Starring: Geoff Stultz, Michael Clarke Duncan, Maddie Hasson
Time to jump into the crazy pool! This light-hearted, whimsical series from the creators of Bones concerns a scattily unconventional investigator named Walter Sherman, played with relaxed, easy-going charm by Geoff Shultz. Once a highly decorated soldier( two purple hearts and a silver star), Walter has been turned into a human bloodhound as a result of an explosion which has left him with brain damage and a compulsion to find things or die in the attempt. With the aid of his grounded and kindly minder-cum-business partner Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), Isabel (Mercedes Mason), a hot, gun-toting Federal agent and Willa (Maddie Hasson), a juvenile delinquent who is serving out her probation as a waitress in Leo’s ramshackle bar, Walter sets about tracking down all manner of elusive stuff including a supposedly long-dead rapper, a chef, John Fogerty’s guitar, a Winslow Homer, a magician’s assistant who vanishes halfway through an illusion and even a UFO.
Helped enormously by the sunny, laid-back Miami setting, the stories are a succession of witty, well-crafted, serio-comic mysteries, with a couple of outstanding episodes among them – one where Walter hunts for a fired bullet in the Everglades, while being dogged every step of the way by a note-scribbling psychiatrist, and another where he tries to figure out the whereabouts of a lost girl from the confines of Leo’s bar during a violent hurricane. Throughout, the series is marked by flippant, wise-cracking dialogue, a nicely underplayed sense of the absurd and wackily colourful set-pieces, as Walter mounts lo-fi crime reconstructions with the aid of perishable foodstuffs, cuddly toys and his own Heath Robinson contraptions.
All of the performances are very nice too – although in theory Willa (a con artist from a family of gypsies with an array of left-handed skills) is the least plausible of the main characters, she’s thoroughly redeemed by young Maddie Hasson’s engagingly wry and sympathetic performance. The show is also a lovely swan song for the late Michael Clarke Duncan, who infuses the sturdy Leo with enormous warmth and gravitas.
Too frothy for some perhaps, but those with a taste for some gentle sleuthing will want to have their noses to the ground for this one. 8/10
An entertaining 22-min ‘making of’, with interviews with the cast. We learn that Leo was originally supposed to be an old white guy, and that Maddie Hasson was a mere 16 years old during shooting. 6/10