It can be difficult to like Kendall. His fall from power-hungry scion into substance abuse, a failed marriage and botched business deals made him a regular scapegoat for Logan. Yet when he, Roman and Shiv rally after their father spurns them, Kendall reestablishes himself as the person he always thought he was: the heir apparent.
There was perhaps no bigger moment than when he stepped up to give the eulogy at his father’s funeral at the last minute. As he receives an ovation from allies and rivals alike, Kendall realizes it was his time — and only his time.
Logan once told him he never saw him as a “killer.” But Kendall’s secret incident with a waiter at Shiv’s wedding has loomed around the edges of his closest relationships.
Roman “Romulus” Roy
Roman’s strengths and flaws — his immaturity, his irreverence, his desperation for his father’s approval — are often one and the same. A walking HR complaint, he had nevertheless built key relationships with Gerri Kellman, Lukas Matsson and far-right congressman Jeryd Mencken, only to lose influence when it mattered most. And his weak spot for his father has often derailed his role in his siblings’ plots against the old man.
Roman’s role in swinging the presidential election toward Mencken should have been a crowning achievement. But Logan’s death undoes him. He’s left embarrassed and in a puddle of tears, unable to give the eulogy at Logan’s funeral — allowing Mencken’s eye to wander to sturdier siblings.
Siobhan “Shiv” Roy
President, Domestic Operations
Shiv Roy started the series trying to prove that she’s better than her family and came to work at Waystar only after her father lured her with promises of power. Lately though, cut out of the Waystar leadership by her brothers, who are plotting to kill the GoJo deal and retain power, Shiv has been working to save the deal — and become CEO herself.
The oft-noted problem with Shiv is that she thinks she’s smarter than she is — and she gets caught. When Kendall finds out she went behind his back to Matsson, he calls her a “piece of dirt,” and it stings.
Shiv’s real cunning is at play at the memorial service when her smooth demeanor wins her crucial uninterrupted minutes with the presidential hopeful Mencken. Thanks to her alliance with Matsson, Shiv seemingly finished the penultimate episode in pole position. Getting the job done, however, has rarely won the women in “Succession” the accolades they desire. Does the sexist Mencken really want her running Waystar Royco?
Connor Roy chooses to run for president of the United States rather than fight his half-siblings to run the company. But at the last moment of the election race, Connor renounces his candidacy as a libertarian independent in exchange for a cushy diplomatic job in Europe.
Connor isn’t interested in ruling Waystar but is eager for attention and sway — at the funeral he makes another attempt to deliver the eulogy for his father but is aware that he needs sign off from a Roy that actually matters. It’s interesting that he seeks out Shiv, the baby, for permission, but is still shunned. Connor is so often ridiculed that mid-series he is seen reminding his siblings, but also himself, that he is in fact Logan’s eldest son.
Founder and former CEO
To his children and all those who work for him, Logan Roy appears larger than life. “I’m a hundred feet tall,” he says, “these people are pygmies.” Only bits and pieces of Logan’s earlier life are revealed to the audience. He crossed over from Europe on a ship in conditions his children can’t imagine; he was physically beaten as a child; his first wife was checked into a mental health institute; and he may have held himself responsible for the tragic death of his baby sister.
How Logan treats his children and employees makes him tougher to empathize with. He spends much of the series lying to his children, playing them against one another only to cheat them in one fell swoop when they dare to enter his fray. Logan “couldn’t hold a whole woman in his head,” his daughter said at his funeral.
He is unmoved by counselors and competitors pointing to his lack of morality. His death has diminished but not ended his power: The fear and dysfunctionality he imprinted on his children continues to create chaos in their lives.
Logan’s second wife, Caroline Collingwood, is an English aristocrat and a caustic, distant mother to Ken, Rome and Shiv — as well as a 3 percent voting shareholder in the company, according to HBO. Her most critical move came in Season 3’s finale, when she renegotiated with Logan to rob the kids of their veto power over a change in company control.
Caroline’s power seemed diminished until her appearance at Logan’s funeral, where she bands his former wives and girlfriends together. “Sally-Anne was my Kerry, so to speak,” she says to Marcia, Logan’s next wife. “It’s all water under the bridge now.”
