The Grinder

The Grinder Information

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 an additional six 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.


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.



  • Rob Lowe as Dean Sanderson, Jr., 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.
  • Timothy Olyphant as a fictionalized version of himself, who assumes the starring role of Rake Grinder on The Grinder: New Orleans after convincing Dean to quit the show.
  • Maya Rudolph as Jillian, Stewart and Dean's therapist, who later becomes Dean's girlfriend, much to Stewart's chagrin.


| ProdCode = 1AYV01 | Viewers = 4.98 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV02 | Viewers = 3.15 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV04 | Viewers = 2.53 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV03 | Viewers = 2.86 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV05 | Viewers = 2.52 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV08 | Viewers = 2.56 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV07 | Viewers = 2.37 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV06 | Viewers = 2.25 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV09 | Viewers = 2.41 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV13 | Viewers = 2.13 | ShortSummary = Claire's relationship with Timothy Olyphant continues to grow, with a jealous Dean taking the lead in a vandalism case trying to connect Timothy 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV10 | Viewers = 1.97 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV11 | Viewers = 2.00 | ShortSummary = 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 he 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 back yard, and plans to build his dream home there. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV12 | Viewers = 1.65 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV14 | Viewers = 1.91 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV15 | Viewers = 1.68 | ShortSummary = 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV16 | Viewers = 1.61 | ShortSummary = 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 the malpractice plaintiff is and suggests he's secretly getting help from another lawyer. His attempts 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. | LineColor = C5B358 }}

| ProdCode = 1AYV17 | Viewers = | ShortSummary = | LineColor = C5B358 }} </ref> | DirectedBy = | WrittenBy = | OriginalAirDate = | ProdCode = 1AYV18 | Viewers = | ShortSummary = | LineColor = C5B358 }} }}


Critical reception

The Grinder has received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a rating of 93%, based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Grinders 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 has progressed, the show has began to garner near universal acclaim from critics. Many critics are comparing The Grinder to shows such as Arrested Development, Community, and Better Off Ted, all of which are shows that had small audiences in its time slots on broadcast television, but received largely positive critical reception, because of its characters, and development of the way the show is written.


Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2016 6th Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actor in a Comedy Series Fred Savage
Best Guest Performer in a Comedy Series Timothy Olyphant
73rd Golden Globe Awards Best Actor - Television Series Musical or Comedy Rob Lowe
42nd People's Choice Awards Favorite Actor in a New TV Series
Favorite New TV Comedy The Grinder

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