Without a Trace

Season 3 Episode 22

John Michaels

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM May 12, 2005 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (23)

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out of 10
137 votes
  • great

    as a father I can say .. this was a good episode .. emotionally unavailable father , uptight frigid mother , divorce ... bad trio ..

    just one thing... 6 years passed and still couldn't find the song played in sister scene .. some lyrics "give me a reason to lay down my heart, stay with me, don't let me leave, be the one, make me believe" ... nothing .. there is no info in or imdb ... desperate .. can anyone help ?
  • The worst epi ever!

    In my opinion the worst episode of Without A Trace ever. Nothing really happened. It was obvious from the beginning what the writers were up to, but it didn't contribute to the series story line at all. I also have no idea what to think of the roof top scene where Jack tries to shoot Vivian and he jumps of the roof. It was all just very weird.

    Overall a very disappointing episode and an hour of my life I'm never gonna get back. Just very painful to watch.
  • Some love it, some hate it. A WOW factor 11/10 for me.

    I was so glad that I did not read spoilers or reports of this episode before hand. I just watched it without any knowledge of how the story pans out. All I can say 11/10, just look deeper into the story line past and present, I love the way it teases you through the episode un-wrapping slowly. Not often is an episode told so well where you really get to see the the psychological impact on a main character due to his personal and professional life. It's different, dark, witty and if you are a WAT addict you will find it quite disturbing to see how your best loved character is suffering alone and in silence. ALP, you deserve an Emmy for this episode alone, you do not fail to deliver.
  • An hour of my life I'll never get back

    What the hell was that? Seriously, this has got to be the worst episode of Without a Trace ever. My God, it was so obvious the old guy was Jack. Why not use an older actor that resembles him a bit. He didn't even change his voice! This episode was totally pointless. You could see the plot coming a mile away and him trying to kiss Samantha was just disgusting to me, sorry. I really wish they would have had a normal case with Jack freaking out and learning something about himself, but this wasn't a good way for me. I would really like to get this hour of my life back, if it's not too much trouble.
  • Worst episode in my favorite show!

    Worst episode in my favorite show!
    It did not make sense most of the time. The make-up was awful. I felt the episode was written just to fill in the season. Handled Jack's insecurity and fears in a terrible manner. They could have done it in a much better way! I'm in favor of showing the personal lives of the characters, but not waste a whole episode on one character and even then do it poorly! Besides, dreams and nightmares are not so long! :) Now, I'm at a loss for words to describe how awful the episode was. Unfortunately the review requirement is 100 words minimum and I just felt the need to comment on this particular episode.
  • without a trace

    Its early in the morning and jack is asleep on the couch will the tv is running when the phone rings. he gets a call that a man named John micheals is missing. He goes to the scene where they told him disapear. The boy who is their says he saw him walking around with the groceries about to jump when he dropped the bag of groceries and then headed inside and was later taken away in a black car. they learn he was divorced and went to question the ex wife who knows nothing and then they find one of the daughters who is now an exotic dancer who says he came to see her. he also finds out his dad knew him and they were army buddies. he learns that john micheals knew the truth about his mom and what happened to her and the car that took him away was his. he finds john and the roof when vivian and martin show up and they are trying to talk to jack and john wants him to say his name but he won't so vivian is shot and is dying and the same was martin. the second sister had talked to jack and told him to protect the other sister. the other sister dies and she blames jack for not being their to stop her. the young boy turns out to be a young jack. this whole sequences turns out to be a dream and then once again the phone is ringing.
  • \"So it\'s 3am, we need a script by tomorrow, lets drink some more Gin and come up with something!\"

    An old man named \"John Michaels\" goes missing under strange circumstances and the episode slowly gets more and more disjointed.

    There was absolutely no point to this \"surreal\" episode. It was obvious from the beginning it wasn\'t an inline plot. It\'s basically an episode about John Malone losing control as her life spirals out of control. A better way to have done it would to have been him losing it while investigating a real case, not a fabrication of mind, drugs and alcohol. I\'ve seen the episode three times now, and I still don\'t \"get\" the purpose of it. Jack\'s turning point? But it isn\'t. Jack\'s trip of self discovery that is never seen again? A lesson? What lesson? Better than \"Bobby Ewing is in the shower\" but, uhm.. not much.
  • Primary school children are usually the ones who have to opt for the 'it was all a dream' cop out when they write themselves into corners. I just really didn't get the point of this episode.

    I can see from the other reviews that it's split the votes too, with some perfect 10s and even one zero. Why was this story necessary? What does it add to the mix, except an already-known fact that Jack is a bit of a mess at the moment.

    My problem is that it is all so obvious from the very beginning. They should have had an actual older actor playing John Michaels and maybe given him another name, so at least we'd have been kept guessing until things started going really surreal. As it is, and good as the makeup is, it is very obvious that ALP is playing John Michaels, and since we know that Malone's full name is John Michael Malone from the previous deposition episode, we already know that something fishy is going on.

