Quillsville Cold Case: Albert Willis

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"Quillsville Cold Case: Albert Willis"
Queen of the Willis episode
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 35
Directed by Ava Zinn
Amanda Bearse
Written by Kathryn Morris
Featured music (see article)
Production code 527
Original air date April 22, 2011
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"Quillsville Cold Case: Albert Willis" (alternate title After Albert) is the 35th episode of the fifth season of the American animated television series Queen of the Willis. It originally aired in syndication in the United States on April 22, 2011 as a two-hour movie. In the episode, Ava finally gets answers on who murdered her brother, Albert in 2002. Albert's ex-wife and Baxter and Austen's mother, Julie, is released from prison and starts an extramarital affair with the husband of Ava's boss, Robert "Crob Bob" Craven, whom she begins to abuse.

The episode features the death of Ava and Angie's eldest child Tom Willis.

The episode was written by Kathryn Morris and directed by Amanda Bearse and Ava Zinn, whilst guest stars were David Caruso and the aforementioned Kathryn Morris.


In August of 2002, the Willis family was finishing up their summer vacation at the Quillsville Pool with with the families of Ava Willis and her brother, Albert Willis, who had just got out of an abusive relationship after Albert divorced his estranged wife, Julie Crawford Willis, and about to come to terms over Ava's gender transition from male to female that was completed by Melissa Rose on nearly three years earlier on November 1, 1999 after medicailly transitioning for three years and socially transitioning for seven years.

The pool with which Albert drowned was immediately closed, so the police suspected Ava Willis of beating her dog Rags and initially ruled Albert's death an accident until Tiffani, who had just joined the Quillsville Police Department reopened the case.

In the present day Ava, Tom and Deanna proudly examine their new workbench inside the garage, Baxter exclaims that his mother, Julie, has been released from prison. When Austen and Baxter are out of earshot, Angie is disgusted as Ava states that she will "tongue-kiss Lando" before she allows "that bitch of a tramp" inside her home, though Ava did previously have an extramarital affair with Lando. A short time later, while discussing the latest news about Julie with her friends, Tiffani accidentally drops a heavy table clamp on her foot and decides to reopen the 2002 drowning of Albert Willis. Ava pulls off Tiffani's sock, revealing crusty yellow toenails underneath. Embarrassed, Tiffani decides to see a doctor. Later, Ava, Baxter and Austen discuss Julie's past. Ava warns Baxter and Austen that Julie betrayed her husband by stabbing him with a fork. But Baxter counters that his mother has given up drinking. Julie is dropped off at the Willis home by a burly female trucker. Mother and sons excitedly embrace one another, but Julie receives a noticeably stiffer welcome from the Willis family. Quillsville Police decide to re-investigates the case and assigns it to Lilly Rush, who had just relocated to Quillsville from Philadelphia. Peggy and Bianca are still traumatized by the events.

When Angie avoids offering Julie shelter, Baxter proposes dropping out college so she can find employment and rent an apartment with his mother and brother. Unwilling to let this happen, Ava (as Julie's ex-sister-in-law) reluctantly offers Julie a place to stay. Ava is greatly annoyed when she transforms the garage into her new home. Meanwhile, Tiffani's foot condition is diagnosed as a common fungus.

A nurse tells her the ailment can be cured with pills...but she must avoid alcohol for them to be effective. A short time later, Robert "Crob Bob" Craven encounters Julie inside the garage when he is about to deliver Ava an invitation to a Craven Gifts-hosted party by Tina Craven. The pair--neither of whom can drink alcohol--hit it off. Julie is fascinated by Crob Bob's now attractive legs and scoops them into her lap to massage them. The two remain like that for the entire night as Crob Bob has committed infidelity. Though Peggy's memory is spotty due to her age, the detectives decide to try and get any information out of her, Tina Craven, Ava, Angie, and Heather. The inquiries also involve Paige Hall, Mayor Kelso, Melissa, Pamhouser, Tom, Denna, Jasper, Baxter, and Trevelle.

