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TELEVISION REVIEW

Detecting the familiar in serviceable ‘Finder’

In “The Finder,’’ Geoff Stults plays an Iraq war vet who has the ability to help people find things. In “The Finder,’’ Geoff Stults plays an Iraq war vet who has the ability to help people find things. (Ray Mickshaw/FOX)
By Sarah Rodman
Globe Staff / January 12, 2012
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If only you could have Walter Sherman around when you’ve misplaced your keys.

You see Sherman, a former Army MP and Iraq war veteran, can find anything; and, as such, he’s “The Finder,’’ the central character in the new Fox drama premiering tonight at 9.

During his service years, Sherman (Geoff Stults of “7th Heaven’’) was the man who helped track down insurgents and IEDs. But a close encounter with an explosive device ended in a coma and brain damage. Sherman believes that damage is actually a plus, however, crediting it with heightening his uncanny, bloodhound-like skills for finding lost things and people.

Sherman, played with off-kilter charm by Stults, has set up shop in Looking Glass Key, Fla., at his winkingly named bar the Ends of the Earth, with his own TV-style ragtag team of support. His right-hand man is buddy and legal adviser Leo Knox, played by Michael Clarke Duncan (“The Green Mile’’) in another devotional, gentle-giant-with-the-biceps-to-rip-your-head-off role. On/off galpal US Marshal Isabel Zambada (Mercedes Masohn) is his law enforcement ace in the hole. And cherubic-faced bad girl Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson), fresh out of juvie, has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Knox and Zambada serve as the yin/yang to Sherman, the former calling his skills a supernatural gift, the latter believing them to be both a curse and, once Sherman can’t find something, a time bomb. Both seek to help him heal.

The series comes from “Bones’’ creator Hart Hanson, and “The Finder’’ operates in the same universe as Booth, Brennan and the gang, having originated as a backdoor pilot from that show.

Everything about “The Finder’’ is perfectly serviceable, right down to the cranky guy with a gift who solves the puzzle in the final act. It’s the type of PI procedural that seems more suited to the USA network, where Sherman would’ve fit right in with Florida neighbor Michael Westen of “Burn Notice’’ or the title character of “Monk.’’

Like those shows, it would appear that “The Finder’’ will toggle between light capers (he finds John Fogerty’s stolen guitar!) and weightier dramatic stories (he helps the son of a soldier he knew find his father!) with a balance of humor and action and a hint of backstory darkness. The cast members already has a nice chemistry and appear able to handle that spectrum. Fans of quirky procedurals will likely find “The Finder’’ a dependable way to lose an hour.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com.

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THE FINDER

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

On: Channel 25

Time: Tonight at 9