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YMMV / Without a Trace

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  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: At the beginning of Season 2, Samantha sarcastically tells Martin, "Don't get shot, it's not all it's cracked up to be.", referring to her having been shot at the end of Season 1. Indeed, two years later, Martin himself is shot and ends up even worse off than Samantha.
    • The show itself. It premiered in the fall of 2002, after a summer full of high-profile kidnappings and was seemingly inspired by these incidents. However, networks typically announce their fall lineups in the spring, meaning that the show was pitched and developed well before any of these incidents occurred, making its relevance just an eerily appropriate coincidence.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: One episode had, as the victim, a girl with a noticeable but reasonable amount of heft to her. She was treated as though she were morbidly obese: she had only one friend, was constantly terrorized for her weight, and had massive self-esteem issues.
  • Ho Yay: Martin and Danny share as much banter, rapport, and meaningful looks with each other as they do with their female partners, if not moreso. The fact that they can't stand each other at first before eventually becoming good friends could easily be interpreted as Belligerent Sexual Tension. Then there's Danny's reaction when Martin is shot—he's absolutely horrified when he sees that he's been shot—Jack needs to forcibly drag him away to allow the paramedics to work, he babbles hysterically while telling Jack what happened, can barely let the doctor treat his own injuries because he's so worried about Martin and nearly blows the subsequent investigation when he's so determined to kill Martin's assailant that he almost shoots an innocent civilian—Jack again needs to restrain him over his angry protests—"Let go of me. Let go of me". If Samantha had been the one acting like that, viewers would have unanimously agreed she was still in love with him. Then when Martin returns to work, he practically gives him a Longing Look and is the one to recognize his painkiller addiction and push him to get help for it—the two of them essentially exchange held gazes when Martin joins him at an AA meeting, and the So Proud of You handshake he gives him upon learning that he's gotten a sponsor and committed to getting his act together reads a lot like Holding Hands. It's no wonder most of the show's Slash Fic is based around them.
    Danny: "Hey, Martin. When this is all over (an Internal Affairs investigation) and you and I are looking for our next gig, I think that you and I make a hell of a team."
    Martin: "What, selling shoes?"
    Danny: "Shoes, boots, pumps, whatever."
    Martin: "Sounds good to me."

    • There's also that bit in the pilot where Jack realizes a suspect is gay because he notices him checking Martin out.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In "Suspect", Jack is so determined to get a Serial Killer / pedophile to confess to where he's stashed the Victim of the Week (who Jack believes is still alive) that while he and Martin are transporting the prisoner, Jack completely sinks to his level, waxing rhapsodic about his desire for "beautiful, innocent boys".
    "I understand you. I envy you. I'll give you fifteen minutes to do whatever you want with him, as long as you tell me where he is."
    • The creepy music and relentless pounding of the rain and the rhythmic sound of the windshield wipers make it even scarier.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Christina Hendricks, who is now known for Mad Men, was the missing person in the episode "Check Your Head". She's not the only person in this episode who became famous afterwards, as it features a cameo by a certain future Hiro.
    • Jack's daughter Hannah was played by Vanessa Marano, who would go on to play Bay Kennish in Switched at Birth.
    • In the Season 3 finale, a woman named Paige is "missing" and she is played by Anna Belknap. Five months later, a character by the name of Linsday Monroe shows up on CSI: NY...also played by Anna Belknap.
    • Future member of the British Royal Family Meghan Markle appears in season 7's episode "Chameleon".
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    • Thom Barry and John Finn both guest-starred in episodes (as a cop and an FBI agent, respectively), a year before beginning lead roles on Cold Case
    • Patrick J Adams and Rick Hoffman of later Suits fame guest-starred in two separate episodes. This borders on Hilarious in Hindsight, given Eric Close's recurring role on the latter show.
  • Spoiled by the Format: Whenever a witness is talking to the agents without an accompanying flashback, it's usually a pretty good sign that they're lying.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Samantha and Brian. She conceives after a one-night-stand after which she can't even remember his name, needs to use her job skills to track him down and tell him in five minutes that (a) he's going to be a father and (b) that she wants him to sign over his parental rights, and while she eventually lets him spend time with his son, there are no real signs of them building a relationship—until the series finale, when Samantha abruptly decides to dump Jack for a literal Last Minute Hookup with Brian. note . Quite glaring considering the notable amount of time spent developing her other relationships with Martin and Jack.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • One episode ended with Malone desperately searching for a car with a possibly-dead person in it, expertly edited and backed by Moby's "One of These Mornings". See it for yourself, it's like Tuco looking for the right grave in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
    • "Neither Rain Nor Sleet." At first there's the suspicion that Rosie Diaz could have even been implied to be involved in pedophilia, but as the truth comes out, it's evident she was truly a good and caring person... Which makes her death at the hands of her brother, whom she had always tried to help for her whole life, (and who-unknown to her-set up for Rosie to be suspected of children abuse just to have her foster children out of the way) even more tragic.
    • Happy tears (paired with "Heartwarming"), when at the end of the episode "Hang On To Me", a man is reunited with the son he had been searching for for six years.
    • "Wannabe" really strikes a chord with anyone who's been bullied.

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