Have Cheetah,Will View #368 – “Without A Trace” Season 3 (2004)

Its 7:30 pm
warm

The cheetah and I are saddling up and heading back to Jack Malone and his Missing Persons Unit on “Without A Trace”. Thanks to our undercover informant “M” (<– has a Richard Roxburgh quality about it,doesn’t it?) over at Warner Brothers Archive,we can take a look at season three of this great series. For those of you who may not know this series,”Without A Trace” was about a small squad of FBI agents who handled both big and normal missing persons cases. It was set in the CSI universe and featured crossovers with CSI and Gil Grissom.

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As with most series now,”Without A Trace” ended season two with a ton of cliffhangers, Jack (Anthony LaPaglia) was transfering to the FBI offices in Chicago in an attempt to save his marriage,he had an affair with Samanatha Spade (Poppy Montgomery) in season one which came back to bite him in the ass in season two.
Not learning anything from that,Samantha decides to start a relationship with her fellow agent Martin Fitzgerald (Eric Close).
With Jack leaving,the unit is going to be led by Vivian Johnson (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and she is quietly excited to be given a chance to lead,being a African-American and woman means there is quite the ceiling she has had to face.
Danny Taylor (Enrique Murciano) has been trying to separate his rough upbringing and shame of his family from his life,has a change of heart and appears at a parole meeting and speaks for his brother who has battled drug addiction and criminal activity much of his life.

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The season opener “In the Dark” lets us know its not business as usual as Danny and Samantha decide to start a relationship while Jack’s wife tosses him a bombshell in saying she doesn’t him moving with her and the kids,she wants a divorce. Of course this completely sends the whole team scrambling while looking for a kidnapped aide to a blind girl who has escaped her captor.
The fallout of Maria’s divorce request impacts the squad in “Thou Shalt Not” Jack tells his supervisor what has happened and he is given back the Missing Persons unit which deeply wounds Vivian and fractures Jack and her friendship. The missing person is a woman whose past has come back to haunt her for terrorists she commited earlier in her life.
There are several excellent episodes in the third season as the writing and directing really rises to the forefront. “Without A Trace” really excelled in the guest casting and also character development,the unit is shown as a flawed group of men and women doing a most difficult job and as in season,not every story has a happy ending.
The four episodes that impacted us the most were the following.

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“Neither Rain or Snow” featured the sorely missed Elizabeth Pena as a US Postal worker who goes missing on a regular day. The team finds out that she was delivering a hot new video and game and that when the thieves hijacked her cargo,they also kidnapped her because she saw too much.  But when they dig deeper,Jack and the squad something even darker in the missing woman’s past.  Also covered is a heart condition that Vivian developed after losing the leadership of the squad.

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“Trials” sees a elderly juror named Peter Ducek disappear in the middle of a murder case. The team has to find out what has happened to him and while Jack suspects the defendant,a violent gang member,may have something to do with it,its not nearly that simple and the reasons why Ducek vanished are over 60 years in the past.

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“Lone Star” sees a guest appearance by the patron saint of “Have Cheetah,Will View”,the mighty Lochlyn Munro as  a shady real estate broker named Lance Hamilton who moved from Texas to New York. The squad finds that Hamilton has had dealings with low level mobster Jimmy the Tooth but are surprised when they stumble across a sex slave ring and discover that Hamilton is a undercover cop hellbent on breaking it up.

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“Off The Tracks” finds Danny’s brother Rafi doing well after getting out of jail but in his eagerness to own his auto body shop engage with with a shady car thief who fronts him the money for the shop if he’ll do the thief a “favor” by packing a car full of coke for a mule run. But when the car is stolen,Rafi becomes the target of revenge and the pressure of losing his potential shop and then the drug packed car sends Rafi on a dark path. We also find out that Danny,who is studying to pass the bar exam didn’t fail it as he has told everyone when he was younger. It turns out that Danny had been arrested for a DUI and is a alcoholic in recovery. It helps explain the distance he has with his brother Rafi but also why Danny isn’t giving up on him.

The season ends with a terrific cliffhanger as Martin and Danny are ambushed transporting a prisoner and taking fire. Vivian is having open heart surgery the same day as she fights for her life.
We’ll have to watch season four to see if they make it.

This is a good show and one I have enjoyed watching very much. The characters are easy to invest in and to care about and its their flaws that makes the viewer care about them.
As mentioned,the writing is compelling and the show is well directed,there are no “duds” or filler episodes.
The third season of “Without A Trace” consists of 23 episodes and unfortunately just as with the second season,the special features are razor thin with just a few deleted scenes included.
You can get a copy of this season by going to the website of Warner Brothers Archives.

The cheetah and I gave the third season of “Without A Trace” two thumbs/two paws straight up.

Have you ever watched this show? If so,please drop a comment and tell about your favorite episodes.

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