    Then there are all the mirrorings of Jack's own life - JM's ex wife, Martha Scoggins of all things (Jack's wife being Maria Malone and her lawyer being called Scoggins), the two daughters, Helen & Katherine (as opposed to Hanna & Kate), his affair with a fellow worker, Susan Smithwick (as opposed to Samantha Spade).

    It might have been more interesting had it been in a different series, but to use up an entire episode of Without a Trace on Jack having a bit of a nightmare is not a guaranteed way to keep viewers. Why not have had a real case going on, with a mini-dream in the middle? Would have kept everyone happy!

    I wouldn't have minded if it led to a real change of character or threw some kind of real light on the situation, but it actually doesn't do very much at all.

    Definitely not one of the best ideas the writers ever had.
  • The team investigates the disappearance of a 71-year-old insurance investigator in an episode in which Jack\'s work life and personal life entangles.

    What an episode! There were so many things I loved about it. I liked that they did another double, this time with Anthony LaPaglia (Jack Malone, John Michaels). I liked the part Jack\'s father played (he solved his mother\'s murder by arresting his dad!). I liked the thing with John Michaels's personal life. It reflected Jack\'s life so much. They were both divorced, both had two daughters, and they both had an affair with someone they work(ed) with. I even enjoyed the song at the beginning and end of the episode. But my favorite part was the end of the dream. It was an incredible scene of the roof! \"All you have to do is state your name for the record.\" \"John\" even killed Vivian and Danny! And then turned into Jack! Love it!
  • A search for an old man ends up being that Jack is the old man which ends up being a dream. ughh

    Ughhhhh worst episode of the series in my opinion (sorry to offend anyone). I mean, it was just so extremely pointless. Absolutely nothing happened. And it was so obvious that it was Jack playing that old man. Those eyes showed through and the accent. So it wasn't a surprise to find out that the old guy really was him. It was just too weird. The part where he tries to get all over Samantha and when he shoots Vivian. And to find out that you watched an hour of something that doesn't even have an effect on the show is disappointing. I liked the fact that the show did something different than the original episodes but I just didn't really like this episode. Maybe if it was with a different character that we don't know much about already it would have been interesting to me.
  • Wow, what an episode. I don\'t care what others might say it was great.

    This started out as a simple case of guy goes from throwing himself off a building, to go missing after getting in a car with two guys. It sure looked like a guy who was trying to wrap up loose ends. He contacted his ex-wife to apologize, he contacted his daughter to apologize and get her to turn her life around. I did wonder why they had Anthony LaPaglia playing the old guy. If through the make-up you could tell it was him. Through-out the investigation Jack kept getting weirder & more off character. I thought he was taking things to personal. He was at times, very unprofessional. But I did not see the end coming. Even when they introduced his father into it.
    I begin to wonder though, when he came to arrest his father, it just was getting to weird at that point. When they told him that it was his car that John Micheal was last seen in, then I knew it wasn\'t real.
    Wow, what a mind bending episode.
    Jack\'s lesson: No man is an island.
  • Ok so it was a dream sequence, i still thought it was cleverly written.

    Ok so dream sequence. So what. It was a well thought out dream sequence. I figured the old man was played by the guy who plays malone in about five seconds, but I originally thought it was a parallell lives kinda, change now scrooge thing. I didn't figure out it was a dream sequence until later. I liked that. I also liked watching Malone self destruct. That was fun. And I loved the tie in in the beginning and the end. Plus I liked the Major Tom song.

    Maybe not the best episode ever.

    But definintly not the worst episode ever.
  • An old man, John Michaels goes missing and Jack loses it completly as the case goes weirder and weirder.

    Now from the very beginning this episode gave me the creeps. I thought it was strange that they had Anthony play John Michaels and that Jack and John Michaels shared the same name. As far as I remember, Jacks full name is John Michael Malone. It's really creepy. And very unprofessional of the writters to use the same name twice.
    This man that Viv is asking out in the beginning is called Barry Mashburn, the very same name as the man in the episode "Fallout 1+2", the season 1 finally.
    I hated to see Jack lose him self, I feel sorry for him.
    This episode really disgusted me, I hated the part where Jack saw Helen's body. That part made me wanna vomit.
    I really hated that there were parallels to Jack's personal life, I thougth that it was crossing the line. It made this episode unpleasant to watch. I thought the ending was effectful. I liked the fact that Jack learned something about him self. That really pulls up my score on this one.
  • I think this episode deserves a lot more praise than it is getting - sure it's a dream sequence, but that's where the similarity ends! It was a great episode that focused around one of the most interesting characters in the show.

    I think this episode deserves a lot more praise than it is getting - sure it's a dream sequence, but that's where the similarity ends! It was a great episode that focused around one of the most interesting characters in the show.

    The episode begins like any other, the team is sent in to investigate the disappearance of an insurance claims investigator in his late 60s?70s?80s? (Never been good with ages) But we slowly realise that this insurance claims investigator bears more than a passing resemblance to Malone and his life.

    Where other reviewers hit it down, I congratulate the show for taking a new take on the whole over done dream sequences in a way that leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering - is he? or is he not?

