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Lillian "Lilly" Rush is a fictional character in the CBS crime drama Cold Case, portrayed by Kathryn Morris.[1] She was known as the only female homicide detective in Philadelphia, until the later arrival of Lennie Desalle, then Josie Sutton, and finally Kat Miller. She specialized in working cold cases alongside her partner, Scotty Valens.[2] According to Lilly, "People shouldn't be forgotten, even if they're my kind of people. Maybe, they don't have a lot of money, they don't have lawyers, but they matter".

Lilly Rush
Cold Case character
First appearance"Look Again"
Last appearance"Shattered"
Created byMeredith Stiehm
Portrayed byKathryn Morris
Christina Cellner (young)
Makenna Barrett (age 6)
Harley Graham (age 9)
Megan Helin (age 10)
TitleDetective Rush
OccupationHomicide Detective
FamilyPaul Cooper (father)
Ellen Rush (mother; deceased)
Christina Rush (sister)
Finn Cooper (half-brother)
Celeste Cooper (step-mother)

Character biographyEdit

Lilly was raised on welfare by an alcoholic mother, Ellen Rush, who often neglected her. Her father, Paul Cooper, left the family when Lilly was six. Lilly was left to fend for herself and care for her younger sister, Christina Rush. The family lived in Kensington, a rough part of Philadelphia.

At the age of ten, Lilly had been sent out late at night by her mother to buy alcohol, and a man brutally attacked and robbed her. Suffering a broken jaw, among other injuries, young Lilly was nursed by Ray Williams. The detective that apprehended the man that attacked Lilly was Lt. John Stillman. Lt Stillman became a mentor and father figure after capturing her attacker when she was a child. After joining the police force, Stillman followed her career and chose her for Homicide when she passed her detective exam ("The Long Blue Line"/"Into the Blue").

As a child Lilly would have nightmares so her mother would read to her the Velveteen Rabbit.

Lilly has a contentious relationship with her sister. At the end of season seven, after rescuing her sister ("Shattered") Lilly discovers that she is now an aunt to Christina's baby daughter.

As a detectiveEdit

Her first homicide investigation was in 1999. The victim was Vaughn Bubley.

Shortly after Lilly's change from on-the-line jobs to cold cases, her partner, Chris Lassing, transfers out because of his diabetic condition, leading to Scotty being promoted to Homicide and becoming Lilly's partner.

She thinks rationally and has a very strong, independent personality, but at the same time she also has the necessary compassion to deal appropriately with victims and their families. While cold and unyielding with criminals and suspects, she can be devoted to a fault in her concern for the suffered close ones of the victims. In the last episode of the first season ("Lovers Lane'') she is visited at her home at three o'clock in the morning by the distressed partner of a victim. While her romantic interest is waiting for her in the apartment, she takes time to comfort the man. As a result, her romantic partner breaks up with her, pointing out her too strong devotion to help other people as a reason.

Lilly solves the most difficult cases in order to seek the truth after all these years in hopes of giving the victim's family and the victims themselves, justice. She often works long hours on these cases. Because of this, her relationships with men are relatively shaky and her family can best be described as dysfunctional.

One of Lilly's most challenging cases was that of a serial killer who stalked his victims like wild animals. One of the victim's bodies from 1985, Janet Lambert, is found by hikers in a wildlife preserve. The investigation quickly leads Lilly and the cold case squad to the grisly discovery of 8 more decapitated bodies. Soon, suspicion falls on George Marks, who gets brought into the interview room. During interrogation, he manages to get most of the team members agitated until Lilly is finally brought in to get George to confess to these gruesome murders. Instead, George hints about Lilly's dark secret as being the real reason why she became a cop. By this, he was referring to her being attacked as a child, which she rarely discussed. Months later, when Lilly finally confronted George with evidence that he murdered not only the victims from their previous encounter, but his own mother as well, George forced Lilly into reliving her attack before their shootout, which ended his life.

In 2007, shortly after the death of her mother Ellen Rush, Lilly interviewed a victim, Kim Jacobi, only to be ambushed by the person who had murdered Kim's family the year before. The entire Homicide department was held hostage for a short time, with Detectives Scotty Valens and Kat Miller outside the building and under orders from the SWAT team not to break their perimeter. Scotty broke this order and approached Lilly's location in an observation room, where she was attempting to negotiate with the killer. Using a code word they had established that morning, Scotty shot the killer from the blind side of a two-way mirror in the interview room, but not before he shot Lilly in the chest. While undergoing surgery, Lilly apparently sees her late mother before her. She eventually recovers in time to convince John Stillman to reopen the Jack Raymes case, and credits Scotty for saving her life.

In May 2009, while working on the Kate Butler Case, Lilly is involved in a car accident in which her vehicle was pushed off a bridge and into the river forty feet below. However, later on, Lilly begins stalking Moe Kitchner, who is responsible for the accident. He is eventually killed by the victim's father.

Months later, the FBI is trying to recruit her.

Pets: 2 cats, Olivia and Tripod. Olivia only has 1 eye and Tripod only has 3 legs.

Badge # 9123


When she was a young adult Lilly almost married Ray Williams, but Ray couldn't bring himself to get off of his motorbike to go into the courthouse after having ridden to Knoxville. Lilly later confides to her boyfriend Joseph Shaw that she was once engaged to Ray, but he was not the "settling down" type.

She rekindles a relationship with Eddie Saccardo. Their relationship ends because he is working undercover.


  1. ^ Karen A. Romanko, Television's Female Spies and Crimefighters: 600 Characters and Shows, 1950s to the Present (2016), p. 180.
  2. ^ Vincent LoBrutto, TV in the USA: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas(2018), p. 170.