‘A Man in Full’ ending explained: Is Charlie Croker dead?
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'A Man in Full' ending explained: Is Charlie Croker dead?

Charlie Croker isn’t the only corrupt businessman on Netflix. Take Donald Trump for example, who according to the series Trump: An American Dream owes the New York taxpayer hundreds of millions of dollars. Then there’s the head of Peaky Blinders front Shelby Company Ltd, Tommy Shelby.

If you really want to stretch the definition of businessman, how about Simon Hayut, the subject of shocking docuseries The Tinder Swindler? In his own words, Hayut’s method of defrauding women via the dating app was completely “legit”.

Out of these three villains, strangely the one that real estate mogul Croker, played by Jeff Daniels, resembles the most is Trump. The central figure of miniseries A Man in Full, which is based on Tom Wolfe’s 1998 novel of the same name, is from a rich family, and became well-known in Atlanta as a prominent college football star for Georgia Tech university.

He’s repeatedly introduced to people in the series as “the 60-minute man”, after the famous catch he took in the dying seconds of a game during his young sporting career. The middle-aged Croker is characterised by a brash, pompous arrogance he seems to have done little to deserve. He’s dining out on the one moment of glory from his past, while obsessed with the vanity project of his present, the city skyscraper known as the Croker Concourse.

So obsessed that he’s willing to dive deep into debt and lose his family to try and save it, despite the building falling to serve a purpose or yield a profit. But Croker’s self-serving approach to business has made an enemy out of a young executive in his financial holdings bank, Raymond Peepgrass. Peepgrass has come to detest Croker personally, after facing years of condescension from his boss despite his superior business acumen.

As a Croker banking insider, Raymond has the full picture of Charlie’s financial and personal problems, as he struggles to pay off his debtors while going through a messy divorce. And he uses this knowledge to his advantage.

Does Charlie kill Raymond?

In the show’s fourth episode, Raymond becomes involved with Martha Croker, Charlie’s ex-wife. He does so knowing full well that she owns 28% of the Concourse, while she serves as the trustee for another 28% in the name of her son with Charlie. As Charlie later explains, this arrangement was “part of the divorce settlement, as well as tax shelter, life insurance shit.” 

Raymond uses his relationship with Martha to convince her that she should sell off her majority control of the Concourse to his new company,  Big Red Dog LLC. The series ends with Charlie going to his former home to confront Martha about this sell-off of his most prized possession, a phallus-shaped building, only to find her having sex with Raymond.

Raymond then enrages Charlier further by telling him he’s managed to “fuck the landowner’s wife”. Charlie strangles him before his right hand locks up, as it has done several times previously in the series, while it’s round Raymond’s neck. Just as he’s suffocated the life out of Raymond, Charlie has what appears to be a fatal heart attack.

The two of them collapse on the floor together, and Martha finds them as she breaks into the bedroom. In the show’s final moments, we see Raymond’s covered body being loaded into an ambulance. He seems to be dead.

Charlie Croker, meanwhile, is still collapsed on the floor of his former marriage sweet. A police officer called to the scene by Martha gently presses Charlie’s eyes closed. But in the very last shot, as the camera zooms out, we see his leg twitch. The 60-minute man has survived.