Song: Coldplay "In My Place"

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