Without a Trace

Without a Trace

Created by Hank Steinberg
Starring Anthony LaPaglia
Poppy Montgomery
Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Enrique Murciano
Eric Close
Roselyn Sánchez
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 160 (list of episodes)
Location(s) New York City, New York, U.S.
Running time 43 minutes
Production company(s) Jerry Bruckheimer Television
Grossman Productions
Jumbolaya Productions
CBS Productions (2002-2006) (seasons 1-4)
CBS Paramount Network Television
(2006-2009) (seasons 5-7)
Warner Bros. Television
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original network CBS
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Original release September 26, 2002 (2002-09-26) – May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19)

Without a Trace is an American police procedural television drama series that originally aired on CBS from September 26, 2002, to May 19, 2009. The series follows the cases of a Missing Persons Unit of the FBI in New York City.

On May 19, 2009, CBS announced the cancellation of the series after seven seasons.[1]


Each episode typically 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 experiences gave them insight into cases.

The team consisted of Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia), Samantha Spade (Poppy Montgomery), Vivian Johnson (Marianne Jean-Baptiste), Danny Taylor (Enrique Murciano), Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close), and Elena Delgado (Roselyn Sánchez), the last of whom joined the cast in the fourth season.

The real FBI does investigate missing persons; specifically, they have the authority to help in any "mysterious" disappearances of children abducted by nonfamily members. The groups that investigate these crimes are called Child Abduction Rapid Deployment teams.[2] They get involved in other missing persons cases as needed but do not have a dedicated unit.

One element that set the series apart from other TV police dramas was the display of information about real-life missing persons at the end of most episodes. This resulted in a kidnapped brother and sister being found on July 25, 2005.[3] At least five people have been found as a result of those announcements.[4] 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 United States tend to omit missing persons information; 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 to solve the same case.


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 medical drama 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, Redlich moved away from active participation in the series, with staff writers Jan Nash and Greg Walker taking over. In the middle of season four, Steinberg left to produce the series The Nine, while remaining executive producer. The show is the only primetime U.S. drama to feature two Australians (Anthony LaPaglia and Poppy Montgomery) and a Brit (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, the morning before the series finale aired.[1]

Main cast

Name Portrayed by Occupation Position Main cast Guest cast
John Michael "Jack" Malone Anthony LaPaglia Special Agent - Missing Persons Unit, FBI Supervisory Agent, Head of MPU Seasons 1–7
Samantha "Sam" Spade Poppy Montgomery Special Agent - Missing Persons Unit, FBI Field Agent, MPU Seasons 1–7
Vivian "Viv" Johnson Marianne Jean-Baptiste Special Agent - Missing Persons Unit, FBI Senior Field Agent, MPU Seasons 1–7
Danny Taylor, né Alvarez Enrique Murciano Special Agent - Missing Persons Unit, FBI Field Agent, MPU Seasons 1–7
Elena Delgado Roselyn Sánchez Special Agent - Missing Persons Unit, FBI Field Agent, MPU Seasons 4–7 Season 4 (prior to joining the regular cast)
Martin Fitzgerald Eric Close Special Agent - Missing Persons Unit, FBI Field Agent, MPU Seasons 1–7

Season synopsis

Season one

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

Season two

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. The team members' life histories are revealed, including the fact that Martin was practically raised by his aunt and uncle, and Danny is an orphan whose estranged brother Rafael (Alex Fernandez) is a convicted felon. Martin fatally shoots a child sex trafficker, and both Vivian and he must keep quiet 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 Maria (Talia Balsam) leaves without him, taking their daughters Hannah and Kate (Vanessa and Laura Marano) 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 sixth episode "Our Sons and Daughters", which centered around a teenaged orgy. CBS argued that the episode "featured an important and socially relevant storyline warning parents to exercise greater supervision of their teenaged children."[5]

Season three

Vivian loses her promotion when Jack returns to his job, causing some commotion among the team. 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 because of disagreements between them on whether or not to reveal it to the rest of the team, it ends badly. Jack undergoes a brutal custody battle with his ex-wife. Danny has to confront his traumatic past, and Rafael. The season ends with a cliffhanger as a hired mercenary opens fire on Martin and Danny's car while they transport a prisoner.

Season four

After barely surviving the gun battle that ended season three, Martin must recover from near-fatal gunshot wounds while Danny battles post-traumatic stress disorder (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 Anne Cassidy (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the widow of a former mentor killed in the line of duty.

Season five

Anne miscarries and abruptly ends her relationship with Jack. Danny and Elena begin to date each other, while her ex-husband Carlos Aguilar (Jsu Garcia) sues for custody of their daughter Sofie (Ashlyn Sanchez), and later abducts her. More about Samantha's difficult past is revealed, including her strained relationships with her mother Patricia (Tess Harper) and older sister Emily (Molly Price). 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 six

Vivian is put in charge of a task force to locate the serial kidnapper, who is part of a sex-trafficking ring. Samantha discovers that she is pregnant from a one-night stand with a bartender at the time, Brian Donovan (Adam Kaufman), and by the end of the season, he waives paternal rights because of what Jack digs up on him and Sam confronting him about it, and she gives birth to her son named Finn. Jack begins a pattern of roughing up suspects and intimidating people 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 overly 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: Crime Scene Investigation, as Jack and Gil Grissom (William Petersen) 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 12 episodes of season six before the 2007-2008 WGA strike.[6] Because the show's writing staff all joined the strike, no more new episodes were made until the issue was settled. Once the strike ended, the show returned on April 3, 2008, with six episodes.[7]

Season seven


Crossover with CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

In "Where and "Why", Gil Grissom comes to New York to help the FBI track down a serial killer after Jack Malone comes to Las Vegas to help the CSIs with a murder victim in "Who and What".

