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TV review: ‘The Finder’

Courtesy of Fox

Courtesy of Fox

Courtesy of Fox

We all know the story: a preternaturally gifted detective/officer/soldier is forced out of the line of duty due to his or her unconventional methods or some malady brought about by trauma, but continues to do his or her work outside of the confines of establishment anyway – because it’s their gift, damn it. Usually, this outsider has help from someone still within the establishment, and he or she also almost always has a mostly useless friend to act as their foil.

 

The Finder,” a new Fox series from the creator of “Bones,” does not stray very far from this formula. The role of the brilliant one is filled by Geoff Stults, playing an Iraq War veteran named Walter Sherman who sustained brain damage when he got caught in an explosion overseas. This resulted in what Deputy U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masöhn) calls a “compulsion to find,” which leads him to seek a pilot with whom he had previously served at the behest of the pilot’s son. In this, he is aided by his massive friend Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan, “The Green Mile”).

 

This plot follows a standard two-red-herrings-then-resolution arc and ultimately ends in a satisfying, though not entirely expected place, with surprisingly excellent small moments of character drama. In shows like this, however, the plots are hardly important; the characters and the relationships they share carry the show and, ideally, raise it above its contemporaries.

 

Here, the show presents a mixed bag. Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson), a juvenile criminal with a very shady past and a possibly shady future, is an interesting character that will likely figure heavily into the overarching series storyline. Isabel, on the other hand, is a generic “ambitious cop” and is about as one-dimensional as one would expect. The two male leads have a decent chemistry, and Stults does a good job of conveying his character’s idiosyncrasies with some degree of subtlety. Less subtle is some of the dialogue in the pilot; most shows whose characters have backstories choose to spread out the revelation of this mythology across a season or more, but “The Finder” instead elects to throw it on the table all at once, which results in overly expository lines that seem out of place. Because of this, future episodes will likely be tighter. In the end, the show is an enjoyable procedural with a lot of potential…but it doesn’t take a preternaturally gifted TV viewer to find one of those.

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