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Buddy Faro

The most pleasurable moment in the premiere of Buddy Faro occurs more than halfway through its hour length — not a good sign for the series’ future as an audience attractor (gotta grab those eyeballs right from the git-go, y’know), but promising indeed for a show that prides itself on its style and gets more stylish as it proceeds. Legendary ’70s detective Faro (Dennis Farina) has just come off a 20-year-long bender that amounted to hibernation; freshly shaven and shorn, he’s greeting the ’90s for the first time. Striding along a hotel corridor as if he invented the word swagger, he tells his new partner and disciple, Bob Jones (the wonderfully baleful Frank Whaley), that clients ”hire you for your confidence.” When asked how he feels, Faro grins straight at the camera and says cluelessly, ”Like a hundred bucks.”

Created by Mark Frost, who did his best to keep David Lynch earthbound during Twin Peaks and has written a few page-turning thrillers (The List of 7) with their own sort of snap, Faro cashes in a bit late on the quickly fading Rat Pack fad, and so will have to rely on its own smarts to stay on the air. The show looks great and is cast perfectly; in addition to Whaley and a Farina with a hundred — no, a million — watts of charm turned on, Allison Smith (Spy Game, Kate & Allie) makes for a very kicky sidekick. But Frost must bear down now on mundane things like plots and twists: Baby, think Rockford Files, as in giving Buddy interesting cases to solve. Do that and we’ll dig him to the max, pally. B

Buddy Faro
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