The Hen House
Cold Case S03E21 The Hen House

Season : 3
Episode: 21
Directed by: David Von Ancken
Written by: Craig Turk
Production Number:
Airdate: 30 April 2006
Date of Crime: 17 July 1945
Previous: Death Penalty: Final Appeal
Next: The River

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The detectives investigate the death of an ambitious female journalist who was pushed in front of a train in 1945, shortly after the end of the war in Europe.


In 1945, the war is over and the newspapers are buzzing with excitement for the news. Lo Kinney, one of the Philadelphia Sentinel’s female reporters, is anxious to write about it. As always, the editor, Mr. McDuff, orders her to write about recipes instead, and blows her off when she tries to discuss other topics for her to write. Some time later, she is found dead on the train tracks; the case is ruled as a robbery gone bad.

At present day, a reporter for the Philadelphia Sentinel, claiming that he found Lo Kinney’s notes from the day she died, approaches Lilly and Lt. Stillman. The notes show she had an appointment at the train station that day, exactly at the time she died. Scotty and Vera go talk to one of Lo’s coworkers, Birdie. He says Lo was great reporter, but the boss didn’t allow her to write about anything but the women’s section, with recipes, advice and gossip, and she was really frustrated by it. When asked if there was anyone that could’ve had any motive to want to kill Lo, Birdie flashes back to 1945, an afternoon at the news room.

He and Lo were making fun of the questions the readers send to Lo’s column and Helen, the secretary, got all upset by it. He remembers the two women fought all the time about the column, because Helen wanted to be the one to write it, and was angry not only for not getting it, but because Lo didn’t care at all about the column. Kat and Lilly talk to Helen about Lo, and she remembers about the heated reactions some of Lo’s advice generated. One afternoon, a disgruntled husband, angry about the advice Lo had given to his wife, came in the newsroom to confront her about it and threatened her. Helen says that usually Lo didn’t pay any attention to the threats, but this guy really scared her. Jeffries, Kat and Scotty go through Lo’s mail to try and find the man who threatened her. They find one Arthur Pool, and Scotty and Lilly go to the Pool’s house. They are too late to talk to Arthur, the angry husband, as he just passed away. They talk to his son, David, who tells them about how the day after his dad talked to her, Lo came to their house to apologize for her behavior. That day, she met Noah, Arthur’s third cousin from Europe, and they fell in love. Lilly asks about Noah, and David gives her the address to his house. Vera and Kat talk to Noah. He denies having any involvement in Lo’s death, and flashes back to an afternoon in an amusement park.

Lo was asking him about the time when he was held in the Nazi concentration camps, when suddenly Birdie showed up acting jealous and angry. Noah says Lo always maintained that she and Birdie were only pals from work, but after that day, he suspected they were more than that. Vera talks to Birdie again, this time in the interrogations room at the station. Birdie reveals that Lo was the one that wrote his stories, since she was far more talented than he was. She was supposed to write him a story about a guy who survived the horrors of the war, but the story was already due. Instead of writing about Noah, she was dating him, so Birdie got angry. He tells the detectives that Lo followed him to the newsroom and asked for more time to write the story. They argued about Noah’s story being inconsistent, and Birdie gave her the phone number of a woman named Johanna Hoffman who had also been held at a Nazi camp. She would tell Lo the truth about Noah.

They track Johanna down: she now lives in New York. Lilly is chosen to go there to talk to her. They also find out Johanna moved to New York the exact same day Lo was killed. Lilly asks Johanna about Lo, and tells her Lo was killed the day she moved out from Philly. She remembers the afternoon they met: They talked about Noah, and Johanna reveals the real Noah Pool died in Auschwitz. When Lo insisted that Noah is still alive and showed Johanna pictures of her Noah, Johanna recognized the man on the picture as being Anton, the Nazi soldier that was responsible for their camp. Johanna says she left Philly that same day.

Scotty talks again to David Pool, and asks him for the whereabouts of his uncle Noah. He reveals to him that Noah was in fact Anton, a Nazi guard. David is skeptic about it, but Scotty assures him they have the testimony of Johanna Hoffman, who knew them both, Noah and Anton. David flashes back to an afternoon in the newsroom with his uncle and Lo. She is really cold with Noah and they are having words when the messenger boy arrives to get a letter to be delivered. The boy reads aloud to whom the letter will be delivered, and Anton recognizes Johanna’s name. Lilly and Kat realize the letter came back undelivered because Johanna had already left, but only after Lo was killed. David admits he told to his uncle what was in the letter Lo sent to Johanna. Lt. Stillman and Lilly find Anton/Noah and confront him about Lo.

He flashes back to the night Lo died. She was at the station waiting for Johanna, but Anton was the one who showed up. She confronted him about his true identity. Anton asked her for forgiveness, but she couldn’t forgive him for something like that. They fought and as the train whizzed by, Anton grabbed Lo and pushed her to the tracks. When It Could Happen to You by Jo Stafford is playing in the background, Lilly arrests Anton. David is saddened to see his supposed uncle go to jail, and Johanna is also there to watch Anton go to prison. Jeffries is on desk duty for his stunt against the ADA. Lo’s purse is retrieved from the vault, and the story she wrote about Anton’s identity is discovered inside. When The Philadelphia Sentinel publishes it in the next day’s paper, Helen and Birdie read the article together. Lilly catches a glimpse of Lo.

Main CastEdit

Guest CastEdit




Vj day kiss

The real historical photgraph...

Hen House Kiss

...and the recreation

  • The brief shot at the start of the episode of a sailor kissing a woman is based on the famous photograph "V–J day in Times Square", taken on August 14, 1945, meaning it wouldn't take place for another month.
  • The episode was inspired by the case of Elfriede Rinkel, an 85-year old resident of San Francisco that was deported back to Germany after it was discovered that she had been a concentration camp guard during World War II. Rinkel had married a Jewish man while in the US.


  • Les Brown & His Orchestra "Leap Frog"
  • Johnny Mercer "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive" (1944)
  • Tommy Dorsey "Opus One"
  • Peggy Lee "I Don't Know Enough About You"
  • The Mills Brothers "You Always Hurt The One You Love"
  • Closing Song: Jo Stafford "It Could Happen To You"