It’s a first time for me watching this show as I wanted to see it, because they featured many songs by one of my all-time favorite rock groups, Santana. I’m a huge fan of other detective/crime shows on other television networks, plus I minored in criminology in college, yet this show always eluded me until now. I’ve been keenly aware of this TV series, but never found the time to watch it until now. I’ll briefly go through the storyline, but will not reveal any spoilers at the end of the episode. For those like me who are curious about the show, but have never seen it I will give a slight introduction before starting with my review.
Cold Case is a CBS crime drama set in a fictional Philadelphia Police Department. This particular department investigates cold cases, which are homicides that have not been solved and exceeded the time limit for current criminal investigation. Homicides do not have statute of limitations, so these cases can be re-opened decades later dependent on new evidence, witness confessionals, or updated technology. The two central detectives who investigate each new cold case are Lily Rush, played by Kathryn Morris and Scotty Valens, played by Danny Pino.
“Dead Heat” is the episode title that deals with the murder of a horse jockey back in 1986 when his skeletal remains and riding silks is presently discovered amongst the bones of horses in a vast grave thought to be the burial site for euthanized horses. The show starts out with flashing back to the crime, then reverting back to the present day. During the detectives investigation with numerous witnesses we find out more through random flashbacks the back story and chain of events in a very orderly manner. Once the evidence presents itself clearly the detectives take the suspects in for more questioning, arrests are eventually made, and closure thus follows for a more definite and positive ending.
In previous episodes Cold Case has featured single artists and their music from the likes of U2, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and John Lennon. The music of Santana was chosen for this episode due to the deceased Mexican-born jockey and some of the other characters involved from Mexico. The show’s producers felt Santana’s unique musical blend of the explosive and ethereal matched that in the world of horse racing, the sport of kings. In the very first scene we hear the opening of Oye Como Va, a big hit for Santana, as you see the sequence of events at a racetrack unfold and are introduced to the eventual murder victim, Sonny Sandoval, whom you later see is being buried in a grave.
Now in the present the two main detectives are called to a murder scene where human bones are mixed in with the vast amount of equine skeletal remains. Back at the squad room it is discovered who the murder victim is, a jockey at the Franklin Race Track, who has earned over three million dollars in winnings throughout his illustrious riding career. Sonny, the murder victim, is survived by his son Jose who did not initially report his father’s murder for 30 days. There is another person they want to interview, Angelo, a fellow jockey at the time. A flashback to the ’80’s occurs with another jockey and Sonny getting into a fight while a song from Santana is playing in the background, Everything’s Coming Our Way.
Presently we learn more about this former jockey and his relationship with Sonny as told to the detectives. Going back in time you see the jockey and Sonny laughing and having a lot of drinks at the bar while Santana’s Evil Ways plays on, setting the tone for this scene. We are introduced to Randall Baxter, owner of the race horses these jockeys ride. He is concerned that Sonny may be gaining too much weight to ride his horses. Sonny brushes him off stating he has a contract and nothing can stop him from riding. The detectives learn about a female horse trainer Sonny had a liaison with. He is then exposed to the harsh reality of what really happens to some of the older horses at the stables. During this tender scene Black Magic Woman is played that seemed perfectly fitting, because of her compassion for horses. Sonny Sandoval became just as caring too, especially one horse named “Firewalker”.
We learn Sonny’s son, Jose can speak Spanish quite fluently after all. Jose has a severe gambling problem his father helped him out time after time. Going back in time you see father and son training a horse while hearing Santana’s Incident at Neshabur. It is later discovered Baxter wanted to collect money on insurance from his horse, Firewalker, who’s estimated net worth was at 2 million back in 1986. Baxter arranged for a fire to destroy the barn and the beloved horse of Sonny’s. As a way of getting even you see in another flashback scene of Sonny in a horse race far off in the lead while the song Jingo is providing the escalating music as it is discovered Sonny loses the race on purpose while his son gambled ten thousand dollars losing it all. In closing, we hear the beautiful song In a Silent Way that was the right song choice of Santana’s in revealing the killer, thus ending another episode of Cold Case.