DRAMA PREMIERE "The Finder"
WHEN|WHERE Thursday at 9 p.m. on Fox/5
REASON TO WATCH A "Bones" spinoff.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Down in the Florida Keys, in a remote place called Looking Glass Key, is a bar appropriately named Ends of the Earth Bar. Not much action here, because patrons have trouble finding it, which is OK with Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), an Iraq War veteran who suffered a brain injury while on active duty that has transformed him into a human hound dog.
Walter can pretty much find anything, which is why people who have lost stuff -- or other people -- come down that long dirt road to Ends of the Earth. He lives there with his closest pal and legal adviser, Leo Knox (Michael Clarke Duncan), and Willa (Maddie Hasson), a teen waif who has a long record. Leo and Walter are her semilegal guardians. In tonight's episode, Someone wants Walter to find his pilot father, lost somewhere over the vast expanse of Florida's swamps.
MY SAY Fox, I suspect, badly wants the word "quirky" to appear in reviews of "The Finder," as in the "quirky" Walter Sherman or his "quirky" pals, or the "quirky" place he calls home. Happy to oblige, Fox, but here's a better word: Likable. The cast is particularly so, and as new TV series go, "The Finder" honestly doesn't appear to have a whole lot else going for it. The plot is conventional, the action all "Burn Notice"-lite.
And, oh yes, we've also seen "quirky" characters before whose personalities are some variation of Asperger's blessed with powers of superhuman insight, most notably Emily Deschanel's "Bones" Brennan. So that leaves us with . . . likable. Stults ("7th Heaven") is one of those solid meat-and-potatoes TV actors who kick around until they finally land somewhere that exactly fits their personality -- like this show, come to think of it. All-pro character actor Duncan ("The Green Mile") is good in everything he appears in. Together, they make "The Finder" work.
BOTTOM LINE Old-fashioned and a bit placid, but Stults and Duncan save the day, and maybe the series.