Picks and Pans Review: Buddy Faro

updated 09/28/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/28/1998 AT 01:00 AM EDT

CBS (Fridays, 9 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

You can't always tell a series by its pilot. A show comes on like gangbusters, and a few weeks later you're shopping for an alternative by the first commercial. But if Buddy Faro maintains the entertainment level established in its Sept. 25 premiere, it will be well nigh unmissable.

Dennis Farina, who proved in Get Shorty that he can put a strong comic spin on his street-tough image, is perfect as fabled L.A. private eye Buddy Faro, a missing person since he landed in a jam even he couldn't handle and lost himself south of the border back in '78. Bob Jones (Frank Whaley, Broken Arrow), a young P.I. who's diligent but as dull as his name, is hired to find Buddy and winds up allied with him against a shadowy villain and his gunsels. Along the way, Buddy tries to set Bob an example of "confidence and style," while Bob brings Buddy up-to-date on pro-football franchise shifts and automated teller machines. Writer and executive producer Mark Frost (Twin Peaks) fills the opening hour with funny asides, and director Charles Haid keeps the pace fast and the camera active. Buddy and Bob are hardly the first mismatched private eyes to come down the pike. Teamed on a weekly basis, they may get into a rut. But no one can say they didn't hit the ground running.

Bottom Line: Play Faro and win

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