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A procedural produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it debuted on ABC in 2009 with Christian Slater starring. Slater plays Alex Donovan, de facto leader of the Chicago branch of the Forgotten Network. The Network focuses on identifying Jane and John Does of cold cases after the police have moved on to greener pastures. While inspired in part by actual volunteer groups, the show's version of the Forgotten Network lends them more power than they actually have. While most volunteer groups move onto the next case once a victim's identity has been confirmed, Rule of Drama ensures the show's protagonists don't close a case until the murderer's been found.

Some of this break from reality is made more acceptable by Alex's history as a former Chicago cop with close ties to the department even today. He and his wife separated after their daughter was kidnapped and Alex drove himself nearly insane trying to find her. He never did, and now works for the Network to at least grant other families peace. The other members of the group include Lindsey (a schoolteacher), Walter (a telephone lineman with a wife and kids), Tyler (an artist forced to volunteer as part of his community service), and Candace (a young office worker more devoted to the Network than her job). Detective Grace Russell, Alex's ex-partner, also features as the group's link to the police department.

This show features examples of:

  • Alpha Bitch: Monica.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Pretty much the point of the series.
  • Anachronic Order - The last two episodes were meant to take place before "Donovan Doe".
  • An Aesop - Usually ends with one.
  • Bang Bang BANG
  • The Big Board - Several, but Alex's is practically an Iconic Item.
  • Clear Their Name - They've done this for several of their victims throughout the show.
  • Crazy Homeless People - subverted in one episode; a victim was found at a spot where the homeless congregate, and Walter tended to view him this way. Then he took one woman out for dinner in order to get information about the crime, and found she wasn't really as crazy as she seemed, just unfortunate.
    • Also subverted with Horse Mama.
  • Crazy Survivalist - A particularly manic type, in "Double Doe".
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists
  • Cut Short - Averted. They find Lucy, after all.
  • Crowning Moment of Heartwarming - Just "Donovan Doe".
  • Dark and Troubled Past - Alex's daughter was kidnapped and never found, leading to his breakdown, quitting the force, and the dissolution of his marriage.
    • Alex's daughter was found, in the episode "Donovan Doe", while out in the midwest, after informing the mother of a girl whose daughter looked extremely similar, that her daughter had died, Alex spotted his daughter, and eventually managed to convince her to go home with him.
    • There are also hints that Lindsey's past fits this, too. We know she used to be married, but the word "divorced" never comes up. Some Epileptic Trees on the fan forums suggest that her husband was a serial murderer or other kind of criminal, but for now this is just Fanon.
  • Dying Clue - Has featured in one or two of the cases thus star.
  • Evidence Scavenger Hunt - a prominent portion of the show revolves around the volunteers of the Forgotten Network assembling clues as to who the victim is, usually punctuated by beyond the grave narration from the John or Jane Doe.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Friend on the Force - Detective Grace Russell.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - "<X> John/Jane".
    • Translating this to other languages can be a pain on the ass.
  • I Just Want to Be Special - Walter, who volunteers for the Network to escape his mundane life.
  • Impersonating an Officer - Alex, being a recently retired cop, falls into this repeatedly and is sometimes called on it. The rest of the team might go along with it at first but if confronted they'll recognize that they don't belong to the force.
  • Le Parkour - Featured in "My John".
  • Mushroom Samba - Walter's painkiller-fueled confessional in "Train Jane".
  • Narrator All Along - Modified. The audience knows that the victim is the narrator, but his/her introduction is at the end, with "My name is <name>."
  • Never Suicide
  • Noisy Guns
  • Posthumous Narration - Each episode is narrated by the murder victim.
  • Put On the Bus - Lindsey
  • The Stoic - Alex
  • Tear Jerker - The ending of each episode
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension - Tyler and Candace get the bulk of it, but Alex and Lindsey have their share, too.
    • Possibly Alex/Grace, as well.
  • The Windy City - The setting of the show.
  • The Woobie - Walter
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