The post-Super Bowl show Tracker is the most 2024 procedural imaginable

Taken a technique, Tracker, the new CBS drama premiering after the Tremendous Bowl, is maybe the most generic procedural ever devised. It stars a blandly charming white man (Justin Hartley of This Is Us fame to most, Smallville fame to me) who makes a dwelling discovering lacking folks and amassing reward cash, utilizing his expertise as a survivalist to journey the nation and see issues others don’t, charming a neighborhood woman cop or physician alongside the means. On the floor, Tracker is about as generic as community dramas come, the most smooth-brained 42 minutes you possibly can spend between advertisements shouting WHOPPER WHOPPER WHOPPER WHOPPER or itemizing pharmaceutical unintended effects. However I feel Tracker is fascinating, truly, primarily based fully round what it isn’t about.

Colter Shaw (sure, that’s his title) is notably not a cop, nor is he a detective. He calls himself, moderately critically, “a rewardist” — as a result of he tracks down lacking folks for reward cash, which he at all times collects. This provides Tracker’s protagonist a mercenary edge that the show is not notably inquisitive about exploring; he is very clearly in it for the cash but additionally a pleasant man who desires to get entangled and assist folks, so long as they will pay. Colter’s civilian standing is additionally uninterrogated — since he’s not a cop, the folks he questions on his journey to search out that episode’s lacking particular person haven’t any actual cause to cooperate with him, particularly in the event that they’re concerned in some criminality.

However once more: Shaw has no superlative expertise to show off nor bizarre character quirks that assist him navigate such roadblocks. He’s not a prickly Sherlock Holmes kind, nor does he have an uncommon expertise like instantly figuring out when somebody is mendacity or rigging collectively elaborate gizmos out of pantry objects. In Tracker, issues simply work out for Colter, as a result of in the event that they didn’t the show would cease in its tracks.

Picture: Michael Courtney/CBS

Due to all this, Tracker comes throughout as an awfully anxious show, one fastidiously constructed to not alienate anybody, finally being compelling to nobody. It doesn’t heart cops to keep away from being known as copaganda. It is decidedly not-urban, set primarily in the verdant expanses of Actual America to faucet into that Yellowstone Crimson State enchantment — however not with out alienating liberal viewers inquisitive about illustration. Colter is notably supported by a comfortable lesbian couple who finds new rewards for him to trace, and a tech assist man of coloration with prosthetic limbs. (None of those characters share scenes instantly with Colter, as a result of they largely simply speak to him on the cellphone.)

Tracker’s anodyne nature is slightly puzzling given its pedigree. The sequence is an adaptation of Jeffery Deaver’s The By no means Recreation, the first of 4 Colter Shaw novels with a truly wild plot summary that Tracker doesn’t come inside spitting distance of. Co-executive producer Ben Winters is additionally an acclaimed novelist with a short however promising TV resume up to now, beforehand engaged on FX’s Legion. Learn generously, this is simply the actuality of getting a community drama on the air in 2024 — beginning as generically as doable simply to get a inexperienced gentle, and amassing the momentum to get actually bizarre with it. (Very like earlier excellent CBS dramas The Good Spouse and Individual of Curiosity.)

No less than, that’s what I need to imagine. There are such a lot of meaty instructions Tracker might go that it looks as if it takes actual willpower to not discover them, primarily based on the first two episodes. After all, the show might break in an much more uncomfortable course — I’ve not seen a show extra primed to simply do a whole-ass Sound of Freedom arc proper out of the field. Actually, although? That may in all probability be extra memorable than the model of the show we now have proper now.

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