Investigating the aftermath of a murder or a robbery 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.
01 - Showdown
Senior agent Jack Malone (series star ANTHONY LaPAGLIA), a tough but compassionate, seasoned and astute professional, heads the New York Missing Persons Squad of the FBI. Malone and his dedicated team know too well that every second counts when someone vanishes. His squad includes Samantha Spade (series star POPPY MONTGOMERY), an agent whose blonde good looks belie a tough, complex approach to her work; Vivian Johnson (series star MARIANNE JEAN-BAPTISTE), a no-nonsense investigator with a special insight into victims' families; Danny Taylor (series star ENRIQUE MURCIANO), whose sensitivity is often covered up by his street smarts; and the straitlaced Martin Fitzgerald (series star ERIC CLOSE), who joined the team as a result of his father's connections but has since earned his stripes.
The fourth season premiere picks up where the third season finale ended. Martin and Danny attempt to dodge a hail of bullets as a mercenary and his cronies try to kill their true target, an FBI detainee whom the agents are transporting. Despite some quick thinking from Martin, who uses the car as a weapon against the shooters, and Danny, who manages to shoot one of the perpetrators, their prisoner is killed, and Martin is left gravely injured. Now, Jack, Samantha and Danny try not to let their concern for Martin hinder their efforts to hunt down the mercenary, which becomes more complicated once Martin's father, FBI Deputy Director Victor Fitzgerald (recurring guest star RAY BAKER - "Coach Carter"), and the Department of Homeland Security take active roles in the case. Meanwhile, Vivian's heart surgery appears to have been a success.
02 - Safe
The team investigates if 15-year-old whiz kid Ryan Wallace (SHANE HABOUCHA) is missing of his own accord in order to execute his elaborate plan to bomb his high school. The agents learn that the missing student is an unpopular worrier who has obsessed about safety issues since his father's fatal mugging. They initially surmise that Ryan's disappearance may have something to do with the school bullies who picked a fight with him at lunch the day prior. However, after determining that it was Ryan who wrote the ominous words "The End" on his own locker and that he created a plan to bomb the school as a means of helping them institute effective security measures, the team members wonder if he's a bomber in hiding or a victimized do-gooder. Meanwhile, a visibly weak Martin returns from his 6-week convalescence and tries to convince himself and his colleagues that he's fine. MICHAEL WELCH ("Joan of Arcadia") guest stars as Lance, a school bully.
03 - From the Ashes
The team's newest member, FBI rookie Elena Delgado, formerly of the NYPD, encounters a learning curve as she attempts to help search for missing 20-year-old Dina Kingston (PEYTON LIST - "Smallville," "Just Legal"). The team soon discovers that Dina is a prostitute whose ransacked apartment contains the charred remains of her black book of clients. Further investigation uncovers that Dina, who had recently attempted to commit suicide, was suddenly desperate for a large sum of money, which caused her to be much less discerning about her clients as she feverishly solicited more business. The street-savvy Elena, who had excelled in the NYPD's vice unit, initially believes this particular case is better suited for the homicide department. However, the team's subsequent leads and methods make Elena realize that, whether Dina's found dead or alive, Elena has definitely got a great deal to learn about the Missing Persons Squad. Meanwhile, Martin is becoming impatient with his slow physical recovery, and Elena and Danny are mum about how they know each other.
04 - Lost Time
When the backpack and ID of missing college coed Skye Petersen (ASHLEE GILLESPIE) are suddenly dropped off at a thrift store seven years after Jack - and ultimately the legal system-determined she was murdered by her married professor (JUSTIN KIRK - 'Angels in America, Weeds') with whom she'd just ended an affair, the team decides to reopen the case. Jack fears that he may have elicited a wrongful murder confession during an intense interrogation with the professor. The thrift store's grainy two-day-old security video shows Skye's belongings being left by a woman who looks remarkably like Skye. As the team reinvestigates this formerly high-profile case, Jack is especially eager to learn the truth, despite knowing that this new evidence may uncover a tragic mistake on his part that has already cost the professor seven years in prison.
05 - Honor Bound
The team searches for 25-year-old Korean-American Wendy Kim (NICOLE BILDERBACK), who vanishes after a fight with her new boyfriend during her night shift at her parents' deli. The investigation uncovers that Wendy felt stifled by the expectations of her traditional immigrant parents and her custom-bound elder brother, who are ashamed that she ended her engagement to a man from their community. Initially, the team wonders if she's the casualty of a store robbery, if she's been victimized by her new boyfriend or spurned ex-fiancé, or if she simply ran away with the night's cash to start a new life for herself. Numerous additional suspects surface when the team discovers, to the surprise of Wendy's family, that she was also an extremely active member in an Internet dating service.
06 - Viuda Negra
Jack and Danny head to Mexico to find a wealthy American vacationer who was abducted at gunpoint in front of his new wife, Lydia Costin (ALEX KINGSTON - "ER"). Kingston's fellow former "ER" star Paul McCrane directed the episode.
