Sister Rose on Without A Trace

without-a-trace-etbscreenwritingThe television series, Without a Trace, is a classic Power of Truth story. A good friend, Sister Rose Pacatte, wrote about a recent episode “Miracle Worker” in her blog.

My comments about her post are in (parenthesis).

Sister Rose writes:

Did you see Without a Trace last night? I thought it was extraordinary – about a weeping statue in a pub, the people who find it, and an authentic and touching look at sadness, faith, lack of faith, doubt, hope, love and mercy.

(Laurie: This episode explored profound Power of Truth questions like: Who can I trust? Did I see what I thought I saw? What is really going on here? Who is hiding something? Am I being deceived? What do I really believe? How can I be absolutely certain? What does it all mean?)

Using the statue (character) of St. Therese, a French Carmelite nun (1873 – 1897) in the episode was so appropriate because she had her own dark night of the soul and she is known for this. The episode, entitled “Miracle Worker”, was a story with layers of dark nights for some of the usual characters (especially Jack played by Anthony La Paglia and Samantha played by Poppy Montgomery) and a teenage girl, her uncle and her father.

The mercy and rays of light that come from faith and wanting to believe play out in very believable ways. It is a complex episode that was deftly written and rendered. I think this long-running show, now in its 7th season (CBS, Tuesdays, 10pm) deserves thoughtful attention because of its consistently human and catholic themes (little “c” and sometimes big “C”). This episode offers much to talk about around the water cooler – and in sermons and homilies too.

“Miracle Worker” is a perfect example of the sacramentality of television and cinema stories: the outward expression of inner realities.

A friend of mine who is a spiritual director told me back in 2002 that she thought Without a Trace is a Good Shepherd show: the FBI characters, despite their flaws, go in search of the lost, often at great personal cost. As they search for others, they search for their own core self, for meaning that transcends their lives.

(Laurie: This classic Power of Truth narrative territory. These stories begin with a obvious question, mystery or crime. During the course of the investigation a larger truth is revealed. In this case, about faith or the lack thereof. In the end, the investigator discovers some truth about him or herself).

Last night’s “Without a Trace” was Episode 12: “Miracle Worker”. I couldn’t find the entire episode online but there are clips. It may run again on Saturday:

(Laurie: Thanks Sister Rose for permission to reprint your post.)

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