Investigating the aftermath of a murder means getting into the mind of the perpetrator. But when the victim unaccountably disappears, the job becomes much more challenging. It requires deconstructing the persona of the missing and reconstructing the unique, crucial components of their last known moments.
That's where the work of the brilliant, New York-based FBI Missing Persons Squad begins. From powerhouse executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and Emmy Award-nominated writer Hank Steinberg (61*), Without a Trace provides a fascinating glimpse into a rarely seen arena: the search for people who vanish inexplicably. For authoritative agent Jack Malone (Anthony LaPaglia) and his driven colleagues, finding the missing depends as much on figuring out who they are as it does on determining where they are. Golden Globe Award: Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama (Anthony LaPaglia)
01 - The Bus
The special Federal Bureau of Investigation Missing Persons Squad's sole responsibility is to find missing people by applying advanced psychological profiling to reveal the victims' lives. The agents can then trace the victims' whereabouts and solve whether they were abducted, are missing by choice, were murdered, have committed suicide or are simply accident victims. The team reconstructs a DOD (Day of Disappearance) timeline that details the 24 hours prior to the victim's disappearance, following one simple rule: Learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is.
Seasoned, astute and deeply emotional senior agent Jack Malone (series star ANTHONY LaPAGLIA) heads the members of this dedicated team, who know too well that every second is important when someone vanishes. Jack's squad includes Samantha Spade (series star POPPY MONTGOMERY), an agent whose good looks complement a tough, complex approach to work; Vivian Johnson (series star MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE), a driven investigator with a special insight into victims' families; Danny Taylor (series star ENRIQUE MURCIANO), an intense and private agent whose sensitivity is often covered up by his street smarts; and Martin Fitzgerald (series star ERIC CLOSE), who earned respect last year as the newest member of the team but still has a lot to prove.
When a school bus full of students goes missing during its morning run in a wealthy district, Jack and the team suspect two troublemaking students, brothers Doug (NICK CHASTAIN) and Richard (CHRIS COLLINS) Carrol, with a rich, neglectful father, Bob (CHRISTOPHER McDONALD). All of the students' cellular telephones and other communication devices are confiscated by the kidnappers-except for a high-tech phone that transmits pictures, kept hidden by a student named Trish Randall (TRACY ALISON WALSH). Working with the grainy images that Trish surreptitiously sends to her mother's phone, the agents surmise that the kids were transferred to a dark, airless storage area.
Then Jack's team finds the abandoned school bus with one student, shy loner Johnny Atkins (ANTON YELCHIN), tied up inside. Watched over by his protective mother, Anne (JAYNE BROOK), Johnny informs Jack's team that Doug and Richard are responsible. But after a ransom drop goes horribly awry, resulting in two people's deaths, and an unknown man is photographed by Trish's phone, the agents must drastically alter their thinking on who the culprits are and how they can ever find the children before they suffocate.
Meanwhile, Samantha copes with the physical and emotional aftermath of her recent gunshot wound, tentatively seeking Martin for comfort. And Jack tries to reconcile with his estranged wife and two young daughters, knowing what a dangerous world his kids must grow up in.
02 - Revelations
Jack and the team try to find a priest, Father Henry Stephens (HECTOR ELIZONDO - "Chicago Hope"), who disappears from his church shortly after learning that he needs a liver transplant to survive. Father Stephens had been a paragon of virtue to all who knew him at St. Germain's Church, but after he goes missing, disturbing facts about him emerge. It's possible that he was somehow involved with a young man from his after-school program. Also, a large sum of money with traces of methamphetamine on it is found in Father Stephen's room. The team's search for the priest intensifies when a transplant organ becomes available, and there is only one day to find him before it goes to the next person on the list.
03 - Confidence
Whitney Ridder (JESSALYN GILSIG - "Boston Public"), a beautiful young woman who seems to have everything, disappears from her wealthy fiancé's home during the middle of a dinner party. Ridder owns a successful resort investment business; she is liked by all who know her; and she has recently become engaged to a wealthy young man. But, when Jack and his team begin to investigate her disappearance, they discover that Ridder is a con artist using a false identity. She is also connected to a man, Lucas Vohland (JAMES REMAR - "2 Fast 2 Furious"), who served a 10-year prison term for manslaughter and to whom she may also owe a large sum of money. Meanwhile, Samantha is ordered to see a therapist to deal with her recent on-the-job difficulties.
