Without a Trace is an American television show set in New York City. The show is about a fictitious FBI missing persons unit, each episode usually following the investigation into one person's disappearance.
The series debuted as part of the CBS fall line-up in 2002, created by Hank Steinberg and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. The show was the first to ever score strong ratings opposite longtime NBC hit ER — which, like Without a Trace, is produced by Warner Bros. Television and CBS Paramount Television. The first two showrunners were Hank Steinberg and Ed Redlich. Between Seasons Two and Three, Steinberg and Redlich moved away from active participation in the series, with staff writers Jan Nash and Greg Walker taking over.
The unit the show follows is a fictitious one; the real FBI has no dedicated missing persons unit, with investigations into disappearances occurring as needed on a case-by-case basis. The series also focuses on the personal lives of the team members, and illustrates how their different experiences give them insight - and sometimes traumatic reactions - to certain cases. In many episodes a team member makes an emotional connection to a case that causes him or her to take the proceedings personally.
One element that sets the show apart from other current TV crime dramas is the display of information on real-life missing persons at the end of most episodes. Occasionally such information is replaced, in cases such as the episode containing an attempted suicide when information on a suicide help line was aired instead. Showings in other countries tend to omit this information; however, Australia's Nine Network usually shows information on missing persons Australia, and in Hong Kong the TVB Pearl showed information of missing persons in Hong Kong after each episode during the first two seasons.
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