FULL CIRCLE on HBO / Max is a new thriller mystery series with six episodes. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and with an amazing cast. For me, Zazie Beetz is the breakout star of the series. I wanted to see her in every scene. Read our Full Circle miniseries review here!
FULL CIRCLE is a new HBO / Max series in the thriller, crime, and mystery genres. The onset is a botched kidnapping, but even that is apparently the result of events that took place long before. There are many characters and quite a lot of story to cover over six episodes. In fact, six episodes is even too short.
In classic Steven Soderbergh-style, it’s a story with many levels and various twists. All very character-driven, which is a gift when the cast is this amazing. The series is released over the course of three weeks with two episodes coming out per week.
Continue reading our Full Circle miniseries review below. The series premieres on HBO / Max with two episodes on July 13, 2023.
So simple yet so complex
On the surface, Full Circle is a simple crime mystery with a strong thriller driver. However, this is a Soderbergh/Solomon story, so you just know that the simple premise will become increasingly complex. Especially as secrets are revealed and people show their true colors.
In Full Circle, we essentially follow an investigation into a botched kidnapping. One that results in long-held secrets connecting multiple characters and cultures in present-day New York City.
Of course, that’s just the simple version of the plot. The actual content is all about those “long-held secrets” and how people react to the secrets coming out. Or what they’ll do to keep the secrets hidden!
I truly don’t mind that things get complex and evolve in surprising ways, so I was fine with this development. As mentioned already, I just wish that this series had maybe two more episodes to uncover even more of the story. And also, to show us viewers what happens to all the characters in the end.
For me, a few characters were sort of left flying in the wind. I won’t get into which characters exactly as it could spoil things for you, but I think at least some viewers will know what I mean by the end of episode 6. In fact, this is why our overall rating for this series isn’t higher.
Zazie Beetz steals the show
Seeing the poster for Full Circle or just hearing the names of cast members should be enough for most people to want to tune in. Add the fact that this is a Soderbergh series, and we have an amazing setup for a great character-driven story. Something that will both tease and break your mind as the story expands.
And Full Circle definitely does just that!
Zazie Beetz was the star of Full Circle for me. I kept wanting more scenes with her, and this is not because any of the other characters weren’t interesting as well. It’s just that Zazie Beetz (Wounds) as Harmony was brilliant. She’s an investigator working for the US Postal Service and she is very dedicated and focused.
She’s also mean, and selfish, and does not take no for an answer. Basically, she’s amazing at her job because she calls bullsh*it and is like a dog with a bone when she knows she’s on the right track. Unfortunately, she’s also terrible with people because of all of the above things about her personality.
And yet, by episode 2, Zazie Beetz had made Harmony a character I just wanted to see more of.
You could watch Full Circle just for the cast
The rest of the cast has Claire Danes and Timothy Olyphant as a married power couple, and Dennis Quaid and Suzanne Savoy are the parents of Claire Danes’ character. Jim Gaffigan’s character is the boss of Harmony (which results in many interesting conversations), while the always amazing CCH Pounder is the head of a crime syndicate, who sets most things in motion.
Jharrel Jerome (Mr. Mercedes) is the nephew of CCH Pounder’s character, and Phaldut Sharma is her second in command. Gerald Jones (Vampires vs The Bronx), Sheyi Cole, Adia (Mike Flanagan’s The Midnight Club), and Sheyi Cole portray three young people from Guyana on a pursuit of happiness in the US. CCH Pounder herself was born in Guyana.
Finally, Ethan Stoddard and Lucian Zanes both play huge parts in the whole kidnapping ordeal along with Happy Anderson (Mindhunter).
Watch Full Circle on HBO (or stream on Max)
This is very much a Steven Soderbergh series, and he also directs all six episodes. The style is consistent and strong with the characters always driving the story forward. Few characters are likable all the way through as most are forced to make decisions that will hurt others.
Such is the nature of the world they’ve chosen to live in – or it’s the result of certain people being neurodivergent in some way. In some cases with diagnosis.
The writer of Full Circle is Ed Solomon who most recently – in terms of series, anyway – wrote Mosaic (2018) which I also really enjoyed. Ed Solomon is amazing at writing complex and fascinating characters that you feel you know very quickly.
And yes, Mosaic was also directed by Steven Soderbergh and was an HBO Original, so they clearly have a strong thing going. The series is also executive produced by director Steven Soderbergh, writer Ed Solomon, and Casey Silver. The latter also produced Mosaic and the Soderbergh/Solomon HBO movie No Sudden Move (2021).
While I definitely enjoyed watching this series, I wasn’t crazy about the ending. Or rather, let me be more precise; I loved the final scene and what that image revealed. I just also felt like we never quite got all the answers or followed up on all the characters. Nothing that ruins the series, but having a few extra scenes would’ve improved it for me.
Full Circle premieres on HBO / Max on July 13, 2023. The final two episodes come out on July 27, 2023.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Ed Solomon
Cast: Zazie Beetz, Claire Danes, Jim Gaffigan, Jharrel Jerome, Timothy Olyphant, CCH Pounder, Phaldut Sharma, Adia, Sheyi Cole, Gerald Jones, Suzanne Savoy, Ethan Stoddard, Lucian Zanes, Dennis Quaid
An investigation into a botched kidnapping uncovers long-held secrets connecting multiple characters and cultures in New York City.