There’s not a single redeemable member of the Roy family on ‘Succession’ but who is the absolute worst amongst them?
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
‘Succession’ is one of the most talked about and beloved shows on television and yet there’s not a single redeemable character on the entire series.
Now first of all if you’ve never seen the show, that might sound a little shocking or maybe off putting if you’re considering a deep dive into the series in the future but really that description is both befitting and the best possible invitation to watch if you haven’t.
For those who are obsessed with ‘Succession’, calling the Roy family a bunch of deplorables might be the kindest thing anyone has ever written about them.
In a show fueled by greed, power and selfishness, ‘Succession’ truly succeeds by putting a group of characters on screen who you’ll likely hate in varying degrees from disdain to loathsome to straight up vile yet it’s one of the most addictive series on television right now.
That’s why we’ve decided to rank the Roy family — and this list includes only the main family members and their significant others — from bad to worst with a few of their misdeeds that earned them the number next to their name.
From corporate takeovers to coke-fueled auto accidents that leave someone dead to painting a family patriarch as mentally unfit to lead the company — and that’s all one character for those curious — ‘Succession’ isn’t interested in giving you anti-heroes that you might compromise yourself morally to root for while secretly hoping they redeem themselves.
Instead, ‘Succession’ is a rare formula where everybody on the show is irredeemable and we absolutely love them for it.
With that said, let’s get to our Roy ranking for the best to worst in this family of vipers.
8 ) Marcia Roy
By the time ‘Succession’ is finished, Marcia might be the one at the top of this list because there’s definitely more going on with this character than we know but until at least some of that is revealed, she remains the least despicable person on the show.
Marcia seemed to show genuine care for her husband’s health after Logan fell ill — although the cynic would point out that she was in line for two voting proxies on the Waystar-Royco board of directors if all of the children had signed over the rights as their father asked before he suffered a stroke. Marcial also managed to get her son from another marriage into a high-ranking corporate job overseas, which was barely a blip on the radar as the rest of the family fought, scratched and clawed at each other in an attempt to take over the entire company.
A background check ran on Marcia during season one also failed to reveal anything devious but that’s mostly because the investigators couldn’t find anything past a certain point in her past as if she never even existed.
Marcia is definitely hiding something but until we know more, she’s relegated as the least awful in this pit of vipers.
7 ) Connor Roy
The eldest child of the Roy clan, Connor is woefully unprepared for the battles being fought inside his family and he often touts himself as staying neutral during every war — the man in the middle, who supposedly only wants what’s best for everybody.
Connor is also outside of the family business, choosing to spend the majority of the first season on his ranch in New Mexico where he babbles endlessly about whatever it is he’s doing there and paying his girlfriend Willa to be his girlfriend. The only time we really saw Connor flare up during season one was during the annual Waystar-Royco gala when he went nuclear on the kitchen staff for putting out cold pats of butter that forced the guests to tear into their dinner rolls.
Lately, Connor has been focused on his new goal — becoming President of the United States — and typically we’d all laugh at him for even suggesting it but then one look at the guy currently occupying the White House will tell you no previous experience is required.
“Do you think that’s like a natural progression from never done nothing never to the most important job in the world?” ~ Roman to Connor
Even as he relocates to New York so his call-girlfriend can be closer to the theater district, Connor is paying what can only be an extravagant bill to live in a penthouse at the top of a posh hotel.
Connor is essentially a Kardashian — abundantly wealthy without ever doing a damn thing to earn it. He doesn’t seem to mind it either, which is why he’s not the worst character on the show — maybe just the one most ill prepared to survive alongside his siblings.
6 ) Greg Hirsch
Cousin Greg seems like the moral compass of ‘Succession’ because he tries to avoid wrongdoing whenever possible and he seems to have a more progressive outlook on the world than the rest of this family.
Plus Greg’s naivety is just charming if not hilarious in most of the interactions he has with everybody else from the extended Roy clan. For instance as Greg was essentially homeless and waiting for his first paycheck to arrive, he was hoarding cookies into a doggie bag, which earned him a proper mocking from Tom in the break room who couldn’t believe he was shoveling snacks into a waste bag.
Greg’s response — ‘it’s not like they pre-poop them’ — has to be one of the best lines of the entire series.
That said just because Greg is learning the ropes on how to fit into the Roy family, it can’t be ignored that he essentially wormed his way into a high-paying job on the day his great uncle collapsed and nearly died. He then wiggled into a promotion by promising to keep a watchful eye on Kendall as a courtesy to uncle Logan.
