‘The Finder’ Pilot Recap: Keep Looking

All the promotional materials for Fox’s new sort-of mystery/detective series ‘The Finder’ describe it as a spin-off from the network’s extremely successful crime show ‘Bones’. Well, it’s a spin-off only in that producer Hart Hanson created both series and introduced the new characters in a painfully obvious backdoor pilot episode last season. That episode of ‘Bones’ happened to be one of the show’s worst, and when nothing became of the spin-off this past fall, I assumed that plans for it had fallen through. Apparently, I was mistaken, because here it is.

Geoff Stults from ‘7th Heaven’ and ‘October Road’ stars as Walter Sherman, a guy who’s really good at finding things. Everything he looks for, he finds. That’s the whole premise of the show in a nutshell. Walter used to be a Major in the military, and was discharged after receiving a head injury that left him with a lot of personality quirks and an obsession with finding stuff. Now he runs a search and retrieval service out of a bar in the Florida Keys. He’s backed up by Michael Clarke Duncan as his friend Leo. A character played by Saffron Burrows in the backdoor pilot has been replaced by Mercedes Masöhn as a U.S. Marshal named Isabel who helps Walter out sometimes. (‘Chuck’ fans may recognize Masöhn as one of the members of the C.A.T. Squad. She also happens to be a dead ringer for ‘Fairly Legal’ hottie Sarah Shahi. A fan-service moment where she runs around in a bra and panties is much appreciated by this viewer.)

The show also has a boring subplot about a wayward teenage delinquent named Willa who Walter has taken under his wing.

The pilot episode, ‘An Orphan Walks into a Bar’, opens with Walter retrieving a stolen guitar for John Fogerty. Yes, this is supposed to be star power or something. Fogerty also sings the show’s theme song, and has a groaningly awkward cameo where he performs the whole song on camera for no reason whatsoever.

After that, the main plot of the episode concerns a teenage boy who hires Walter to find his father – or his father’s corpse. Dad was an Air Force pilot whose plane crashed over the Caribbean. When Walter does some digging, it looks like the kid’s father was working a side job as a drug mule, ferrying narcotics into the U.S. Later, it’s discovered that he was actually a good guy, and was really delivering medical supplies to Haiti, until some drug runners he refused to work for killed him. The exact details of all this aren’t terribly interesting.

The show is pretty much what it looks like in the commercials. It has a light, breezy tone, and a whole bunch of exceedingly quirky characters, each vying to be more adorable than the last. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. Basically, this type of show is a diversion, for when you’re bored and there’s nothing else better on. I don’t plan to go out of my way to watch or record it again, but if it were on the TV at the gym while I was stuck on an elliptical machine for a while, I wouldn’t force myself to turn the channel. In other words, it’s a good pairing with ‘Bones’. That’s about as much of a recommendation as I can give it.

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