Michael Dinner is an American director, producer, and screenwriter for television. He directed the pilot episode of Justified and remains an executive producer and regular director for the series. Dinner also directed and produced for Karen Sisco (which is based on the US Marshall character of the same name created by Elmore Leonard).
Prior to his TV career, he was a recording artist for Fantasy Records.
Dinner joined the crew of the The Wonder Years as a director for the second season in 1989. He continued to regularly direct episodes for the third season in fall 1989. He joined the production team as a producer for the third season after the mid-season break in January 1990. He won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series in 1990. He continued as a producer and director for the fourth season in 1990 and the fifth season in 1991. He was promoted again to executive producer and remained a director for the sixth and final season in 1992.
During the 1993 to 1994 television season he directed pilots for the unsuccessful crime drama series Tribeca, which starred Danny Aiello, aired as a mid-season replacement and was cancelled after seven episodes. The following year he helmed the pilot for David E. Kelley's medical drama Chicago Hope and another short-lived crime drama Sweet Justice. Chicago Hope was a hit and Dinner served as a co-executive producer and regular director for the first season. He returned in the same role for the second season in the 1995 to 1996 season.
In the 1996 to 1997 season he directed the pilot of Early Edition. The series was successful and Dinner remained aboard as an executive producer and director for the first season. He left the crew after the first season although the show remained on the air until 2000.
In the 1997 to 1998 season he again worked with Danny Aiello, this time with Aiello starring in Dellaventura. Dinner served as a co-executive producer and regular director for the series until its cancellation after 14 episodes. The following season he directed and executive produced the pilot for Fantasy Island. The show was also cancelled after one season. He had no new series picked up in the 1999 to 2000 season.
In the 2000 to 2001 season he directed the pilot for The $treet and remained on board as a co-executive producer for the first season. The show was cancelled after one season. He again had no new projects picked up in the 2001 to 2002 season. He directed the second episode of Mister Sterling the next year.
He served as an executive producer and director for Karen Sisco in 2003. The project was based on Elmore Leonard's character of the same name and starred Carla Gugino in the title role. Gugino will reprise the role in the third season of Justified.
In 2004 he helmed the pilot of North Shore. The show was picked up but cancelled after one season. In 2005 he directed the third episode of science fiction series Invasion and a second season episode of medical drama Grey's Anatomy.
In 2006 he directed the pilot of crime drama Kidnapped. He remained an executive producer for the first season. The show starred Mykelti Williamson who will guest star in the third season of Justified.
In 2007 he helmed the pilot of short lived science fiction reboot The Bionic Woman. The show was short lived. In 2008 he directed the pilot of FX crime drama Sons of Anarchy. The show has been a hit for the network. Also in 2008 he directed an episode of Law & Order for the series eighteenth season. Jeremy Sisto, who had worked with Dinner on Kidnapped, had joined the cast of Law & Order. Dinner returned to Law & Order in 2009 to direct an episode for the show's twentieth season. Also in 2009, Dinner directed and executive produced the first episode of crime drama The Beast for A&E. He became an executive consultant and remained a director when the show was picked up.
Dinner joined the crew of Justified as an executive producer and director for the pilot episode "Fire in the Hole" in 2010. He also helmed the first season episode "Riverbrook". He returned as an executive producer for the second season in 2011 and directed the season finale "Bloody Harlan". He remained an executive producer for the third season and directed the season premiere "The Gunfighter". He returned as an executive producer for the fourth season in 2013 and directed the season premiere "Hole in the Wall". He returned as an executive producer for the fifth season in 2014 and directed the episodes, "A Murder of Crowes" and "Wrong Roads", making this the first season since Season 1 where Dinner has directed more than one episode.