'The Finder' Review: Flawed But Fun
'The Finder' Review: Flawed But Fun
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
I honestly didn't expect to like The Finder.

I wanted to like the show, of course. It has an intriguing concept -- a former military man, now suffering from brain damage, is capable of finding absolutely anything -- and comes from Hart Hanson, the man who made the weirdness of Bones possible. But I was not convinced.

Fortunately, I was wrong. The Finder has flaws, but they are not enough to take away the show's fun.

Viewers got their first peek at The Finder last year, when the show and its characters were introduced during an episode of Bones. That back-door pilot wasn't a complete fiasco or anything, but it did indicate that The Finder might just be a clunky, non-murder version of Bones, only without the romantic chemistry.

In its series debut, the central characters and setting of The Finder remain the same -- Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) hangs out in a Florida Keys bar with his mammoth-sized sidekick, Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), when not actively looking for a bizarre assortment of people and possessions.

But there are changes. The character of Ike, a bartender and pilot played by Saffron Burrows, is gone. In her place, we get two new characters -- Isabel (Mercedes Masohn), a US marshal with a casually semi-romantic interest in Walter, and Willa (Maddie Hasson), a felonious teen dropped at Walter and Leo's bar by the juvenile justice system.

The crux and plot-generating device of The Finder is Walter's almost-supernatural (and possibly brain damage-caused) ability to locate things. In the premiere episode, "An Orphan Walks into a Bar," Walter manages to locate:

a) John Fogerty's guitar
b) A bank robber attending a cock fight
c) The father of an orphaned teen who had crashed his plane and disappeared

Walter's method and madness are both a lot of fun to watch. The central mystery is just twisted enough to provide solid entertainment throughout the hour. Geoff Stults and Michael Clarke Duncan are obviously having a great time with their characters, and that joy translates well on the screen. Mercedes Masohn's Isabel is also a useful addition -- not only does she have believable chemistry with Stults' Walter, but she provides a much-needed connection to actual law enforcement.

The Finder still has its problems, however. Teenage Willa is interesting but doesn't make sense (her story involves theft, a lot of lying and gypsies). Celebrity rocker John Fogerty and his guitar dominate the premiere's early minutes, giving a gratuitous and awkward feel to that part of the episode. The convoluted mystery of the missing pilot substitutes twists for suspects.

But these problems are hardly deadly. After all, The Finder's parent-show, Bones, had its flaws in the early episodes, before its central relationships coalesced into a workable format. Bones then took its strong foundation and built a better show. The Finder could easily do the same.

Like its main character, The Finder is pleasant but a little bit awkward. The show is easy to watch, has an interesting mystery at the center and is well acted. It's just going to take awhile before everything feels smooth.

But a few bumps are not enough to derail the fun of The Finder.

Want to keep up on The Finder? Check out BuddyTV's Finder Fan Page on Facebook!

The Finder will premiere on Thursday, January 12 at 9pm on FOX.

Are you planning to watch The Finder? What do you expect from the show? How do you think it will do? Leave your comments below!

(Image courtesy of FOX)