04 - Prodigy
Jack and the team search for a brilliant but complicated 14-year-old Russian violinist, Natasha Tzetcovich (ELIZABETH RICE), who disappeared after a rehearsal for an important concert appearance. Their investigation uncovers that Natasha was experiencing panic attacks resulting from the pressure to perform that her immigrant parents put on her. Natasha was involved with her manager's son, a troubled boy who supplied the young artist with drugs. The boy also disappeared at the same time as Natasha. And a strange man whom her parents may have known from Russia has been stalking the girl and sending her e-mails from every city in which she has played in the last year.
05 - Copy Cat
Twelve years ago, Jack worked a serial killer case in which five women were murdered, and he was unable to prevent the carnage. Now, Jack and the team search for a missing woman whose description is remarkably similar to the five murder victims from long ago. The man guilty of the original crimes, Randy Thorton (KEITH BRUNSMAN), remains in jail, but the team learns that Graham Spaulding (CONOR O'FARRELL), a pedophile Jack arrested in a previous case, visited Thorton. Jack soon realizes that Spaulding is imitating the original case in an effort to exact revenge on Jack and that Spaulding has uncovered information about Jack's own family. TIM MATHESON ("The West Wing") directed the episode.
06 - Sons and Daughters
Jack and his team search for a teenage boy, Ethan Sawyer (JONATHAN MURPHY), after he disappears from his home. Ethan's parents think that their son is a happy teenager about to take his Scholastic Aptitude Tests in preparation for college. But the agents learn that the boy was extremely troubled, having dropped out of his study sessions after discovering that his girlfriend and other friends were involved in afternoon sex parties. When Ethan's girlfriend claims to have been raped, the squad must find out if Ethan's possible involvement led to his disappearance.
07 - A Tree Falls
An unidentified young Hispanic boy is abducted from a Spanish Harlem street. Jack and the team are completely baffled when no family members come forward to look for the child. After searching the neighborhood, the agents discover that the boy, Nelson Rodriguez (JUAN VILLAREAL JR.), may have been stalked by a pedophile who recently moved into the neighborhood. It is also possible that Nelson is involved in some form of illegal activity. When his parents, Ana (LOURDES COLON) and Jorge (DAVID BARRERA), are eventually found, the team learns that they are illegal immigrants who have a dark secret that puts all of their lives in danger.
08 - Trip Box
Jack and the team search for a dedicated and respected firefighter who disappeared after rescuing two fellow firemen from a building engulfed in flames. When Scott Marshall (JEFFREY D. SAMS) doesn't return home after the deadly incident, the investigators try to get Marshall's silent peers to talk. Marshall's wife informs the agents that her husband had called and said he planned to quit the department. Now, Jack and the others realize that something happened to dramatically change Marshall's attitude toward his profession. When a fire inspector finds a trip box, a device that can be used to start fires, on the scene of the conflagration, the agents begin to suspect arson and must identify whoever might have benefited from the event and possibly from Marshall's disappearance. MARIA MENOUNOS ("Entertainment Tonight") guest stars as fire inspector Chris Sanders.
09 - Moving On
Jack and his squad search for a driven neurosurgeon, Dr. Lianna Sardo (LISA EDELSTEIN), who disappeared after a nighttime jog in the city with her ex-husband, Dr. Evan Mayhew (ERIC LUTES - "Caroline in the City"). For a month prior to her disappearance, Lianna seemed to be under an unusual amount of stress, according to Evan. In addition to Evan, the suspects include Lianna's violent ex-boyfriend and a doctor whom she was going to testify against in a malpractice lawsuit. The case becomes clearer when information reveals that Lianna tried to contact the child she had given up as an unwed teenager - and that an imposter may be posing as her daughter.
10 - Coming Home
Luke Horton (JEREMY GARRETT) seems to be a happy man awaiting the arrival of a new baby. When Luke disappears after an uplifting speech at his high school reunion, Jack and the team find Luke's blood at the location of his disappearance. The agents also discover that he was under investigation for financial improprieties at work and was possibly having an extramarital affair with another married man, Alan (D.W. MOFFETT - "For Your Love," "Cold Case").
11 - Exposure
Jack and the team look for a paparazzo after he vanishes from a celebrity shoot, and his camera is found covered in blood. They learn that the free-lance photographer, Brian Owen (JOHN PANKOW - "Mad About You"), was seriously questioning his profession after a minor celebrity he photographed in a compromising position committed suicide. Upon discovering that Owen has also been taking pictures for a controversial environmental group, Jack and the other investigators try to determine who was most threatened by Brian's shots - an enraged star or an industrialist who causes pollution.