By the time this show is over it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Greg is the last man standing in charge of Waystar-Royco. As Roman would say, he’s not smart but he’s not dumb either and that will take him a long way on this show.
5 ) Tom Wambsgans
Let me preface this section by saying that Tom is by far my favorite character on ‘Succession’ so there’s a slight bit of bias in this selection, although he definitely earned his spot on the countdown.
Tom is ambitious — he wants to climb the corporate ladder and he has no problem riding the coattails of his wife to get there. When he found out about the bodies that were buried in the parks department after taking over in season one, Tom used cousin Greg as his scapegoat just in case those skeletons in the closet ever came back to life.
Throughout much of season one, Tom appeared to be woefully unprepared for the world he was about to marry into. Consider the watch he bought for Logan in the pilot episode because he wanted to impress his future father-in-law and the timepiece ended up as a payoff to a family that Roman taunted during a family softball game.
As much as Tom appeared to be a sniveling kiss ass and cuckold for much of the first season — although being snowballed at his bachelor party did result in one of the best lines of the season “it’s cool, though, cause it’s like I didn’t cheat cause all the sperm stayed in my own body. Like a closed loop system.” — he really started to come into his own towards the end of those last few episodes.
Perhaps the best indication that Tom was willing to wield his power when it suited him was after finding out about Shiv’s affair with her ex-boyfriend/current co-worker on the Senator Eavis campaign. Tom not only issued him a stern warning to stay away from his now wife but he leveled a threat against him that made me have a whole new respect for him.
“I think you need to go and fuck yourself and if I ever see you in the same room as Shiv again, I will pay men to break your legs and if I go to jail — which I won’t — so be it.”
He then forced Nate to pour his glass of wine back into the bottle before he was dismissed from the reception.
4 ) Shiv Roy
Shiv was on the outside looking in when it came to the family business during season one so she probably wouldn’t have ranked this high outside of a few key moments — like banging her ex-boyfriend behind her fiance’s back — but she’s absorbing a lot of power as we get into the depths of season 2.
Despite a career in politics, Shiv has longed for the opportunity to be her father’s right hand in his media conglomerate and when given the chance to grab that brass ring, she jumped right over her husband and brothers to get it. Shiv couldn’t resist the chance to pitch herself as the savior for Waystar-Royco — granted that was obviously what her father wanted — but she played that scene quite brilliantly.
Add to that, Shiv was forced to take the lessons she learned from her father to then tell her husband that he had no chance at being company CEO because she was going to continue being his boss both in and out of the bedroom.
Shiv isn’t the tornado blowing through town, tearing up buildings and leaving families in the wake of her destruction — that’s more her father Logan or brother Kendall. Instead, Shiv is Kaiser Soze in heels and just like that mythical bad guy from ‘The Usual Suspects’, she’s the killer you don’t see coming.
3 ) Roman Roy
Now if this was a countdown of the biggest asshole on ‘Succession’, Roman Roy would be in the top spot without a doubt.
It’s tough to imagine Roman ever having a kind word to say about anybody but his sarcasm mixed with a healthy dose of cruelty typically make him the most watchable character on the show. The way Roman savagely dismantles anybody and everybody in his atmosphere is quite impressive.
He has the innate ability to burn one person with a vicious insult and then make the next person cringe and twitch like the time he asked Tom what it was like fucking his sister Shiv. Roman is relentless and unforgiving and the only reason he doesn’t rank higher on this particular list is because at times he’s also painfully clueless, which means he often times falls ass backwards into bad situations or just can’t read the room like when he attempted to secure several local television stations from his father’s biggest rival while missing the fact that he was in the middle of a coup to take over the company.
Still, Roman’s ability to piss off just about anybody makes him an adequate foil in this dog eat dog world just like his zinger from season one when he told his brother Kendall “what I think he meant to say was he wished mom gave birth to a can opener because at least then it would be useful”.
2 ) Logan Roy
Of course the patriarch of the Roy family has to land near the top spot.
Perhaps the craziest part about his ranking is that Logan spent half of the first season in a hospital bed and/or recovering from a stroke that nearly killed him. That means all of the vile acts that Logan unleashed on his family has taken place over only a handful of episodes.
Logan is a master manipulator who constantly pits his children against one another, first for his affection and then second seemingly for his own amusement. The only thing that really matters to Logan Roy is the massive media empire he’s build and it’s rather obvious he doesn’t trust any of his children to run it once he’s dead.
