Succession Went to Great Lengths to Hide a Season 4 Spoiler

Everyone was in attendance for Logan Roy's funeral on Succession. And we mean EVERYONE.

Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) in Succession
Photo: Macall Polay | HBO

This article contains spoilers for Succession season 4 episode 9.

We as fans don’t often think about the small details of the filming process of our favorite TV shows. To be honest, why would we? Even the most astute viewers and critics are outside of it all, not privy to the minutiae that makes a piece of television or film great. Succession is an especially detail-oriented beast, a true marvel of modern TV that will go down as one of the defining shows of its era. With that burden of greatness comes a responsibility to never let a single shot or scene go unchecked. A single mistake will let a plot point out of the bag before its time. 

Even though Succession hinted they were going to kill off Logan Roy (Brian Cox) in their preseason poster, most fans were still upended when the time came for the death. The third episode of the season, “Connor’s Wedding,” hit like a ton of bricks because of the surprise and the execution of the story. Logan’s demise has been ominously clouding the Roy family and Waystar Royco’s remaining employees since that episode, culminating in a whirlwind penultimate episode in which Logan was finally laid to rest. 

Funny enough, there was a chance the whole season could have been spoiled if even one fan or paparazzi would have noticed that Brian Cox was not at the filming of the funeral scenes. On-location shoots are often hard for TV show runners to hide from the public, therefore finding clever ways to maintain secrecy is imperative to a show’s success. Succession was able to keep the subject of the funeral ambiguous because Brian Cox attended the shoot that day just like any other cast member. 

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In fact, the Daily Mail UK took photos of the filming back in January, and Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen were the only actors not present. We now know that both of their characters, Shiv and Tom, are still alive, although Tom didn’t attend the funeral because he was too busy sorting through the chaos of ATN’s election coverage from the previous night. Perhaps this was creator Jesse Armstrong’s way of keeping the events of the funeral from the photographers and onlookers. 

Redditors also spread this fun fact about Brian Cox’s attendance during filming that day, replete with pictures of the Scottish actor in costume as Logan. 

This is just one of the many little details that shows you how brilliant the people behind the camera are on this show. The entirety of the funeral and eulogy scenes were much more difficult to film than fans might originally imagine watching from home. A post-episode interview with director Mark Mylod and creator Jesse Armstrong addressed the way the episode was often shot like a multi-camera sketch comedy, with one camera on the person giving the speech, one camera on the audience, and one camera on each of the children making a reaction to what the speaker was saying. 

The acting is often the most acclaimed aspect of this series. Jeremy Strong has garnered comparisons to some of the great performers in the history of the medium. Matthew Macfadyen is considered the best supporting actor currently on TV, demonstrated by the Emmy on his mantle from 2022. And while the people on the screen are fully deserving of their praise, these fascinating behind-the-scenes ingredients are just as worthy of admiration. 

Succession has some of the best camera work in the industry, alongside a massive budget for filming scenic locales such as during the fifth episode of the season in which the Roys took a trip to visit Lukas Mattson (Alexander Skarsgård) in Northern Europe. The directors being so aware of where, when, what, and how the world might react to something that’s happening on camera, while also crafting a perfect story simultaneously, is almost impossible to conceive of. With only one episode left to enjoy, don’t take Succession for granted. It’s truly one for the TV pantheon!

The Succession series finale airs Sunday, May 28 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

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