This new Fox series, “The Finder,” starts out in a manner we’ve never seen before in all our years of watching TV professionally (yes, laugh all you want, but chronicling the TV business as a journalist is considered “a profession”).
The show, premiering Thursday night (Jan. 12) at 9/8c, begins with a very quick storyline involving a legendary rock star — John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival — who has lost his favorite guitar. Well, it doesn’t spoil the episode at all to reveal here that the Finder of the show’s title, a former Army major named Walter Sherman (played by Geoff Stults) locates the lost instrument in the show’s opening minutes. And then we get to see Fogerty, now 66, play his guitar and sing a new version of “Fortunate Son” recorded especially for this TV show. When we saw this on a preview DVD the other day, we thought: This performance is amazing — what a way to introduce us to a new TV show.
In fact, this opening put us in such a good mood that we even were able to overlook this show’s several weaknesses (flaws related generally to plot points that were wholly implausible if not completely unbelievable), enabling us to enjoy the entire episode.
Here’s what we liked about “The Finder”:
The characters: The “finder” Stults plays is really a free-wheeling detective who people hire to find lost objects or people. He’s a veteran of various U.S. conflicts overseas and, in the process, sustained some kind of a brain injury that possibly enhances his “finding” abilities (this is suggested in the premiere). He is assisted in this by a friend named Leo (burly Michael Clarke Duncan) and a comely U.S. marshall (Mercedes Masohn). There’s also a truculent juvenile delinquent on the premises named Willa (Maddie Hanson) who Leo has taken in because he believes she’s redeemable (more on her later).
The location: This is an adventure/mystery series with quirky characters set in South Florida — ranging from Miami to the Keys. Almost as soon as we recognized the locale and met some of the characters — especially Walter — we were reminded immediately of another show we like that’s set in the same place with an eccentric lead character, “The Glades” on A&E. If you know that show, you might also think the character Matt Passmore plays on “The Glades” is a blood relative of “The Finder.”
Not that that’s a bad thing. We happen to have a soft spot for TV shows set in South Florida. As a matter of fact, some of you might recognize a “Finder” guest-star, Jaime Murray, from her recurring role a few seasons back on another Miami show, Showtime’s “Dexter.” (She was also in the Robert Vaughn con-game series “Hu$tle” on AMC.)
What we weren’t sure about, concerning this show: This character of Willa, for one thing. A lifelong criminal (and apparently a member of a sprawling “gypsy” clan like the one we saw a few years ago on “The Riches” on FX), Leo thinks she can be rehabilitated. Walter doesn’t necessarily agree, and nor does Willa’s probation officer (Amy Aquino). Apparently, Willa’s story figures to be “ongoing” on “The Finder” and we’re not sure, after one episode, that we care enough about her to get involved in her family history for a whole season (if “The Finder” lasts that long).
In addition, we don’t mind taking leaps of faith as far as the nearly supernatural abilities of TV detectives are concerned, but it seemed to us that the Finder’s deductions in this pilot episode were too often grabbed out of thin air, with explanations that fell far short of explaining credibly how he reached them. But of course, this is where the John Fogerty opening came in: We were still so jazzed by “Fortunate Son” that we didn’t dwell on the show’s shortcomings for long.
“The Finder” is from the same producer as “Bones” — Hart Hanson. “The Finder” premieres right after “Bones” on Thursday, Jan. 12, at 9/8c.