The Grinder (TV series)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||22 (list of episodes)|
|Cinematography||Rhet W. Bear|
|Running time||21–24 minutes|
|Picture format||720p (16:9 HDTV)|
|Original release||September 29, 2015 –|
May 10, 2016
The Grinder is an American single-camera legal comedy television series created by Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel. The show was picked up to series by Fox on May 8, 2015 and premiered on September 29, 2015. On October 15, 2015, Fox ordered six additional scripts for the first season, potentially increasing the season order to 19 episodes. On October 27, 2015, Fox ordered a full season of 22 episodes for the first season.
Despite being acclaimed by critics and viewers, the show never achieved high ratings. The Grinder was canceled by Fox on May 16, 2016.
The series follows television actor Dean Sanderson, Jr. (Rob Lowe), who returns to his hometown of Boise, Idaho after his long-running television series, The Grinder, ends. Though Dean is not a lawyer, he believes that his experience playing one on television makes him qualified to practice law. He decides to join his family's law firm, Sanderson & Yao, much to the chagrin of his younger brother Stewart (Fred Savage), who is a real-life lawyer. Stewart and a new hire named Claire are the only two who seem to understand that Dean's television experience does not qualify him for a job at a real law firm.
- Rob Lowe as Dean Sanderson, an actor who played the role of attorney Mitch Grinder on the long-running TV show, The Grinder.
- Fred Savage as Stewart Sanderson, Dean's brother who is a real-life attorney.
- Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Debbie Sanderson, Stewart's wife.
- William Devane as Dean Sanderson, Sr., Dean and Stewart’s father and head of the law firm.
- Natalie Morales as Claire Lacoste, a new associate in the Sanderson & Yao law firm who is resistant to Dean's romantic advances.
- Hana Hayes as Lizzie Sanderson, Stewart and Debbie's 15-year-old daughter.
- Connor Kalopsis as Ethan Sanderson, Stewart and Debbie's 13-year-old son.
- Steve Little as Todd, an attorney of questionable skill who works at Sanderson & Yao, and is also a huge fan of Dean's.
- John Owen Lowe as Joel Zadack, Lizzie's boyfriend, they eventually break up after becoming more comfortable hanging out with her family.
- Jason Alexander as Cliff Bemis, the creator and head writer for The Grinder TV show, whose constant disagreements with Dean led to Dean leaving the show.
- Kumail Nanjiani as Leonard, a prosecuting attorney who gets humiliated by Dean in the courtroom.
- Timothy Olyphant as a fictionalized version of himself who becomes Dean's nemesis; he assumes the starring role of Rake Grinder on The Grinder: New Orleans after convincing Dean to quit the show, and then begins dating Claire.
- Maya Rudolph as Jillian, Stewart and Dean's therapist, who later becomes Dean's girlfriend, much to Stewart's chagrin.
- Kenny Lucas as Cory Manler, a former Sanderson & Yao client who sues the firm for malpractice.
