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Cold Case: Best of Seasons 1-4

Michael A. Levine

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Album Review

The detective series Cold Case began its sixth season on network television the same week that this soundtrack album was released. For all those seasons, dating back to 2003, the series composer was Michael A. Levine, whose music, heard here, indicates that the tone of the show is not so much action as intrigue. The theme of the program, of course, is that Philadelphia detective Lilly Rush (Kathryn Morris, displayed in all her blonde glory on the album cover) each week digs into the files of nearly forgotten unsolved murders and re-investigates them, and Levine accompanies these journeys into the past with near-ambient background music that is moody and atmospheric. The tone often is exotic, as if crimes were being investigated in Cairo or Athens instead of Philadelphia, and it is also usually elegiac, never letting the listener forget that the significant characters are long in their graves. Occasionally (for instance in the cue called "Freely's Flashback"), Levine indulges in fast-paced electronic percussion, but even then he sets it against a half-speed string passage to slow things down. This deliberate and contemplative music gives the show the air of a mysterious archeological dig in which, even if the mystery is solved, no happy ending is possible, since the story was over before it started.

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