6.9/10
17,887
86 user 10 critic

Without a Trace 

The cases of an FBI unit specializing in missing persons investigations.

Creator:

Hank Steinberg
Reviews
Popularity
1,141 ( 84)

Episodes

Seasons


Years



7   6   5   4   3   2   1  
2009   2008   2007   2006   2005   2004   … See all »
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 20 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Anthony LaPaglia ...  Jack Malone 160 episodes, 2002-2009
Poppy Montgomery ...  Samantha Spade 160 episodes, 2002-2009
Enrique Murciano ...  Danny Taylor 160 episodes, 2002-2009
Eric Close ...  Martin Fitzgerald 160 episodes, 2002-2009
Marianne Jean-Baptiste ...  Vivian Johnson 160 episodes, 2002-2009
Roselyn Sanchez ...  Elena Delgado 88 episodes, 2005-2009
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Storyline

As any detective can tell you, investigating missing property or deaths is comparatively easy compared to elusive missing people. However in New York City, there is a special unit of the FBI that is designed to find them. Using the vast resources of their bureau, the team, lead by Agent Jack Malone, race against time in the tight 72 hour window after a disappearance while hope for a recovery is still typically possible. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A few episodes are based on real-life disappearances. See more »

Goofs

There is no FBI unit tasked with looking for kidnapping victims in the manner shown in the series. Besides many of the offenses shown being state, rather than federal, cases, it would take at least several days for the FBI to become full involved in most kidnappings, primarily due to jurisdictional issues. See more »

Quotes

[Martin gives Sam a long to-do list]
Samantha: I thought you said one thing.
Martin: Yeah, but this is you.
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Crazy Credits

Actual missing-person reports are posted at the end of each episode. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Fade Into You
Performed by Mazzy Star
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User Reviews

 
Low-key and engaging
9 May 2014 | by kolsSee all my reviews

After reading a half-dozen of the reviews convinced that a lot of folks who didn't like it were expecting a typical cop show. It isn't. May have been an experiment on Bruckheimer's part - turning cop show conventions on their head.

First there's the shows low-key tone: no screaming sirens, no melodramatic hooks, no heart-pounding chases or rescues. Chases and especially rescues do exist but, like all of the other expositional elements, they're portrayed in measured, deliberate and muted tones. Just like the "teams" response to each week's puzzle. All very quiet with just a hint of intensity and a clear demonstration that they care about their victims.

All elements that, except for the tone, Without a Trace shares with most cop shows. Just reversed.

Now here's the really radical departure - the show's focus is centered on what are usually the secondary characters: the victims and the lives surrounding them. In fact, most of the "team's" interactions are with the secondary characters.

Think about shows, very good shows, like Bones or Castle or Burn Notice or any one of dozens of cop shows: all centered on the "team" and it interactions. Victims, perps and puzzles exist mainly to highlight those interactions.

This is not a criticism. I love the shows mentioned.

My point is simply that Without a Trace reverses those conventions and does it very successfully. One one hand, enough time is spent on the team to humanize it; on the other, just enough emphasis on the victims and their stories to elevate them to the the primary focus.

Takes some getting used to but well worth the effort. Surprising, those few scenes dedicated to the "team", either as individuals or a whole, wind up describing a very rich set of personalities, though you might have to watch a lot of episodes to realize it.

Like all cop shows there there are problems with plot integrity and, with Without a Trace, the very premise: the FBI getting involved before the local cops and their 48-hour window. And like all cop shows, the inconsistencies and questionable plot lines are simply elements meant to invoke the suspension of disbelief. Nothing more.

If this was an experiment on Bruckheimer's part, seven seasons speak volumes to its success.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

CBS [United States]

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 September 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vanished See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
See full technical specs »

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