Season: One — Episode: 5 Director: Rob W. King — Writer: Mark Farrell & Paul Mather — Aired: February 18, 2004 — Viewers (millions): 1.13 Summary: A poorly spray-painted "Grad 68" on the Dog River water tower has been an eyesore for years. But when Karen makes it her mission to crack the graffiti cold case, she finds many of the locals united in a conspiracy of silence. Brent throws Dog River into chaos when he changes Corner Gas' bathroom signs. And when Lacey's column is rejected by the Howler, she becomes desperate to be published.
Let it go, Karen. Every town has its secrets. And sometimes those secrets are better left alone. It's like looking under a rock. What do you find? Worms and bugs, weird ones.
At Corner Gas, Lacey changes the signs on the washrooms which Brent believes will confuse everyone. She gives people credit for intelligence, but then Hank comes out of the women's bathroom, which he notes is beautiful. At the Ruby Cafe, Lacey asks Wanda about Dog River's newspaper, the Howler, which she called to get an article about wing night at the Ruby. Mentioning she used to write for the Howler, Wanda warns Lacey that the paper might confuse what "wing" means. Lacey decides she can get a mention if she writes for them which she figures will be easy. At the Police station, an article in the Howler about "Grad '68" being spray-painted on the town's water tower has Karen wondering who did it. Davis asks why she cares and errs, saying the vandalism happened 15 years before.
Hank is not a good example.
Oscar accidentally uses the women's bathroom and rebukes Brent for it being so nice. At the Ruby, Brent sends Wanda back to work and tries to ask Lacey to put the old washroom signs back up. Lacey is on the phone to the Howler though and leaves a very disjointed message asking to write for the paper. Lacey is surprised to learn that Hank used to write for the Howler but quit. Stopping traffic in front of the Foo Mart, which Davis loves doing, Karen looks at the water tower. Saying she wants to solve who put the graffiti there, Davis cautions her. At Corner Gas, Davis compliments the men's bathroom while Karen says the women's is disgusting. Realizing the signs are on the wrong doors, Brent gets dizzy when he bends down to get Karen a candy bar.
Holding up traffic is a privilege.
Lacey's discouraged as Gus from the Howler doesn't want her writing for the paper but does want Hank back. As Karen looks at the "Grad '68" article, Hank appears uncomfortable and says the past should be left alone. At the police station, Karen shows Davis a picture of the water tower from 1972 which has no graffiti on it. Wondering why someone would paint "Grad '68" on the tower if it wasn't 1968, Davis says he doesn't care. At Corner Gas, Lacey's written a letter to Gus which Wanda doesn't think is very literate. With the bathroom signs switched back, Hank and Davis both complain that the men's bathroom is once again disgusting. Karen consults with a paint store clerk and learns that the graffiti paint used on the tower only last 20 years.
I'm workin' on a cold case.
A posse of citizens led by Mayor Fitzy and including Todd and Davis threaten to pass a bylaw if the men's bathroom isn't made as nice as the women's. Wanda suggests Brent keep the bathroom clean and record when on a cleanup form which the posse accepts. At the Ruby, Emma opines to Lacey that the Howler will accept anyone and says she used to write for it. She's also confused about what Lacey's wings night means. Lacey's even more discouraged when she heads to Corner Gas, finds the posse there and learns Davis writes a bridge column for the Howler. At the Leroy's, Oscar points out Brent's picture to Karen as they look at Brent's 1986 high school yearbook. At Corner Gas, Brent enters the men's washroom to clean it but finds it so disgusting, he just sprays air freshener and exits. At the Leroy's, Emma arrives and saves Karen from Oscar ranting about going to Brent's graduation.
It's about the men's room.
At Corner Gas, Lacey tells Brent that a letter from Oscar complaining about going to high school graduations was printed in the Howler. She also noticed a letter from Brent asking the paper to print Lacey's letter to the editor. Brent indicates the men's bathroom is as clean as the women's but Wanda finds that Brent made the women's bathroom dirty too. At the top of the water tower, Karen leans over with Davis' help and looks at the graffiti. Noticing that whoever painted it would have done so upside down, she notes that paint spray cans made after 1993 won't work if inverted. So "Grad '68" was painted between 1972 and 1993. Having offered to stop traffic, Davis still acts nonchalant and says no one cares who painted it.
The question is why and by who?
As Josh cooks, Karen gathers everyone at the Ruby and accuses Brent of painting "Grad '68." As proof, she mentions this was his post-graduation goal written in his yearbook. However, noting that Brent would have had to be upside down to spray the graffiti and remembering how bending over to get her candy bar made him dizzy, she accuses Hank of helping Brent. Hank mistakenly sprayed "68" instead of "86." Emma wants to leave but Karen says that in 1986, Emma distracted Oscar and left to pick Brent up from the tower and may even have helped him.
Lacey wonders how no one saw the vandalism occurring. Given Davis' love of stopping traffic, Karen says Davis blocked the road. All admit to their role, exactly as Karen described, except Hank, who nervously denies being involved and then wants to cut a deal with Karen. Everyone leaves and Lacey tells Karen she spoiled wing night. Lacey tells Karen she switched the bathroom signs back to the old ones. Karen offers the "Grad '68" story to Lacey to write for the Howler but then writes it herself.
By Karen Pelly.
Brent mentions that Oscar worked at Corner Gas for 35 years, indicating he started in 1968.
When Karen approaches the paint store clerk about helping solve a cold case, the clerk says "Cold case? Who cares?" This is a reference to Julie Stewart's TV series Cold Squad, in which she played a police detective who solves cold cases.
The copy of the Howler in which Karen writes the story solving the mystery is dated July 12, 2003.