#917 Without a Trace (1983)

An absolute nightmare of any parent, Without a Trace follows the story of a mother whose six year old boy disappears on his way to the school. Based on the novel Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon, which is in turn partly based on the disappearance of Etan Patz, a New York kid who famously became the first lost child to be profiled on the a milk carton in the early 80s.

What makes Without a Trace interesting is the approach of concentrating on the effect that the disappearance has on the parents, and less so to the actual detective work to find the boy – which here only leads to a number dead ends. As time passes without any clues, the journalists and the public move on and it seems like a much more demanding task to get anyone interested in finding child, now assumed lost for good.

Despite the near made-for-TV quality and disappointing – if a little surprising – resolution of the case, Without a Trace is an emotional ride that manages to keep the interest and the hopes of the viewer up until the very last minutes.

80s-o-meter: 62%

Total: 68%