Don’t Look for The Finder
- Wednesday, February 08, 2012
At their best, procedural crime dramas are like roller-coasters: fast, fun, and always worth another go. At their worst, they can be like cockroaches: numerous, irritating, and impossible to kill.
The Finder unfortunately falls in the latter category despite a few fleeting signs of promise. Partly a Bones spinoff and partly based on The Locator novels by Richard Greener, The Finder centers on the adventures of an eccentric but reclusive detective named Walter Sherman (played here by Geoff Stults).
At one time Walter was a talented soldier in the U.S. military with the uncanny ability to find anything, but after an explosion killed his team and the resulting shrapnel damaged his brain, Walter quit the army and relocated to "The Ends of the Earth", a tiny bar in the outskirts of Florida.
From here, Walter offers his services to the public while occasionally getting help from his friend Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan), Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masöhn), and Leo's foster daughter Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson).
By all technical terms, The Finder is actually a decent show. The acting is okay, the settings are colorful, and the mysteries themselves are interesting to watch. What kills the series is that esthetically, it's all too familiar. Walter's role as a snarky, Florida crime fighter is almost identical to that of Jim Longworth from The Glades, his powers of deduction feel like tricks plucked from The Mentalist, and the semi-serious nature of the show keeps it closer to Bones than it really should be. At times like these, viewers usually look to the supporting cast for some added flavor, but even here they'll run into problems.
Masöhn, who plays Walter's chief love interest, comes off less as an officer of the law and more like the girl next door with a gun. A visit from Bones alum Lance Sweets (John Francis) in the second episode feels much too early and only aggravates the Bones connection, and any of Walter's likable clients, such as an up and coming air force cadet or a socially awkward mathematician, are gone by the next episode.
This leaves Duncan and Hasson to carry most of the audience, something they occasionally pull off. While Walter comes across as largely two-dimensional, Leo Knox has much more depth, and Duncan does an amazing job at juggling Leo's multiple roles as Walter's lawyer, hired muscle, and Willa's foster father. This last role is particularly well done, as Willa is a juvenile delinquent from a family of gypsies and provides the team with no end of criminal hijinks.
In the end, The Finder is good for rainy days when you're not picky and have time to burn. However, if you're looking for something with more substance to fill those Thursday nights, there are plenty of other programs worth investigating.
*This review first published 2/8/2012
**Watch The Finder Thursdays on Fox
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