The two narrative features; Sound and Symbols/motif/themes contributed to the presentation and development of the character George, in the last episode “The Woods”.  Sound, used through the use of music, was used to literally narrate the storyline and provide time and place.  The song used in the beginning of the episode ‘Sunshine on my shoulders’ (John Denver)  ( view this scene using video at bottom, 0.00-1.07)helped to define the year 1972 which was the era in which the crime was set. This song also starts to reveal to the audience the development of the deranged character of George. The song was repeated near the end of the episode, where George is heard whistling it during this attempt to kidnapped and kill Detective Lilly Rush.  There were various songs that were used throughout the episode that gave insight to George and his disturbed nature. It helps to narrate the storyline and illustrate the relationships George has with others and the effect it has.

The second feature that helps to develop and present the character of George was through Symbols/ motif/ themes. The themes of the eyes are repeated throughout the episode and are also used to symbolise his mother’s ‘hysterical blindness’.  At the start of the episode ‘The Woods’ we see George say to his mother “I took out their eyes”, this illustrates to the audience about his obsession with eyes and how it connects to his fixation with his mother’s ’hysterical blindness’. The symbolism behind the eyes is used to present the character George as a disturbed, troubled boy. The theme that revolves around George’s obsession with eyes is darkness. George’s mother says to George “You are the darkness, you always will be” this reveals to the audience that the character George is evil or somewhat not right, which is considered to connect with darkness.  The quote said by George “we see things even when it seems we don’t” gives insight to both his mother ‘hysterical blindness” and suggests something about the character George. We are given the impression throughout the episode that there is something not yet discovered about what is meant by “we see things even when it seems we don’t”. As the episode progress the symbol of eyes becomes stronger and develops the character George further, through symbolising being able to see or not.  We are given the impression that George, in the past has experienced something he wants to erase from his mind, a memory that haunts him. Through the use of symbols/ motif/ themes the character of George was developed and helped to move the narrative along further.  The use of the eyes helped to illustrate that George had suffered tumour at a young age, affecting the type of person he evolved into. This feature helped to reveal that George wanted to ‘un-see’ what had occurred but was mentally affected by this experience resulting in George in later years recreating this crime numerous times.

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The First Impression

My first impression of Detective Lilly Rush was in the TV crime drama series ‘Cold Case’ in “The Badlands” (Episode 1, Season 2). The two narrative features that contributed to my initial first impression were through Mise en scene and Conflict.  The feature Mise en scene contains two parts; Performance and Costume. Lilly Rush wears a feminine version of a male’s suit. It portrays Lilly as more masculine in the other females in the ‘Cold Case’ team. It also presents her in a more professional manner.   Lilly’s hair is always messily pulled back in a bun compared to other female cast members who wear their hair down. Her makeup is kept to the bare minimum, using only neutral colours. The use of this make up shows the audience that she wants to blend in and be on par with the men, through her physical appearance.  The use of her costume gives the impression of ‘trying to fit into a man’s world’.  The image displayed supports the points analysed in the paragraph above. Through Kathryn Morris‘s performance of Lilly, it gave insight into her character. Kathryn illustrates Lilly as a woman who is trying to make it in a ‘man’s world’. She comes across as a strong, straight to the point person. Lilly uses a strong, manipulative tone towards the suspects. She leads with her head, walking with a strong purpose. This gives the impression of a woman who is professional and fights for the justice of the victims. Although Lilly is involved in pretty gruesome crime scenes she keeps level- headed with a detached nature. This shows the audience that she keeps professional. Although Lilly has this detached nature, we are also given a subtle impression of some connection or slight empathy towards the victims as at stages she can become too immerse in a case. It portrays Lilly as a detective that is passionate in her work and finding relief for the victims.

