'The Finder' review: FOX's new show still finding itself

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the-finder-review-2.jpgIf you were a fan of early '80s beefcake detective shows, then "The Finder" may just be your new favorite show. Think of the mid-season starter, which debuts  Thursday (Jan. 12) on FOX, as an updated "Magnum P.I." We've lost the mustache and the short shorts, but in all other respects the shows have a lot in common.

Like "Magnum," "The Finder" is set in a tropical locale; instead of Hawaii, we have the Florida Keys. And main dude Walter Sherman ( "7th Heaven's" Geoff Stults) is an Iraqi war vet, much like Tom Selleck's Thomas Magnum, who was a highly decorated Navy SEAL. And, like Magnum, Sherman has a sidekick -- but instead of an arch British butler, he's got the buff Michael Clark Duncan ( "The Green Mile") who plays a former lawyer turned dive bar owner.

Stults and Duncan are joined by series regulars Maddie Hasson, who plays a teen crook paroled to the care of Duncan (because that would really happen?), and Mercedes Masöhn, a hottie U.S. Marshal who has a kind of love (as in bra and panties)/hate relationship with Walter.

In the pilot, Walter is tasked with finding a missing Air Force pilot. Why him? Because severe brain damage from an Iraqi IED explosion left Walter with (according to the show summary) "Finder Power" -- the ability to locate just about anything or anyone and now he's the government's go-to guy for double-secret cases. We are shown this early on when Walter recovers a stolen John Fogerty guitar -- and, yes, Fogerty does make a cameo appearance. Although, this time, it's the guy's son who finds Walter and asks him to locate dad, who -- it turns out -- may have been running drugs on the side.

The series was created by Hart Hanson, the man behind FOX's ultra-successful "Bones." And, like Hugh Laurie's Bones, Walter is a quirky guy who tends to zig when he's supposed to zag and is somewhat socially awkward. But, unlike "Bones," the dialogue -- at least in the pilot -- falls short of the snappy mark its going for and the predictable plot is more "A-Team" than "Bones."

We will say this: The second half of the pilot improves over the first. So there's progress. We're hoping that, like "Bones" which also had a shaky start, "The Finder" will, umm, find itself after it gets a few more episodes under its belt. We'll at least stick with it long enough to see guest starring spots from 50 Cent and Eric Roberts.

Photo/Video credit: FOX