Without A Trace

Friday, October 4, 2002

The past few months have shown a definate improvement in public awareness of the craft of a character actor. From Fametracker's excellent Hey! It's That Guy! report to bi-weekly columns in the LA Times, there seems to be a growing awareness of that actor who spends his career playing subtle variations on the exact same character. You may not know his name, but you can certainly get out a "Hey! It's that guy from _______"

Clearly the producers of Without A Trace are big fans of the character actor. Without A Trace stars that mobster/cop guy from Betsy's Wedding and Murder One as the head of the FBI's Missing Persons Squad (or MPS, as I will call them out of laziness). Also on his team is that gal from Glory Days, that guy from Now and Again, and the lady from Mr. Jealousy.

In the pilot, the girl from The American Embassy has disappeared, so the MPS has to go interview lots and lots of people to figure out what happenned. Hey, there's Jimmy Bond from The Lone Gunmen! Hey, there's Mr. Wyck from Seinfeld (or possibly Senator Kelly from X-Men or the cheating music critic from Grace of My Heart) And there's that guy from Metropolitan and Barcelona! Why doesn't he get more work? And why isn't Chris Eigemann doing ads for Pacific Bell anymore? Those were much better than the creepy, gloating ads with Tommy Lee Jones bragging about how PacBell is all-powerful.

This is fun! It's like a character actor free association game. Sadly, the second episode tones down the quanity of character actor appearances, but more than compensates by adding David Paymer, who may well be the most ubiqitous actor alive. One can only hope that the entire cast of Company Man makes its way onto this show at some point.

Unfortunately, the great casting seems to be masking a somewhat boring premise. The repetitive nature of missing persons investigations may make this show hard to watch on a regular basis. Still, I'll probably tune in every once in a while, and it certainly doesn't induce the "post-CSI-frantic-remote-control-off-button-mashing" that The Agency did, so I guess that's saying something.

Rating: B

Reviewed by Padgett Arango
Contents
The Hills Have Eyes 2

Hostel Part II

Six Degrees

Shark

Jericho

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Justice

The Hills Have Eyes

Love Monkey

Out of Practice

Head Cases

Crunchwrap Supreme

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Batman Begins

Garden State

Hero

13 Going On 30

LAX

Starman

quirkyalone.net

Kill Bill, Vol. 2

Line of Fire

We Shall All Be Healed

Happy Family

Arrested Development

Love Actually

A Minute with Stan Hooper

Tarzan

Karen Sisco

Stop All the World Now

Cold Case

Skin

10-8

Joan of Arcadia

Eve

Luis

Lost In Translation

House of 1000 Corpses

Bubba Ho-Tep

Darkness Falls

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Amazing Race

Treasure Island

FearDotCom

Adaptation

To Hit Armor Class Zero

Without A Trace

8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter

Life With Bonnie

Jalapeņo Cheeseburger

The Mothman Prophecies

Happy Campers

The Man Who Wasn't There

Kiss of the Dragon

Josie & the Pussycats

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Dr. Pepper

Know By Heart

Waking Life

L.I.E.

Thirteen Ghosts

Earthlink presents Chang and Eng

New York and Country Bar

Change

Motivation and Water Tower Grammar

Crossing Philly

Makeout Club

Undeclared

The Gap

The Abolition of Work

3000 Miles to Graceland

Kolobos

Duets

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Diesel Sweeties

The Cold Six Thousand

The Grilled Stuft Burrito (Rebuttal)

60 Second Wipeout

The Patriot

Grilled Stuft Burrito

Cowgirls

Crystalline

Frankenfinger E.P.

One Force Down

Shake

Both Our Secrets

Happy Birthday Captain Columbus!

Fight Club

Whatever It Takes

Committed

That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?

Joe Dirt

The Veggie Whopper

Taco Bell Nachos

Palmetto

Godzilla vs. Monster Zero

The Terror of Mechagodzilla

To The Center

Infiniti+Infiniti

American Psycho

The Del Shredder

What Lies Beneath

The Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Bring It On

Chill Factor

Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

Bad Company

The Blair Witch Project

Hyacinths and Thistles

Lake of Dracula

We'll Have a Time

Home Depot

Snow Day

The Virgin Suicides