Cold Reader is an episode of series 25 that first aired on 20 February, 2009. It drew 5.56 million viewers on ITV1 with a 24.2% share. It was directed by Adrian McDowall and written by Matt Harvey.
When a promising student, Elaine Donohove is abducted by a white transit van, registered to Morag Shearer, who apparently raped Elaine in the past. A physic adviser volunteers to help find the missing girl. Elaine later turns up dead at a lake in a woodland. She apparently told the physic adviser where her corpse was from beyond the grave. The physic adviser is later shot at, but survives. DCI Burke agrees to attend one of her shows and tells him something about his father that no one else could possibly know. A suspect later becomes the probable killer, the physic's brother who tried to "kill her". His fingerprints are later found on the gun. Did he kill Elaine? And was the physic involved in the brutal killing, or is she a victim? DCI Burke, DS Jackie Reid, DI Robbie Ross and DC Stuart Fraser investigate the brutal killing and attempted killing.
When university student Elaine Donohoe goes missing after a hockey game, DCI Burke and the team are brought in to find the missing girl.
Burke and Reid begin investigating - firstly meeting her parents before joining the others in the area where she was last seen. Tire tracks and drag marks suggest abduction. Who would have taken her, and why?
Mrs Donohoe surprises the team by bringing Clare Vorland, a psychic, along to help with the investigation. Claire insists that she saw a white van in a vision and that this would be the key to finding Elaine. Burke is immediately scathing and skeptical, dismissing her as nothing more than a fraud. Fraser, on the other hand, thinks it is worth a shot – and CCTV does show a white van in the area at the time of the disappearance.
The van is registered to Moira Shearer, Elaine’s team captain.
Burke, still refusing to believe that Claire really has any psychic power, goes to the university campus to confront Moira. After he questions her about the van, which Moira insists was stolen from her brother’s garage, Moira immediately accuses Elaine’s father of suggesting she was involved as he hated that her and Elaine were so close.
When Reid and Burke confront Mr Donohoe about this, it turns out that he didn’t like Moira hanging around with his daughter because of her sexuality. Was Elaine seeing Moira? Could the religious Mr. Donohoe have murdered his own daughter?
Moira’s brother has a past record for dealing and handling firearms – if Moira was involved, could he have helped her out?
Burke and Reid confront Clare after Reid guesses from clues in Elaine’s diary that she met with Elaine before she went missing. Clare denies this at first, but eventually confirms this although refuses to discuss what they talked about.
Fraser, meanwhile, is interviewing Moira’s girlfriend Veronica. It seems that Elaine had led Moira on to get on the squad. Could Moira have lashed out in revenge? Could Veronica have been the jealous lover?
When she comes to the station to talk to Reid and Burke about her sessions with Elaine, Clare is seemingly possessed by Elaine’s spirit. Clare claims to know where the body is – and leads the team to the river where Elaine’s body lies in the water.
Could there be more to Clare than meets the eye?
Burke, suddenly unsure, goes to one of her live shows. Clare picks him out in the audience and tells him things about his father that no-one else would know. Personal and disturbing memories…
After pathology uncovers fragments of a hockey stick in the body, and a bloody hockey stick is found in Moira’s locker, it seems the killer has been found.
However, as all the pieces start falling into place, Burke’s life hangs in the balance when he fails to forsee the coming danger.
Matt Burke - Alex Norton
Jackie Reid - Blythe Duff
Robbie Ross - John Michie
Stuart Fraser - Colin McCredie
Ellis Sinclair - Katrina Bryan
Clare Vorland - Julie Duncanson
Kieran - Alan Francis
Mr Gill Donohoe - Finlay McLean
Mrs Donohoe - Jane Stabler
Morag Shearer - Pollyanna McIntosh
James Shearer - James McAnerney
Veronica - Charlotte Allan
Elaine - Kirstin McLean
Manager - Gavin Jon Wright