12 - Hawks and Handsaws
Jack and the team search for Joe Gibson (JERRY O'CONNELL - "Kangaroo Jack," "Mission to Mars"), who disappeared after a chase and gunfight with unidentified figures. But as they learn more about Joe, who worked as a public defender, the squad members become convinced that he is a paranoid schizophrenic and poses a danger to himself and others. Jack's training in psychology becomes crucial as they track him down through a variety of associates, many of whom are worried about Joe's sanity. And when a little girl is reportedly abducted by the delusional Joe, the investigation becomes even more intricate and urgent.
13 - Life Rules
Renowned motivational speaker Will Sterling (JAY HARRINGTON) is kidnapped at his mansion minutes before his limousine arrives to take him to the airport for an out-of-town seminar. When Jack and his team investigate Sterling's life and growing empire, they learn about the ex-convict past Sterling had overcome and uncover many suspects, including bitter, dissatisfied consumers and a disgruntled former employee. As they delve deeper, however, it becomes clear that Sterling and his venture are not what they appear to be, which leads the squad to wonder if the missing man is truly in jeopardy or if he's responsible for his own disappearance.
14 - The Line
Jesse Prince (SUSAN MISNER), a female ex-cop turned bounty hunter, vanishes after being shot at in front of a fugitive's home. Jack and the team believe that Jesse may have been lured to the house on a false tip, so they quickly delve into her past cases looking for potential suspects. News that Jesse's bullet-riddled and bloodstained car has been located is especially disturbing to Jack, who knew her when she worked as a cop. Though Jack believes she is of flawless character, a past misconduct charge against her causes some members of the team to question if she truly left the police force of her own accord.
15 - Wannabe
Jack and the team try to find Eric Miller (JAKE THOMAS), a 12-year-old, who was last seen in the boys' bathroom at his school. Eric's blood was found on a mirror shattered during an apparent scuffle. The investigators question the victim's parents, classmates and the school psychologist and discover that Eric was desperate to fit into the "cool" crowd, and it appears that his classmates may have harmed him in retaliation for a cruel joke.
16 - Risen
Four years ago, a young woman, Jessica Raab (AMANDA FULLER), went missing. Vivian's weekly fingerprint search on the unidentified print found on Jessica's door finally results in a match. The print belongs to a male fugitive who recently attacked a woman in a motel room. After Vivian uses this new lead to convince Jack to get the team involved in Jessica's case, the agents discover new information about the missing woman, including her desperate struggle to overcome her sex addiction prior to her disappearance. KIRSTIE ALLEY ("Veronica's Closet," "Cheers") guest stars as Noreen Raab, the missing woman's mother, and JAMES ECKHOUSE ("Beverly Hills 90210") guest stars as Noreen's former neighbor and short-term boyfriend, Charles Rudman.
17 - Gung-Ho
The team searches for an injured U.S. soldier, Private First Class Kevin Grant (DEVON GUMMERSALL), who recently returned from war. Upon his homecoming from Iraq, Grant discovered that his business went bankrupt, and he's about to lose the home he shares with his fiancée, Sara (KELLY KARBACZ). Asked by the U.S. Army to assist in finding the missing soldier, the investigators learn from Sara that he'd been frantically trying to salvage their dire financial circumstances before returning to Iraq. Later, the team uncovers an apparent cover-up involving a firefight in which Grant was wounded. Jack and Danny travel to Iraq to learn whether or not the dangerous and controversial circumstances of Grant's last firefight could have put the soldier in jeopardy at home or if he has succumbed to post-traumatic stress and his desperate financial woes.
18 - Legacy
George Stanley (MICHAEL GASTON) argues with his wife at her hair salon, leaves to deposit the day's earnings and never returns. After Jack and the team find a tooth and other signs of a struggle in the back room of the salon, George's wife, Martha (KAREN SILLAS), and their unemployed 19-year-old son, Sean (JOSEPH MAZZELLO), become viable suspects. The agents also consider that George was possibly mugged on his way to the bank. But when the team discovers that George was recently terminated from his job, and he had a secret female companion he regularly met at a bar, they wonder if he simply left town of his own accord. Meanwhile, Danny resists getting involved in the life of his convict brother, who is up for parole. And Martin's impending firearms qualifications test dredges up unsettling memories for him. TIM MATHESON ("The West Wing," "Animal House") directed the episode.
