The team re-opens the 1989 murder of a young Russian opera star, eighteen year old Nadija Koslova who defected to the United States. She and her family sought asylum at the police station where Nick Vera was stationed when he joined the force.
Nadija Koslova was visiting the United States with her family from the Soviet Union. The family escaped guards to defect to the US after performing at a concert in Philadelphia. The family entered a police station to ask for help. The father knew little English and spoke to the police clerk in Russian. Vera worked in the precinct during that time and knew a little Russian. Vera set up a meeting with the State Department. He gave Nadija's younger brother, Dmitri, a card and told him to give him a call anytime he needs help. He saw that Nadija was carrying a bag covered with patches and gave her a Philadelphia Police patch.
Nadija died four months after she arrived in the U.S. Her body was found at the bottom of the stairs in a subway station.
In present day, Vera was called to meet with a young man. He and Rush meet the young man and find that it is Dmitri, who claims that he found the man who stole his dead sister's bag. Vera recognizes the patch on the bag and brings the man's cousin, Michael "Beamer" Hyacinth, in for questioning.
The team looks into Nadija's case and find that she was 17 years old when she died. In 1989, she was found dead with blunt force trauma to the head, bruises on her body, and laying next to a cassette player boombox without a tape.
The team questions Michael in the interrogation room. Michael says that he was in the subway when he heard Nadija dying at the base of the stairs. As he approached her, Michael heard someone running up the stairs with shoes that made a clickety clack noise. Michael approached and heard her say the word, 'Zolotoi.' He grabbed her bag then left her to die.
Later, Vera and Rush meet with Nadia's dad Leo and his son. The detectives ask if they know what the word 'Zolotoi' means. Dmitri says that it means 'gold'. They say that before Nadia died, she was attending the Regis School of Performing Arts. Leo says that someone there might be Nadija's killer.
Detectives Miller and Jeffries travel to the school to try to learn more about Nadija. They are met with the principal named Elliot Glick. The detectives find that there is a line of female students waiting to meet with Elliot. He brings the detectives into his office and tells them that he was the head of the drama department at the time. He says that he didn't interact with Nadija very much because she was in the vocal department. He says that he was with his wife at the time. Elliot says that he has been divorced twice already and has remarried. He says that Nadija was in the advanced vocal class taught by Phoebe Curtis.
Rush goes to meet with Phoebe who says that she taught a small class that included Nadija. She says that Nadija's final project was to tape a solo street performance. Phoebe says that Nadija died before completing the project. Phoebe recalls Nadija in her class struggling to find her voice. Instead of singing what she felt, Nadija sang in a very technical manner. Nadija got upset and went into her bag to grab her inhaler for her asthma. Phoebe recalls that when she reached into her bag, she poked herself on the thorns of a black rose that was planted by Chelsea Cutler, a student that was booted out of the class to make room for Nadia. After Nadija died, Chelsea was let back into the class.
Miller performs a test on Nadija's bag and finds that they have traces of oil of wintergreen. Miller explains if taken by an asthmatic, oil of wintergreen can cause a heart attack. She says that oil of wintergreen also causes purple blotches to appear on the person, making it look like they have been beaten. The team figures that Nadija was poisoned and fell down the stairs.
Rush and Valens meet with Chelsea in the interrogation room. She admits that she was angry at Nadija for taking her spot, but didn't kill her. She says that Nadija became Cyrus's, one of her classmates, girlfriend. Chelsea says that she saw Cyrus at a gay bar crawl a couple years ago.
Valens and Miller question Cyrus in the interrogation room. Cyrus says that before she died, he dreamed of writing songs for her. He says that he thought he was bisexual at the time. He remembers walking with Nadija in school and finding Nikki crying and doing drugs in the dressing room. He remembers that Nadija offered to help Nikki, but Nikki got angry and broke a mirror. Later, Nikki was expelled for doing drugs.
