"Without A Trace" follows the missing persons squad of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation. After a solid first-season performance, this fast-paced procedural drama was consistently in the top ten during the summer repeat season, with millions of viewers finding it for the first time.
The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen recently visited the show's set and tried to find out what's in store for season two.
Heading up the team of investigators is Anthony LaPaglia, who plays senior agent Jack Mallone.
"We've had the luxury of being able to evolve without too much pressure," he says. "We weren't expected, necessarily, to succeed. So we didn't have that much pressure put on us. Which kind of allowed us, I think, to grow during the year."
"In some ways, it's great to know that the show is being discovered and that people are very interested in it and starting to watch it more. On the other hand, you feel a greater obligation to keep the standard high," LaPaglia adds.
And those high standards include trying to stay close to FBI procedure within the confines of a one-hour drama
LaPaglia explains, "In the scene that we just did, something felt off. And so the technical advisor was there. That constantly goes on. We constantly are trying to make it as accurate as possible." At the same time, he notes, "Sometimes accurate is not interesting."
As private agent Danny Taylor, actor Enrique Marciano says, "I've learned a lot about the FBI. At the same time, we'll never really be the FBI. I'll never know what it's like to really risk my life out there, or to really have someone's life in jeopardy. That's where the acting comes in."
While the focus of "Without A Trace" will always be finding those who are missing, viewers are about to learn more about the personal lives of the show's FBI agents, much to the delight of Poppy Montgomery, who plays Samantha Spade.
Montgomery says, "You know, it's always going to be a procedural show, which is what's interesting about it. But it's cool to have those little glimpses of their personal lives."
Spade seems to be torn between her boss, Jack Malone, and the newest member of the team, Martin Fitgerald, played by Eric Close. So you can expect to see a love triangle this season, says Montgomery, "But I'm not sure how it's developing really. I know as much as the audience knows."
So what does she really know?
Montgomery says, "I know that Samantha's still got feelings for Jack, and he's trying to work it out with his wife."
The question then is, does Jack still have feelings for Samantha?
"I hope so," Montgomery says with laughter, "I think so. I think they're sort of torn, you know, and they really have this genuine affection, and attraction, and everything, for each other. But he is trying to give it a shot with his wife. And I know that there's chemistry developing between Samantha and Martin. But what's going to happen, I don't know."
Perhaps Martin is going to be the rebound guy for Samantha. And Montgomery agrees, "I think so. That's how I would play it. He really likes her. She loves Jack. That's my theory," she says.
But costar Close has his own theory: "We may really see that start to happen even more in the third season. Right now, I think what we're really trying to focus on, is them building a friendship. So, it's fun, because you see these two people working together. And you see that they like working together, and they're building a relationship, and a friendship so that hopefully, there may come that moment where they're in the middle of something, and then all of a sudden, they look at each other, and it's kind of like, 'Oh, hey, maybe there's something more than just a friendship,'" Close says.
Samantha and Martin aren't the only ones who may find romance this season.
"My character is falling in love," Murciano says. But with whom he cannot say. But he does tell Chen viewers may know her already.
He says, "You do know her, but you don't know. I mean, I can't tell you who she is, but you do know who she is: someone new, someone fresh, someone sexy, beautiful, easy to fall in love with."
What a tough job he has. "And I get paid," Murciano exclaims.
The characters will be dealing with personal issues this season, but they will not distract from the show's straight-from-the-headlines missing persons investigations – heavy subject matters that sometimes - only sometimes - have good endings.
Asked if she looks at milk cartons and posters of missing people differently since she started working on the show, Montgomery says, "I do. I'm more aware of it. I also follow the cases a lot more. Laci Peterson, I've been really following that avidly. And theorizing. I've always been kind of fascinated. You know, Chandra Levy. I followed that case. But now, I find myself kind of trying to think from the perspective of the profiler: How did it happen? What would be the alternatives?"
You can see "Without A Trace" Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT on CBS