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Without a Trace

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Without a Trace
Created byHank Steinberg
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons7
No. of episodes160 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Greg Walker
  • Jan Nash
  • Gwendolyn M. Parker
  • Scott White
  • Diego Gutierrez
  • Nancy van Doornewaard
  • Allison Abner
  • David H. Goodman
  • Byron Balasco
Production locationsNew York City, New York, U.S.
Running time43 minutes
Production companies
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 26, 2002 (2002-09-26) –
May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19)

Without a Trace is an American police procedural drama television series created by Hank Steinberg that aired on CBS from September 26, 2002, to May 19, 2009 with the total of seven seasons and 160 episodes. The series focuses the cases of a Missing Persons Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in New York City. It starred Anthony LaPaglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano and Eric Close with Roselyn Sánchez joining the cast in season 4.

At the time of its original broadcast, Without a Trace was one of CBS' most successful series, earning high television ratings and winning a Primetime Emmy Award. On May 19, 2009, CBS announced the cancellation of the series after seven seasons.[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    42 335
    28 491
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    41 962
  • Without a Trace: Season 3 Feature Clip 1
  • Without A Trace
  • WITHOUT A TRACE (2002) • All Cast Then and Now • How They Changed
  • Without a Trace - Season Finale Preview
  • "Without a Trace" TV Intro



Each episode 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 that 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 in 2007 featured characters Gil Grissom (William Petersen) 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 is the only primetime U.S. drama to feature two Australians (LaPaglia and Montgomery) and a Briton (Jean-Baptiste) playing Americans in the regular cast. It was the first show to achieve strong ratings opposite longtime NBC hit medical drama ER which, like Without a Trace, is produced by Warner Bros. Television.

Without a Trace ran on Thursdays at 10 pm until September 2006, when it was moved to Sundays. 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 10pm.

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.


On May 19, 2009, the morning the series finale aired, it was announced that the show had been cancelled.[1] In season seven, the ratings sank lower, to an average of a 2.7 rating but climbed up to 12 million viewers and ranked 18th. However, CBS had to make a choice between renewing either Without a Trace or Cold Case due to budget cuts. They chose to keep Cold Case.

Main cast

Name Portrayed by Occupation Position Main cast Guest cast
John "Jack" Michael 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 1

The missing persons unit is headed up by the driven but morally compromised Jack Malone, whose professional successes are marred by his complicated personal life—he is in the midst of a messy breakup from his wife, precipitated by his own infidelity with his protege, Samantha "Sam" Spade. At the outset of the series, Jack struggles to balance his crumbling marriage with the arrival of Martin Fitzgerald, a rookie agent whose placement Jack sees as a sinecure due to Fitzgerald's father being a powerful figure in the FBI. The team ultimately find themselves forced to come together and personally reckon with the legacy of 9/11 when a powerful businesswoman whose company headquarters were destroyed in the Twin Tower attacks goes missing and her kidnapper—a man whose wife was killed in the World Trade Center—abducts Jack in order to forestall her rescue.

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. 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 3

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 dating secretly, 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 4

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 dating Anne Cassidy (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the widow of a former mentor killed in the line of duty.

Season 5

Anne miscarries and abruptly breaks up with Jack. Danny and Elena begin dating, 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 6

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 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 7

The seventh and final season begins with the team getting a new boss, Clark Medina (Steven Weber), but he shortly gives Jack his position back. Jack and Sam's relationship rekindles. Jack takes custody of his older daughter Hannah. Brian decides to be a father to Finn. Martin gets involved with Kim Marcus (Vanessa Marcil), but he eventually finds out that she was involved in a crime and arrests her. Jack and Sam mutually end their romantic relationship for good. Jack reconciles with Hannah. Sam begins living with Brian to raise Finn together. The team goes to Danny and Elena's wedding.


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
123September 26, 2002 (2002-09-26)May 15, 2003 (2003-05-15)
224September 25, 2003 (2003-09-25)May 20, 2004 (2004-05-20)
323September 23, 2004 (2004-09-23)May 19, 2005 (2005-05-19)
424September 29, 2005 (2005-09-29)May 18, 2006 (2006-05-18)
524September 24, 2006 (2006-09-24)May 10, 2007 (2007-05-10)
618September 27, 2007 (2007-09-27)May 15, 2008 (2008-05-15)
724September 23, 2008 (2008-09-23)May 19, 2009 (2009-05-19)

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".


