Brian Cox says Succession twist happened 'too early' in series

·4 min read

WARNING: This article discusses a major plot spoiler from the third episode of Succession's fourth season.

Succession star Brian Cox has said he thought his character Logan Roy was killed off "too early" in the latest series of the acclaimed HBO drama.

The Dundee-born actor praised writer Jesse Armstrong, however, for executing the plot line "brilliantly".

The fourth and final series of the Emmy-winning show saw Cox's media mogul killed off in the third episode.

Cox told the BBC's Amol Rajan: "He [Armstrong] decided to make Logan die, I think ultimately too early."

"I mean, he'd made him die in the third episode," Cox continued. "And it was a great scene. That's why I didn't watch it, because I have no interest in watching. My own death will come soon enough.

"But I just thought, 'wow', you know, he did it brilliantly. It was a brilliant scene, the whole act."

Asked if he considered suggesting to Armstrong that Logan was being killed off too soon, Cox said: "No, I didn't. There's no point going down that road, especially with somebody like Jesse, because he's already made a plan."

Logan Roy's death in the early part of the current season was unexpected, throwing the future of his media and entertainment company Waystar Royco into doubt and creating a new dynamic between his power-hungry children.

Cox recalled how the "internet went crazy" when his character died after suffering a heart attack on a private jet.

There had been no warning to Succession's legions of loyal viewers that Roy's death was imminent. It was handled without fanfare, with his children caught off guard and denied a chance to say any kind of emotional goodbye to their father in person.

"It was an odd feeling," Cox said of his character's death. "I looked on it, wrongly, as a form of rejection. I was fine with it ultimately, but I did feel a little bit rejected. I felt a little bit, 'oh, all the work I've done. And finally I'm going to end up as a New Yorker on a carpet of a plane'."

Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin in Succession
Three of Logan Roy's children - played by Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin - jostle for position in their father's company

Perhaps the most critically-acclaimed TV drama of the past decade, Succession follows Logan Roy and his four children - three of whom are competing to take over from him as the CEO of his hugely successful company.

Those children - played by Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook and Kieran Culkin - are seen constantly jostling for position and attempting to curry favour with their father.

Roy's eldest child (played by Alan Ruck) has ambitions of his own, and this season mounted a campaign to become US president.

The show's sharp and snappy dialogue - a trademark of Armstrong's - often sees the characters deliver some brutal put-downs to one another.

Many have drawn parallels between the Roy family with the real-life Murdoch family, but Armstrong has maintained the series is fictional and not intended to be a representation of them.

Cox's co-star, J Smith-Cameron, who plays Gerri, told the BBC's Americast she felt Succession could have carried on following Logan Roy's death.

"Those of us who didn't play Roys, we still felt like we're very full storylines... you could have several more seasons about the world of Succession," she said. "But I think from Jesse's point of view, he was trying to literally address the topic of succession in that family."

Sarah Snook, Alan Ruck, Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, and Kieran Culkin attend the Season 4 premiere of HBO's "Succession" at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 20, 2023 in New York City
Three of Roy's children battle for his company, while a fourth (played by Alan Ruck, second left) wants to be US president

Cox said viewers had told him they were less keen to continue with the show after his character's death.

"They said, 'no, I'm not going to watch anymore. You've gone, I'm not watching'," Cox said. "Which I think is unfortunate and unnecessary because the show is about the succession. So you need to see what's happening in in the wake of his demise. But, you know, I'm not the writer."

Cox joked that he was surprised to have been entrusted with key information about the plot while they were filming, because, he said: "I've never been able to keep a secret in my life."

"In fact, I had a very close friend of mine once who wanted to confide in me, and I said, 'don't'. I said, Never confide in me because I will tell everybody.

"And it was bold of Jesse. And that's where Jesse's great. I mean, he's a genius. There's no question he's a writing genius."

Smith-Cameron added: "We were all sworn to secrecy, and we were all like, 'will there even be a show without Brian Cox?' Because he sort of drives the whole thing and polarises all the characters so much. And yet I feel like it has been really full and really suspenseful."

Brian Cox: Amol Rajan Interviews is broadcast on BBC Two on Thursday at 19:00 BST and on BBC iPlayer.