- Keith Lucas as Rory Manler, twin brother of Cory Manler.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.|
|1||"Pilot"||Jake Kasdan||Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogel||September 29, 2015||1AYV01||4.98|
|Dean Sanderson, Jr. is a famed actor who starred in the legal drama series The Grinder for eight seasons. After the series ends, he is left wondering what to do with his life, while temporarily living with his lawyer brother Stewart and his family. With his brother and father both being lawyers, and his experience "practicing law" on television, Dean feels he has what it takes to be an actual lawyer. In doing so, he assists Stewart in a case involving a couple being wrongfully evicted from their apartment building.|
|2||"A Hero Has Fallen"||Jake Kasdan||Jarrad Paul & Andrew Mogel||October 6, 2015||1AYV02||3.15|
|Dean encourages the law firm to take the case of a couple that was fired from their job for violating a no-dating policy. Stewart notices that an annoying character from The Grinder is very similar to him, so he decides to be more lenient about life.|
|3||"The Curious Disappearance of Mr. Donovan"||Jay Chandrasekhar||Dominic Dierkes||October 13, 2015||1AYV04||2.53|
|When confidential information on a case that the firm is working on leaks, Dean believes that Claire, who is newly hired by Sanderson & Yao, is the mole. Dean then learns that Todd (unintentionally) leaked the information, but he tries to hide it from Stewart because he doesn't want to admit he was wrong. Meanwhile, Ethan and Lizzie refuse to fess up on who deleted an episode of Ray Donovan from the family DVR.|
|4||"Little Mitchard No More"||John Hamburg||Hayes Davenport||October 20, 2015||1AYV03||2.86|
|Dean continues to make romantic advances on Claire and tries to meet common ground with her by helping her work on a case involving a school bully. Stewart thinks that his snooty neighbors, the Gerharts, Lyle (Nat Faxon) and Vanessa (Alexie Gilmore), are only being friendly with him and Debbie because they are related to Dean.|
|5||"A Bittersweet Grind (Une Mouture Amer)"||Matt Sohn||Sean Clements||November 3, 2015||1AYV05||2.52|
|In an effort to perk up Dean's love life and get him to move out of their house, Stewart and Debbie set up Dean with Gail Budnick (Christina Applegate), an old high school girlfriend. Stewart and Debbie then become worried that Dean is jumping into his relationship with Gail too fast, with him already considering himself the surrogate father of Gail's adult son. Elsewhere, Lizzie gets upset when Stewart and Debbie allow Ethan to bring a girl over, feeling it is a double standard because they won't allow her to date.|
|6||"Dedicating This One to the Crew"||Phil Traill||Guy Endore-Kaiser||November 10, 2015||1AYV08||2.56|
|The school play is coming up and Stewart encourages Ethan to join the crew, as he did back in school, but it appears that Ethan would rather follow in the footsteps of his Uncle Dean. When Ethan does not get the role despite Dean's coaching, Dean learns that the drama teacher is a former classmate who still holds a grudge.|
|7||"Buckingham Malice"||Christine Gernon||Julius Sharpe||November 17, 2015||1AYV07||2.37|
|Dean becomes tired of getting special treatment because he is a celebrity, and wants to be treated like a regular person. His new way of life leads to him demanding that a cop give him a traffic ticket for running a stop sign, something he would have gotten away with in the past, only to learn that "normal people" often fight their traffic tickets in court. Debbie deals with an incompetent new secretary, whom she does not want to fire after already recently firing two previous secretaries, feeling it will look bad on her.|
|8||"Giving Thanks, Getting Justice"||Jamie Babbit||Niki Schwartz-Wright||November 24, 2015||1AYV06||2.25|
|Dean is looking forward to a real family Thanksgiving, and is disappointed when Stewart says the family no longer celebrates it. After some digging, Dean learns it is because Stewart caught his mother and Yao, his dad's law firm partner, in the bedroom five years ago on Thanksgiving, and he hasn't yet told their dad. Making things worse, Dean Sr. indulges his son and decides the family will celebrate Thanksgiving this year, and he invites Yao (Clyde Kusatsu) to attend. Meanwhile, Dean has flashbacks to his final episodes of The Grinder, and his arguments with writer-director Cliff Bemis (Jason Alexander) that led to him departing the series.|
|9||"Grinder Rests in Peace"||Max Winkler||Sally Bradford McKenna||December 1, 2015||1AYV09||2.41|
