Without a Trace
Format Police procedural, Thriller, Mystery, Drama
Created by Hank Steinberg
Starring Anthony LaPagliaPoppy MontgomeryMarianne Jean-BaptisteEnrique MurcianoRoselyn Sánchez (seasons 4-7)Eric Close
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 160 (List of episodes)
Location(s) New York City, New York
Running time 43 minutes
Original channel CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV),1080i (HDTV)
Original run September 26, 2002 (2002-09-26) – May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19)[1][2]
Status Ended


add to related

Without a Trace

Edit Block

Without a Trace is an American television drama which originally ran on CBS from September 26, 2002 to May 19, 2009. The series was set in New York City and concerned a fictitious FBI missing persons unit.


Edit Block

Each episode usually followed the search for one individual under tight time constraints. The stories also focused on the personal lives of the team members and illustrated how their various experiences gave them insight into certain cases.

The real FBI does investigate missing persons; specifically they have the authority to help in any "mysterious" disappearances of children abducted by non-family members. The teams that investigate these crimes are called CARD (Child Abduction Rapid Deployment) Teams. They get involved in other missing persons cases as needed, but do not have a dedicated unit.

One element that set the show apart from other TV crime dramas was the display of information about real-life missing persons at the end of most episodes. Occasionally such information was replaced with other public service announcements, such as an episode about an attempted suicide which presented information on a suicide help line. Showings outside the U.S. tend to omit missing persons info; however, Australia's Nine Network usually showed Australian cases, and in Hong Kong the TVB Pearl showed information about local missing persons during the first two seasons.

Without a Trace took place within Jerry Bruckheimer's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation universe. A crossover episode featured characters Gil Grissom from CSI and Jack Malone from Without a Trace working together in an attempt to solve the same case.


Edit Block

Without a Trace debuted as part of the CBS fall line-up in 2002, created by Hank Steinberg and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The show was the first ever to score strong ratings opposite longtime NBC hit ER—which, like Without a Trace, is produced by Warner Bros. Television. The first two showrunners were Steinberg and Ed Redlich. Between Seasons Two and Three, Steinberg and Redlich moved away from active participation in the series, with staff writers Jan Nash and Greg Walker taking over. 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.

In 2003, the TNT Network acquired syndication rights to the series for US$1.4 million per episode.

Without a Trace ran on Thursdays at 10 pm until September 2006, when it was moved to Sundays at 10 pm. In the 2007–2008 season it swapped timeslots with Shark, returning it to its old timeslot on Thursdays. However, this lasted only until the 2008–2009 season, when it moved to Tuesdays at 10 pm. On May 19, 2009, it was reported that the series would not be returning for an eighth season.

Main cast

NamePortrayed byOccupationPositionMain CastGuest Cast
John Michael "Jack" MaloneAnthony LaPagliaSpecial Agent; Missing Persons Unit, FBISupervisory Agent, Head of MPUSeasons 1–7
Samantha "Sam" SpadePoppy MontgomerySpecial Agent; Missing Persons Unit, FBIField Agent, MPUSeasons 1–7
Vivian "Viv" JohnsonMarianne Jean-BaptisteSpecial Agent; Missing Persons Unit, FBIAssistant Supervisory Agent, MPUSeasons 1-7
Danny Taylor, né AlvarezEnrique MurcianoSpecial Agent; Missing Persons Unit, FBIField Agent, MPUSeasons 1-7
Elena DelgadoRoselyn SánchezSpecial Agent; Missing Persons Unit, FBIField Agent, MPUSeasons 4-7Season 4 (prior to joining the regular cast)
Martin FitzgeraldEric CloseSpecial Agent; Missing Persons Unit, FBIField Agent, MPUSeasons 1-7

Season synopsis

Edit Block

Season 1
In the first season, the team is introduced to the viewers.

Season 2
As the team continues to track down missing people, Jack and his wife slide towards divorce, while Jack must also care for his father (Martin Landau) who has Alzheimer's disease. We learn 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 child sex trafficker, 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.

Following a campaign by the conservative group the Parents Television Council, CBS was fined a record $3.6 million for indecency for the episode "Our Sons and Daughters", which centered around a teenage orgy. CBS argued that the episode "featured an important and socially relevant storyline warning parents to exercise greater supervision of their teenage children."

Season 3
Vivian loses her promotion when Jack returns to his job, causing some commotion 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, and 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. Guest star Bradley Steven Perry .

Season 4
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, Sofie, 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.

Season 6
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 (Linda Hunt).

This season also contained a two-part crossover episode with CSI, as Jack and Gil Grissom and their teams track down a serial killer responsible for the disappearance of a boy six years ago. Both episodes are included on the DVD collection for CSI's eighth season.

Without a Trace completed twelve episodes of Season Six before the Writers Guild of America strike. 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, 2008, with six episodes.

Season 7
The series' seventh season began airing September 23, 2008, on a new 10:00 pm (EST) Tuesday timeslot. Steven Weber joined the cast for the first five episodes of the season as Special Agent Clark Medina, Jack's temporary replacement as unit supervisor. The episodes focused as much on missing persons cases as on Medina's war against Jack, as he revealed that he had not only been sent to replace Jack but also to convince Jack to leave the bureau. Medina ultimately realizes that he cannot get Jack to resign, and uses him in a power play to get himself promoted; in return, he arranges for Jack to get his old position back. Following Jack's return to Unit Supervisor, he sets about trying to repair his relationship with Sam and takes custody of his elder daughter, Hanna. The series ends with Jack putting a permanent end to his and Sam's on-again-off-again relationship and reaching a point of reconciliation with Hanna; Sam and Brian decide to live together to raise their son; and with the team attending the wedding of Danny and Elena.


Edit Block

U.S. television ratings

Edit Block

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Without A Trace on CBS.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

SeasonTimeslotSeason PremiereSeason FinaleTV SeasonRankingViewers
(in millions)
1stThursday 10:00 pm / 9 cSeptember 26, 2002May 15, 20032002–2003#1515.09
2ndSeptember 25, 2003May 20, 20042003–2004#1116.74
3rdSeptember 23, 2004May 19, 20052004–2005#818.68
4thSeptember 29, 2005May 18, 20062005–2006#718.7
5thSunday 10:00 pm / 9 cSeptember 24, 2006May 10, 20072006–2007#1614.7
6thThursday 10:00 pm / 9 cSeptember 27, 2007May 15, 20082007–2008#2013.10
7thTuesday 10:00 pm / 9 cSeptember 23, 2008May 19, 20092008–2009#1812.86

DVD releases

Edit Block

Season releases

DVD NameRegion 1Region 2Region 4
The Complete 1st SeasonSeptember 14, 2004January 10, 2005December 15, 2004
The Complete 2nd SeasonMarch 13, 2007January 16, 2006November 16, 2005
The Complete 3rd SeasonN/AJuly 24, 2006May 2, 2007
The Complete 4th SeasonN/AJuly 14, 2008July 1, 2009
The Complete 5th SeasonN/AFebruary 22, 2010Released
The Complete 6th SeasonN/AJuly 5, 2010N/A
The Complete 7th SeasonN/AN/AN/A

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.

Seasons 1–6 have all been released under region 2 encoding, while Seasons 1-5 have been released under region 4 encoding.

See also

Edit Block

  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • CSI: Miami
  • CSI: NY
  • Cold Case
  • Missing Persons

Some of the content on this page has been provided by the following page on Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Without_a_Trace

Up Next: Weeds (TV series)
autoplay: OFF