Who Has the Most to Gain From That Death on Succession? A Ranking

14 minute read

It might feel like it’s too soon, but we have to talk about it. After a number of health scares, Logan Roy (Brian Cox) finally died on the third episode of Season 4 of Succession—which means that the jockeying for power at Waystar Royco has begun. Some will flounder. But some will thrive. Logan was a bully who maintained his power by belittling, demoting, and arbitrarily firing his employees and relatives. Could his death be a boon to those who lived in fear of his ever-shifting mood? Or will the inevitable scuffle among his various children, ex-wives, and former employees only prove that nobody can take Logan’s place?

Someone will have to step up to the role of Chairman and CEO of Waystar Royco. The show is called Succession after all. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anyone will win at the end of the show: Given how toxic this family has been, it’s more likely they destroy the thing that they covet while fighting over it.

Still, the explosive events of Sunday’s episode have set some people up for future success and relegated others to lower rungs on the corporate ladder. Here are our power rankings.

1. Marcia Roy

Hiam Abbass as Marcia Roy
Hiam Abbass as Marcia RoyPeter Kramer/HBO

With Logan’s death, Marcia (Hiam Abbass) probably just inherited a whole lot of money. Brava to her for never signing those divorce papers. Outside of an offhand reference in the first episode of the season, the writers seem to have largely forgotten about Marcia. But in reality, she would probably return for Logan’s funeral and her handsome inheritance.

Does Marcia have grander ambitions beyond shopping in Milan forever? Marcia, Marcia’s son Amir (Darius Homayoun), and Colin (Scott Nicholson) are among the very few people in the world who know that Kendall (Jeremy Strong) killed someone. Everyone on the show seems to have forgotten that information or blown past it—after all, there are no consequences for the uberwealthy. But this knowledge could give Marcia leverage over Kendall, one of the heirs apparent to Waystar Royco. Maybe Marcia won’t waste it. Could Amir, who as far as we know is still running the European animation division of Waystar, be a dark horse candidate for the CEO role?

2. Gerri Kellman

J. Smith-Cameron on SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

As Roman once said of Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), she’s a “stone-cold killer b-tch.” Mess with her, and suffer the consequences. Logan died in an airplane bathroom immediately after trying to fire the savviest player in this particular game of thrones—just saying.

So is Gerri still fired as interim CEO of Waystar Royco? Probably not. Few people knew about Logan canning Gerri beyond Roman (Kieran Culkin), Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), and Karolina (Dagmara Dominczyk), and Gerri is frankly smarter than all of those people. If it’s her word against theirs, the safe bet is on Gerri.

In the midseason trailer for the final episodes of series, Gerri tells Roman she’s not afraid to sue. It’s possible she’s talking about taking legal action over Roman’s inappropriate photos, but in all likelihood she’s staking her claim to hold onto the interim CEO position.

3. Lukas Matsson

HBO Succession S4  09.21.22  NORWAY  sc- 405-25.  int ridge top restaurant Kendall & Roman square off with Matsson Kristi Fitts - Publicist kristi.fitts@warnermedia.com   Succession S4 | Sourdough Productions, LLC Kaufmann Astoria Studios 34-12 36th St 3rd flr Astoria NY 11106Office: 718-706-5850
Alexander Skarsgård on SuccessionGraeme Hunter—HBO

Let’s face it: Logan was bending over backward to make sure the Waystar-GoJo deal went through. When Logan’s kids tried to hold up the sale, he offered a rare apology in hopes that they would relent. He skipped his own son’s wedding to fly out and see Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) in Sweden—not that Logan seemed too torn up about missing the nuptials.

Logan’s deference to Matsson suggests that the Swede holds immense power. And now, instead of negotiating with one of the most accomplished businessmen of the 20th century, he gets to meet with Logan’s three spoiled children. Whatever confidence they may exude, we know the Roy kids just vastly overpaid for Pierce because of a petty grudge against their father. Business savants, they are not.

It’s possible that the Roys will try to pull out of the GoJo deal: They probably won’t be able to resist the temptation to rule over their father’s massive kingdom rather than selling it for parts. But if they mess with the deal, Matsson is going to eat them alive.

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4. Connor Roy

Justine Lupe and Alan Ruck on SuccessionDavid M. Russell—HBO

Logan’s death offered Connor (Alan Ruck) clarity. His immediate reaction? “He never liked me.” It’s true. And now Connor is free from the burden of impressing his dad.

Later, Connor offers another truism to Willa: “My father’s dead, and I feel old.” They go on to have a frank discussion about why Willa (Justine Lupe) is with Connor. Both parties enter into the marriage clear-eyed. And after Connor spent weeks worrying about courting media attention for his wedding and whether his father would attend, the two tie the knot in front of just a few witnesses.

Is it romantic? Kind of, actually. Most couples on this show constantly lie to and manipulate one another (see: Shiv and Tom, Logan and his many ex-wives). At least Connor has found something honest if not particularly healthy.

