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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 14, 2006
... if we would ever get another Without a Trace season in region 1. And this season contains some fascinating cases: a bus of kids abudcted, a satire-laden fake kidnapping, a murderous twin (but who knows which one?), and many more. We're also treated to some great character moments. Martin loses control and ends up shooting a suspect; Vivian makes an irreversible choice to lie to protect both their careers, and both have to deal with the consequences in later episodes. Samantha is forced into counseling after being shot in the Season One finale; she says she's fine, but we know she isn't. Danny has to choose whether to testify on his brother's behalf, or abandon him the way he once abandoned Danny. An Alzheimer's diagnosis forces Jack to re-evaluate the strained relationship with his father (wonderfully played by Martin Landau), and a certain case causes him to relive his painful adolescence with an emotionally unstable mother.

Overall, this season continues the watchability and excellent writing begun by Season One.

For the curious, here is the episode list, first aired 09/25/03-05/20/04.

The Bus





Our Sons And Daughters

A Tree Falls

Trip Box

Moving On

Coming Home


Hawks And Handsaws

Life Rules

The Line



Gung Ho




Two Families

The Season

Lost And Found

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2007
The second Season of Without A Trace does not disappoint. The plots are believable, often shocking and never dull, and the five main actors have fine-tuned their interaction. The delicately crafted imbalance of five agents, with Poppy Montgomery's character not being able to forget her former lover Jack Malone (the chemistry between the two actors is a delight to see) and unable to commit to her new man Martin Fitzgerald, adds extra spice to an already nail-biting series. Incredible that the entire series was filmed in Los Angeles, I would have sworn it had been shot in the Big Apple where it is meant to take place. Keep up the good work. And please release Seasons 3 and 4 which are already available at but without the extras and 5 minutes shorter per episode.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2007
Season Two was a wonderful continuation of the series: from the wonderful connection between the stellar cast to the flawless way that they manuevered through casefiles and personal issues. And, for me, it showcased the reason I started watching the series: the burgeoning relationship between Martin and Sam. From 2.1 "The Bus" to the finale, 2.2 "Bait" it showed the chemistry that made the show enjoyable to watch. With the added element of the affair Sam once had with her boss, Jack, it made the series sizzle even more. This was the season that got me hooked. I highly rec it. Particularly for the deleted scenes - especially the ones from "Shadows."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 22, 2007
I have enjoyed this show since its debut and hope they will put out all seasons on DVD. Strong writing and excellent cast that balances character development with intrigueing stories and manages not to go down the slippery path to becoming another prime time soap opera. There is a good reason that it has had strong and respectable ratings for several seasons.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2007
Season 1 of Without a Trace was really intriguing throughout the entire season; I don't find that to be true of season 2 but it is still played well enough by the actors and actresses to hold my attention. the endings to some of the episodes left me unsatisfied, but Anthony LaPaglia still made each episode worth watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2014
Although, as far as I remember (hey, its been almost 12 years since this show first premiered!), I did not start watching Without a Trace when it first aired on CBS in September of 2002 and instead, I only got into the show, later on (at least a few years later) after seeing reruns in syndication, it is now one of my (definitely in the top 6) ABSOLUTE FAVORITE shows on TV!!

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (who also produced Cold Case -- another show that, if I recall correctly, I also started watching around the same time) Without a Trace is about the cases of the New York City FBI field office's Missing Persons Unit (which, AFAIK does NOT exist in real-life, as missing persons cases are NOT usually handled by the FBI, but rather local police departments -- except in cases of ransom, kidnapping across state lines, or child abduction) as well as, to a lesser degree, the personal lives of the FBI agents on this squad.

