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Without a Trace

Season 2 Episode 15

Wannabe

3
Aired Thursday 10:00 PM Feb 12, 2004 on CBS
SUBMIT REVIEW

Episode Fan Reviews (21)

9.3
out of 10
Average
168 votes
  • Just watched it as a re-run last night - weeping is the word

    9.0
    I watched this last night and had to remind myself that it's NOT REAL!! Unbelievably moving, rip your heart out story. Loved the boy (my own son is 9) and like everyone else could relate to someone who already feels worthless being pushed over the edge and given 'proof' by cruelty from other kids. I went through the wringer on this one. Thank God he lives at the end; would have been too sad if not.
  • How cruel kids can be..

    9.0
    I really think that episode had a great dynamics and such an important story.. It is just so weird how cruel can kids be to each other.. and that time in school.. I remember my own days back then.. and it was not easy.. So maybe this episode really did get out to open the problem noone talks about - children can trust people.. they should share their problems and not to be afraid.. not that I know most parents would just say - it will pass.. you get older.. but I think both children and parent really need sometimes to be reminded that they have responsibility.. to care.. and that episode really had that message out loud and clear
  • A twelve year old boy, that is deemed a loser, is having the worst 24 hours of his life and the team races to find him before he hurts others, or himself

    10
    I have seen this episode at least 20 times (gotta love DVR) and the whole episode just makes me weep. You truly feel this boys pain and it is hard to imagine that these type of things actually do happen in schools. How kids can treat each other that way and have no issues with it is just awful. Jake Thomas did a phenomenal job and i can definitely see him becoming a huge star in the future. And of course, Enrique Murciano did an amazing job, the main scene at the end with him and Jack (those who've seen it know) jus awes me. This is absolutely, 100%, no doubt in my mind the best episode of Without a Trace EVER!
  • Eric , a young teen, has a crush. He's lured to a stable where he is tied up and tortured by a gang of girls.

    10
    The ringleader being the sister of his bestfriend. She takes pictures of the incident and posts it around school . When his best friend informs him, he attempts suicide. The detectves manage to get to him just in time.

    This was so painful to watch. SO much so that I think my heart was numb from it all. I couldn't even cry. It was as if I had mentally prepared myself to block it out. I watched this twice and it is absolutely heart wrenching how those girls could be so cruel. I missed the beginning of the ep and caught it when they were interviewing the girl with the glasses. However, when the detectives found him at the end. OMG! The way they ran to him and one of them jumped over the toy in the yard , it was the most amazing scene ever! My heart really ached there and I'm still surprised that I didn't cry or couldn't. Even the detective cried. I felt so bad for that little boy and they ought to have children watch episodes like this. I was always one to stand up for the underdog no matter what. I HATED it when people picked on others. This was really an accurate depiction of how harsh kids can be and I am just glad that they got to that little boy in time. My heart just hearts so much right now and I'm glad. They were able to make me feel something once again .
  • Classic example of the importance of youth development and the importance of building positive supportive relationships with young people.

    10
    Classic example of the importance of youth development and the importance of building positive supportive relationships with young people. Youth development is the process by which young people seek to meet their needs and build the necessary competencies for success. In this case the need is self-worth. This episode is a revealing case study that underscores the disconnect between adults and young people. It shows that young people exist within a culture that is uniquely theirs, especially when they are not meaningfully included in the adult world. Without demonstrated caring behaviors from adults (parents, teachers, etc.)youth create their own means of getting their needs met -- positively or negatively.
  • What a shocker....

    10
    When I saw Jack and Danny running down the garden and then the tear running down Danny's face as he held the boy, I just blubbered. Superb, what else can I say other than this is my favourite episode, of any show on TV. I've now watched it about 3 times and every time it sends a chill down my spine, what is worse is the fact that bullying in schools is a fact of life, this episode should be shown in schools in the anti-bullying campaigns. I would give 11/10 if I could. Harrowing and not to be missed.
  • A great show and the reason TV should be made. It was painful for me to watch, but I'm glad I did.

    10
    In my experience with school bullies, I know exactly why this kid acted as he did. I had a horrible experience in school and am now just starting to move past it. I still have scars from it, but I know how to be myself now without people telling who I should be and what I should do. It esd hard to watch this show after what happened to me, but it was theraputic also. I thank the creators of this show and those who put it on. Everyone did a fine job on it.
  • A young boy is bullied & tortured all without his parents knowing. His classmates torture him in a stable and the pictures around school. He runs away and calls his best friend to say goodbye & that he is going to commit suicide. Danny & Jack save him.

    10
    Wannabe was a unique episode which can relate to everyone on a certain level. This was a very painful episode that really conveys the truth about how cruel kids can be to one another. I loved how Danny showed some emotion, which rarely happens. This episode had kept you thinking right from the beginning and the ending was a bit different from the rest of the episodes. I also loved the song played at the end when Danny & Jack save the boy from hanging himself. The cast was amazing in this episode and so was the boy who played the missing person.
  • Heartwrenching, and true to society today.