A prime example of Logan’s ethos came in the most recent episode when he tasked his sons, Kendall and Roman, with investigating the website ‘Vaulter’ and find out if it was worth saving or if it needed to be taken out back and shot like a dying animal.
Kendall tried valiantly to save the company because it was one of his signature investments as he prepared to become CEO at the start of the first season. Meanwhile, Kendall got his info by taking out some employees for overpriced IPA’s and finding out that the website numbers were falsely inflated not to mention everybody was preparing to unionize. He believes the company needs to be gutted and Logan agrees despite objections from Kendall to the contrary.
Logan then puts Kendall in charge of destroying the company he bought and tried to save — and he does his job all too well. Then when Kendall returns to tell his father how he gutted the company, leaving only the two profitable verticals that actually made money, his father essentially gave him a pat on the back and invited him back into his inner circle to help stave off the ongoing battle in the corporate takeover.
As for Roman, he got a signature ‘fuck off’ from his father and sent packing back to his own office, far away from the inner workings of what it would take to save the company.
Logan is doing the same to his daughter Shiv after she was seemingly the only one of his children who really seemed to care if he lived or died after his stroke. The estrangement between father and daughter in season one was mostly surrounding her involvement with a political candidate with ideals that essentially wanted to tear down the family business.
Logan managed to use Shiv to broker a truce with the politician and then promised her the chance to run Waystar-Royco once he steps down as a way to dangle something she’s always wanted in order to get her to leave the campaign before the Senator could get elected president. Logan had to know Shiv’s influence would have likely gotten the Senator in the White House but now he’s got his daughter back under his wing, promising her the chance to run the company while simultaneously sinking a political campaign that stood to do him a lot of harm.
And who wants to bet Shiv never actually sees her name on the CEO nameplate?
Logan knows all the ways to bully his children to get what he wants and he paints with expletives aimed at his family the way Picasso created masterpieces with oils. Logan Roy is one of a kind but he’s still not quite the worst of the worst…
1 ) Kendall Roy
Now the immediate reaction to this choice will probably be met with some derision considering all the ways Kendall has tried and failed to live up to expectations throughout two seasons of ‘Succession’ but it’s because of all the ways he’s attempted to usurp his father’s empire while constantly failing in spectacular fashion and simultaneously crushing (and or killing) several people along the way is why he ends up at the top of the list.
Almost immediately after his father suffered a stroke, Kendall was plotting to take the title of CEO of Waystar-Royco. He was already angry after Logan promised to hand over the reins that same day only to pull the carrot away again by telling his son that he would be maintaining control for a couple more years.
As Logan recovered and attempted to retake control, Kendall took measures to paint his father as unstable and mentally unfit to control a multi-billion company. Unfortunately, Kendall failed to secure the necessary votes from the board of directors to oust his father and in the end, he was booted from the company instead.
Then Kendall attempted to take control from his father entirely in a corporate takeover where he teamed up with his old college buddy Stewie along with a rival media head who would have been shot by Logan just for stepping foot in the Waystar-Royco offices when he was in charge. Kendall’s plan seemed to have some weight behind it until his drug addiction derailed the entire plan.
A mix of cocaine and meth fueled Kendall’s ambitions and bad decisions because at his sister’s wedding, he opted to ask a busboy to take him to score some drugs. When the kid was forced to swerve to miss a deer on the road, they crashed through a fence and into a pond where the busboy drowned and died.
Kendall was completely OK with the busboy’s death until his father found out and used it against him to thwart the corporate takeover and put his second child back under his thumb once and for all.
Now as season 2 is underway, Kendall is back as co-CEO, attempting to curry favor with his father, while still carrying out his cold-blooded orders. The biggest example so far was Kendall trying to ‘save’ Vaulter — a Buzzfeed style news organization he purchased back in season one — only to use his ruse of trust to swindle all the best ideas from the employees, get a real look at how the executives had been cooking the books and stop them from unionizing just long enough so he could gut the entire company.
In the end, Kendall fired all of the employees, stoically stared down a writer who spit in his face and then told the former CEO that his company was dead and it was time for him to find another chicken coop, cunt.
If Kendall Roy had a soul, he would probably sell it off to the highest bidder or at least somebody who could provide him with some quality cocaine and not the back alley powder his cousin Greg scored for him not long ago.