In the early seasons of the show (including this season), the FBI Missing Persons Unit consists of Special Agent Samantha "Sam" Spade (played by Poppy Montgomery) a cynical but yet very compassionate agent (in my opinion, like ALL the agents in this unit), trying to overcome a difficult childhood, Special Agent Danny Taylor (played by Enrique Murciano) a former foster child after being orphaned at the age of 11, is a somewhat tough-talking streetwise agent, with a sharp sense of humor and a quick temper at times but yet, a good heart ALL the time, Special Agent Martin Fitzgerald (played by Eric Close), the newcomer rookie agent and the son of the Deputy Director of the FBI, is trying to prove himself to the fellow agents in his unit, and show them that he earned his position on his own merit & competence and NOT because of the nepotism of being the Deputy Director's son, and Special Agent Vivian Johnson (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste) a very knowledgeable veteran agent whose wisdom provides balance to the cynicism, hot-headedness, and inexperience of the other agents on the team. The Missing Persons Unit is commanded by Supervisory Special Agent Jack Malone (played by Anthony LaPaglia) a well-intentioned if not impulsive head agent with a cowboy attitude and a propensity to bend, if not even outright break the rules, in the name of finding the missing person, catching the culprit responsible (if applicable) and solving the case. Jack's maverick attitude extends to his home life, where his already-rocky marriage has been disintegrating (and eventually in later seasons, ends in an acrimonious divorce) since a brief illicit affair with fellow agent & subordinate, Samantha Spade (that occurred prior to the start of the series) with whom he has an on-again/off-again relationship throughout the run of the series.

Without a Trace is a gripping, suspenseful and intriguing mystery/crime drama that deals with the cases of various missing people, as well as the personal lives of the FBI agents trying to find them. It follows these aforementioned agents from the time they are called in on a Missing Persons case, as they race against the clock, to find out who the missing individual(s) are and learn all about them to locate them, and solve the case. Whether they were abducted, or they ran away, or whether they committed suicide or met with an accident or foul play, are all potential scenarios that the agents in the Missing Persons Unit have to consider during the course of their investigation. Working backwards in time, these FBI agents have to track the movements as well as the behavior, verbal statements, phone & computer activity and other actions, of the missing person in the hours, days, weeks and even months & years prior to the disappearance, in order to trace where they might be and/or what might've happened to them. The agents have to both look backwards in time while moving forward as the countdown continues to find the missing person before the crucial 48 hours (because its believed that the chances of finding a missing person alive after 48 hours [or in the case of missing children, 24 hours] is very slim to none) have passed. Which is why, throughout the episode, there are periodic updates (in the form of subtitled scene intros) stating how long the missing person has been gone -- and as the hours tick by, without any luck finding the missing, the pressure, anxiety, and tension mounts as the case becomes more dire.

Adding to the suspense is the fact that, for the most part, none (or very few) of the cases end in the exact same way -- and just like in real-life, not all of the missing person cases have happy "fairy-tale" endings. Some of the people are found alive, others are found dead, and some cases are left unsolved as an "open case"/"cold case" and viewers are never shown what happens, instead being left to draw their own conclusions about the fate of the case. Not to mention that some/many of the episodes have unforeseen twists & turns that often viewers never see coming. For example, a case in which the squad is searching for a missing individual who they suspect is in danger, only the agents later learn that the missing person actually committed a crime, and then the case turns from a missing person search, to a manhunt for a fugitive and the episode ends with the missing person in handcuffs. Or vice versa, where the squad is searching for someone who they believe is a fugitive on the run, only to later learn that the missing person was actually innocent (even framed) for the crime, and the case turns from a manhunt for a fugitive, to a search for a missing person in danger, and the episode ends with the person being exonerated and their name cleared in one way or another. Thanks to the SUPERB writing (including all the unexpected twists and turns) which keeps viewers (or at least me!) on the edge of their seats, its difficult if not impossible to predict how the specific missing person's case & the episode will play out. That's not something you can say about most TV shows, which are often formulaic rehash/déjà vu of episodes of other shows, or even past episodes of the same show.

Although there ARE a few episodes in this season that I don't particularly like (a couple I even hate), there are others (like "Wannabe") that are ABSOLUTE FAVORITES, and have seen MULTIPLE times!

