Without a Trace

Season 1 Episode 5


Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Oct 24, 2002 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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out of 10
113 votes
  • 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.

    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.