Without a Trace

Season 4 Episode 23

White Balance

1
Aired Thursday 10:00 PM May 11, 2006 on CBS
8.9
out of 10
User Rating
119 votes
20

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
Jack finds himself in the hotseat when a young white woman and a young black man, go missing on the same night and Jack is ordered to put more of the team's resources into finding the young woman.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Sad Reality, Weak Jack

    8.5
    I am surprised at Jack in this episode. He was so weak and so unfair. He has gone much further in other cases when he thought he needed to make a decision that was not popular. Here he folds like a lamb. He has been fiercer with his superiors before but here - when it really mattered he was weak. It almost made me sick to see this episode. I never knew he would choose one victim over another.



    Both deserved to be found. And it turned out that the black boy was simply taking care of a (delinquent) father. While the white girl was playing hookie to a (much) older (scumbag) boyfriend. He split the team: (black) Johnson to the 'black' case and Fitzgerald, Delgado, Spade, Taylor AND himself to the 'white' case. That's 1 to 5!! If this is a reflection on reality - it is very sad indeed.



    As to who died and who survived. I think Johnson had to be questioning her guy (and boy didn't she put in some work all by herself!) and someone from Team 5 had to be questioning the teen, so Delgado looking in the trunk doesn't mean that the dead person was the girl - just that they could finally reallocate some resources.



    Final: Jack was surprisingly weak. I wonder if Vivian forgets this. Mother should have ran screaming to any station that would have listened - but maybe there wasn't any anyway.moreless
  • I can't believe people couldn't figure out which one lived and which one died!

    9.0
    A friend of mine told me about a trick while watching CSI, to keep the cases in order. For those who don't watch it, CSI frequently has multiple cases. All you have to do is remember who's working which case, and you can quickly put context to any scene.



    The scene in question in this episode was where Elena was on the phone with Jack, telling him that the identity had been confirmed, while looking in the trunk of a car which obviously contained a dead body. Remember, Elena was working the white girl case, along with every other agent except Vivian. Based on this, we are meant to conclude that the white girl died, while the black boy survived.moreless
  • Well written episode where a white minor caucasian female and African-American minor male are missing at the same time. Due to politics against Jack\'s wishes, more publicity and manpower is used to locate the female while only one detective is assignedmoreless

    8.5
    Pretty good story line until the ending which failed to clearly disclosed if the missing female minor died or the minor male. Jack received notice of the child\'s death when the agent assigned to the missing female called him from the scene as she was standing in front of an opened car trunk containing the dead child. Jack rose out of his chair with a grim look on his face knowing he now had to reveal the death to the mothers sitting next to each other at the end of the hall. As Jack stood in front of both mothers he did look at the female\'s mother and as he when approached both mothers to disclose the death. The female\'s mother began to cry histerically indicating the mother could see her daughter\'s fate in Jack\'s eyes, the unfortunate death of her daughter. The irony is that due to politics against Jack\'s wishes more manpower and publicity was used to locate the missing female but this failed to change the outcome. Clearly revealing who died wouldn\'t have change the impact of the story.moreless
  • Two teens missing: One white, one black. One female, one male. The FBI and the media give more atention to the missing white girl.

    7.8
    I had never watched an episode of "Without A Trace" before this, and probably won't in the future. But who knows? Not because I think it's a bad show, but I just happen to catch this episode in syndication while channel surfing. I'm into enough shows anyway. This episode was riveting and despite a few holes in the plot (i.e. why didn't the black mother try to get media attention elsewhere, why were both mothers at the FBI office at the end when they didn't know Jack had any final news until he came out, etc.) the episode had very good momentum, superb acting, and was emotive. My biggest complaint is with the "up-in-the-air ending" - One is alive and one is dead. One could debate and try to guess which teen was killed, but that simply becomes annoying. The show tried to go for a profound ending, which I applaud, but what they missed is that once an audience has followed your bread crumbs with such interest, you must satisfy them with closure. No, closure is not necessary in every situation, but this episode's writing didn't lend itself to a mysterious ending. I really think the writers were stuck. They didn't want to contradict their equal opportunity message by killing the black teen and they didn't want killing the white teen to be misconstrued as a radical pro-reverse discrimination message. So they went the safe route under the guise of the issue being the real point...Nice try, but no blue ribbon. The writing should've been crafted a little differently in key areas to acheive that. The episode would've received less negative feedback on this site and probably been received better on air had they chosen a teen to definitively be the dead teen, then scripted reflective conversation between main characters to drive home their deep point. (And yes, this is just my opinion).moreless
  • Two teens disappear on the same night-one a white girl, and the other a black boy. Jack is caught in the middle when the higher ups and the media want to focus on the girl while the boy's mother wants to know why her son isn't getting the same attention.moreless

    8.5
    This was an interesting episode, and has obviously generated alot of discussion for two reasons--the racial issue and the ending. In the episode, a white girl whose parents are divorced leaves her apartment and disappears on the streets of New York. On the same night, a black boy of a single mother is on his way to the library when he also disappears. It is revealed that the girl was involved with a man who tried to pimp her out. She fled the situation and we are left to guess where she finally ended up. The boy ended up reuniting with his absent father who is sick. It is revealed that the boy was spending alot of time with his father and was trying to help him. Vivian locates the father, who has been dead for two days. A witness tells Vivian that the boy found his father dead, left, and then got into a fight with a classmate over money. The ending shows the two suspects (the man who paid for sex with the girl and the classmate who fought with the boy) being escorted into the FBI offices and interrogated. Sam then comes into Jack's office to tell him that they have one who is alive, and one who is dead. We wait to find out which one is alive. Then there is a scene with Elena looking in the trunk of a car and she calls Jack to tell him that the victim has been identified. Jack walks down the hall toward the two mothers sitting next to each other to give them the news. The credits begin to roll and we are left to wonder...just like we wondered whether the innocent man was executed in Two Families. I will admit that I hate endings like these--I have a pretty good imagination, but I also like to have some things spelled out for me and I also like endings tied up with a bow. With regard to the racial element--the media and Jack's boss created that situation when they focused more attention on the girl's disappearance. You could argue that the fact that she was female rather than white generated the increased interest in her case. Because the media focused on the girl, there were more leads to follow which required more agents. I agree with the person who asked why the boy's mother didn't approach another television station. The answer is that it wouldn't have fit with the story line. One thing that I wonder about is that in a city like New York, they must have many missing persons to investigate at any given time. I am sure some are black, and some are white. I just think that this story was a little sensational.moreless
Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Audrey Williams

Guest Star

George Newbern

George Newbern

Ross Garner

Guest Star

Marin Mazzie

Marin Mazzie

Karyn Grant

Guest Star

Joshua Gomez

Joshua Gomez

James Mackeroy

Recurring Role

Lynn Whitfield

Lynn Whitfield

Paula Van Doran

Recurring Role

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