Chairman of Global Broadcast News at ATN
Until the end of the third season, Tom Wambsgans’s most memorable power play involved him eating a piece of chicken off Logan’s plate. It’s only in Tuscany that Tom emerges as the main character of his own life, when he betrays his wife, Shiv, and her siblings to gain Logan’s trust. But Tom is left in a tough spot after “the only guy pulling for [Tom] is dead,” according to Karl. “Now, you’re just married to the ex-boss’s daughter, and she doesn’t even like you.”
Tom is at the center of the action during election night — but when it comes to making decisions, he falters. He doesn’t know how much airtime to give to the fire in Wisconsin, or how to respond to his wife telling him she’s pregnant.
The Cornell graduate scraped and climbed his way up the Roy dynasty, but it may have all been for nothing. Absent from Logan’s funeral, Tom’s protégé, the seemingly hapless Greg, usurps his spot in the church.
Executive assistant to Tom Wambsgans
“Cousin” Greg Hirsh, Logan’s great-nephew, has hoisted himself from theme-park fool to a stumbling but well-placed companion to billionaires.
“Greg the egg” serves as a punching bag for those above him — almost everyone on the show — but his gently paced corruption secures him a spot as a Disgusting Brother by Season 4. Tom tells him information is a weapon. But does Greg even need this lesson when he already has his hands dirty moving secrets between Tom, Shiv and potentially Lukas Matsson?
His airy ruthlessness has even led some viewers to speculate that he makes a solid candidate for puppet CEO. His name was penciled on to a paper in Logan’s possessions, for reasons we may never learn.
The Roys failed to keep Uncle Ewan, Logan’s longest-time critic, from delivering a damning eulogy at his younger brother’s funeral. “What sort of people would stop a brother from speaking for the sake of a share price?”
Ewan detailed more of Logan’s difficult past. “But I can’t help but say he has wrought some of the most terrible things,” he said. “Now and then darkened the skies a little. Closed men’s hearts. Fed that dark flame in men.”
By the time Ewan was done, he had perhaps helped puncture Roman’s bravado, leaving him incapable of giving his practiced eulogy and freeing Kendall and Shiv to take the spotlight.
The Old Guard: Gerri Kellman, Frank Vernon and Karl Muller
General counsel; Vice chairman; Chief financial officer
The old guard has survived several rounds of firing and vicious years with Logan Roy — who can dare to forget Boar on the Floor? — so it would perhaps be unfair to expect his children to outwit the trio. It is now, after Logan’s death that the graybeards must be at their ruthless best.
Roman approaches the “emperor penguins” a few times: Before the funeral, Roman confides in Frank that once the GoJo deal tanks, if Kendall can’t step up, Roman will. Gerri appears to lose her battle by getting fired, but at the pre-election night party it seems that she may have won the war. Her power play is blackmailing Roman with his NSFW photos and walking away with millions of dollars and her own narrative. Left behind are Frank and Karl. Outside Logan’s burial site, Shiv asks them “How bad was dad?”
“He was a salty dog but a good egg,” Frank reassured Shiv. “What you saw was what you got,” added Karl.
Team Stewy: Stewy Hosseini, Sandy Furness and Sandi Furness
Board members and 15-percent shareholders
When Kendall faced Waystar’s yawning $3 billion debt in Season 1, he turned to Stewy, his old college friend, in hope of getting the financial support Waystar desperately needed. At key moments in the show, the Roys have handed crucial board seats to Stewy and his allies, Sandy Furness, one of Logan’s oldest rivals, and Sandy’s daughter, Sandi.
The team controls three of the company’s 13 board seats and 15 percent of its voting stock, making them important players in company decisions. Lately, they’ve wanted more from the GoJo acquisition. Will they be pivotal in Kendall’s hope of sabotaging the deal with Matsson?
Karolina Novotney and Hugo Baker
Chief Communications Officer; Vice President of Communications
Although Karolina and Hugo share the unenviable task of making Waystar Royco look good, they couldn’t go about it more differently. Karolina is typically a picture of composure and professionalism. Hugo is slimy and desperate.
Now that Hugo is on GoJo’s “kill list” and Karolina is not, they’re serving disparate interests. Karolina’s job is to ensure that Waystar looks stable and ready for a deal, and it seems her position is safe. Meanwhile, Hugo prepares to disrupt the GoJo deal as Ken’s lackey. Not for nothing — Ken knows about Hugo’s recent insider trading. “You’ll be my dog, but the scraps from the table will be millions,” Ken offers Hugo.
“Woof, woof,” Hugo replies.