U.S. television ratings

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.

Season Timeslot Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st Thursday 10:00 pm / 9:00 C September 26, 2002 May 15, 2003 2002–2003 #15 15.09[8]
2nd September 25, 2003 May 20, 2004 2003–2004 #11 16.74[9]
3rd September 23, 2004 May 19, 2005 2004–2005 #8 18.68[10]
4th September 29, 2005 May 18, 2006 2005–2006 #7 18.7[11]
5th Sunday 10:00 pm / 9:00 C September 24, 2006 May 10, 2007 2006–2007 #16 14.7[12]
6th Thursday 10:00 pm / 9 C September 27, 2007 May 15, 2008 2007–2008 #20 13.10[13]
7th Tuesday 10:00 pm / 9:00 C September 23, 2008 May 19, 2009 2008–2009 #18 12.86[14]

DVD releases

Season releases

DVD Name Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season September 14, 2004[15] January 10, 2005[16] December 15, 2004[17]
The Complete 2nd Season March 13, 2007[18] January 16, 2006[19] November 16, 2005[20]
The Complete 3rd Season May 15, 2012[21] July 24, 2006[22] May 2, 2007[23]
The Complete 4th Season September 11, 2012[24] July 14, 2008[25] July 1, 2009[26]
The Complete 5th Season November 27, 2012 February 22, 2010 N/A
The Complete 6th Season May 7, 2013 July 5, 2010 N/A
The Complete 7th and Final Season April 29, 2014 N/A N/A

Without A Trace Season 1 has been released on Region 1, Region 2 and Region 4 DVD. Season 2 (region 1 DVD) was released on March 13, 2007.[18] Seasons 3 and 4 were released on Region 1 DVDs in 2012 under the Warner Archive "Manufactured On Demand" model. Season 5 was released in Region 1 on November 27, 2012.[27] Season 6 was released in Regions 1 and 4 on May 7, 2013. Season 7 was released on April 29, 2014 on Region 1.[28]

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

See also


  1. 1 2 "Without a Trace cancelled". TV Series Finale. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation – Crimes Against Children – Nonfamily Child Abductions
  3. For the First Time, a Kidnapped Brother and Sister Are Found as a Direct Result of a Tip from a "Without a Trace" Viewer Who Saw the Missing Boy Profiled During the July 21st Broadcast of the CBS Series, The Futon Critic, July 25, 2005. Accessed July 10, 2013.
  4. Missing 18-Year-Old Woman Is Found After Being Featured in a Public Service Announcement During the June 1 Broadcast of "Without a Trace", The Futon Critic, August 8, 2006. Accessed July 10, 2013.
  5. Finn, Natalie (March 15, 2006). "CBS Fined for "Trace" of Indecency". Eonline.com. E!. Retrieved 2007-06-23.
  6. The TV Grid: Is your show coming back?, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
  7. "CBS Sets Series Return Dates". Retrieved 2008-02-13.
  8. "2002-03 Ratings". Retrieved May 25, 2007.
  9. "SEASON TO DATE PROGRAM RANKINGS - part 1 FROM 09/22/03 THROUGH 05/30/04" (Press release). ABC Medianet. June 2, 2004. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  10. "SEASON PROGRAM RANKINGS - part 1 FROM 09/20/04 THROUGH 05/29/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. June 1, 2005. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  11. "05/06 series". The Hollywood Reporter. May 26, 2006. Archived from the original on December 8, 2006. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  12. "06/07 series". The Hollywood Reporter. May 25, 2007. Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  13. "Season Program Rankings" (PDF). ABC Medianet. May 28, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  14. "SEASON RANKINGS FROM 09/22/08 THROUGH 05/31/09" (Press release). ABC Medianet. June 2, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  15. "Without a Trace - The Complete First Season (2002)". Amazon.com. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  16. "Without A Trace - Complete Season 1 (DVD) (2002) (2004)". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  17. "Without A Trace - Season 1 (Special Price) DVD". www.dvdorchard.com.au. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  18. 1 2 Lacey, Gord (November 29, 2006). "Without a Trace - Long-lost Series Finally Found! Season 2 Announced". TVShowsOnDVD.com.
  19. "Without A Trace: Season 2: 4dvd: Box Set". HMV.com. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  20. "Without A Trace - Season 2 DVD". www.dvdorchard.com.au. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  21. "Without a Trace: The Complete Third Season". www.WBShop.com. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  22. "Without A Trace: Season 3: 4dvd: Box Set". HMV.com. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  23. "Without A Trace - Season 3 DVD". www.dvdorchard.com.au. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  24. "Amazon.com: Without a Trace: The Complete Fourth Season: Anthony Lapaglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano, Roselyn Sanchez, Eric Close: Movies & TV". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  25. "Without A Trace - Complete Season 4 [DVD] [2008]". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  26. "Without A Trace - Season 4 DVD". www.dvdorchard.com.au. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  27. "Without a Trace DVD news: Announcement for Without a Trace - The Complete 5th Season - TVShowsOnDVD.com". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  28. "Amazon.com: Without a Trace: The Complete Sixth Season: Anthony La Paglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano, Roselyn Sanchez, Eric Close: Movies & TV". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Without a Trace
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/8/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.