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The Finder

Some viewers will doubtless stumble upon "Finder" thanks to its timeslot, but based on the premiere, there's not much here worth seeking out.

With:
Walter Sherman - Geoff Stults
Leo Knox - Michael Clarke
Duncan Willa - Maddie Hasson
Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zamada - Mercedes Masohn

The producers of “The Finder” — also responsible for “Bones” — describe the show as “a procedural with a wry twist.” The wry comes through only fitfully, however, in what mostly resembles a bland variation on the sort of light blue-sky show with which USA network has enjoyed so much success. Frankly, the quirky private-eye motif plays like a less-compelling version of “Human Target,” a series Fox over-tinkered with, then eventually canceled. Some viewers will doubtless stumble upon “Finder” thanks to its timeslot, but based on the premiere, there’s not much here worth seeking out.

Geoffrey Stults plays Walter Sherman, an Iraq war veteran with what’s described as a “compulsion to find.” Don’t ask him about accepting money for his services, though: Such practical matters are left to his sidekick and constant companion Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), who describes Walter’s knack for locating things as “a gift” and, conveniently, also happens to throw a mean punch.

Fleshing out the cast is Willa (Maddie Hanson), a juvenile offender who — in one of those subplots only a TV show trying to reach a younger demo could find plausible — is employed by the local bar as part of her probation; and a U.S. marshal, Isabel (Mercedes Masohn), who freely acknowledges, rather refreshingly, that she looks more like a Victoria’s Secret model than a law-enforcement official.

“In case you haven’t noticed, I’m hot. Like, smoking hot,” she tells Walter, explaining why a suspect would notice her coming a mile away, while providing a pretty good example of their sparring and semi-flirty banter.

Alas, the Isabel-Walter dynamic has become pretty par for the course in the realm of modern procedurals, “Bones” among them. But in the case of the “Finder” pilot, that’s mostly window-dressing — a garnish to the principal task of showcasing Walter’s intuitive “The Mentalist”-like powers, put to use initially looking for a young guy’s missing father.

As for those blue skies, the show doesn’t scrimp on shots featuring water and bikinis, but that backdrop hardly casts enough of a glow to offset the nondescript characters and premise in a series that isn’t bad, necessarily, but simply ordinary in most every way — as if it were plucked, via time capsule, from 1984.

During one confrontation with Walter, a character in the witness-protection program sneers, “This is boring. I’m bored.”

You and me both, sister.

The Finder

Fox, Thurs. Jan. 12, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Josephson Entertainment in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producers, Hart Hanson, Barry Josephson, Dan Sackheim, Vahan Moosekian; co-executive producers, Patrick Massett, John Zinman; supervising producers, Karen Wyscarver, Sanford Golden; director, Sackheim; writer, Hanson.

Crew: Camera, Sid Sidell; production designer, Victoria Paul; editors, Chris Brookshire, Casey Rohrs, Evonne Moritz; casting, Rick Millikan. 60 MIN.

Cast: Walter Sherman - Geoff Stults
Leo Knox - Michael Clarke
Duncan Willa - Maddie Hasson
Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zamada - Mercedes Masohn

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