Oh, and it looks like Connor will get a sympathy bump in the polls. Did Logan just help propel his most disappointing son to the White House?

5. The workers just trying to write emails at ATN

Nicholas Braun and Matthew Macfadyen in SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

Now the reporters can just generate their election coverage without Jaws lurking in the background.

6. Stewy Hosseini, Sandy Furness, and Sandi Furness

Hope Davis and Arian Moayed in SuccessionMacall Polay—HBO

Stewy (Arian Moayed), Sandi (Hope Davis), and her father Sandy (Larry Pine) hold three seats on the Waystar Royco board. We know that Sandy has long wanted to destroy Logan’s legacy, and this may be his opportunity. They will be important swing votes that the various siblings and other candidates need to court in the vote for who will lead the company going forward.

It’s even possible that Sandi or Stewy could throw their respective hats into the ring. They certainly have proven more competent than the Roy kids.

7. Karolina Novotney

Matthew Macfadyen and Dagmara Dominczyk in SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

For a hot second, Karolina was running the show on the plane after Logan passed away. Could that be a harbinger of bigger things to come for Karolina?

8. Ewan Roy

James Cromwell and Nicholas Braun in SuccessionMacall Polay—HBO

It was kind of rude that nobody thought to call Logan’s brother Ewan (James Cromwell) when Logan was dying. But nevertheless, Ewan holds yet another board seat and a crucial swing vote. Ewan disowned Greg (Nicholas Braun) and seems to hold all the other Roy family members in contempt. And now he gets to help determine their future.

9. Greg Hirsch

Nicholas Braun on SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

Tom tells Cousin Greg in episode three that Greg has lucked out. Greg was on Logan’s sh-t list because he had to deliver the news to Kerry that she wasn’t going to become an ACN anchor. The “weird” arms comment probably didn’t help. Now that Logan has passed, Greg is safe from Logan’s wrath.

Still, the future doesn’t seem too bright for Greg. His fate has long been tied to that of Tom, and Tom’s biggest advocate is gone. (More on that later.)

To Greg’s credit, he seems to realize the sands are shifting beneath him: He most likely leaked the news of Logan’s death to that reporter he was chatting up at Connor’s wedding. (Though an embittered Gerri could also be the source of the leak.) And, if history repeats himself, Greg will probably copy the contents of Tom’s toxic “logistics” folder before deleting them.

But Greg’s next move may determine whether he winds up an executive or back in costume at one of the Roy theme parks. He has to find an ally to protect him. Tom’s status is dropping. Greg helped Ken in one of his many attempted coups, but then betrayed Ken to return to a cushier job at Waystar Royco under Logan. Greg’s uncle Ewan disinherited him. Could Ken turn to Roman or Shiv?

This choice harkens back to the second episode of the first season when Greg is sent on an errand with two contradictory orders from Roman and Shiv about picking up some papers Logan wants the children to sign. Greg has to figure out who is the “more senior sibling.” He eventually sides with Shiv. Will he do so again?

10. Frank Vernon

Sarah Snook, Peter Friedman, and Kieran Culkin in SuccessionMacall Polay—HBO

Frank (Peter Friedman) has a seat on the Waystar Royco board, but it’s difficult to imagine he (or Karl for that matter) will end up CEO. Frank has been fired and rehired too many times to count, and he hasn’t seemed all that eager to take on the burden of the top job since Logan laid him off in the first episode of Season 1. We do know that Frank has a close relationship with Ken: Frank is Ken’s godfather and supported his initial no confidence vote against Logan. But as a father figure, Frank is also deeply aware of Ken’s many flaws. That may be why we see him aligned with Gerri and Karl in the midseason trailer.

11. Tom Wambsgans

Matthew Macfadyen in SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

As Tom himself observes after Logan’s death, he’s lost his protector. He betrayed his own wife to get close to Logan, and it paid off—for a time. But Logan died before he could fire Tom’s rival, Cyd (Jeannie Berlin), or promote Tom within the company. And Tom has made many enemies in his bid for power.

Read More: The Case for Betting on Succession’s Tom Wambsgans

In the midseason trailer, we hear Karl suggest what “naysayers” might say about Tom: “You’re a clumsy interloper and no one trusts you. The only guy pulling for you is dead. You’re just married to the ex-boss’ daughter, and she doesn’t even like you.”

Tom needs to grab Shiv and hang on for dear life if he wants a future at Waystar Royco. Reconciliation is certainly possible. We already saw Shiv ask Tom to join her in the car on the way home to “run through” everything that happened when her father died. It was a flimsy pretense for Tom’s company.

12. Kerry Castellabate

Zoe Winters in SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

Like Tom, “Chuckles the Clown” hitched her wagon to Logan. Unlike Tom, she has no other life raft. In the immediate aftermath of Logan’s death, it became clear that Kerry (Zoe Winters) had no value to any of the remaining Waystar Royco execs. She’s summarily dismissed from the War Room.