    Now clearly this episode isn't for everyone, but if you are into the characters of the show, this one is a must watch. It's gives us an insight into the character of Malone, and what he has been going through, clearly issues he is going to have to face later on in the series. Anthony LaPaglia's performance (in both roles) is absolutely spot on as always.

    Overall, one of the best episodes in the series.
  • This was so silly

    I have to admit this has to go down as the worst episode every seen - it was rubbish and to make matters worst my tv station ran it twice!!!!!It is a truely awlful episode - and don't get me wrong - I love this programme - I could not beleive what I was seeing with Jack's dream - utter rubbish!!!
  • What?

    What was this episode all about? It was rubbish. This is Without a Trace, not some soap. I have never been so bored watching an episode of Without a Trace ever. There's an hour of my life I can never get back.

    It was pathetic how not only was the whole episode about Jack, it wasn't even real. They didn't even try to hide the comparisons. Even before it turned out it was just a dream it was boring. I really wasn't at all interested in Jack's personal life and don't really care how he's going to end up 20 years in the future. I don't watch this show for this kind of thing. The reason I like Without a Trace is because of the fact that they have minimal personal life of the main characters. They get on with the cases and they don't mess around with their personal crisis'. That's where the interest is in this show.

    I just don't know what the writers were thinking and I hope they aren't thinking of doing this type of episode ever again. If I wanted to watch that kind of thing I'd watch a soap. It's good that they try new things but this is one they shouldn't repeat.
  • Angsty Jack ...

    What impresses me most about this episode is how it's managed to evoke such extreme opinions from people! People have rated it from 0.5 to a perfect 10.0. Wow!

    Yes, it's a dream sequence. Yes, a lot of shows have done that already. I still found it to be an interesting episode.

  • The writer vanished without a trace!

    I watched this episode twice (the second time with family members) and saw no evidence that this was a dream. Even if it is a dream, it is a lousy excuse for a story. There are some shows such as Startrek where the writers can do nearly anything they want to, then fix it by making it a dream or alternate reality or by simply reversing time. That is not what I expect from this show.

    This show has been bad in the past by deviating from the theme and dealing too much with the personal lives of the characters and this particular episode was very surprising about how terribly off-topic it was.
  • Dream sequence in which Jack dreams about finding a 71-year old missing man who turns out to be someone closer than to him than he knew.

    I have never watched this show before and was channel surfing last night and came upon it, honestly, because I thought it was another show. But I was intrigued and I kept watching it. I personally thought that it was a outstanding show!! when it ended I kept going WOW...WOW...now I may just be over-praising here, and comparatively it might have been awful to other episodes...but for me, this one episode was great...powerful...made me think about my own life and its direction...life's too short to live with regret...the time to act is NOW! anyway, I might have to start watching the series now just to see how good it is because I really enjoyed this episode.
  • This site should have a classification for worst episode ever, because it really is. But then I lost my faith on the series a long time ago with it's uber-patriotic moral sensitive crap. It sucks.

    Yes, Jack Malone has a dream. John Michaels, this week's missing guy, is a divorced investigator with two screwed up daughters. Pretty much "John Michaels" is a representation of Jack Malone or what he might be if he keeps on doing what he's doing. And Charles Dickens is still not getting royalty fees for this.

    It doesn't fit with the "Without a Trace" style. The show with its serious approach was good as it is, but they had to ruin it with this episode. The episode's just too far out.

    I'll be studying every Thursday night from now on.
  • Flag on the play! 15 yards for misuse of Major Tom and the use of a dream-as-character-insight!

    Glad I did not catch much of this episode, but dang! what I did catch? I got the point miles before poor Jack, then again, I bet most viewers got the point before poor Jack.

    Anthony LaPaglia is much better than this crap that is truly psychobabble. Dreams do not excuse the crappy latex.

    I understand it was Jack's fears, trashcanned over decades, coming to the fore post-Malone v Malone, but there had to be better ways to express it in a dream state. Yes, your daughter as a stripper is a nightmare for many fathers; it's squicky to see it on my screen being played out, and I enjoy the actress Sarah Brown.

    That we've started seeing Jack start to come out of his shell a bit, like in Endgame, is nice, but did we need this visualization of his fears? Yes, nightmares are nightmares for a reason and not meant to be sweet- but with the rich intellect and basic fears and specific demons, we basically saw what we already knew about Jack and what Jack feels about some specific situations.

    I am sad to not be able to recommend this episode.
  • Jack's having a dream, yep.

    Okay, so I thought this episode was pretty good, I just thought that it was really cool how there were some characters from before and if you paid close enough attention you could catch names like Barry Mashburn from 'Fall Out' and Freddy Cattan from 'The Source' so you know that's cool, but you needed to have seen a bunch of the episodes to get it. It was a strange story and not that great.
  • Jack loses it. It's the whole dream sequence thing that's been done to death.

    Okay, I'm a huge fan of the show, but this episode left me scratching my head. Jack is angsty enough, no need to throw this episode in. I understand what the purpose is, basically to show you how close to the edge Jack is, but come on. This is one you can skip. In fact, it's one you should skip.
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