19 - Doppleganger
While searching for Julie Cochran (CATHY HERD), a Manhattan-based woman who disappeared on the morning she was scheduled to leave town, the team soon suspects her live-in boyfriend, Greg Knowles (TONY GOLDWYN - "The Last Samurai," "From the Earth to the Moon"). The agents discover that the town car scheduled to take Julie to the train station at 8:00 a.m. was canceled by a man that morning, and the doorman never saw Julie leave the building. However, the team also wonders about Greg's smug twin brother, Rick (also played by TONY GOLDWYN), with whom Julie appeared to be flirting at her bon voyage party the night before. Greg failed to mention the recent murder of a well-known homeless woman at the shelter where he, Rick and Julie volunteer. The dead woman's prized necklace was found in Julie's suitcase that was discovered at the train station.
20 - Shadows
After Martin's Aunt Bonnie (VALERIE MAHAFFEY), a feeble cancer patient and nurse, vanishes for several hours, her concerned husband and adult daughters summon Martin to help find her. Enlisting Samantha's assistance, Martin finds it difficult to be objective when some of the information they uncover suggests that his nurturing and seemingly proper aunt may have a secret lover, an unlawful business and/or a desire to commit suicide. Meanwhile, Jack, who learns that his combative father, Frank (MARTIN LANDAU - "Mission Impossible," "Ed Wood"), is in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease, decides to make amends with him before it's too late.
21 - Two Families
The team searches for Mark Wilson (J.K. SIMMONS - "Oz," "Law & Order"), who disappeared while trying to prove the innocence of his death-row inmate son, Ricky (MICHAEL GOORJIAN), scheduled to die in two days. The father has devoted the past 11 years trying to prove that Ricky was wrongly convicted of killing a young married couple in front of their 5-year-old daughter during a convenience story robbery. While realizing that the despondent dad could have brought harm upon himself, the team members - who question if Mark is right about Ricky's innocence - wonder whether or not Mark's investigation was the cause of his disappearance.
22 - The Season
The team searches for college football coach Jim Cooper (TIM DeKAY - "Carnivàle"), who goes missing after being terminated for his team's unusually dismal season performance. The investigation soon uncovers that the coach's new policy of suspending players for academic and behavioral missteps caused the football team to repeatedly play without its star athletes and to suffer frequent defeats. As a result, Jack and his squad suspect a group of angry players, members of the school administration and a seamy high-stakes gambler - all of whom encountered financial losses as a result of the losing streak. Meanwhile, Jack must make a difficult career and life decision when his wife, Maria (recurring guest star TALIA BALSAM - "L.A. Doctors"), surprises him with her strong desire to relocate their family to Chicago, where she was just offered an excellent job. TIM MATHESON ("The West Wing," "Animal House") directed the episode.
23 - Lost and Found
Jack and his team try to determine if foul play was involved in the 1991 adoption of 16-year-old Serene Barnes (TINA MAJORINO - "Andre") after the teen shows up at the FBI offices claiming she was kidnapped as a young child. When Serene discovers an old newspaper article about a 3-year-old girl with the same first name, who was kidnapped the year she was adopted - 13 years ago - she wonders if her loving adoptive parents may have actually kidnapped her. Serene's story of abduction seems feasible after the team learns that there was a missing Serene Andrews who was never found. Meanwhile, Jack shocks the team with news that he's moving to Chicago with his family. LYNN WHITFIELD ("The Josephine Baker Story," "Eve's Bayou") guest stars as Paula Van Doren, and MACKENZIE PHILLIPS ("One Day at a Time," "The Guiding Light") guest stars as Theresa Caldwell.
24 - Bait
In the season finale, on Jack's last case before he moves to Chicago, the team searches for a billionaire's estranged wife and their two children after the yacht they were last seen boarding is soon found adrift in New York Harbor - with only its dead captain aboard. Jack becomes suspicious of the steely and sarcastic billionaire Ben Palmer (JON TENNEY), but additional suspects begin to surface as well. Palmer receives a cryptic ransom call from a man demanding to receive what belongs to him in exchange for returning Palmer's family alive. The team and Palmer have only eight hours to figure out what the kidnapper wants. Meanwhile, Jack and his team prepare for Jack's move to Chicago, and Vivian waits to hear if she'll be promoted to replace him.