Without a Trace

Season 1 Episode 5


Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Oct 24, 2002 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
112 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

17-year-old Andy Deaver vanishes from his private boarding school campus. Suspicion quickly turns to charismatic school headmaster Graham Spaulding, the last person to see Andy before he disappeared. As the team struggles to get evidence against the headmaster, Jack in particular is forced to pit his mind against Spaulding's in the race to find Andy before it is too late.moreless

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  • Honestly the best episode of Without a Trace that I have ever seen.

    Honestly the best episode of Without a Trace that I have ever seen. Just gone back to watch the first season and I can't believe how dark, gritty, disturbing and powerfully acted this episode was.

    I was shocked at the scene in the car and how Jack managed to get into the psyche and expose the weaknesses of Spaulding - a guy who had seemed so self-assured and strong in all previous scenes.

    Really, really like these early episodes and this one really displays the hierarchy and respect for the strong Jack within the team. The guy that plays Spaulding is outstanding also.moreless
  • Moving and hard episode

    This episode really had that powerful meaning and message and really hard case to talk - I do not know.. first it did not looked like it, a promising episode but nothing so tragic or well written as you feel in the end - the way the played with the camera, that rain.. and that long monolog in the car to get the man giving up the location of the boy.. and how they had the right person from the beginning but they could not get to him.. they could not prove he was involved.. and where that all lead.. Great episode.moreless
  • Early on in the series, and the greatness was there.

    Several good and bad clichés from the mystery genre and stories of the early 1900's and brought into our modern era. The prestigious school run by the overly shady Head Master, the Mansion complete with "taboo" sexual material in an off the path area of the house, and of course the final scene with thunder, lighting, a heavy rain storm, and the gruff conversation with the evil doer.

    While the team is investigating the disappearance of a young student, they soon discover two other disappearance's just like this one, and sadly those boys were discovered murdered. To extract the truth from the prime suspect Jack makes a deal with the devil.

    Strong and they way I love my crime drama's, full of suspense, and atmosphere.moreless
  • Jack Malone: Your fifteen minutes are over. Watch the episode, unless you be faint of heart, because it falls into the 'highly intense' category. Summation: 'Suspect' isn't an easy watch, but brilliant in it's darkness.moreless

    Days later and I'm still blown over by this episode.

    Anyone else who has seen the other episodes Spaulding appears in will find the semi-normality of Jack's first meeting with him a little surreal, as I did. Of course, suspicion turns early to Spaulding. I suppose that was necessary in order to have time for the interrogation scene, which was too good to cut. The plot, distinct in that it followed one line of investigation rather than a number of separate leads, was involved and kept us on edge with dilemmas like Danny almost being caught, and eventually Viv's need to find Jack before they get in (worse) trouble.

    Conor O'Farell did an excellent job as the incredibly evil Graham Spaulding. I feel guilty for saying so, but it's almost a good thing Spaulding shows up again, so we can see more of him, given tangible tension between his character's and Anthony LaPaglia's even prior to the interrogation in the car. And oh what and interrogation that was. I'm a big crime drama fan, for stuff like Law & Order, SVU, CSI in all it's multiple locations, and I don't think I've ever seen a TV questioning that was both so clever and so disturbing at once. Jack gets deep into Spaulding's head, and it's neither an easy place to get to or a nice place to be. It would be simply disgusting if Spaulding had said those terrible things, but because it's Jack that we know and love, who does, it feels worse. I feel like taking a chemical shower afterwards. Jack managed to get the one area of irrationality for Spaulding-his 'love' of Andy-to override his reason. And it's made clear that he is shocked and (literally) sickened to see how completely he's gotten Spaulding to trust him at the end when Spaulding naively asks for his fifteen.

    Finally, I love how this episode finds ways to say so much without having to spell things out with exposition. If you think about it, the events and dialogue of the episode let you figure out so much about Spaulding's pathology, how Jack uses it (proving how very good at his job he is), and why Spaulding does what he does in future episodes. One to watch and rewatch, if you have the stomach. Any thing that can make you feel this strongly, in my mind, deserves a 10.moreless
  • An unusual episode in that there is only one suspect. The team follows a repeat child rapist and murderer but struggles to obtain constitutional evidence against him.

    An exceptional and unusual episode. Jack is at his best, going over his superiors, getting in the criminal mind a pedophile, and finding a missing teenager at the possible expense of getting conviction. One of the most dark and disturbing scenes of the entire series takes place in the last major scene of this episode. A powerful display of the commitment it takes to find missing people. A sickening but powerful performance by Jack and a learning experience for Martin. This episode also begins to shed some light on Jack's difficult childhood, although his father is not introduced until a later episode.moreless
Marlene Brehm

Marlene Brehm

Phoebe Burnell

Guest Star

Glenn Taranto

Glenn Taranto


Guest Star

Harris Laskawy

Harris Laskawy

Judge Adderley

Guest Star

Eric Scott Gould

Eric Scott Gould


Recurring Role

Lynn Whitfield

Lynn Whitfield

Paula Van Doran

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • (Malone interrogates Graham Spaulding.)
      Jack Malone: You know, I've been giving something a lot of thought. It's occurred to me that ... in some ways, I envy you.
      Graham Spaulding: You envy me?
      Jack Malone: Yes. The power that you have over these boys -- what that must feel like.
      Graham Spaulding: What boys?
      Jack Malone: Andy, Eric Lipinski, Robert Griffith. I know there have been others.
      Graham Spaulding: There have been many.

    • Samantha Spade: He is a retired veterinarian. Sold his practice to take over the school last year after his father died.
      Jack Malone: With what qualifications? Looking after animals?
      Samantha Spade: High school's pretty rough these days.
      Jack Malone (dryly): Hilarious.

    • Samantha Spade: All gangly, self-conscious, and insecure. Easy prey.

    • Graham: Agent Malone, do I get my fifteen minutes now?
      Agent Malone: Your fifteen minutes are over.

  • NOTES (2)