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The Finder: TV Review

The Finder Cast Promo - P 2012
Patrick Ecclesine/FOX

The Bottom Line

Why not copy the Bones format but just shake up the details.

Premieres

Jan. 12 at 9 p.m. on Fox

Cast

Geoff Stults, Michael Clarke Duncan, Mercedes Masohn, Maddie Hasson

Geoff Stults and Michael Clarke Duncan lead the cast of creator Hart Hanson's "Bones" spinoff, about a man who has the ability to find things.

If Bones has a slight and fun approach to things – oh, and boy does it – then why not copy the format but just shake up the details? This appears to be what Bones creator Hart Hanson has done with The Finder, which premieres on Fox tonight at 9 p.m., hangs around for 60 unruffled minutes and then disappears like pixie dust scattered at the conclusion of a pitch meeting.

There is nothing wrong with The Finder, other than even for a network procedural series it seems particularly light and airy, like it was scheduled over at USA but they didn’t have any more blue-sky realty left. This also doesn’t make it bad, of course, because everybody needs (and many people love) escapist entertainment.

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Just as long as you understand that The Finder is as agreeable as a contract on onion paper that says you, the viewer, will not question implausible moments or snicker when is limp and the acting staged. If you sign at the bottom, Fox will give you this stuff every week and you won’t complain about the need for more substance.

So, we’re clear?

OK, then. The Finder is about Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), a former highly decorated military operative who was extremely useful for the government until his brain got dinged by a bomb. But his strength is – you might have guessed this by now – finding things. The implication is that he’s got some kind of brain damage that makes him a savant about completing the task (any task), and provided you can abide his many personality quirks along the way, you’ll get what you’re looking for.

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Walter is aided by Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), whose life was saved and given direction by Walter and has produced a loyalty we haven’t seen on TV since Sebastian Cabot was the gentleman’s gentleman on Family Affair. Also helping Walter is U.S. Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) who has, not surprisingly, the kind of zambada-boom that most hot law enforcers have, particularly in Florida. Together, they help one another in ways that will make you smile (that’s a slogan that Fox may want to consider), because that’s what airly little shows that wrap up neatly in the 59th minute do. They entertain. You watch them solve the case of the week and then you turn the channel, unable to remember exactly what you’ve witnessed. It’s glorious.

Stults has that playful nonchalance (here, substituting for real quirk) that blue-sky characters must have. You root for him whenever his half-baked schemes start and when they end, amazingly, with the capture of someone or the discovery of something all while avoiding the pitfalls of paper-thin bad guys.

This is not meant to be dismissive at all, because The Finder has zero pretentions of being edgy. It’s just the kind of show you’re buying into. There are going to be silly moments and pretty obvious emotional moments and you’ll also have to navigate around the cuteness of plucky teenager Willa (Maddie Hasson), who makes things all the more forced and packaged, but none of that should be surprising. The Finder, per your agreement, is the kind of show where you ask almost nothing from it except to dance through 60 minutes without making your brain sputter to life.

No harm, no foul. Now go find your entertainment.

Email: Tim.Goodman@THR.com

Twitter: @BastardMachine