Sunday night’s episode of Succession was a somber event. In the run-up to the series finale on May 28, the Roy kids took turns eulogizing their “world of a father.” The four kids (and Willa) sat front row at his funeral as a crowd of the family’s biggest supporters sat behind them and watched the service. But Connor, Shiv, Kendall, and Roman were not the only people sitting front-row: Marcia (Hiam Abbass) and her band of Logan’s ex-wives and side pieces also sat in an adjacent pew. One of those women was Sally-Ann, played by Brian Cox’s real wife, Nicole Ansari-Cox, an actor whose acting credits include Law & Order and FBI and who has been married to the Succession star since 2002.
The Roy kids’ mother, Caroline (Harriet Walter), is the one to call attention to this “Avengers assemble” moment. After noticing, as only a mother can, that Shiv is pregnant, and a truly uncomfortable exchange of words between the two of them, she notices Kerry (Zoe Winters)—Logan’s estranged ex-girlfriend who was with him on the plane when he died. She is walking in with her brother and a friend (who happens to be a lawyer because she thought she might have been barred from entering) when Caroline asks her to join her in the front row. After wrangling Kerry, Caroline notices Sally-Ann, who doesn’t say much, but Caroline tells Marcia that Sally-Ann was her “Kerry,” meaning she was Logan’s sidepiece when Caroline was married to him.
Eagle-eyed viewers noticed that this wasn’t the first time Sally-Ann was mentioned. Her name was brought up in Season 2 when Logan seemed to be having an affair with Rhea Jharrell (Holly Hunter). It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but Rhea is referred to as “Sally-Ann with the harp.” Also, Roman and Kendall say that they can’t remember when Logan has been this happy since “Sally-Ann and the Summer of Horses.” The unseen mistress was also name-checked in Season 3 when Frank lists off all the crises that the company has weathered over the years and says, “There were the tabloid suicides. When we nearly went kablooey because of Argentina. The Tiananmen accommodations. The black cloud after Sally-Ann.”
Not many hints are offered about this character, but in an October 2021 interview with Variety, creator Jesse Armstrong talked about the Season 3 premiere and said of Sally-Ann, “Sally-Ann was a relationship or an infatuation.” He continued, “I think he gets them, but it’s sometimes romantic. Like, there seemed to be some romantic feelings with Rhea, with Holly Hunter’s character.”
It was fun to finally put a face to the ominous name—and a genius little Easter egg that the show cast Cox’s real-life wife to attend her husband’s fictional funeral.
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