    10
    The first time I watched this, I knew what happened at the end, but was still brought to tears. This type of episode was so hard to watch because it touches on very real aspects of society. Kids can be so incredibly cruel to each other, and it brought back memories of elementary and middle school for me.
    The second or third time I watched this was just after my friend committed suicide in May. of 06. The song at the end brought me to tears like no other episode has, and brought back heart wrenching memories of my friend\\\'s death. The song, combined with Enrique Murciano\\\'s performance (crying) as well as the rest of the cast, makes this episode one of the saddest yet best episodes I have ever seen.
  • Good writing, good story, good acting make it all feel real

    9.1
    This episode aired tonight on TNT after "Law & Order", and I didn't jump fast enough to change the channel. I haven't "ignored" this series so much as I watch too much TV as it is, and didn't want to get caught up in another "not to be missed" series.

    Then I saw Jake Thomas in the opening sequence and checked out the Tvguide.com summary, and decided to watch. Thomas is best known for impeccable comic acting in "Lizzie McGuire", but remembering him from Stephen Spielberg's "AI", I knew he could pull off the dramatic material. In "AI" he's the boy who comes out of a coma and bullies David (the AI); here he's the victim of the bullying.

    Early in this episode, there's a scene with a counselor that felt wooden to me -- but that may have been a case of "rushed" performance because of filming deadline. Otherwise, Thomas and all the other cast (regulars and guest stars) are flawless.

    To my knowledge it's only recently that TV series have gotten so realistic on the subject of bullying. Family sitcoms covered it ad nauseum, and "Little House" handled the subject pretty well. Whether or not these cautionary 2000's dramatic episodes are meant to be preventative or merely entertaining, I hope they're effective in their intent in changing lives. Bullying isn't just kids, really: I've seen it happen in office environments; words instead of fists.

    It's natural to wonder whether it was necessary to be so graphic, (SPOILERS AHEAD) showing Eric (Thomas' character) shoved into a toilet, then tied up, then hanging in that backyard. Is public school really that brutal? Hard to say. I do know the realism on TV these days has its bad and good sides; in this case, I'm all for how this subject was so brutally depicted.

    Maybe the kids merely describing what was done to Eric would have been enough. (Makes me wonder how Thomas felt while filming those scenes). But having him hanging there -- yeah, I'm glad they showed it. It's one thing for kids to think about hanging; it's quite another to watch the slow torturous death. Watching it happen makes it so obvious how senseless and needless that kind of death is. Kids thinking of trying it will hopefully think again; kids who've pushed other kids that far will hopefully back off. This episode is a great wake-up call.

    And I liked that the parents promised to get Eric into another school!

    For anyone interested, "Cold Case" did an episode called "The Sleepover" which tackles this subject just as superbly. It's just as potent, and just as much of a tear-jerker.
  • A school boy goes missing and the team is forced to review all options, including crime and assualt. However the team is shocked to learn that a bunch of schoolgirls and guys are the real reason to this tragic story.

    10
    I have to say it; this is not an episode I watch very much - it makes me cry. I'm not the person to cry a lot but this is really really hard to watch. Might be because I know how the boy must have felt - I was picked on too. I do feel sorry for the boy but I can't help but feel sorry for those girls too - they don't have much selfesteem nor do they understand what they did. Not until it was almost too late anyway. These people will have this night mare of an event haunt them for the rest of their lives. I hope they learned something from this - putting people through what they put him through is inhuman.
    I'm happy they found him in time - or I wouldn't have given this episode a full score of points. The frigthening realism and the heartbreaking, yet simple storyline is what earned this episode its score from me. The acting in this was also at its very best - not only do we see Enrique almost in tears by the very end but those children were really really good at playing both mean, hurt and regretful. You just have to admire that. The music was also well chosen - I couldn't ask for more. :)
  • When a young boy disappers, apparently abducted from school, it soon becomes clear that there's much more to it.

    9.7
    I defy anyone to watch this episode and not feel a lump in their throat or a tear in their eye. How many people have endured, if not the exact same thing, a similar feeling during their school life of being not part of the in-crowd, of being bullied, or not knowing where they fit in?

    The young actor playing the boy gets it exactly right - he conveys the feelings of humiliation, wanting to be liked and failing and the desperation that comes with it.

    Having worked in education it's no joke that children can be amazingly cruel to each other. Their motives are often simple and logical and they don't expect things to get out of hand - just as the children in this story. But when they do they can go disastrously wrong.

