It's difficult. The six-episode limited series "Full Circle," which is currently airing on Max, is a complicated but continuously engaging first season that explores the spaces between good and evil that lesser criminal dramas tend to ignore in favor of concluding loose ends.
All the loose ends in "Full Circle" are fascinating because they show how action shapes character, even though some of them are frustrating. The Oscar-winning "Traffic" director Steven Soderbergh and "No Sudden Move" writer Ed Solomon keep you on the edge of your seat with a two-episode launch on July 13 and two episodes each week until its conclusion on July 27.
The main conflict in the story is a bungled kidnapping, but it is just the beginning. The wealthy Manhattan couple Sam (Claire Danes) and Derek Browne (Timothy Olyphant) don't even realize their teenage son Jared (Ethan Stoddard) is gone until they receive a ransom call. The conceit is that Sam's famous father, Chef Jeff (Dennis Quaid with a ponytail), is always prepared with cash.
Photo of Lisa Janae, Timothy Olyphant, and Claire Danes from the television show "Full Circle."
Timothy Olyphant, Claire Danes, and Lisa Janae in a scene from the TV show "Full Circle."
Warner Bros., "Max"
The ladyboss with connections to the Guyana underworld, Savitri Mahabir (a great CCH Pounder), organizes the kidnapping operation while delegating it to her unstable, brash nephew Aked ("When They See Us" Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome"). Big error.
In addition to two Guyana exiles, Natalia's brother Louis (Gerald Jones) and his buddy Xavier (Sheyi Cole), Aked brings in his fiancée Natalia (Adia), a masseuse to Savitri.
It was a bad plan, particularly when Jared returned home and Louis and Xavier realized they had taken the incorrect lad, Nicky (Lucian Zanes), a Jared doppelganger who had been robbing Jared of his belongings, including his clothes and perhaps even his life.
When two U.S. postal inspectors—don't ask—are assigned to the case, the story becomes even more complicated. The alarming psych evaluation of Manny Broward's (Jim Gaffigan) secretary Harmony Melody (Zazie Beetz), which labels her as having a borderline personality, leaves him unsure of how to deal with her.
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That's not even the full story. You'll follow Beetz and Gaffigan, a stand-up comedian with serious acting skills, everywhere they go. Stay alert as the story becomes entangled in a web of deceits and secrets that span decades and continents.
There's more, hold on. The enigmatic Mrs. Mahabir is not looking to make a quick buck. She is dedicated to breaking a family curse that calls for a human sacrifice to atone for misdeeds committed in the past, which is a supernatural story twist.
Dennis Quaid, Timothy Olyphant, and Claire Danes in a scene from the television show "Full Circle."
Dennis Quaid, Timothy Olyphant, and Claire Danes in a scene from the TV show "Full Circle."
Warner Bros., "Max"
Throwing so many irons in the fire would cause "Full Circle" to blow up in less capable hands. However, Soderbergh, Solomon, and an outstanding ensemble keep you spellbound as issues like racism and class conflict and immigration warfare resonate in your head and emotions.
Even though you need a scorecard to keep track of characters who finally intersect in unexpected ways, this is Soderbergh at his most compelling and captivating. The story links the history of colonization, which caused indigenous people to become a minority in their own country, to white privilege as it exists now.
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This series is a provocative thriller that explores for empathy among characters who have learnt to bury sentiments in order to survive in a digital world drowning in clichés and lazy thinking. These emotions strongly grasp you in the last sequences between Baetz and Danes, who are both excellent actors. It is intended to shake you, and "Full Circle" does. It will not leave your mind.
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