Without a Trace received generally positive reviews during its original broadcast. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series received a score of 81% based on 16 reviews.[8] On Metacritic, the series earned a 75 out of 100 based on 30 critic reviews.[9]

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)
1 Thursday 10:00 pm September 26, 2002 May 15, 2003 2002–2003 #15 15.09[10]
2 September 25, 2003 May 20, 2004 2003–2004 #11 16.74[11]
3 September 23, 2004 May 19, 2005 2004–2005 #8 18.68[12]
4 September 29, 2005 May 18, 2006 2005–2006 #7 18.7[13]
5 Sunday 10:00 pm (1–23)
Thursday 10:00 pm (24)
September 24, 2006 May 10, 2007 2006–2007 #16 14.7[14]
6 Thursday 10:00 pm September 27, 2007 May 15, 2008 2007–2008 #20 13.10[15]
7 Tuesday 10:00 pm September 23, 2008 May 19, 2009 2008–2009 #18 12.86[16]

Awards and nominations

During the series' run, it received 1 Golden Globe award nomination, 5 Primetime Emmy award nomination, and 3 Screen Actors Guild award nominations.

Year Association Category Nominee/Recipient Results
2003 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Charles S. Dutton Won
2003 Creative Arts Emmy Award Outstanding Art Direction for a Single Camera Series Aaron Osborne

Jeannie Gunn

2003 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Marianne Jean-Baptise Nominated
2003 Satellite Awards Best Television Series - Drama Nominated
2003 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actor David Henrie Nominated
2004 Gold Derby Awards Best Drama Series Nominated
2004 Gold Derby Awards Best Lead Actor Anthony LaPaglia Nominated
2004 Gold Derby Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Series Marianne Jean-Baptise Nominated
2004 Gold Derby Awards Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series Martin Landau Nominated
2004 Gold Derby Awards Best Episode of the Year "Wannabe" David Barrett

Hank Steinberg

2004 Golden Globe Award Best Lead Actor in a Television Series - Drama Anthony LaPaglia Won
2004 Gracie Allen Awards Outstanding Entertainment Program - Drama Won
2004 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Anthony LaPaglia Nominated
2004 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Martin Landau Nominated
2004 Satellite Awards Best Lead Actor in a Series - Drama Anthony LaPaglia Nominated
2004 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Aria Noelle Curzon Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Anthony LaPaglia Nominated
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Eric Close

Marianne Jean-Baptise

Anthony LaPaglia

Poppy Montgomery

Enrique Murciano

2005 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series Martin Landau Nominated
2005 Satellite Awards Best Lead Actor in a Series - Drama Anthony LaPaglia
2005 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series Anthony LaPaglia Nominated
2005 Young Artist Awards Best Performance in a Television Series - Guest Starring Young Actor Loren Berman Nominated
2006 GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Individual Episode "Transitions" Nominated
2006 Gold Derby Awards Best Supporting Actor Martin Landau Nominated
2006 Gold Derby Awards Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Laurie Metcalf Nominated
2006 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Marianne Jean-Baptise Nominated
2006 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Television Series - Guest Starring Young Actor Masam Holden Nominated
2006 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a Television Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Ashley Rose Nominated
2007 ALMA Award Outstanding Supporting Actress - TV Series, Miniseries or Television Movie Roselyn Sanchez Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Roselyn Sanchez Nominated
2007 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Marianne Jean-Baptise Nominated
2007 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest StarringYoung Actor Darian Weiss Won
2008 ALMA Award Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series Enrique Murciano Nominated
2008 ALMA Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Television Series Roselyn Sanchez Won
2008 ALMA Awards Outstanding Writing for a Television Series Jose Molina Nominated
2008 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Marianne Jean-Baptise Nominated
2008 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Guest Starring Young Actress Ashley Sanchez Nominated
2009 ALMA Awards Actor in a Television - Drama Enrique Murciano Nominated
2009 ALMA Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Roselyn Sanchez Nominated
2009 AACTA Awards Best Actor Anthony LaPaglia Nominated
2009 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Recurring Young Actress Haley Ramm Nominated

