Episode 1 of Max's new crime thriller is free to watch online – here's where you can stream it

Timothy Olyphant, Claire Danes and Dennis Quaid look concerned at a phone in Full Circle
Max's new hit crime drama has been made available to stream for free (Image credit: Max / Warner Bros. Discovery)

The first episode of Full Circle, the latest crime drama to be released on Max, has been made available to stream online for free.

Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's 11, Magic Mike), the crime thriller only made its Max debut on July 13. However, just over two weeks – at the time of writing – after its final episode aired on July 27, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has decided to release episode 1 online in a bid to attract new viewers.

So, where you can watch it? YouTube, of course. Anyone interested in checking out Full Circle's first installment can head to the official Max YouTube channel, scroll down the page until they reach the 'New in 2023' section, and click on Full Circle's first episode (it's the third video that pops up). Alternatively, you can watch the episode via the YouTube embed below:

Unfortunately for UK and Australian audiences, Full Circle episode 1 isn't available to stream in these countries. That's because Max's YouTube channel is region locked to the US – one of the few nations where Max, the super-streamer successor to HBO Max, is currently available. Australians can catch it on Binge instead, and, if you're a Brit, you could use one of the world's best VPNs to circumnavigate this problem and stream Full Circle for free. But hey, you didn't hear that from us, okay?

Before you watch Full Circle's premiere, you might want to know a little more about it. This being a crime thriller with numerous twists and turns, I can't give too much away about its plot. But, for anyone interested, here's a very brief but official story synopsis, courtesy of WBD: "An investigation into a botched kidnapping uncovers long-held secrets connecting multiple characters and cultures in present-day New York City."

There's plenty of top-tier talent both in front of and behind the camera, too. Alongside Soderbergh, Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure) created and co-wrote the series. As for the cast, Zazie Beetz (Deadpool 2, Joker), Timothy Olyphant (The Mandalorian), Claire Danes (Homeland), Dennis Quaid (Strange World, The Parent Trap), Jim Gaffigan (Luca), and Jharrel Jerome (When They See Us) are among its stacked A-list roster.

A streamable freebie, but you might not be impressed

Mel Harmony stands in a room looking at someone off-camera in Full Circle

Full Circle hasn't been received well among general audiences (Image credit: Sarah Shatz/Max)

This isn't the first instance where one of the world's best streaming services has made its content available for free online. For instance, Netflix and Paramount Plus have dedicated YouTube playlists comprising full episodes to watch for free. Right now, you can stream multiple episodes of Our Planet on Netflix's YouTube channel for free, or catch the very first episode of hit drama series Billions on Paramount's YouTube channel.

It's a novel strategy for these streaming giants to employ. Posting a full episode (or, in some cases, multiple episodes) of a show on YouTube – which, as I keep saying, you can watch for free – is a worthwhile endeavor if it lures new viewers in. Somebody might catch Full Circle's first episode on YouTube, enjoy what it has to offer, and subsequently sign up to Max to watch its remaining five entries. If that happens hundreds or even thousands of times over, and grows Max's paying userbase, WBD's game plan will have worked.

Unfortunately for WBD, it's a scheme that might not be too successful where Full Circle is concerned. Per review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the miniseries hasn't been universally loved by viewers, with its audience score standing at a very middling 57%. That's in sharp contrast to its critics score, which makes for more palatable reading at 79%.

The jury, then, is out on whether Full Circle is actually worth your time. With its first episode available for free, you might as well give it a whirl. If it leaves you unimpressed, you haven't lost anything (well, outside of an hour of your life). Alternatively, you might get caught up in its intriguing, noir-positioned plot and, as a result, make the leap and subscribe to Max. 

If you do, there are plenty of other brilliant things to stream on the platform. Our best Max shows, best Max movies, and best Max documentaries guides will give you some pointers on what's worth watching first. But, if you're unmoved by Full Circle, don't fret – just watch one of these five mystery dramas instead.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

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