The Grinder: Full Circle – Season Finale (Review)


For weeks we have watched the long running malpractice charges against Dean and Stewart’s father in ‘The Grinder.’ The season finale, ‘Full Circle’ does indeed do just that. At long last Dean Sanderson Sr. takes the stand to be questioned by the previously humiliated lawyer Velance.

This series has been on top of taking the mickey out of every television law program premise since the days of  ‘Perry Mason’ and the actor’s who play these dramatic characters on the small box.  Using the premise of an actor fired from his own TV show, and replaced by Timothy Olyphant (who played himself) who really believes he can “play” a lawyer in real life The Grinder is sheer brilliance on the small screen.

The arc of the show has been nigh on perfect. Lowe’s egotistical, yet oh so shallow, television star who has overshadowed his hard working brother is magical  as the man who believes he is the grinder.

The finale, which ends a long running storyline of William Devane‘s character previously lying to a client and being sued as a result, allows every single member of this sterling ensemble cast to shine.  Not many comedies are able to do this or even try.

Rob Lowe, guest star Steve Little, William Devane and Fred Savage

‘Full Circle’ allows the series to mimic the “show within a show” premise, where “real” life allows for full dramatics, last minute evidence and the “save.”  The finale opens with a fast moving Velance (Kumail Nanjiani) montage  where the lawyer is learning how “to grind.” Then Dean reveals to Stewart and the rest of the firm  that Velance has been behind the whole thing from the start. 

Stewart and Dean take their findings to the judge who has footage of Stewart breaking into the witness’s house. Stewart is suspended and he puts Claire (Natalie Morales) in charge of his father’s defense. 

(Morales is a true gem as the always less than impressed with Dean lawyer who also seems to be secretly amused at the entire dynamic.)

Dean Sr. requests Dean Jr. to be his lawyer and the entire trail, where Velance grinds the grinder is a comic highlight. The two Sanderson children are covering the case and interview everyone, including their mother Debbie (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) who does her interview “two bottle deep.” She tries to steal the tape as a means of damage control. 

Hana Hayes, Connor Kalopsis, Mary Elizabeth Ellis

Velance is beaten, in the end, by the team work of Stewart and Dean.  Stewart discovers the twist in the story by accident after Debbie steals the tape to hear what she said.

Everything about ‘The Grinder’ works. The straighter than straight playing of these characters, the kettle drum dramatic music that frames each episode and the off the wall storylines have made this one of the funniest comedies on television.

The finale of  season one’s  ‘The Grinder’ sees Lowe, as Dean, giving a rousing thinly veiled and self-reverential speech about the show.  Wth such low viewing numbers  it may have been wasted.

‘The Grinder’ may not return to FOX, but there is always Hulu or Netflix;  both of whom would be a brilliant second home to the show.

This is a delicious comedy served up with panache and storylines that promote the stars and guest stars brilliantly. So, until FOX come out with a greenlight for season two, it is “Grinder rests.” At least until some other network takes the show on.

Finale end shot.

Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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