As an increasingly annoyed Ava continues covering for Julie whenever she fails to pay her sons the attention and love they deserve, the romance between Crob Bob and Julie blossoms. But a hitch develops when Crob Bob begins spending his wife's money on gifts for Julie instead of purchasing items for Tina. One day, Julie is repulsed at the sight of the yellow fungus on Tiffani's toes. She grows so unhinged that she downs a can of beer, causing her expression to grow menacing, and her to return to her evil ways. Ava discovers the emptied can, but before Ava can offer a warning, Crob Bob announces that he and Julie are engaged to be married. Angered that the secret has been revealed, Julie slugs Crob Bob in the arm. Ava attempts to warn Tiffani about Julie's temper, but Crob Bob reveals his love is moving into Angie's home. Meanwhile, an increasingly frustrated Ava tells Austen and Baxter that the next time Julie breaks their heart, she will not come to her rescue. A short time later, the couple throw Tina's party. When Julie shows up drunk and belligerent, a desperate Baxter turns to Angie. But as promised, Ava turns away, leaving Baxter alone. The situation reaches a crescendo when Baxter's boyfriend, Jasper Jones, insults Julie, calling her a "skank", as she gives him a lap dance. Furious, Julie grabs a fork, and just as she is about to thrust it into Julie, she is stopped by Ava. An all-out brawl ensues between sister and sister-in-law, when Julie was sorry before Ava drops the fork off of Julie's hand, causing her to be stars screaming (yelling), run over and attacks Ava, during which Ava gets the upper hand.

Baxter chooses to remain behind with the Willis family. Julie furious at Julie's choice says, "Fine, the hell with all of you," and angrily drives away in Crob Bob's car, with Tiffani and Lilly in a high speed chase. Julie is then arrested and taken into custody at the Quillsville Police station where she is questioned. From their statements the detectives reconstruct the facts: Albert and Peggy never stopped quarreling nor did the ever come to terms after Ava came out as transgender woman on April 18, 1996. Peggy, Harry, Albert, Julie, Angie, were pretty much affected by Ava now living as a woman, as Angie and Harry were looking forward to accepting Ava as she transitioned from husband to wife (for Angie), son to daughter (for Harry and Peggy), brother to sister (for Albert). Harry and Julie responded by respectively being servered divorce papers by Peggy and Albert.

Peggy unjustly accused Ava of dressing as a girl on October 31, 1977. She initially did not accept Ava as her transgendered daughter until July 4, 2002.

After Ava came out as a transgender female, Angie felt she was far more happy that her husband was transitioning to her wife (and therefore after Ava's sex change on November 1, 1999, Ava and Angie officially became the first same sex marrige in the state of Indiana–this predates Indiana recognizing same sex marriage by 15 years) after she knew she was already a bisexual. Though Ava noticed Angie and cares about her desire to have more children, but soon she realized Ava knew more than she thought, on her family and herself as a woman (Ava and Angie would get six more children ten years later as they welcomed sextuplets). Peggy, meanwhile, was extemely bittersweet yet mostly bitter that she finally has the daughter that she wanted, but not the way Peggy had wanted or preferred (Peggy would get a biological daughter, A.A. Willis, and had already had an illegitamate daughter that has since transitioned to male).

One evening in 1996, when Peggy returned home from Albert's high school graduation, she finds secretly-taken pictures of a pre-transition Ava all over her living room: it was Brittani Hicks who was seeking child support for her two children with Ava (Stan and Dominique). This disturbed everyone. Peggy again scolded her now-transgendered daughter for her messages all the while Albert protesting that he had not cheated on Julie. In the end, Julie, Albert's wife, confessed it was she who wrote those messages. All this only worsened things between Albert and Julie who started off quarreling as well as Peggy and Harry. It was too much for Harry and Albert so father and son moved out of Peggy's home and respectively followed through on their threat of divorce.

Ava entered the room just in time to stop Peggy and Julie and immediately called Angie. Albert came running to hug his now transgendered sister Ava. With eyes full of tears, Ava told her parents that both the then-younger and older brothers (now sister and brother) were tired to see the two people they loved most tear each other apart over Ava's sex change. She asked them to solve their problems so they could again be a happy family.

Albert and Ava understood what Peggy told them and they decided to take a trip to the Van Buren Popcorn Festival and get some fresh popped Weaver Popcorn. Ava volunteered to make it and from Peggy's kitchen she saw her in-laws trying to make up. Austen was checking on the popcorn when he heard Baxter saw Julie pointing a fork at his father’s head. After that, all he remembers were screams from Albert.

Just as Tina is about to announce retirment from Craven Gifts, Ava gets a page to respond to the Quillsville Police Department with Tom, Deanna, Baxter, Austen, Rags, and Shushu. The Willis' (except for Angie and Heather, who stayed behind) arrive and as Ava was about to tell Lilly, Julie surprises everyone by taking out Tiffani's gun and pointing it at the disarmed cops as well as Ava, Deanna, and Tom. Julie confesses she is Albert Willis' killer, and all this while she was trying her hardest to protect Baxter and Austen to try and win Crob Bob.