|Cliff Bemis shows up in town wanting Dean to reprise his role as Mitch Grinder in the spin-off series The Grinder: New Orleans, starring Timothy Olyphant as Mitch's brother Rake. Dean is excited about returning, only to later learn that he is being invited back so that his character can be killed off. Dean proposes a different storyline to Bemis, wherein Mitch starts a new life in Key West. Stewart is more than happy to help Dean look for loopholes in his TV contract, seeing this as an opportunity to get his brother out of the house and out of the law firm.|
|10||"The Olyphant in the Room"||Gail Mancuso||Sean Clements & Dominic Dierkes||January 5, 2016||1AYV13||2.13|
|Claire's relationship with Timothy Olyphant continues to grow, with a jealous Dean taking the lead in a vandalism case trying to connect Olyphant as the culprit even though both situations have nothing do with each other. A newspaper reporter follows Stewart around for a story, however, the story's focus then takes a turn to be about Dean.|
|11||"The Exodus (Part 1)"||Jeremy Garelick||Justin Nowell||January 19, 2016||1AYV10||1.97|
|When Stewart and Debbie ask Dean about his "future plans", he assumes they are kicking him out and takes it badly. Seeing Dean down in the dumps, a rival law firm tries to convince him to come and work for them.|
|12||"Blood is Thicker than Justice (Part 2)"||Tristram Shapeero||Bridget Kyle & Vicky Luu||January 26, 2016||1AYV11||2.00|
|Dean begins working for the law firm Rozz & Landy, and goes up against Stewart in a divorce case. It soon becomes clear to Stewart that Rozz & Landy hired Dean for his celebrity status so he can entertain and impress clients, and Dean eventually catches on. Todd thinks that he and Claire will be the new "will they/won't they" couple in the office with Dean gone, and Claire has some fun playing along. In the end, Dean returns to the firm and drops a bombshell on Stewart and Debbie at home...he has bought and leveled the houses adjacent to their backyard, and plans to build his dream home there.|
|13||"Grinder v. Grinder"||Eric Appel||Ben Wexler||February 2, 2016||1AYV12||1.65|
|With Timothy Olyphant now dating Claire, he starts showing up at the law office. When Olyphant gives legal advice based on one of his TV episodes and Stewart says it could actually work, Dean becomes unnerved. Stewart and Claire plot to bring Olyphant back the next day in hopes that it will show Dean how ridiculous he is himself, which leads to Dean and Timothy arguing over who is closer to being a real lawyer. Todd then suggests they hold a mock trial between the two actors to put the issue to rest.|
|14||"The Retooling of Dean Sanderson"||Dean Holland||Dan Sterling||February 9, 2016||1AYV14||1.91|
|Stewart says that if Dean is going to be a member of the firm "for the long haul", he needs to me more rooted in reality. He suggests Dean book a session with his therapist, Jillian (Maya Rudolph), but that backfires when Dean shares Jillian's confidential words and advice with Debbie and Stewart. Meanwhile, Dean Sr. gets a letter stating a former client is suing Sanderson & Yao for malpractice.|
|15||"The Ties That Grind"||Nicholas Stoller||Bridget Kyle & Vicky Luu||February 16, 2016||1AYV15||1.68|
|Jillian convinces Dean to finally leave The Grinder character and its associated drama behind, but all Stewart sees is that Dean is being dramatic about NOT being dramatic. At the office, Dean Sr. insists on taking the lead in the malpractice suit, shunning Stewart's attempts to help. Meanwhile, Debbie is already bored only a few days after quitting her job, so the family suggests that she be the one to help her father-in-law get organized and prepare for the case.|
|16||"Delusions of Grinder"||Chad Lowe||Niki Schwartz-Wright||February 23, 2016||1AYV16||1.61|
|Dean, who is now sleeping with Jillian, takes on the role of an intern at Sanderson & Yao, stating he realizes he's not a lawyer and must start at the bottom. Meanwhile, Stewart is wowed at how prepared malpractice plaintiff Cory Manler (Kenny Lucas) is and suggests he's secretly getting help from another lawyer. His attempt to prove it, however, makes the family and Jillian think he's delusional and just dreaming up conspiracy theories to fill the "drama void" left by Dean.|
|17||"From the Ashes"||Andy Ackerman||Guy Endore-Kaiser||March 1, 2016||1AYV17||1.61|
|Dean Sr. finally agrees to let Stewart help on the malpractice case, but only if he teams up with his brother. Stewart reluctantly enlists the help of Jillian and Cliff Bemis to manipulate Dean into returning to his Grinder persona, but Dean has moved on to taking some college law classes and insists he can no longer be associated with his character. In the end, Dean breaks up with Jillian (as a therapist and a girlfriend), and the next morning, the staff arrives to find the Sanderson & Yao offices have been trashed.|