Later, Valens and Rush meet with Nikki at the backstage of a show. Nikki tells them that her peers told her that she was too short for ballet and should give it up. She says that she punished herself for her inadequacies. Nikki explains that she was already kicked out of school by the time Nadija and Cyrus caught her doing drugs. She recalls one time when Elliot brought the class to his apartment. Elliot was dropping oil of wintergreen on the heads of the students as they lay down on the ground in a circle with their feet pointed out. Nikki recalls Nadija leaving before getting a drop on her head. She says that Elliot gave the oil dropper to Phoebe to give to the rest of the students, then talked to Nadija. Nikki watched as Elliot offered his support to Nadija.
Elliot is called to the station for questioning. He explains that he was using the oil for meditative purposes. He says that the tried to protect Nadija. He recalls being at school when Nadija approached him. Nadija told Elliot that her father was very strict and only wanted her to practice, even on the day of her mother's funeral. Elliot recalls having Nadija sing 'True Colors' and having her father, Leo, walk in and become angry at her for practicing non-opera music. When she stormed out of the room after an argument, Leo chased after her.
Later, Rush receives a response to an email that she sent to a Russian professor, inquiring about the word, 'Zolotoi'. She is told that 'Zolotoi' is a name given to Nadija's father. Leo was an acclaimed vocal trainer and was honored with the name, translated to English, meaning golden one.
Vera meets with Leo in his store. He brings a bottle of vodka and has a few drinks as they talk. Vera tells Leo that he knows that he is 'Zolotoi' and that Nadija spoke his name in her dying breath. Leo says that he didn't killed his daughter. He says that he became proud of her after seeing her perform. He recalls watching Nadija sing 'Free Fallin'' on a street corner. When Leo showed up, Nadija saw him and began singing 'Va, pensiero', an Italian song about freedom and homesickness. He says that Nadija recorded the performance- her final project.
Later, the team finds that Phoebe lived two blocks away from the subway where Nadija died. Rush and Valens question Phoebe in the interrogation room. They tell her that they investigated her old apartment, and found that oil of wintergreen was all over the place, and had seeped through the linoleum floors. They find that Phoebe had a relationship with Elliot and became jealous that he was paying too much attention to Nadija. She recalls that she was going to poison and kill herself with oil of wintergreen, but then Nadija arrived at her apartment. Nadija played Phoebe the tape that she recorded on the street. Phoebe admits that she thought that if she got rid of Nadija, she could get back with Elliot. She gave Nadija the poisoned tea that she was going to drink herself. After Nadija started to choke from the poison, Phoebe brought her to the subway where she tumbled down the stairs. The team then arrests Phoebe, who apologizes for her crime, for the murder.
- Kathryn Morris as Lilly Rush
- Danny Pino as Scotty Valens
- John Finn as John Stillman
- Jeremy Ratchford as Nick Vera
- Thom Barry as Will Jeffries
- Tracie Thoms as Kat Miller
- Elena Satine as Nadia Koslov
- Nicole Bilderback as Nikki Sun (2008)
- Sally Brooks as Chelsea Cutler (2008)
- Monica Calhoun as Phoebe Curtis (1989)
- Endre Hules as Leo Koslov (2008)
- Daniel Hugh Kelly as Elliot Glick (2008)
- Page Kennedy as Michael "Beamer" Hyacinth (2008)
- Tina Lifford as Phoebe Curtis (2008)
- Gabriel Olds as Elliot Glick (1989)
- Brad Rowe as Cyrus Brill (2008)
- Dustin McKamie as Cyrus Brill (1989)
- Christian Svensson as Leo Koslov (1989)
- Jessika Van as Nikki Sun (1989)
- Ashley Alfonso as Chelsea Cutler (1989)
- Jared Bell as Dmitri Koslov (2008)
- Jon Paul deFabry as Dmitri Koslov (1989)
- Tom Derek as Cop (1989)
- Daniel Gordh as Nick Vera (1989)
- Anwar Mitchell as Michael "Beamer" Hyacinth (1989)
- The song "Free Fallin'" by Tom Petty was previously featured in the episode "Maternal Instincts."
- "Habanera" from Opera "Carmen", composed by Georges Bizet
- Public Enemy "Black Steel In The Hour of Chaos"
- Technotronic "Pump Up the Jam"
- Soul II Soul "Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)"
- Tom Petty "Free Fallin'"; with "Va, pensiero" from the opera "Nabucco", composed by Giuseppe Verdi
- Closing Song: Cyndi Lauper "True Colors"