In all likelihood, Logan’s widow Marcia will return to her Upper East Side apartment, claim everything Logan left her, and send Kerry packing.

13. Nan Pierce

Holly Hunter and Cherry Jones in SuccessionPeter Kramer—HBO

Bad news for Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones), especially considering she hates talking about money. The Roy kids can’t buy Pierce until they get the profits from the GoJo sale. And the Roy kids look poised to sabotage said GoJo sale.

The Roy children have historically been rather fickle when it comes to various business endeavors. They dropped their idea for The Hundred minutes after they saw an opportunity to buy Pierce. And just one day after the handshake deal with Nan, they already looked bored by the Pierce project. After throwing around a few ideas for the Pierce news channel—like going “full Clockwork Orange” at night—they quickly became distracted by the chance to sabotage their father’s GoJo deal. They always cared more about screwing dad than building something of their own.

It’s possible the Roy kids finally get what they covet—their father’s company—and in order to keep it, drop out of both the GoJo deal with Matsson and the Pierce deal with Nan.

14. Shiv Roy

Sarah Snook in SuccessionClaudette Barius—HBO

The Roy children rank at the bottom of this list. Sure, they finally got what they all wanted: A chance at the throne. But as Logan foresaw, none of them is ready for the task. However, each sibling does have a moment of strength.

Read More: About That Devastating Tom-Shiv Scene in the Succession Season 4 Premiere

Shiv (Sarah Snook) is the one who reads the family’s statement during the press conference. And she insists that the siblings will “be there” to determine the company’s future. Shiv thrives in the world of politics, and she just wisely made herself the public face of the company.

From an emotional perspective, unlike Kendall or Roman, Shiv finds a shoulder to cry on (literally) in this episode. Should Shiv and Tom get back together? Probably not. Their marriage was a disaster. But we’ve heard multiple times over the course of the show that Shiv first met Tom when she was “a mess” and Tom helped her recover. She was able to lean on him in hard times and seems determined to do so again during the death of her father.

This season, Tom has been playing both sides. Whether consciously or not, he leaked news to Shiv about the Pierce deal, allowing the kids to swoop in and steal that acquisition from their father. Now Tom and Shiv could return to their old dynamic of spy and protector.

15. Roman Roy

Kieran Culkin in SuccessionMacall B. Polay—HBO

Roman arguably has the best business instincts of the Roy children. He was the one who questioned the size of the check they were writing to Nan Pierce and the wisdom of sabotaging the GoJo deal. He was the closest to his father at the end, and the only one brave enough to see Logan’s body.

Still, Roman will be racked with guilt for the rest of his life over the last voicemail he left for his dad. And Logan’s final act of cruelty—forcing Roman to fire Gerri—also left Roman without his one personal lifeline in the company.

Roman has never been as aggressive as Kendall or Shiv, and it’s hard to imagine the conflict-averse sibling will find his cutthroat side now that his father is gone. Though Roman was, most recently, being groomed as Logan’s heir, he lacks the killer instinct needed to take out his brother and sister in the quest for power.

16. Kendall Roy

Jeremy Strong in SuccessionClaudette Barius—HBO

Kendall has always shown flashes of leadership and killer instinct—during the no confidence vote speech in Season 1 (which was good even if it was unfortunately delivered while Ken was running through Manhattan) and again at the press conference at the end of Season 2. In the wake of his father’s death, Kendall is clearheaded enough to remind his siblings that “we are highly liable to misinterpretation so what we do today will always be what we did the day our father died. So let’s grieve or whatever but not do anything that restricts our future freedom of movement.” Savvy.

But Ken finds himself totally isolated by his father’s death. He shares a moving hug with Roman and Shiv at the airport while they wait for their father’s body to be removed from the plane. But then Roman goes to greet their dad, and Shiv takes Tom home with her. Kendall is left standing alone in the shadows with no one to lean on in his time of need. It’s all rather ominous.

The midseason trailer also shows Kendall floating in water. Historically, Kendall and water have not mixed well. The death of the waiter at Shiv’s wedding occurs, of course, after Kendall crashes a car into a pond. And Ken passed out in the pool toward the end of Season 3, leading many fans to believe that he had died. Kendall also has a penchant for standing at the edge of tall buildings—when he first becomes interim CEO in Season 1 and Gerri tells him about the company’s hidden debt, Gerri tells Kendall, “Don’t jump.” That off-color joke takes on a new more serious tenor when Logan installs glass on the top of the Waystar Royco building so Kendall can’t attempt suicide.

Read More: 9 Clues That Set Up Kendall’s Big Cliffhanger on Succession

The harbingers of death for Kendall could be major misdirects. Still the images speak to Kendall’s mental state. Far from being unburdened by his father’s passing, Ken may feel the pressure even more. In fact, achieving his goal of finally becoming Waystar Royco’s CEO may be the worst outcome of all since he will never be able to live up to his father’s legacy.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com