My favorite episodes in this season are "Prodigy" in which the squad searches for a missing famous Russian-American teenage violinist, who disappeared from her dressing room before a show, along with her expensive professional violin, worth over a half a million dollars, "A Tree Falls" an episode involving the disappearance of an undocumented Guatemalan boy, and illegal immigration & smuggling, "Moving On" in which the agents try to solve the disappearance of a driven & successful neurosurgeon, "Exposure", an episode about the extent of corporate greed & responsibility (or lack thereof!) in which a celebrity paparazzi photographer suddenly disappears after stumbling upon a case of massive corporate malfeasance, and meeting the innocent victims of it, "Shadows", an episode about Agent Martin Fitzgerald's aunt who goes missing after getting tragic news, "Lost and Found" in which an adopted young girl fears that she was kidnapped as an infant by her adoptive parents, "Bait" an episode about the family of a billionaire who is kidnapped off their yacht while at sea. and "Wannabe" in which a middle school boy disappears after being bullied & the victim of a cruel prank by his classmates, which is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE episode in this season if not in the entire series (the scene[s] in this episode, especially those with Danny Taylor & Jack Malone at the end of the episode, are so touching!!)

My only quibble with this item, is the packaging. I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HATE cardboard DVD boxes, or for that matter, ANY style of DVD cases that involves cardboard!

Rather than a cardboard DVD box holding slim-line plastic DVD cases (the style used for THIS set), I much PREFER the single plastic DVD case with an inner tray-rack to hold the discs (like the DVD case style used for Without a Trace: Season 3 and all the subsequent/later seasons of this series, as well as the DVD case style for the 7th Heaven - The Complete Third Season and Law & Order: The Ninth Year sets among others!) instead!

I am kind of anal about my DVD sets (actually, DVDs & CDs in general!), and I HATE the cardboard box style of DVD case which often gets worn, scuffed, and/or peeling at the edges and corners of the box. In my experience so far, plastic DVD cases do NOT have those problems -- at most, the clear plastic sheet on the outside of the DVD case (into which the paper cover is inserted) *might* get a little wrinkled or soiled/dusty. But the few wrinkles or soiling on the plastic cases is at least something I can live with, UNLIKE the significant scuffing & peeling into white spots/patches on the corners & edges of cardboard cases, which is really aggravating! That is why I'd much rather have a single plastic DVD case with an inner-tray/rack which doesn't get much (if ANY!) edgewear, shelfwear, corner-wear, and/or scuffing & peeling, and is pretty much care-free!

Without a Trace is a GREAT show, and even though its no longer on the air anymore, I'm so glad to have not only this season on DVD, but now that I finally have the rest of the series (the final 4 seasons which I just recently bought) on DVD I can have any episode in the series at my fingertips whenever I want to see it, instead of having to hope that (and wait for) the show is broadcast in syndication and wait for the particular episode to re-air!

I ♥ Without a Trace! Now if they'd only just find a way to clear the music rights so that they could release Cold Case on DVD as well!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2011
TV series are not like movie sequels and trilogies, etc...The 1st isn't always going to be the best, and then gradually get worse and fact it is usually the opposite, as characters typically grow throughout the years and the writing continues to improve...

With that being said, Without a Trace is probably one of the only TV series where the 2nd season was weaker than the first...albeit season 1 was totally awesome in every way, I did expect Season 2 to at least come didn't...not to say that it didn't hold my attention, because it definitely did...but there were no standout episodes in my opinion, while the 1st season had a handful...and MOST of the Season 2 episodes were solid, but not all that see it once, you really have no interest in seeing it again...but as I stated before, this is not the case in the first Season...I can watch some of those episodes a dozen times without getting sick of what was it? the acting? the writing? the storylines? the answer: it was a lil bit of everything...probably least of all the acting, as I do think the acting did gradually improve from the first season to the most recent...but the storylines and the writing suffered a bit here, there just weren't any of those episodes that REALLY stand out and make you want to watch it again...In all honesty Season 1 was SO good that they just set the bar too Seasons 3 and 4 I think they improved a bit and almost matched the first season when all is said and done...not quite, but almost...I did like the fact that Anthony LaPaglia's character (Jack Malone), shared a bit more of his personal life, and the rest of the characters also showed a bit more about themselves and what they are like outside the office...the progression there was the one improvement from Season 1 to 2.

