Dr. Samantha "Sam" Waters (Ally Walker) is a forensic psychologist working for the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force based in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a "profiler"; she has a unique gift to "see" through the eyes of others which gives Sam a special insight into the workings of the criminal mind. While she performs all of her duties diligently, her real motive lies in a both professional and personal tragedy years earlier in which her husband was murdered by a serial killer known only as Jack of All Trades (played by Dennis Christopher, who was never fully seen until the middle of the third season, when he first appeared posing as a buffoonish sheriff of a small California town). Sam is part of an elite team of pros led by her mentor, Bailey Malone (Robert Davi), and that also includes Detective John Grant (Julian McMahon), computer hacker George Fraley (Peter Frechette), and forensic pathologist Grace Alvarez (Roma Maffia). Together, they solve the toughest of cases. She lives in a former firefighter station, guarded 24/7, with her seven-year-old daughter Chloe Waters (Caitlin Wachs), and her best friend Angel Brown (Erica Gimpel), an artist.
Other characters included Michael Whaley playing Nathan Brubaker who appeared throughout season one; a detective who was a former defense attorney. Shiek Mahmoud-Bey played Marcus Payton in season two who was an FBI agent skeptical of Sam's methods. A Martinez, who had previously worked with Ally Walker on the NBC daytime serial Santa Barbara, appeared occasionally in the first and second seasons playing Nick Cooper, an ATF bomb disposal expert who was Sam Waters love interest, who was later murdered by Jack. Heather McComb appeared frequently in the first and second seasons as Frances Malone, the wayward and rebellious teenage daughter of Bailey Malone. Traci Lords appeared throughout the second season playing a violent, ex-convict named Sharon Lesher, who became the serial killer Jill of All Trades after she was recruited by Jack.
In season three, the VCTF finally closed in on Jack, whose name was revealed to be Donald Lucas (played by Mark Rolston). With Jack finally in custody (so it seemed), Sam and her daughter Chloe (now played by Evan Rachel Wood) moved out of the fortress-like firehouse where they had lived for the past two years and into a fancy house in the Atlanta suburbs. Sam had a brief romance with Paul Sterling (John Mese), a district attorney prosecuting Donald Lucas, while Sam also dealt with her estranged father Walter Anderson (Lawrence Pressman) who had some kind of connection to the imprisoned Donald Lucas. But as it turned out, the arrest of Donald Lucas was a ploy by the real Jack of All Trades (whose real name was revealed in one episode in season two to be Albert Newquay) who had in fact escaped yet again and was revealed to be in hiding in a small California town playing a sheriff, named Ed Boast.
In season four, after finally stopping Jack, Sam retired from the VCTF, being replaced by a new forensic psychologist, Rachel Burke (Jamie Luner). Rachel was a former FBI instructor at Quantico who also had Sam Waters' skill of profiling. But unlike Sam, Rachel had a very brusque take-charge manner that alienated some of the team members. Rachel had her own life problems of being single and dealing with her self-destructive younger brother, Danny, who died from a drug overdose near the end of the season. Late in the season, the show established a new overarching villain, a shadowy urban legend named Damian Kennasas. Gregory Itzin also had a recurring role as Joel Marks, an unstable FBI agent who stalked Rachel. As the series came to an end, it appeared that the elite VCTF team might be shut down by the U.S. Congress for the high funds it took to operate.
|Ally Walker||Dr. Sam Waters||1||2||3|
|Jamie Luner||Rachel Burke||4|
|Robert Davi||Bailey Malone||1||2||3||4|
|Julian McMahon||John Grant||1||2||3||4|
|Roma Maffia||Grace Alvarez||1||2||3||4|
|Michael Whaley||Nathan Brubaker||1|
|Peter Frechette||George Findley||1||2||3||4|
|Sheik Mahmud-Bey||Marcus Payton||2|
|Erica Gimpel||Angel Brown||1||2|
|Caitlin Wachs||Chloe Waters||1||2|
|Heather McComb||Frances Malone||2|
|Traci Lords||Sharon Lesher||2|
|A Martinez||Nick "Coop" Cooper||1|
|Dennis Christopher||Jack of All Trades (voice)||1||2||3|
|Season One||September 21, 1996||May 10, 1997||22|
|Season Two||November 1, 1997||May 9, 1998||20|
|Season Three||October 17, 1998||June 5, 1999||21|
|Season Four||September 25, 1999||July 1, 2000||20|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
|Season 1||July 29, 2003||6|
|Season 2||November 25, 2003||6|
|Season 3||April 27, 2004||6|
|Season 4||October 26, 2004||5|