Succession: Brian Cox argues that Season 4 plot-twist came too early - what did Jesse Armstrong say?

Brian Cox shared his opinion on Logan Roy's plotline in Succession Season 4 in a new BBC Two interview with Amol Rajan

This article contains detailed and immediate spoilers about Succession’s fourth and final season.

Succession’s final season has been all about tracing the repercussions of a twist in its third episode. According to star Brian Cox, who played Logan Roy since the beginning of the series, that twist came too soon.

“[Succession creator and head writer Jesse Armstrong] decided to make Logan die, I think ultimately too early,” said Cox, speaking to former BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan in an episode of Rajan’s BBC Two interview series that’s set to air on Thursday 25 May. “I mean, he'd made him die in the third episode. […] It was an odd feeling. 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'.”

Asked by Rajan if he’d considered petitioning Armstrong to rewrite or restructure the season, Cox dismissed the idea. "No, I didn't [suggest keeping Logan alive for longer]. There's no point going down that road, especially with somebody like Jesse, because he's already made a plan."

Brian Cox as Logan Roy in Succession Season 3, looming menacingly behind a glass door (Credit: HBO)Brian Cox as Logan Roy in Succession Season 3, looming menacingly behind a glass door (Credit: HBO)
Brian Cox as Logan Roy in Succession Season 3, looming menacingly behind a glass door (Credit: HBO)

Nonetheless, Cox was full of praise for the episode in general, even if not its place within the season. “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.”

“It was bold of Jesse,” continued Cox. “And that's where Jesse's great. I mean, he's a genius. There's no question he's a writing genius.”

In the wake of the episode, Armstrong explained that the decision to kill Logan as early in the season as they did was so that there was space to fully explore the result of his absence. ““We don’t want to see people crying, have a funeral and be done with the show,” Armstrong said on HBO’s official Succession podcast. “We want to see how a death of someone significant rebounds around a family.”

“He was always going to die. It felt like that had to happen,” Armstrong told host and journalist Kara Swisher. “That was always coded into it once we decided it was going to be the final season […] it really was this feeling of wanting to see how they would cope afterwards that was the prevailing one.”

Brian Cox can next be seen as The Controller, the host/villain of Amazon Prime Video’s upcoming James Bond-themed game show 007’s Road To A Million. 

Amol Rajan Interviews: Brian Cox will air on BBC Two on Thursday 25 May at 7pm, with the episode also available to stream on BBC iPlayer immediately afterwards. You can read more of our Succession coverage here, including our list of recommendations for what to watch next after Succession finishes.

Was Brian Cox right about Succession’s S4 twist?

NationalWorld TV critic Alex Moreland discusses Brian Cox's comments

Was it too early to kill Logan? Arguably, sure, but Cox is right to call the decision bold – and that’s what made “too early” the right time entirely. Logan’s death was always hanging over the series, and it’s difficult to imagine a version of Succession that ended without Logan’s death. But, where most people would’ve expected his death to come at the end of a series (I’d long-assumed it’d close Season 4, followed by a fifth and final Loganless season to end the show), positioning it at the top of the show didn’t just give Succession space for a deeper exploration of Logan’s children’s grief, it also subverted all those audience expectations – a reminder that even if you know exactly what’s going to happen in Succession, anything can happen in Succession.