Spoilers below for anyone who isn’t yet caught up on Succession’s latest episodes, so be warned!
Whenever the history books close on 2023 TV — an act common for history books, no? — I’d put money on Succession’s Logan Roy being recognized as the year’s most noteworthy small screen death. Fans were still getting used to the idea that the show would be ending with Season 4, and then along came the awards-worthy episode “Connor’s Wedding” with its expectation-shattering turmoil for the Roy family. The HBO drama soared highly and mightily again with the funeral-centric penultimate ep “Church and State,” during which Logan’s body was interred within a ridiculously opulent mausoleum. Unless that wasn’t actually his body inside the coffin! An idea that would sound a lot more baffling if it weren’t for Brian Cox himself keeping the “Logan Isn’t Dead” theory alive going into the finale.
Succession will wrap up completely (and presumably for good) whenever the series finale “With Open Eyes” airs on Sunday, May 28. Fans can probably take comfort in the idea that creator Jesse Armstrong won’t be pulling any fast ones on viewers by having Cox’s Logan step out from the shadows to reveal it’s all been a ruse, but I can’t help but be lovingly fascinated by the Scottish actor playing up the idea that his character isn’t actually dead, all while bemoaning the fact that his (fake) death went down so early in the fourth season. Speaking on the BBC Two program Amol Rajan Interviews, Cox brought up his previously shared take on Logan’s potential survival. In his words:
I still believe this, maybe Logan isn’t dead. This could be part of an elaborate ruse to find out. Well, if you think about it, from Logan’s point of view, he has to find out, how are his children going to behave when he dies, what will then happen? And the only way to do that is to fake his death and actually, at some distant point he’s observing the chaos that is following.
Frequent Succession director Mark Mylod and Jesse Armstrong have offered logical and justifiable enough explanations for why Logan’s death episode was filmed in such a way that his body was shown as infrequently as possible, with only a single shot putting any kind of focus on his face and head. And it did indeed help to create an offbeat tension throughout the runtime, though at the same time ran counter to TV tropes and expectations. Because as many viewers are well aware: unless you see someone’s body rotting in the ground without a head, there’s a pret-ty decent chance that character could return down the line. Even if the HBO series won’t actually still be airing after May 28.
Most actors try to avoid this kind of arguably unnecessary speculation about a character’s fate, since it usually leads to years of fans continuously asking the same kinds of questions about it. But Brian Cox DGAF, and he’s here to pour lighter fluid all over this speculation bonfire. Because by all means, if there’s any character on TV who is schemey, duplicitous and all-around rich enough to pull off a faked-death scenario such as this, complete with a highly populated funeral (complete with Cox’s real-life wife) that nearly broke Roman’s brain, it would be Logan Roy 110%. (Inflated numbers, just as Kendall likes em.)
Kieran Culkin’s self-loathing Roman is the one character on the show who has himself expressed the belief, albeit as a form of emotional denial, that Logan isn't dead. He said it in Episode 403 after noting that he hadn't seen the body, and then during his funeral meltdown, he questioned if his father was actually in the coffin. I was honestly hoping that someone would pop that sucker open, even if that might have traumatized ol' Romulus for the rest of his nihilistic existence. Especially since Cox was actually on site to thwart speculation that it was his funeral being filmed. Alas, the coffin stayed shut, and the youngest sibling will be possibly be mourning his father without closure for years to come. (No happiness for him after the finale, which is fine.)
In any case, Brian Cox doesn't actually think there will be any plans to bring Logan back, either on the show or off of it, saying:
No…I’m just saying that could have been a supposition.
I'm really hoping the main reason Cox is keeping that line of thinking open is because there's another minor clue in the finale that it could be a legit twist. Even though Succession's final episode will be focused on Kendall, Roman, and Shiv's respective attempts to take over the family business through backstabbing ruthlessness, I can't imagine the whole shebang will play out without Logan's name and impact being referenced throughout.
Maybe someone will see an unknown number listening in to a board meeting, or will see a gray-haired gent standing around nearby who just so happens to disappear when he's chased around a corner. Although I guess that might sound more like the Waystar offices are haunted...and that might actually be what I want more than anything: a fifth season or spinoff that spins its financial drama into a paranormal thriller. I think I need to start writing that.
Succession's final episode ever will air on HBO on Sunday, May 28, at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will be available to stream with a Max subscription. Head to our 2023 TV premiere schedule to see what other shows are on the way that Logan Roy also won't be haunting as a ghoulish specter.