Home media

Season releases

DVD name Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete 1st Season September 14, 2004[17] January 10, 2005[18] December 15, 2004[19]
The Complete 2nd Season March 13, 2007[20] January 16, 2006[21] November 16, 2005[22]
The Complete 3rd Season May 15, 2012[23] July 24, 2006[24] May 2, 2007[25]
The Complete 4th Season September 11, 2012[26] July 14, 2008[27] July 1, 2009[28]
The Complete 5th Season November 27, 2012[29] February 22, 2010
The Complete 6th Season May 7, 2013[30] July 5, 2010
The Complete 7th and Final Season April 29, 2014[31]

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.[20] 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. Season 6 was released in Regions 1 and 4 on May 7, 2013. Season 7 was released on April 29, 2014 on Region 1.

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


From 2005 to 2009, after a long run of weekday back-to-back episodes on TNT, Without a Trace reruns were moved to a graveyard slot in early morning, then removed totally from TNT's lineup. From 2009 to 2014, the series aired on Ion Television. From 2010 to 2012, the series aired on MyNetworkTV.[citation needed]

In August 2020, Paramount Network began airing reruns of the show on August 14, 2020, making a return of the series in syndication for the first time since TNT removed it from its lineup in 2009.

In May 2023, Without a Trace was removed from the new Max streaming service that used to be HBO Max.

Since 2023, reruns of Without a Trace aired on "Charge!".

See also


  1. ^ a b French, Dan (May 20, 2009). "'The Unit', 'Without a Trace' cancelled". Digital Spy. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  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". E!. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
  6. ^ The TV Grid: Is your show coming back?, Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 28, 2009.
  7. ^ "CBS Sets Series Return Dates". Zap2it. Retrieved February 13, 2008.
  8. ^ "Without a Trace". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Without a Trace Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "2002-03 Ratings". Retrieved May 25, 2007.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "SEASON PROGRAM RANKINGS - part 1 FROM 09/20/04 THROUGH 05/29/05" (Press release). ABC Medianet. June 1, 2005. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  13. ^ "05/06 series". The Hollywood Reporter. May 26, 2006. Archived from the original on December 8, 2006. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  14. ^ "06/07 series". The Hollywood Reporter. May 25, 2007. Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved January 30, 2010.
  15. ^ "Season Program Rankings" (PDF). ABC Medianet. May 28, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2008. Retrieved June 2, 2008.
  16. ^ "SEASON RANKINGS FROM 09/22/08 THROUGH 05/31/09" (Press release). ABC Medianet. June 2, 2009. Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  17. ^ "Without a Trace - The Complete First Season (2002)". Amazon. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  18. ^ "Without A Trace - Complete Season 1 (DVD) (2002) (2004)". Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  19. ^ "Without A Trace - Season 1 (Special Price) DVD". Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  20. ^ a b Lacey, Gord (November 29, 2006). "Without a Trace - Long-lost Series Finally Found! Season 2 Announced". Archived from the original on December 2, 2006.
  21. ^ "Without A Trace: Season 2: 4dvd: Box Set". Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  22. ^ "Without A Trace - Season 2 DVD". Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  23. ^ "Without a Trace: The Complete Third Season". Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  24. ^ "Without A Trace: Season 3: 4dvd: Box Set". Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  25. ^ "Without A Trace - Season 3 DVD". Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  26. ^ " Without a Trace: The Complete Fourth Season: Anthony Lapaglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano, Roselyn Sanchez, Eric Close: Movies & TV". Amazon. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  27. ^ "Without A Trace - Complete Season 4 [DVD] [2008]". Amazon UK. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  28. ^ "Without A Trace - Season 4 DVD". Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  29. ^ "Without a Trace DVD news: Announcement for Without a Trace - The Complete 5th Season -". Archived from the original on January 14, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  30. ^ " Without a Trace: The Complete Sixth Season: Anthony La Paglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano, Roselyn Sanchez, Eric Close: Movies & TV". Amazon. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  31. ^ " Without a Trace: The Complete Seventh Season: Anthony La Paglia, Poppy Montgomery, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Enrique Murciano, Roselyn Sanchez, Eric Close: Movies & TV". Amazon. Retrieved May 27, 2015.

External links

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