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Lighthearted ‘Finder’ may be a keeper

Michael Clarke Duncan (from left) Maddie HassGeoff Stults Mercedes Masohn.

Michael Clarke Duncan (from left), Maddie Hasson, Geoff Stults and Mercedes Masohn.

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‘THE FINDER’ ★★1/2

8 to 9 p.m. Thursdays on WFLD-Channel 32

Updated: February 12, 2012 8:17AM

Walter Sherman is that rare man who never needs help tracking down his wallet or car keys.

He’s “The Finder,” after all.

This good-looking, brain-injured war veteran might not have a ton of tact, but he compensates with an uncanny knack for locating everything from missing people and forensic evidence to seventh-grade science medals and musicians’ stolen guitars.

Sherman (Geoff Stults of “7th Heaven”) will be turning into a human lost-and-found box weekly, along with managing his laid-back Florida Keys bar, in Fox’s new series that’s a lighthearted blend of action, drama and comedy.

The program premieres Thursday following a new episode of “Bones,” another quirky Fox procedural that has a lot in common with “The Finder” (like the same creator and executive producer, Hart Hanson).

“Bones” viewers got a peek at Sherman — shirtless, no less — last season, when FBI Agent Booth tapped his old military acquaintance for help on a case.

In “The Finder,” based on The Locator books by Richard Greener, Sherman is the star of the show. He’s an irreverent prankster with frat-boy swagger who sports goofy flip-up sunglasses. But rest assured, below that well-chiseled core rests a good guy with integrity to spare.

Sherman chases down whatever is MIA with the help of his trusty sidekick Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan) and an occasional assist (and roll in the hay) from a “smokin’ hot” U.S. marshal played by Mercedes Masohn.

In a blatant bid to appeal to a younger demographic, juvenile delinquent Willa Monday (Maddie Hasson) works for Sherman at his beach bar, Ends of the Earth. Florida must have very lenient juvie probation rules.

“The Finder,” you might have guessed, doesn’t take itself too seriously. That’s both a blessing and a curse.

In the premiere, the procedural part of the show — the case of a pilot who disappeared — feels convoluted, rushed and ultimately unsatisfying. But Stults is a lot of fun to watch, and the show’s flippant tone makes for a nice break from Serious Television.

Besides, “The Finder” has already found something that will help guarantee its success: Starting next week, its regular lead-in will be the ratings juggernaut “American Idol.”

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