Without a Trace (2002–2009)

TV Series   |  TV-14   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery

Episode Guide
Without a Trace (2002) Poster

Series about the special FBI Missing Persons Squad that finds missing people by applying advanced psychological profiling to reveal the victims lives.


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Cast & Crew

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Hank Steinberg

Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

28 May 2012 | enochpsnow
| A Somber But Often Poignant Detective Series
I am sorry that "Without A Trace" went off the air after five years, though I agree with other reviewers that it had probably exhausted its possibilities. The show had many things going for it: a first-rate cast, a set of often surprising plot twists, and an ability to look at some of the darkest parts of New York city life. Anthony LaPaglia, as the head of the FBI missing- persons unit, gave a set of performances that were truly gripping: his character was always tough, devoted, and often very reserved, but there was always an enormous amount of passion locked within him which would come out at the most desperate moments. The rest of the cast were uniformly good, and I agree with many other observers that Marianne Jean-Baptiste was a superb actress and a perfect colleague for LaPaglia's plain-spoken FBI man.

It is true, though, that as the years went by, the script writers appear to have run out of ideas about missing/abducted/brutalized persons and turned more and more to examining the personal lives of the FBI agents. We had love affairs between LaPaglia and Montgomery, Close and Montgomery, and Murciano and Sanchez, not to mention the collapse of LaPaglia's character's marriage, and the show did become more and more of a soap opera. It was probably at that point that the show started to lose the interest of its viewers.

But the single most important relationship in the show -- not a romantic relationship so much as a deeply personal relationship between two characters who really respected each other, even when they fought with each other -- was the relationship between LaPaglia's character and Jean-Baptiste's character. They were the stars of the show, and the way they agreed but often disagreed about their jobs and their lives made the show the wonderful, poignant success that it was for so many years.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


A few episodes are based on real-life disappearances.


Samantha: Hey, Martin?
Martin: Yeah?
Samantha: You wanna share a cab?
Martin: I live uptown.
Samantha: Yeah, I know.


There are a number of scenes which indicate that the show is actually shot in Los Angeles and not New York, where the show is supposed to take place. There are several supposed one way streets with double yellow lines painted down the middle (which do not exist in New York), large blue street signs (which are used in LA, as opposed to NY, which uses green street signs), and house numbers on each street painted into the sidewalk in front of each house, which is also not done in New York, but instead in Los Angeles.

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.


One of These Mornings
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Plot Summary


Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

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