Is Charlie Croker Dead at the End of A Man in Full?

Netflix’s drama series ‘A Man in Full’ ends with Charlie Croker confronting Raymond Peepgrass after the latter leads a consortium to buy the real estate mogul’s Croker Concourse. The confrontation paves the way for a physical fight as the businessman starts to strangle the banker with his bare hand. Even though he decides to take his hand away from Raymond, Croker suffers a stroke, only for his hand to remain stuck on the neck of his “enemy.” The show concludes with uncertainty regarding the businessman’s fate as his leg moves after he is presumed dead. Does that mean he survives the stroke? SPOILERS AHEAD.

Charlie Croker’s Ambiguous Fate

Charlie Croker is dead. After the real estate mogul murders Raymond Peepgrass with an unmovable hand, the stroke kills the former. Roger White, Croker’s attorney, arrives at the crime scene and inspects his dead body, only to close his eyelids after confirming that he has passed away. The businessman’s leg moves but not because he is alive. The robotic knee he has attached to his body moves involuntarily, making it appear as if his leg jerks because he is not dead. In a previous scene, Croker’s leg moves while he embraces his wife, Serena Croker, because of the robotic knee in the same way.

Croker then explains to Serena that the robotic knee doesn’t function properly. The movement of the leg in the show’s final shot is nothing but ironic. The real estate mogul gets the robotic knee, which hasn’t even passed the clinical trials, to strengthen himself. Croker believes he can be undefeatable if he embraces modern technology in his old age. However, the knee not only fails to stop him from dying but also moves after his death to showcase his vulnerability. The businessman loses his life to an inevitable heart attack while fighting a fellow man to display his manhood.

‘A Man in Full’ is a drama about manhood. Raymond aspires to defeat Croker to believe he is as a man as the latter. By trying to safeguard The Croker Concourse, which looks like an erected male genitalia, the businessman tries to protect his manliness as well. The showdown between these two men can be seen as a fight to establish their manliness, which is made evident by Raymond’s display of his fully erect genitalia in front of his “nemesis.” Croker’s death clarifies that such a battle can only end in a tragedy. Both men lose their lives, concluding a war that doesn’t prosper either of their lives.

Croker’s demise also marks the death of his business empire. Since he doesn’t expose Norman Bagovitch as a rapist, Wes Jordan doesn’t need to stop PlannersBanc from moving forward with the foreclosure of the real estate mogul’s assets. Martha and Serena may receive a part of the empire if they are lucky, along with the businessman’s son, Wally Croker. Even though the circumstances surrounding Croker’s death are embarrassing, he may have chosen the same over witnessing the loss of his business empire. As his saga ends with his inevitable fall, the robotic knee garners the viewers’ attention by displaying the limits of modern technology.

Even though ‘A Man in Full’ is based on Tom Wolfe’s novel of the same name, Croker doesn’t die in the source text. After trying to protect his business assets from PlannersBanc, he accepts his defeat to the bank. “He [Croker] said, ‘Okay, boys’ — Wes turned his palms up and then lifted them in the gesture that says ‘empty’ — ‘here it is. It’s all yours. You fight over it.’ I mean, he walked away from a corporation worth hundreds of millions,” reads the novel. The businessman then becomes an evangelist who embraces Stoicism, which he garners from his conversations with Conrad.

“Apparently, he [Croker] is dynamite, at least among white folks who go in for that sort of thing. He can talk your socks off, and the bills out of your wallet, is what I hear. […] He’s about to sign a syndication deal with Fox Broadcasting,” Wes tells Roger in the novel’s epilogue about the former real estate mogul’s transformation. David E. Kelley’s series adaptation diverts from such an ending to conclude the theme of manhood that is present throughout the show’s narrative.

Read More: A Man in Full: Is Charlie Croker a Republican?