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Without a Trace 

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


Hank Steinberg
1,089 ( 44)




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 »




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


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)

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Did You Know?


The original title of the show was "Vanished", but when CBS opted to pick it up the title was changed to "Without a Trace". See more »


In more than one instance, suspects being interviewed with a polygraph answer all the control questions (Is your name John Doe? Are you 39?) truthfully. In reality, a suspect is told to answer all the control questions "yes", whether true or not, to determine the accuracy of the polygraph machine. See more »


Rafie: [to Danny] Papi was drunk. He was a bastard. I spent ten years between his fist and your pretty face!
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Crazy Credits

Amongst the opening credits, for a brief moment the words "Amber Alert" are flashed on the screen. The Amber Alert system was formally inaugurated in the state of California, July 31, 2002. It drew both national and international recognition in its success in aiding authorities in their search for abducted children. In less than one year, the California Amber Alert system has been credited with aiding in the rescue of over a dozen children. The intial system was formulated in Texas in 1996, and is named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was kidnapped and murdered. As of April 10, 2003 a bill creating a national Amber Alert system has passed in the House of Representitives, and unanimously approved in the Senate. "Without A Trace" (2002) aired its first episode shortly after a summer littered with nationally covered child kidnappings including the famous Elizabeth Smart abduction. The show aired Elizabeth's profile following its November 21, 2002 episode, In Extrimis. All Profiles are chosen by the FBI, not the show's producers. See more »


Referenced in Séries express: Episode #2.44 (2009) See more »


One (Is The Loneliest Number)
Performed by The Tao of Groove
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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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Official Sites:

CBS [United States]





Release Date:

26 September 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Vanished See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

16 : 9
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