|18||"Genesis"||Christine Gernon||Justin Nowell||March 15, 2016||1AYV18||1.53|
|Stewart, with Todd's help, fabricates a scenario that the law firm was ransacked in order to get Dean back in his Grinder mode again and assist in the ongoing case of Dean Sr. getting sued for malpractice. Also, Dean looks back on his struggling acting career ten years ago, when he was living with his then-girlfriend Kelly (Jenna Fischer), who strongly discouraged Dean's aspirations of an acting career. With encouragement from Benji (Chris Klein), another struggling actor, Dean agrees to audition for The Grinder.|
|19||"A System on Trial"||Jay Chandrasekhar||Jamie Block & Michael Levin||April 12, 2016||1AYV19||1.56|
|As Stewart tries to prepare Dean Sr. to be cross-examined on the stand in the malpractice trial, he gets frustrated while his dad just gets angry. Dean remembers the focus groups that were used for screenings of The Grinder, and decides to bring one into the firm. While Dean begins to have doubts about whether or not focus groups are truthful, the situation does get Dean Sr. to admit he made a mistake during Cory Manler's original defense. Meanwhile, the concept of focus groups makes everyone else in the Sanderson family re-evaluate their lives.|
|20||"For the People"||Jamie Babbit||Sean Clements||April 19, 2016||1AYV21||1.50|
|Lenore (Anne Archer), Stewart's and Dean's mother, pays a surprise visit. Dean Sr. wants to show her he's moved on, so he quickly has Lizzie and Ethan create his online dating profile, where he is set up with a much younger woman named Calista (Chloe Bridges). Knowing that Lenore favors Stewart for settling down and having a family, Dean pretends he's engaged to Claire. Lenore later reveals the real reason she came to town: her 45-year old second husband has left her and she wants to rekindle her relationship with Dean Sr. Meanwhile, Stewart and Debbie both scramble to cover up the fact that each forgot their anniversary.|
|21||"Divergence"||Andy Ackerman||Sally Bradford McKenna||May 3, 2016||1AYV20||1.51|
|After watching a Grinder episode where a side story helps Mitch solve the episode's main case, Dean becomes convinced that he needs a real-life side story to solve the mystery that still surrounds Cory Manler's malpractice suit. Thus, he agrees to help Joel, Lizzie's ex-boyfriend, whom she says was wrongly accused of trashing the principal's office. Meanwhile, a number of strange occurrences cause Stewart to keep delaying a meeting with Manler to sign the settlement papers, which Dean and the family see as a sign that Stewart subconsciously wants to take Manler to court rather than settle.|
|22||"Full Circle"||Jay Chandrasekhar||Dominic Dierkes||May 10, 2016||1AYV22||1.59|
|Dean figures out that Leonard (Kumail Nanjiani), the prosecutor he humiliated by defeating him in the Pilot episode, is the counsel behind Cory Manler's lawsuit, and that the lawsuit is primarily an act of revenge for Leonard. Just as the case goes to trial, Stewart is suspended by the judge when video surfaces of him breaking into Manler's apartment. Stewart selects Claire to take over first chair, but Dean Sr. overrules him and puts Dean in charge. It appears Leonard is about to win the case when, from the sidelines, Stewart discovers that the plaintiff Cory Manler is in fact his twin brother Rory Manler (Keith Lucas) and Sanderson Sr. is exonerated.|
On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a rating of 93%, based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Grinder's humor is buoyed by Rob Lowe and Fred Savage's chemistry as a hilarious new odd couple." On Metacritic, the season has a score of 71 out of 100, based on 23 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
As the first season progressed, the show began to become more popular with critics. Many critics compared The Grinder to shows such as Arrested Development, Community, and Better Off Ted, all of which were shows that had small audiences in their time slots on broadcast television, but received largely positive critical reception because of their characters and writing.
|2016||6th Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Actor in a Comedy Series||Fred Savage||Nominated|
|Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series||Timothy Olyphant||Won|
|73rd Golden Globe Awards||Best Actor – Television Series Musical or Comedy||Rob Lowe||Nominated|
|42nd People's Choice Awards||Favorite Actor in a New TV Series||Rob Lowe||Nominated|
|Favorite New TV Comedy||The Grinder||Nominated|
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