Without a Trace

Season 4 Episode 15

The Stranger

Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Feb 09, 2006 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
78 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When Leah Robinson goes missing after a confrontation with a young man at an art gallery, the team moves in to investigate and soon becomes suspicious of Leah, suspecting her of murdering young women that she believed to be involved with her husband, Ken. Ann isn't quite ready to take her romance with Jack public, and their relationship gets rocky when their different methods of handling the case tip off the suspect.moreless

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  • Not the greatest episode, but not without it's pivotal moments

    The plot of this episode wasn't terribly original, the twists and turns were contrived and not all that surprising. Nonetheless, it was still a great episode. It was a little unbelievable to have Viv pose as a homeless person complete with a cell phone and car...and I'm unsure of what the whole "thanks for letting me borrow your car, elena" thing was -- implying elena's car looked like it would be long to a homeless person? Who knows...

    On the other hand, it was nice to see Jack and Anne's relationship develop. They have their own lovely chemistry -it's not as fiery as what I imagine Jack/Sam's was, but it seems more in tune with their characters. The end was one of the best moments I can remember in the series. You see a softer side of Jack and just a realization that what they have is real. There was no focus on Martin's addiction problem, which I have been curious about. Otherwise, nothing really stood out in this episode.

    Last note -- I do enjoy the tech guy's part in each episode. He's great as supporting cast.moreless
  • Someone has lost the plot!

    It really pains me to say this but for the most part this was a very poor episode.

    The story has been done a thousand times before and may have worked if it had been fleshed out a little more but by the end of this episode we had no greater understanding of why the husband murdered so many women and how the wife turned super detective to not only work out he was a serial killer but track down some of his victims' families.

    I'm afraid for me the whole Jack/Anne relationship just doesn't work. It has been introduced in a very sloppy manner and it is difficult to see any chemistry at all between the two characters. Their interactions come across as staid and aloof. I really like MEM as an actress but her acting in the final scene of this episode was very over the top.

    The one positive was that the team worked together on the case. The strong team dynamics of early seasons have really been missing in season 4 and it was good to see the guys all contribute to the final case resolution.moreless
  • The plot and episode were a little contrived, but the reedeming factor was the quiet subtleness of Jack and Ann's newfound relationship. The last moments especially are the highlight of maybe even the series.moreless

    I felt pretty indifferent about this story. A little upset that it was quite obvious we should distrust the husband at the start and I thought the family was set up to be too "perfect" and "aw shucks" (especially the good, cute son) for us NOT to suspect something was awry.

    But all that aside, I really enjoyed this episode for the Jack and Ann story. It seemed contrived a bit, especially at the beginning with their strained moment in the parking lot and got too histrionic throughout the episode with Ann coming in and out, making a big deal out of Jack's method in this case (why this case? Aren't there a billion cases they do through the year that the legal counsel would be more upset and harpy about than this one?). It seemed a bit like they wanted to throw them a spike strip to mix it up a bit, when they don't really need that to develop (I mean, they just begin this romance; it's not like this is a stale and stagnant point of their relationship).

    But all was redeemed for me in the last scene of the episode; mostly because Mary Elizabeth and Anthony are two damn fine actors who make me almost weep. The sentimentality to the way Jack shows off his devotion and gentleness (especially as antithesis to his earlier rage) may seem too sacchrine or something, but LaPaglia pulls it off with such ease it's hard not to take it as real emotion. And Mastrontonio is a master at controlled release of emotions. She is so good at showing how much the stress and emotional upheaval (from losing her husband so fast to being quickly knee-deep in a relationship with one of his best friends) is taking its toll on her, yet you can feel her really want to make it work and her appreciation for Jack is apparent.

    Together they make this scene so perfect, it just makes me want to burst into tears. The way Jack just softly answers her question of what he wants with a simple, "You. I want you," is heartmelting. Plus, the softness of the scene is added with her saying, "No," she wants to walk out with him and putting her head against his as he helps her put on her coat. Along, with the ending shot of her putting her arm around him (and he doing likewise) is a satisfying end to a rather touching end.

    I know I sound like some over-emotional fool, but it was a perfect scene and absolutely one of my favorites of this whole series. I am quite enjoying this "adult" relationship that Ann and Jack have and their chemistry is very real and moving. I can't wait for more.moreless
  • I did not like this story

    The back story of Jack and the new girlfriend is boring. The missing person story was not good. The only person I thought was intersting was the son. The mother hiding and getting the preacher to get the son was intersting. The husband was completely creepy. There is something about that actor that makes my skin crawl.
  • An African American homeless woman with a cell phone and a luxury vehicle, go figure.

    Not being racist, but when Vivian comes to your door dressed the way she was, who would it be possible to contact her on her "cell"? And why would she drive away in her sparkling new car? Whatever the case, this episode was good at interweaving two plots, but I felt shortchanged by the squads reluctance to reunite with the disappearee. And as usual, Aussie Jack continues to act the pants off his co workers, his only problem being he chose to date some ugly irrational bitch, rather than a blonde thing with big boobs, which would have been far more visually stimulating!moreless
Meeghan Holaway

Meeghan Holaway

Leah Robinson

Guest Star

Christopher Shyer

Christopher Shyer

Ken Robinson

Guest Star

Ned Schmidtke

Ned Schmidtke

Greg Barnes

Guest Star

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Ann Cassidy

Recurring Role

Joshua Gomez

Joshua Gomez

James Mackeroy

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Jack Malone: Well, what do you want?
      Ann Cassidy: I don't know. What do you want?
      Jack Malone: You. I want to be with you.
      Ann Cassidy: Even after today?
      Jack Malone: Today was just one of those bad work days, I think.
      Ann Cassidy: But you wanted me to trust you.
      Jack Malone: It would have been nice...but maybe next time.
      Ann Cassidy: Next time...are you heading out?
      Jack Malone: Let me help you with that. It's pretty cold outside.
      Ann Cassidy: Yeah.
      Jack Malone: You want me to wait back a bit so that you can leave unobserved?
      Ann Cassidy: No. Let's go.
      Jack Malone: Let's go.

    • Jack Malone: Sorry I had to cancel breakfast.
      Ann Cassidy: It's okay. Someone's gone missing, my egg and cheese breakfast can wait.

  • NOTES (3)