07 - The Innocents
Jack and the team search for a man, Bill Shields (Emmy Award winner GORDON CLAPP - "NYPD Blue"), who reportedly let his marriage and career slip away after his teenaged daughter succumbed to leukemia. The investigation leads them to look for a mystery girl featured in an abundance of child porn photos found in the missing man's home.
08 - A Day in the Life
This unique episode, told from the point of view of the missing person's parents, expresses the emotional anguish of the mother and father of a missing 15-year-old boy as the team does its best to find him. Susan (multiple Emmy Award winner LAURIE METCALF - "Roseanne") and Larry (MATT CRAVEN - "Crimson Tide") Hopkins desperately call the authorities when they realize their son, Shawn (JOSH WISE), has missed his curfew. But the team's involvement ends up adding to the Hopkins' feelings of powerlessness, angst and frustration, especially when they're questioned as potential suspects in Shawn's disappearance. They begin to resent the team for the seemingly slow pace of the investigation and for not relaying every twist, turn and procedure involved in the search. Additionally, the Hopkins begin to turn against each other when the team's findings make it clear that Shawn has been involved in much more than the parents ever knew or imagined.
09 - Freefall
The team searches for Jack's friend Max Cassidy (WILLIAM RUSS), a longtime FBI agent who disappears after leaving an emotional message on the answering machine of his wife, FBI agent Anne Cassidy (Academy Award nominee MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO - "The Color of Money"), about the murder of his partner, Jimmy Haggerty (MARCUS CHAIT). The squad investigates whether the industrial espionage case that Max and Jimmy were working is connected to Jimmy's murder and if Max is now a victim of Jimmy's killer. As a safety precaution, Max had attempted to pull Jimmy from the case, but Jimmy threatened to tell Anne a secret about Max if removed. Now, Jack and the others must consider Anne a possible suspect in her husband's disappearance.
10 - When Darkness Falls
Samantha investigates the case of a woman with amnesia who may not only be a missing person but a murderer. Meanwhile, Jack's father, Frank (recurring guest star MARTIN LANDAU), who is battling Alzheimer's disease, no longer has the will to live as his condition grows increasingly worse, and Jack feels that he has no choice but to have his father declared incompetent so he can get the treatment he needs.
11 - Blood Out
A dedicated paramedic disappears from a hospital moments after successfully treating a young thug who was wounded in a shootout during which he killed a rival gang member. Recurring guest star MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO appears as FBI agent Anne Cassidy.
12 - Patient X
When a therapist vanishes, the team suspects that one of her former patients, whose identity is unknown, may have been involved.
13 - Rage
While searching for a missing middle school teacher, the team begins to suspect that she may be having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old student who is also nowhere to be found. Claire Hunter (JOANNA CANTON) goes missing after losing her temper and punching a man in the face at the gym after he flirted with her disinterested colleague, Angela (KATIE KREISLER). The team members initially wonder if the bloodied and humiliated man may be involved in Claire's disappearance, and they also question what motivated the never-married Claire to legally change her surname prior to moving to her current town and job. Additional theories abound once her ex-boyfriend reveals that he recently showed up at her apartment and, despite Claire's insistence that it wasn't how it looked, saw that her young student had just showered there.
14 - Odds or Evens
When an ex-Marine, Andy Reynolds (SCOTT HOLROYD), disappears, Jack learns that Andy was accused of rape, dishonorably discharged and imprisoned in Japan for five years before returning to the U.S. After receiving a video file in which a Japanese woman, Kimiko Asakawa (KEIKO AGENA - "Gilmore Girls"), states that Andy is not the man who raped her, Jack travels to Japan to find Reynolds and determine the true culprit. Portions of the episode were shot on location in Japan.
15 - The Stranger
While investigating the disappearance of Leah Robinson (MEEGHAN HOLAWAY), a churchgoing, suburban stay-at-home mother of a 12-year-old boy, the team begins to suspect that she may not be as innocent as her husband and minister think she is. Leah was last seen leaving a Manhattan gallery opening with a man who was arguing with her. When Leah's husband, Ken (CHRISTOPHER SHYER), is stumped as to the man's identity and Leah's reason for being at that city event, the team explores whether her disappearance could be linked to an affair gone awry. They also attempt to track down a disgruntled client of Ken's whom Leah had nervously kicked out of their home at gunpoint when the menacing client showed up and refused to leave before Ken returned. The investigation takes an unexpected turn when the agents learn that Leah had secretly followed her husband on his recent 'hunting trip' and seen him with a waitress who was fatally shot days later by a pistol of the same make as the Robinsons'. Meanwhile, when their departments converge to work on this case, the equally strong-minded Jack and Anne (recurring guest star MARY ELIZABETH MASTRANTONIO) butt heads on how to best conduct the investigation.
16 - The Little Things
The team members attempt to recover a 5-year-old boy, Ethan Heller (JOSEPH CASTANON), who was in the back seat of his family's SUV when it was apparently carjacked. They initially explore the possibility that kidnappers want to secure a hefty ransom from Ethan's affluent parents. However, they soon start to suspect Ethan's father, who his wife and colleagues report has been acting odd lately, and who, per his wife's insistence, has been staying at a hotel for the past week. Upon further investigation, the agents find evidence that the father has been contacted by the kidnappers and is foolishly attempting to handle the matter himself. Meanwhile, Danny notices the telltale signs of prescription painkiller addiction when Martin becomes excessively irritable and makes rash on-the-job decisions.