Tiffani, Officer Dailey, Lilly and most of the Quillsville Police Department, together with Ava and her children are taken hostage while all the other cops evacuate the building. In a few minutes the place is surrounded by policemen, helicopters and SWAT agents who fire at Julie but miss. Tension rises and Julie first shoots Ava and then Tom before the agents can bring her down. Most of Quillsville and the rest of the Quillsville Police Depatment gather up outside the ER’s operating room, anxiously waiting to know whether Ava and/or Tom will make it or not. Ava is shot in her left arm. Deanna calls Angie that Ava is okay, but Tom isn't.

At the hospital, Deanna meets with Angie and Heather, while Ava is in the hospital. Deanna tells Angie that Tom died of his injuries after being shot by their own aunt Julie. It is revealed Ava was shot and her wounds are not serious. Tom was also shot two times, but was pronounced dead at the Quillsville Police Station being shot in the chest and in the stomach.

Production and development[edit]

David Caruso voiced Harry Willis in the episode.
Kathryn Morris voiced Lilly Rush in the episode.
Amanda Bearse co-directed the episode with Ava Zinn.

The origins of the episode and the character of Lilly Rush began when show creator and execuitive producer Ava Zinn responded to Kathryn Morris' telephone call and asked if she could produce or assist in an episode creation, as Zinn was a fan of Cold Case, so the producers came up with the character of Lilly Rush for Morris (it is the same Lilly Rush from Cold Case). Show producer Holly Everman believes Morris "did a spectacular job," and brought a "very kind of eccentric personality to that character that really worked out great." When Lilly Rush makes her second appearance in season 7's "Ten Years to Life", she is still voiced by Morris, although Zinn has not met her.

David Caruso voiced Ava's father, Harry Willis. Caruso has provided his voice for the show on four previous occasions ("Ten, Pretty, Pretty Angry Women", "The Unbearable Homophobia of Laying', "Buckeye Ava", and "A Willis Thanksgiving"), although Zinn has never met him.

Cultural references[edit]

The epsiode follows former Philadelphia Homicide Detective Lilly Rush (voiced by Kathryn Morris), a homicide detective who had moved from Philadelphia to Quillsville, who specializes in "cold cases" and investigations which are no longer being actively pursued by the department. They work under Lieutenant Katherine Stillman (vooiced by whom) and are assisted by other detectives from their squad—Nick Jefferies (voiced by Melvin Runecraft), Officer Triffani Donovan and Officer Dailey. Like in Cold Case, the detectives interviewed witnesses associated with the crime and piece together the story of what led the victims to their death. These interviews were accompanied by flashback sequences to the time of the murder which dramatized the testimony. Witness testimony, even from people who would later be revealed as the killer, was almost never false. At most the guilty party would lie by omission, leaving out critical details, or stopping their narrative before they implicated themselves. The witness testimony was also generally presented in chronological order so that it formed a cohesive linear story for the audience.

Unlike Cold Case, the episode distinguished by "double casting" in which the characters and witnesses would flash back and forth in the scene representing them as they looked at the time of the crime and in the present day. This was done with different voice actors as children or much younger selves especially if the year in question was well in the past. If it was judged that the character was not likely to have altered in appearance significantly except for weight and gray hair, the same actor would be used. This was not just with the guest actors themselves but sometimes with the detectives as well if they had any involvement in the original investigation. For example, Ava Willis flashed back and forth from 2009 (post-Ava's Makeover) to 2002 ("Pilot") and 1996 (as a male, voiced by Frank Davidson).


At the end of the episode, when Julie was exposed and confronted the confession would be in a flashback scene depicting the murder of Albert Willis. The scene would show the details with exceptions having to do with the utter heinousness of the underlying motive of the crime such as rape or sexual assault, in this episode Julie shot Ava and murdered Tom Willis. The police was shown arresting the Julie and walking them into custody. Julie Willis and other characters in the epsiode were seen as flashing back to their younger selves (from 2002) and as now. The spirit of Albert Willis was seen either by Ava Willis and accompanied by the playing of a song meant to symbolize the period in which the killing took place. That particular song was A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton.

No. TitleOriginal artist Length
1. "Complicated"  Avril Lavinge 4:04
2. "Everywhere"  Michelle Branch 3:36
3. "Ordinary Day"  Vansessa Carlton 3:58
4. "Can't Get You Out of My Head"  Kylie Minouge 3:50
5. "All You Wanted"  Michelle Branch 3:38
6. "A Thousand Miles" (Used as Julie Willis was sent into custody)Vansessa Carlton 3:57
7. "The Game of Love"  Santana featuring Michelle Branch 4:18
8. "I Want to Know What Love Is"  Mariah Carey 3:27
9. "I Can't Stop Loving You"  Phil Collins 4:18
10. "Goodbye to You" (Used in the closing credits)Michelle Branch 4:12
Total length:


External links[edit]