By Chris Chan
(Note: An abridged version of this essay first appeared in the magazine Gilbert several years ago.)
When it debuted in 2002, Without A Trace (WAT) was a highly entertaining and well-acted drama about a fictional FBI Missing Persons Unit. In its second season, the series matured brilliantly into one of the best series on television. The dynamism that propelled the freshman and sophomore years dulled a bit in the still-often-decent third and fourth seasons, but midway through the fourth season, the clever plotting and subtle character development began a slow and heartbreaking disintegration. Despite occasional brief resurgences, by the time WAT was cancelled after its seventh season, it was an emaciated shadow of its former self, yet it always could have easily returned to greatness.