Next in ‘Succession’: Backstabbing, banter and business continue in final season

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Dana Simpson / TV Media
Brian Cox as Logan Roy in “Succession”

Brian Cox as Logan Roy in “Succession”

Since 2018, the designer-clad, private-jet-setting Roy family has graced HBO with its particular brand of sardonic humor and drama. Now, after five years of media mayhem, Jesse Armstrong’s (“Peep Show”) witty business masterpiece returns for a fourth and final season. “Succession” premieres its closing installment Sunday, March 26, on HBO.

The highly acclaimed series, which was nominated for 25 awards at the 2022 Emmys and took home a win for Outstanding Drama Series, follows the Roy family as its potential heirs wage a semi-private battle for the position of Waystar Royco CEO. 

All children of media magnate Logan Roy (Brian Cox, “Troy,” 2004) — a Rupert Murdoch-type businessman — Kendall (Jeremy Strong, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” 2020), Siobhan, a.k.a. Shiv (Sarah Snook, “An American Pickle,” 2020) and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” 2010) have been oscillating between union and division in the name of (you guessed it) succession since the very first episode. There is also, as viewers know, one more Roy child who often goes overlooked. 

Connor Roy (Alan Ruck, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” 1986), Logan’s eldest and the only child from his first marriage, flits in and out of family affairs while chasing his main goal: the American presidency. Despite his dream of running the country rather than his father’s empire, Connor still often manages to complicate matters for his family on the way to the top of the political sphere.

Amid the turmoil, scandal, politics and petty familial affairs, Logan is still running the show heading into Season 4 — something that somewhat shocked actor Cox, considering the original plan for the series.

“I was supposed to die at the end of the first series,” Cox said of the show’s inaugural season. “But I think they [the writers] realized that Logan is the centrifugal force of the piece. Everything has to spin off him, and the kids’ vices are all about their father.”

That said, come Season 4, anything could happen. Regardless, series creator Armstrong has stated his intention to deliver on the promise set out in the show’s title. 

“There’s a promise in the title of ‘Succession,’ Armstrong confirmed in February 2023. “The end has always been kind of present in my mind.”

Armstrong did, however, hint in an interview with The New Statesman that there would be “a very definite moment when [the] story is over,” leading to much speculation that Logan will finally take his last breath, if not in life then certainly in business, by the series finale. The question then remains: who will ascend to the Roy family throne? 

As any “Succession” fan can attest, the dynamics have changed quite a bit among the show’s key players since the pilot. By the end of Season 3 (spoilers ahead for those not yet caught up), the siblings and other main employees had chosen to back either Kendall, the former golden boy once poised to inherit the Roy empire, or Logan, the stubborn patriarch and ruthless company king.

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in “Succession”

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in “Succession”

Last season also ushered in a new pawn-turned-power player: GoJo CEO and tech genius Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård, “The Northman,” 2022), who has been putting the moves on Logan in hopes of buying out the “antiquated” Waystar Royco. This buyout, which once seemed unlikely due to Logan’s instinct to shut down every potential deal with a glare and a cutting F-bomb, now appears to be a go. Whether his change of heart is financial, strategic or spite-fueled, however, remains to be seen in its entirety.

It doesn’t exactly take a keen observer to notice Logan got more power-hungry and domineering than ever in the Season 3 finale, though. After having cut his children off from the media empire in one final, detrimental blow, Logan stands more alone than ever in his corner. Shiv and Roman, meanwhile, appear to have joined Kendall in his longstanding Shakespearean quest to overthrow his father. 

And while the official HBO trailer seems to signal Logan’s rivals, Stewy Hosseini (Arian Moayed, “Inventing Anna”) and the Furnesses, Sandy (Larry Pine, “The French Dispatch,” 2021) and Sandi (Hope Davis, “Captain America: Civil War,” 2016), joining the siblings to overthrow the patriarch, Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun, “How to Be Single,” 2016) and Shiv’s husband, Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen, “Pride & Prejudice,” 2005) — a deadly duo in their own right — have been cooking up their own plan, one featuring “attack dogs” and all.

Though the sheer number of people against Logan may seem like a promising plan to oust him once and for all, it’s important to remember how quickly things can change in “Succession.” In fact, HBO indicated that nothing is truly certain except “existential angst and familial division among the Roys as they anticipate what their lives will look like once the deal [with Matsson] is completed.”

Armstrong further set the stage for the “bumpy ride” toward the series finale when he told Town & Country that there is sure to be “a lot of hard rendering and conflict” ahead.

“Succession,” which also stars J. Smith-Cameron (“Search Party”), Peter Friedman (“The Path”), David Rasche (“Impastor”) and Fisher Stevens (“The Blacklist”) as Waystar Royco executives Gerri, Frank, Karl and Hugo, respectively, launches Season 4 Sunday, March 26.

Each of the final season’s 10 episodes will release weekly on HBO.