by Deborah Harter Williams
On Thursday night at 9 p.m. if you look hard enough, you will find The Finder, a new show from Fox that is a spin-off from Bones. The Finder in person is Walter Sherman (Geoffrey Stults – 7th Heaven, How I Met Your Mother, The Break-Up), Iraq war veteran with a brain injury that gives him an uncanny ability and desire to find things. The character is based on The Locator books by Richard Greener.
This is a nice change-up from the police procedural, as there is not always a dead body landing in the first three minutes. While based at the Ends of the Earth Bar, Lost Key, Florida (picture Key West and lots of tropical atmosphere), Walter’s cases give him license to wander far afield – both geographically and chronologically. His methods include wearing high heels found at a crime scene, lying down on an airport runway and building a model using string and action figures. He essentially does all the high tech things that NCIS-LA does, but in his head.
He is supported by Michael Clarke Duncan (The Green Mile) as his lawyer/bodyguard Leo Knox. Mercedes Masohn is a Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada – Walter’s friend with benefits and a badge. She’s the no-nonsense one but will go out in her underwear, gun drawn, if need be. Maddie Hasson is the teen-age parolee, Willa Monday, working off her time under Leo’s tolerant but forceful watch. She may only be sticking around to steal from Walter’s vault and she certainly hasn’t given up her pickpocket, car thief habits. So far she’s the dark one.
The Finder started out slow and seemed destined for cancellation but got a big bounce in the ratings at the third episode. This followed a rocky start producing the pilot. As creator Hart Hanson (Bones producer) Tweeted, “I received studio notes on the Bones spin-off idea. They want it to be better. Unreasonable taskmasters. Impossible dreamers. Neo-platonists.”
Hanson’s humor leavens the show, from Walter’s quirky questions and his invention of bizarre cocktails, to an episode with scenes set in a Miami Bar, owned by the cops who inspired Miami Vice. Hilarious to see them still decked out in their Sonny and Tubbs outfits twenty-plus years later. (Note: One of the show’s Executive Producers, Daniel Sackheim, worked on Miami Vice.)
The Finder is reminiscent of Human Target, i.e. a kind of crazy guy with special skills, a large black guy who is the calm caretaker figure, and then the one that breaks all the rules but potentially has a heart of gold. There’s also a little flavor of Pushing Up Daisies. You could do worse.
The series is challenged to find it’s way between 30 Rock and the hard Thursday night competition of Grey’s Anatomy, and Person of Interest. Even with a DVR you find it difficult to capture all your choices, but I recommend the effort. Given half a chance, The Finder might be a keeper.
Catch up on episodes on The Finder website.
If you love mysteries, why not check out Left Coast Crime: Mystery Conference in Sacramento, March 29-April 1, 2012. Registration is only $225 & day passes can be purchased for $75 for Friday and Saturday panel sessions. Registration information can be found at the conventionwebsite, or by sending an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.