    I came away from the episode feeling bad and good at the same time. Bad because nobody should have to undergo these horrible feelings of disempowerment, and because the story is so moving - good because at least it turns out okay if not well. As an adult I wanted the kids that caused this whole thing to have to go through something more than a dressing down from their parents. It's not harmless fun - bullying is a crime, morally if not legally. I've just realised this is turning into a rant and it's not meant to be. A great episode that raises a lot of very important issues and questions. And any young people reading this - talk to your parents; talk to anyone - don't try and take it all in silence. And you are NOT alone.
  • A teen has a crush on a girl and is tricked into meeting her where she then takes embarrasin pictures of him. After the humiliation he decides to commit suicide.

    9.0
    Ahhhh sad episode. I am a teen and have seen similar situations like this. So to me it is very realistic which is so entertaining to watch. Veryyy well written. Dealing with the some of the emotional times that teens have (mine aren\'t nearly this bad luckily lol). The team keeps trying to find Eric but the girls keep lying making it even harder. Eric calls his best friend and tells him that he is going to kill himself(also realistic). Danny gets emotional when he find the boy hanging himself where he then starts to cry (which is understandable). Overall one of the best episodes.
  • The first time I watched \"Without a Trace\" was when TNT reaired this episode.

    10
    I know exactly what the character, Eric Miller, was feeling and what he was going through. This episode stuck with me for months and I have yet to get over it. Jake Thomas played his role so realistically it made you want to reach through the TV screen and hug him and never let go! Enrique Murciano could not possibly have faked those overwhelming emotions he displayed in his final scene, pulling the young boy down out of the rope. This episode probably hit most people where they lived as children. A given fact is children can be mean and how they treat others can make or break their \"targets\" for life. I believe it is a must see episode for all schoolyard bullies so they may experience to some degree just what their actions could cause. No child should ever have to fear life the way this character Eric Miller did...This episode was truly the epitome of art imitating life.
  • Very emotional episode.

    10
    A boy gets tormented by the girl he likes and runs away. He tries to kill himself. I swear I was all choked up when I saw him try to hang himself. I was so happy that they found him in time. The acting by him was amazing throughout the episode.
  • A boy is bullied at school so he runs away and tries to kill himself.

    9.2
    This is the only episode of "Without a Trace" that I cried at. I didn't even think about it, it was like an involuntary action that my brain put into motion after seeing what was on the screen.
    Everyone knows what its like to be bullied, and this episode shows that no one is safe. But this is what happens when it goes too far.
    I did not know at the time I was watching, only later when I looked up the episode on TV.com that the actor playing the missing boy is the kid who plays the little brother on Lizzie McQuire. Quite a difference in acting. I thought he looked familiar but would have never guessed that he went from a Disney Channel show to hardcore seriuos drama. I agree with whoever said he should have been nominated for something. Bravo!
  • Tearjerker and painful to watch!

    10
    Jake Thomas should had been nominated for an emmy as the misunderstood and only wants to be friends type of person
    That reminds me of myself as I was in his shoes too
    Now I make it a point to treat others the way that I want to be treated!
    Glad that they aired the number for suicide prevention in the end to help others!
  • This is exactly why I watch the series. Possibly the best emotional episode I have ever seen.

    10
    This is exactly why I watch the series. Possibly the best emotional episode I have ever seen. The music - touching. The acting - impecible. By a million miles the best show of Without a Trace. I recomend it to all- in my opinion they should send a copy of this episode and 'The Sleepover' from 'Cold Case' to every school in the country. At thirteen when I first saw this unique show, I was immediatly discouraged on two of possibly the biggest problem for teenagers- Suicide and bullying.Children under twelve may not understand but otherwise a definate must see for anyone above the age of twelve.
  • This was a really good episode, it touched a lot of viewers while showing how difficult being a teenager can be...

    9.8
    This was a really good episode, it touched a lot of viewers while showing how difficult being a teenager can be...

    Viewers feel sorry for the missing boy by the end of the show when they see the extremes that he's willing to go to to escape the bullying of him by his peers.

    all around a extremely moving and painful episode
  • The best hour of television I've seen in a long time.

    10
    I remember what it's like to be picked on by bullies. On one memorable occasion, a group of kids followed me and threw rocks at me. So watching the young boy in this episode suffer from school bullies is painful for me. The mystery is intriguing, too, as it always is on Without a Trace. What happened to Eric? I was in suspense as clues were revealed little by little. When his father broke down and said "So what if he gets Cs? I just want him back..." almost moved me to tears, but the finale of the episode sent me over the edge and I bawled like a baby for ten minutes. It's beautiful, well-acted, suspenseful...I just can't say enough good things about it.
  • a good episode

    10
    when i first heard about this episode on tv i wanted to watch it. The show reminded me of what i went through 1 year before and what nearly had happened to me. This show was such an insiration that i had to record it and take it to the class i was bein harrased in for farting and sneezing at the same time, i thought it would stop them but it did\\\'nt and i have no need to die anyways now
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