Without a Trace

Season 2 Episode 5


Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Oct 30, 2003 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
80 votes

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Episode Summary

Malone searches for a missing woman whose description matches those of a series of murder victims from a 12-year-old case only to learn that Graham Spaulding is pulling the strings, and drawing on incidents in Jack's past to lure him into a trap.

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  • When past has not in easy..

    A old and important case returns for Jack when a copies of murders he was so involved start again - and it looks that it is very personal and so the question is - what it is really about.. as the original murder is still in prison. So copycat.. I most say the best part was the way it opened Jack's char.. that kind of deep look into his past, his failures.. like that being one hour late.. and then the heartbreaking scene in the end about his mother.. That was a stunning emotional atmosphere building.

    I really liked this one. Good one.moreless
  • Jack fights a copycat killer who wants to destroy him.

    It would be safe to say that this episode is dedicated to Jack Malone and his forgotten past. He struggles to overcome his past - being incapable of saving the victims of a deranged serial killer's kidnapping case 12 years ago and not doing anything about his mother's suicide - brought up by a copycat killer in this episode. Jack and his buddy immediately notice that it's copycat's work when a married woman is kidnapped during the day. They, especially Jack, who couldn't find any victims alive before, desperately tries to catch the suspect before the woman is killed. But, at this time, unfortunately, the suspect is a man who knows everything about Jack's past that Jack has tried to put behind him. So, the suspect went for his jugular to mentally destroy him.moreless
  • This starts as a possible kidnap/murder plot which is identical to those done years before by a serial killer now in jail. The idea that this is a copy-cat killing is quickly changed by a clever plot twist meant to bring Malone to his knees as payback bymoreless

    This episode shows a development in Malone's character--his inner anger at not finding a victim of a serial killer in time to save her, several years before the events of this episode. When a similar kidnaping takes place in the present time, Malone has to face some hitherto unknown demons. The copy-cat idea is only a twist on the actual theme, but it is clever. Malone is "played" by a sociopath and his anger, grief, and even fear for Malone's own wife and children, are the very thing that Spaulding wants to throw in Malone's face. Malone had earlier caught the deviant Spaulding, "ruining" his career (as a pedophile). The early murders by another felon are all done to the Arabian Dance from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker; however, the closed captioning says Bolero. Spaulding scorns the poor "operatic" choice, but Nutcracker is a ballet, which belies Spaulding's vaunted sophistication. Otherwise this was a superior plot. At the end, when Malone does save the kidnap victim of the copy-cat plot, and returns to his home and wife, you sense that despite his fears, he is more at peace with himself.You also get a slight gist of what will happen to Malone's marriage later in the series.moreless
Kyle McCaffrey

Kyle McCaffrey


Guest Star

David Lawrence Sawyer

David Lawrence Sawyer

Prison Guard

Guest Star

Francis Fallon

Francis Fallon

Officer Campbell

Guest Star

Ty Miller

Ty Miller

Tech Agent

Recurring Role

Talia Balsam

Talia Balsam

Maria Malone

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • During this episode numerous references are made to the first episode to feature Graham Spaulding, Suspect. Both episodes feature the song One of these Mornings by Moby.
      Also, When Jack and Officer Campbell arrive at Spaulding's apartment, there is a teacup and saucer on the table. In Suspect, Martin and Vivian have Spaulding under surveillance he is using the same teacup.

    • Jack spent part of his youth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was a fan of the Pirates and his favorite player was the great Roberto Clemente.

    • Goof: In the flashback where the boys are playing basketball, Spaulding stops the rolling ball with his foot, then proceeds to talk to the boy. When the boy is called in for dinner, Spaulding tosses the ball to him but he never bents over to pick up the ball, nor does he bounce it up with his foot.

    • Goof: When Spaulding is on the phone with Malone, he takes the duct tape off Doris' mouth so she can plead for help. He then grabs the phone from her to speak with Malone again. In the next shot we see of her, she has the duct tape back on her mouth. However, there was no opportunity for Spaulding to replace it.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Randy Thorton: (To Jack) ...And that's when he told me that you suck.

    • Jack: Listen, Graham, we both know that this is over. The only way that you can avoid the death penalty, is to tell me where Doris is.
      Graham: You know it's backfiring Jack.
      Jack: (Annoyed) What's backfiring?
      Graham: The death penalty or life in prison. Tell you the truth, Jack, I don't think I have the constitution for either. Guess we both lose. (Graham falls back out the window)

    • Jack Malone: [W]e are dealing with someone of above-average
      intelligence, who is capable of researching the material, twisting the facts, and incorporating it into his own scenario.
      Martin Fitzgerald: Well, the husband's a lawyer. They're usually of above average intelligence. (pauses) Sort of.

  • NOTES (1)