The special Federal Bureau of Investigation Missing Persons Squad's sole responsibility is to find missing people by applying advanced psychological profiling to reveal the victims' lives. The agents can then trace the victims' whereabouts and solve whether they were abducted, are missing by choice, were murdered, have committed suicide or are simply accident victims. The team reconstructs a DOD (Day of Disappearance) timeline that details the 24 hours prior to the victim's disappearance, following one simple rule: Learn who the victim is in order to learn where the victim is. Seasoned, astute and deeply emotional senior agent Jack Malone (series star Anthony LaPaglia) heads the members of this dedicated team, who know too well that every second is important when someone vanishes. Jack's squad includes Samantha Spade (series star Poppy Montgomery), an agent whose good looks complement a tough, complex approach to work; Vivian Johnson (series star Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a driven investigator with a special insight into victims' families; Danny Taylor (series star Enrique Murciano), an intense and private agent whose sensitivity is often covered up by his street smarts; and Martin Fitzgerald (series star Eric Close), who earned respect last year as the newest member of the team but still has a lot to prove.
When a school bus full of students goes missing during its morning run in a wealthy district, Jack and the team suspect two troublemaking students, brothers Doug (Nick Chastain) and Richard (Chris Collins) Carrol, with a rich, neglectful father, Bob (Christopher McDonald). All of the students' cellular telephones and other communication devices are confiscated by the kidnappers--except for a high-tech phone that transmits pictures, kept hidden by a student named Trish Randall (Tracy Alison Walsh). Working with the grainy images that Trish surreptitiously sends to her mother's phone, the agents surmise that the kids were transferred to a dark, airless storage area. Then Jack's team finds the abandoned school bus with one student, shy loner Johnny Atkins (Anton Yelchin), tied up inside. Watched over by his protective mother, Anne (Jayne Brook), Johnny informs Jack's team that Doug and Richard are responsible. But after a ransom drop goes horribly awry, resulting in two people's deaths, and an unknown man is photographed by Trish's phone, the agents must drastically alter their thinking on who the culprits are and how they can ever find the children before they suffocate.
Meanwhile, Samantha copes with the physical and emotional aftermath of her recent gunshot wound, tentatively seeking Martin for comfort. And Jack tries to reconcile with his estranged wife and two young daughters, knowing what a dangerous world his kids must grow up in.