17 - Check your Head
The team members search for Rachel (CHRISTINA HENDRICKS), an agoraphobic advice columnist who had not left her apartment in 2 years. While casing her apartment for clues, they ponder the relevance of a walkie-talkie, a box of bullets and a stack of letters from an array of prisoners and oddballs who were seeking her advice and/or threatening her. As the investigators theorize that she may have fallen prey to an obsessed fan or a recently released convict who had been calling her, they also consider the fact that, as a result of her condition, there was an endless stream of delivery and service people coming to her apartment.
18 - The Road Home
After briefly looking for an 18-year-old, the team members realize that the real missing person is 15-year-old Matt Jameson (WILL ROTHHAAR), who was impersonating his former basketball league pal in order to work as a messenger and apprentice locksmith. The team's suspects include a fellow messenger who was found with some of Matt's possessions, a tattooed man who was seen with Matt around the time of his disappearance and a junkie who had recently slashed Matt's arm while burglarizing his apartment. Meanwhile, a concerned Samantha tries to find the underlying cause of Martin's recent tardiness and explosive temper.
19 - Expectations
The team members search for a pregnant, HIV-positive woman, Megan (HEATHER McCOMB), who vanished moments after she and her husband saw the ultrasound of their healthy late-term fetus. They remain wary of Megan's husband, Brian (DAVID NEWSOM), who allegedly left for a business trip after the ultrasound. Their suspicions are heightened when they learn that he had a brief affair last year after Megan was diagnosed with HIV, which she contracted during a previous relationship. But the investigators also find out that a blood technician had chastised Megan for putting her child at risk by becoming pregnant. They also probe whether or not Megan's disappearance is connected to an attempted infant abduction at the same hospital three weeks prior, and they look into the relevance of her last incoming cell phone call from a detention center. BETTY BUCKLEY ("Oz," "Carrie," "Eight is Enough") guest stars as Catherine, Megan's mother.
20 - More Than This
The team searches for Breck Mulligan (JAMES SNYDER), a wealthy young man who disappeared from the inner city shelter for indigent women where he had volunteered as part of his sentence for drug possession. As the agents investigate if Breck was victimized by an abusive husband of one of the shelter residents or by a pimp or drug dealer, they also ponder if Breck, a repeat drug offender, fell back into that dangerous world. Breck's powerful father, Walter (PERRY KING - "Melrose Place"), counters that his reformed son was likely kidnapped in the shelter's dicey neighborhood by someone seeking a hefty ransom. After learning that Breck's father had cut Breck off financially following his arrest, the agents also wonder what Breck did to obtain thousands of dollars from "anonymous donors" to keep the shelter open. GINA TORRES ("Alias," "24") guest stars as the shelter supervisor, Tyra Hughes.
21 - Shattered
Jack and the team work on the case of a young ice dancer, Kelly McMurphy (KATIJA PEVEC), who has disappeared. They learn that Kelly's brother, Jason (ROSS MALINGER), a hockey player, recently died in a car accident. The siblings' father, Pete (JAMES McCAULEY), had pushed Jason very hard to succeed, and shortly before his death, it was discovered that Jason had been taking steroids. The squad searches for Kelly, who was very close with Jason.
22 - Requiem
As the team members search for a recent widower, Ted (KARL MAKINEN), and his two teenaged kids, they attempt to determine who is responsible for the gunfire that left the missing family's living room splattered with blood. The family was last seen through their partially opened front door by neighbors who report that the visibly nervous Ted refused to let his son join a scheduled outing to a baseball game. After learning that Ted, a new gun owner, remains despondent over his wife's death and his mounting debt, the investigators consider that he may be the one who is responsible for the bloodshed and disappearance. Also under scrutiny are a loan shark who has been hounding Ted, and the delinquent boyfriend of Ted's daughter. The potential suspects and scenarios for this case seem endless to the squad members, who realize that with three missing people, there are three times as many reasons for them to have vanished.
23 - White Balance
When a white girl and a black boy coincidentally vanish on the same night, Jack attempts to counteract Vivian's prediction that the media and FBI will focus more on the white girl's case. Despite Jack's attempts to generate press on both cases, the girl's disappearance garners all of the media attention and, as a result, gets a steady stream of leads. As Vivian anticipated, Jack's superior, Van Doran (recurring guest star LYNN WHITFIELD - "The Josephine Baker Story"), orders Jack to allocate more resources to follow up on the leads in the girl's case. This requires diverting FBI attention away from the search for the boy, causing his mother to question Jack.
24 - Crossroads
While investigating the disappearance of a former assistant district attorney, Jack talks to her boyfriend, Alan Davis (JASON PRIESTLEY - "Beverly Hills, 90210," "Tru Calling"). When Davis senses that he is in fact a suspect, he goes berserk and causes a shootout in the FBI offices. And in the incident's aftermath, the detectives must continue trying to solve the case, with an added sense of urgency.