Don't take this as a negative review for Season 2 of Without a Trace, because it's not, it's just that it left a lil bit to be desired...and personally I think we were spoiled with the first season being so fantastic...Season 2 was pretty good all in all, and definitely warrants a recommendation from me, especially if you are a fan of this show...just don't be shocked when you realize the first season was better...that's all I want to say.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2009
I don't watch a heck of a lot of primetime tv as I consider most of it so un-original, but this is one of best shows currently airing, along with "The Office" and the new "Battlestar" in my opinion. The premise is simple - at the beginning of each episode someone goes missing, and the FBI's (fictional) Missing Persons Unit searches for them, following the trail the various clues lead to. While the mystery is (generally) solved by episode's end, the show offers no guarantee of a happy ending.

The show has had some very compelling sometimes gut-wrenching storylines, and very strong acting (the American FBI unit is played by a combo Australian/British/American cast). The head of the unit is Jack Malone, a great character who often uses physcology and rough around-the-edges tactics in his questioning to arrive at the truth. Jack is also "on the edge," will not play politics with his superiors, and of course his personal life is often a mess.

Some eposides also offer a particularily "dark" tone, but still very intelligent storytelling. Standout episodes from season 2 include "The Bus" (episode 1), "Copycat" (episode 5) "Wannabe," (15) "Doppleganger,"(19) and "Two Families" (episode 21). Though each episode usually features a "stand-alone" plot, the show occasionally rewards regular viewers with a degree of continuity - occasionally a compelling storyline or "villian" re-appears in later episodes.

I agree with others that it's a shame that only through season 2 has been released on DVD - guess I just gotta keep setting the VCR for TNT.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
Originally, I viewed this episode when it first aired back in 2004. I have been studying and observing child development, psychology, and sociology for several years in part for a future career as a child and family therapist. I must say that this is an episode every parent, caregiver, school official, and therapist who care for or work with children ages 8-17 years must view to understand some of the main causes behind modern-day childhood bullying as well; the nightmare results that occur for all parties involved. Additionally, I applaud the writers, producers, and cast for giving an honest portrayal on a sensitive and controversial subject. Furthermore, I recommend viewing this episode with children ages 10 and older (depending on the child's cognitive development), while putting aside some open-ended questions to ask your child afterwards (e.g., "So, what did you think about the children who bullied that boy?" or "Do you think the boy deserved the hazing he received? If yes/no, why?" or "Have you known someone in school who has bullied others or who has been bullied? If yes, how?"). Questions like such can give you a keen insight to what your child knows about and has access toward witnessing different types of bullying in his school.(Some food for thought; the U.S. department of Health and Human Services (HHS) states that on any given day, more than 160,000 elementary, middle, and high school students will miss school as a result of bullying by peers on or around school grounds. Additionally, out of more than 85% of students who witness bullying in or around their schools, unfortunately, under 10% do something to prevent bullying either to himself or someone else.) Don't believe school officials who say that bullying is "under control" or "doesn't exist" in their school. Ask the teachers and counselors if they agree; or your children for that matter. I'm certain they will have a much different story to tell...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2008
It is so great to have this season finally out on DVD. The series is so visually captivating and the extra scenes are interesting. There is no comparison between seeing the episodes uninterrupted on DVD and trying to record and save them from TV. I can finally follow the story line properly and without ads. Between this DVD set and the Without a Trace first season DVD set I didn't really mind the writer's strike because I had as much quality viewing material as I time for viewing. I really hope the remaining seasons will be out on DVD soon.
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