The Grinder follows a TV actor who heads back to his hometown to work as a lawyer after his long running show in which he played a lawyer ends. This frustrates his younger brother, an actual lawyer, who sees his brother as unqualified and annoying.
Warning there may be spoilers ahead.
Rob Lowe and Fred Savage lead the cast as brothers Dean and Stewart Sanderson respectively. Their relationship is the real highlight of the show. They are clearly polar opposites which make for some very interesting viewing. Savage plays the more responsible of the two and you immediately feel sorry for him when the overbearing Dean comes to stay. Dean however is just as loveable and you find yourself rooting for him as well. Lowe is fantastic at comedy and it really shows in this role. The real beauty of Dean is despite all of his faults he really does love and respect his brother. That’s a message that shines through loudly in the pilot and it actually makes the character much more endearing. The relationship between the two brothers is obviously going to be main focus of the show and they laid a lot of solid groundwork in the pilot.
The downside of spending so much time on Dean and Stewart meant that the other characters felt a little overlooked. The secondary cast includes Mary Elizabeth Ellis as Stewart’s wife Debbie, William Devane as Dean and Stewart’s father Dean Sr, Hanna Hayes as Stewart’s daughter Lizzie and Connor Kalopsis as Stewart’s son Ethan. We didn’t really see enough of any of them, especially Mary Elizabeth Ellis who is a fantastic comedy actress and could be such a major asset to the show if they let her. I understand it’s hard to develop all the characters in a pilot but The Grinder would have been far better off if they’d dedicated more time to the rest of the Sanderson family.
Plot wise, it was a solid case to start with for the pilot. We were rooting for the clients and as such rooting for the brothers. At first I was worried that the overall premise of The Grinder was a little too far-fetched but it actually worked really well. They executed the whole story brilliantly and it didn’t feel impossible to believe.
The Grinder has some improvements to make in terms of characters but everything else was done fantastically in the pilot. The writing is both intelligent and funny, and the cast are a very talented bunch. It was a very good start but I predict the show will get even better once they find their rhythm.
Pilot Rating- 3.5/5