Commentary

Wandering Soul Searcher On CBS Is A Finder Of Lost Lives

He’s a white knight, a man on the move, a loner on a mission, a lover and a leaver.

He's “Tracker,” the most enigmatic, wandering hero on TV since Reacher.

“Tracker” -- alias Colton Shaw (Justin Hartley, pictured above) -- shows up from out of nowhere to hunt for lost souls this Sunday night in the time slot following the Super Bowl on CBS.

He's the type of guy who will never settle down. He's never in one place. He roams from town to town. With all due respect to Dion DiMucci, Colton Shaw is the real wanderer.

In the premiere episode of this drama series announced at the Upfronts last spring and deprived of a fall premiere by the writers' and actors' strikes, Colton hits the trail in search of a missing boy.

The Tracker is a missing-persons bounty hunter, you might say -- but unlike other bounty hunters of movie myth and legend, he really, really cares about the souls he seeks.

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That is not his only reward, however. His clients are loved ones of the people he pursues who have promised reward money in the five figures for information leading to a missing person's rescue.

To his credit, Colton Shaw goes beyond mere information. Instead, he risks life and limb to bring the missing home, thus restoring families and saving lives.

Like so many other CBS dramas too numerous to count, Shaw the Wanderer works remotely with a crack team of operatives -- a lesbian couple who love dogs (Abby McEnany and Robin Weigert), and a computer hacker and search whiz who walks on two prosthetic legs (played by Eric Graise).

Colton the Tracker makes his home in a supercool Airstream camper that he tows from mission to mission.

The other character who threatens to recur is an attorney (Fiona Rene) who was once either romantically or just sexually involved with Colton (it is not quite clear).

When he is arrested by local police who hold him on a charge of disturbing the peace in a burger joint, his dog-loving colleagues call her to go get him out of jail.

As far as I can determine, the premiere episode of “Tracker” takes place in or around Klamath Falls, Oregon.

Unless I somehow missed this detail, I have no idea how this lawyer character showed up so quickly or where she came from.

While he stands behind bars at the local precinct, she describes their entire ill-fated relationship to a bewildered desk sergeant.

It is an example of premiere-episode exposition run amok. When she spills the details of her relationship with Colton, a viewer previewing the show for a TV Blog felt just like the desk sergeant, whose face had “who cares” written all over it.

This overlong exposition had the effect of stopping “Tracker” dead in its tracks. A missing boy's life hung in the balance and this lawyer was wasting valuable time telling a stranger about her personal love history.

All through the episode, we learn Colton's personal history too. With flashbacks, we see his hardscrabble upbringing in an off-the-grid household overseen by his crazy, violent father.

While watching these scenes, and other soul-searching scenes in which he shared some of his childhood trauma, I felt more like a therapist than a viewer in search of a missing action show.

“Tracker” premieres on Sunday, February 11, after the Super Bowl on CBS. The show moves into its regular time slot -- 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern the following Sunday, Feb. 18.

1 comment about "Wandering Soul Searcher On CBS Is A Finder Of Lost Lives".
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  1. Ben B from Retired, February 8, 2024 at 9:07 p.m.

    I'll check out Tracker to see if it is good or not if I like it I'll catch up with it OnDemand. As I'll be watching America Idol over Tracker.

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