The second feature that contributed to my first impression was through conflict. The conflict gives the impression of Lilly, a woman who has struggled with inner conflict and confidence in and outside her profession. The narrative revels to the audience that there is a conflict between her relationship with the DA (District Attorney). This awkward and unsettled tension rose between her and Jason Kite after a commenced court session, ‘So how are you?’…’we’re good at least’…’do you regret it?’…’no’. This conversation between Lilly and Jason gives us the subtle hint that there was a relationship between them at some stage and has ended.  It gives a slight impression that Lilly has recently or in the past struggled to maintain successful relationships with men. Another inner conflict is revealed when Lilly is offering help services to Tyra, a victim of a murder that occurred at her workplace, who is suffering from domestic violence. Although no real emotions are shown by Lilly, we are given a subtle hint that Lilly at some point has been involved in domestic abuse. (Watch video 24.22-27.22 this video is posted as another blog title : The First   Impression Video) This assumption is made as at no another point in the narrative does she offer services or seen as connected to any other victim compared to her relationship with Tyra. Through Lilly’s determination for Tyra to seek guidance, it helps also to develop the narrative by suggesting a hidden past secret of Lilly’s childhood or past life.

Implication:  An implication that contributed to the performance of Lilly Rush was seeing a gentle side emerge at the end of the series. “The Woods” give us insight to Lilly’s past. There is a moment where George (suspect) confronts her of a past encounter, this brought Lilly to tears where she broke down in front of him. This lead to the audience uncovering  why she had a strong connection to Tyra in the first episode and why Lilly was determined  for Tyra to seek help for domestic abuse. Through this we were able to see both sides to the character, Lilly Rush, both her strong and gentle side.

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Cold Case : Introductory Post

Achievement Standard 91249 : Demonstrate understanding of narrative in media texts

Cold Case is a American televison crime drama series that revolves around a fictional Philadelphia Police Department that specializes in investigating cold cases.

The narrative features that I have selected for “The Badlands” ( Episode 1) :

  • Mise en scene ( Lighting, Costume, Performance, Props/Setting)
  • Conflict (Internal and/ or External)

The narrative features that I have selected for ” The Woods” (Episode 23) :

  • Sound (Music)
  • Symbols/ Motif/ Themes (Recurring images, ideas, messages)

This assessment will consist of two blogs.

The first post will be titled : First Impression, which will Describe and Explain how the two narrative features; Mise en scene ( Lighting, Costume, Performance, Props/Setting) and Conflict (Internal and/ or External) will contribute to my initial impression of the character, Detective Lilly Rush. How this character is presented and developed.

The second post will be titled: Denoument, which will Describe and Explain  how the narrative features; Sound (Music) and Symbols/ Motif/ Themes (Recurring images, ideas, messages) were used to present/ develop the narrative through the presentation and development of George in the last episode. Examining the implications of the contribution of the use of each narrative feature in this TV series and support and illustrate my analysis with specfic examples from the TV crime drama series.


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Cold Case: ” The Woods” ( Episode 23)

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Cold Case : “The Badlands” ( Episode 1)

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Cold Case : Detective Lilly Rush

Cold Case :  Detective Lilly Rush

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Cold Case Characters

” The Badlands” (Episode 1) and ” The Woods” (Episode 23)

  • Kathryn Morris – Det, Lilly Rush

  • Danny Pino – Det. Scotty Valens

  • John Finn – Lt. John Stillman

  • Thom Barry – Det. Will Jeffries

  • Jeremy Ratchford – Det. Nick Vera

  • Josh Hopkins – ADA Jason Kite ( Episode 1)

  • Sonya Leslie – Det Leanne Desalle ( Episode 23)


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Cold Case: Songs from “The Badlands” and “The Woods”

“The Badlands” Episode 1 Songs:

  • If I Ain’t got You –  by Alicia Keys
  • Foolish – by Ashanti
  • Still Fly – by Big Tymers
  • Hands Of Time – by Groove Amanda  
  • Strawberry Letter 23 – by Shuggie Otis
  • Soul Searching – by Soul Hooligan

“The Woods” Episode 23 Songs:

  • Riders On The Storm – by The Doors
  • Sandman ( Remastered Version) – by America
  • Aqualung – by Jethro Tull
  • Behind Blue Eyes – by The Who
  • Sunshine On My Shoulders – by Joh Denver
  • Witchy Woman – by Eagles


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Cold Case

I will be publishing a review on the TV drama series “Cold Case” Season 2, episodes 1 and 2, “The Badlands” and “The Woods”. The narrative features I will be discussing is Mise en Scene and conflict for “The Badlands”, for “The Woods” I’ll be discussing the narrative features of sound and symbols/motif/themes.

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