Without a Trace

Season 2 Episode 1

The Bus

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Sep 25, 2003 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
91 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

A school bus is full of kids and the driver are taken when the bus is car jacked by kidnappers who demand more and more for ransom.

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  • You would never think of that..

    A school bus goes missing. A safe way to get kids into school gets them kidnapped. And when first it looks like it was some kids, it soon comes out that it is not so and the money they wanted was just to get them off the trace and there were some adults behind it.. and who would have believed it.. a one mother of kid who was taken.. she was in..

    But it is not only the case.. it is Samantha too. They get into dangerous situation and need to shoot and she really freezes first and then kills them - those who could know where the kids are.moreless
  • It's not painful to watch because it's bad...

    It's painful because I know exactly why the mother did it. So I probably should have predicted that twist from the beginning.

    This episode was great and speaks a lot (but very subtlety, which is good) about rich jerks in high school. Those two boys behaved quite predictably however, and from square one it couldn't have been them.

    I do like the geeky kid, he seems nervous because he is. Wouldn't you be if you knew your mom was kidnapping the kids at your school for money? No matter how resentful you are towards them?

    The Bus is recommended as a good episode because they break the usual reasons for kidnapping someone, and go for something that is very real.moreless
  • When a bus full of schoolchildren goes missing, everyone kicks into overdrive. A good old romp this one.

    To the very beautifully sung Mad World, a young 'geek' boards his school bus - it drives off and disappears.

    Many of the children on the bus are from extremely wealthy families and it's not long before a ransom is demanded. The ransom 'note' is the same kid from the opening. He's left on the bus when it's found and tells detectives about the demands.

    Whilst it's not hard to work out that all is not as straightforward as it looks and that there is a twist somewhere, they do manage to keep you guessing a bit, and I personally found the very final twist something of a surprise.

    The pace of the episode is good - it's a race against time to find the children, especially when a ransom drop goes very very bad.moreless
  • wow this was very good but it was a bit predictable

    On the beginning of the episode I had no idea what was going to happen, who was going to dissapear and I sure wasn't expecting it to be the bus. Ok so the title of the episode would have helped there but I didn't catch it. The whole episode was that kind of episode that makes your hearth beat faster with every move they make.

    I loved the way that they managed to link this episode to last season. They did it perfectly.

    Samantha still haves some problems about what happened to her in the season 1 finale and they plaied it off really gracefully.

    The only problem that I could find with this episode was that it was, at least for me, a but predictable. I saw from the start that the kid and the kid's mother had something to do with the kidnapting and that the bullies would never do that. Other than that they episode was very good.moreless
Charlotte Colavin

Charlotte Colavin

Mrs. Suarez

Guest Star

John P. Connolly

John P. Connolly


Guest Star

Jayne Brook

Jayne Brook

Ms. Atkins

Guest Star

Vanessa Marano

Vanessa Marano


Recurring Role

Laura Marano

Laura Marano


Recurring Role

Ty Miller

Ty Miller

Tech Agent

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • This is presumably based on the 1976 kidnapping in Chowchilla, California in which a bus full of children and their bus driver were kidnapped. They were taken to a quarry in Livermore and left in a van which had been buried underground.

      After 16 hours they were able to escape and three men were arrested. The story was later filmed as the TV movie They've Taken Our Children: The Chowchilla Kidnapping, called Vanished Without a Trace in the UK.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Samantha Spade: You really think their father's in on it with them?
      Martin Fitzgerald: Doesn't look like he needs any more money. He's probably just protecting his kids.
      Samantha Spade: Yeah, remind me not to have any.
      Martin Fitzgerald: They don't all turn out to be psychopathic kidnappers, you know.
      Samantha Spade: Let me guess -- 2.2, white picket fence, golden retriever.
      Martin Fitzgerald: Yeah, maybe. Something like that.
      Samantha Spade: (Sadly.) Not for me. Not in this world.

    • Samantha Spade: Do yourself a favor, don't get shot; it's not all it's cracked up to be.

  • NOTES (3)


    • This episode is ripped from the headlines of the 1976 incident in Chowchilla, California when 26 school children and their driver disappeared. Their bus was found abandoned with the captives being held for 30 hours in an airless tomb before being rescued. In the end, the driver was initially considered a suspect and the kidnappers demanded a $2.5 million ransom. The novel Why Have They Taken Our Children by Jack W. Baugh and Jefferson Morgan documents the case.

    • Doug: She's a milf, isn't she?

      Milf (or M.I.L.F.) stands for 'mom I'd like to f***', a term popularized by the American Pie series of movies.