Without a Trace
show_name=Without a Trace
caption=The series logo
Anthony LaPaglia Poppy Montgomery Marianne Jean-Baptiste Enrique Murciano Roselyn Sánchez
New York City, New York
September 26 2002
num_seasons = 7
num_episodes = 139
list_episodes = List of Without a Trace episodes
"Without a Trace" is an American television show set in
New York City. The show is about a fictitious full-time FBI missing personsunit. (The real FBI has no such unit; it investigates disappearances periodically as the situation warrants.)
episodeusually follows the search for one individual under tight time pressure. The stories also focus on the personal lives of the team members, and illustrate how their different experiences give them insight—and sometimes traumatic reactions—to certain cases.
The series debuted as part of the
CBSfall line-up in 2002, created by Hank Steinbergand produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The show was the first ever to score strong ratings opposite longtime NBChit "ER"—which, like "Without a Trace", is produced by Warner Bros. Television. The first two showrunnerswere Steinberg and Ed Redlich. Between Seasons Two and Three, Steinberg and Redlich moved away from active participation in the series, with staff writers Jan Nashand Greg Walkertaking over.
One element that sets the show apart from other current TV crime
dramas is the display of information about real-life missing persons at the end of most episodes. Occasionally such information is replaced with other public service announcements, such as an episode about an attempted suicidewhich presented information on a suicide help line instead. Showings in other countries tend to omit missing persons info; however, Australia's Nine Networkusually shows Australian cases, and in Hong Kongthe TVB Pearlshowed information about local missing persons during the first two seasons.
In 2003, the TNT Network acquired syndication rights to the series for US$1.4 million per episode.
"Without a Trace" was run on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on
CBSuntil September 2006, when it was moved to Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS. As of the 2007 season it will swap timeslots with "Shark", returning it to its old timeslot. However, this lasted only until the 2008 season, with a move to Tuesdays at 10 pm. Canadian affiliate Global had dropped the show starting Season 6 but its competitor CTV decided to pick it up and scheduled it for Fridays at 10pm but is now shown on both CTV and sister station A-Channel.
The show is the only prime-time U.S. drama to feature two Australians (
Poppy Montgomery& Anthony LaPaglia) and a Briton ( Marianne Jean-Baptiste) playing Americans in the regular cast.
Anthony LaPaglia: FBI head of the Missing Persons Unit Special Agent John Michael "Jack" Malone,
Marianne Jean-Baptiste: FBI Missing Persons Unit Special Agent Vivian "Viv" Johnson
Poppy Montgomery: FBI Missing Persons Unit Special Agent Samantha "Sam" Spade
Enrique Murciano: FBI Missing Persons Unit Special Agent Danny Taylor, né Alvarez (The character, Danny, changed his surname at some unspecified point in his past.)
Roselyn Sánchez: FBI Missing Persons Unit Special Agent Elena Delgado
Eric Close: FBI Missing Persons Unit Special Agent Martin Fitzgerald
The FBI's New York Missing Persons Squad consists of the boss, Jack Malone, and his team: Vivian Johnson, Danny Taylor, Samantha Spade. Martin Fitzgerald joins the team at the start of season 1. In addition to working for the FBI, Jack is trying to be a decent father and deal with a separation from his wife. Samantha is overcoming the secret affair she had with Jack, her boss. Martin is adjusting to being the newest member of a well-established team. His father is a Deputy Director for the FBI, which makes Martin worry about receiving special treatment.
As the team continues to track down missing persons, Jack and his wife slide towards divorce, while Jack must also care for his father (
Martin Landau) who has Alzheimer's disease. We learn more about the team members' life histories, including the fact that Martin was practically raised by his aunt and uncle, and Danny is an orphan whose brother (Alex Fernandez) is a convicted felon. Martin fatally shoots a man whom he provoked, and both he and Vivian must keep quiet in order to keep their jobs. Jack makes a last ditch attempt to save his marriage by moving to Chicago with his family, giving Vivian a long-awaited promotion to his post, but at the last minute his wife leaves without him, taking their daughters with her.
Vivian loses her promotion when Jack returns to his job, causing some friction among the group. She also experiences heart trouble that endangers her life and her career, and undergoes risky surgery. Martin and Samantha begin a secret office romance, but it ends badly. Jack undergoes a brutal custody battle with his ex-wife. Danny has to confront his traumatic past and his estranged brother. The season ends with a cliffhanger as a hired mercenary opens fire on Martin and Danny's car while they transport a prisoner.
After barely surviving the gun battle that ended Season Three, Martin must recover from near-fatal gunshot wounds while Danny battles PTSD. Stretched for help, the team gets a new member, Elena Delgado, a former NYPD vice squad officer with an aggressive, streetwise attitude. She has a past connection to Danny, the nature of which is unknown until Season Five. Martin develops an addiction to painkillers, and Jack begins a romance with the widow of a former mentor killed in the line of duty.
=Season 5 =
Jack's girlfriend miscarries and abruptly ends their relationship. Danny and Elena begin to date each other, while her ex-husband, Carlos, sues for custody of their daughter, Sofia, and later abducts the child. More about Samantha's difficult past is revealed, including her strained relationships with her mother and sister. Jack is abducted and tortured by a psychotic woman, but initially appears to show few effects. At the end of the season, Carlos is freed, leaving the team worried about Elena's safety, and a serial kidnapper appears to be preying on young women.
Vivian is put in charge of a task force to locate the serial kidnapper, who is part of a sex trafficking ring. Samantha reveals that she is pregnant from a one-night stand with a bartender, Brian; by the end of the season, he waives paternal rights and she gives birth to a son. Jack begins a pattern of roughing up suspects to make them talk, which appears to be related to PTSD. He also gets into a dangerous situation without backup and is nearly killed, and becomes over-involved in the life of a teenager he saved from the sex traffickers. In the season finale he is demoted and put in mandatory therapy with Dr. Clare Bryson (
This season also contained a two-part crossover episode with C.S.I., as Jack and
Gil Grissomand their teams track down a serial killer responsible for the disappearance of a boy six years ago.
The series' seventh season began airing
September 23, 2008on a new 10:00 p.m. (EST) Tuesday timeslot. Steven Weber joined the cast as a recurring guest in the role of Special Agent Clark Medina, Jack's replacement as unit supervisor. As of this season, Jack continued to work in the missing persons unit, albeit now a subordinate agent of equal authority to those he formerly supervised.
WGA Strike Impact
Without a Trace completed twelve episodes of Season Six before the Writers' Guild of America strike [ [http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/business/la-striketvgrid-html,1,316783.htmlstory] The Los Angeles Times] . Because the show's writing staff all joined the strike, there were no more new episodes until the issue was settled. Once the strike ended, the show returned
April 3 2008with six episodes. [cite web |url=http://www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-cbsreturndates,0,7656374.story|title=CBS Sets Series Return Dates|accessdate=2008-02-13]
U.S. Television Ratings
Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of "Without A Trace" on
"Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps."
"Without A Trace Season" 1 has been released on Region 1, Region 2 and Region 4 DVD. Season 2 (region 1 DVD), which was thought to be indefinitely scrapped, was released on
March 13, 2007. [ [http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/newsitem.cfm?NewsID=6662] From TVShowsOnDVD.com]
Seasons 1–3 have all been released under region 2 and region 4 encoding.
* [http://www.tnt.tv/title/0,,449290,00.html Official website] for reruns on TNT
* [http://tv.yahoo.com/without-a-trace/show/28174 "Without a Trace"] at [http://tv.yahoo.com/ Yahoo! TV]
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