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The Worst Acts Committed By Succession Characters Ranked

Power and control are the names of the game in HBO's jet-black comedy-drama "Succession." The Roy family owns the global media and entertainment conglomerate Waystar Royco, led by founder and patriarch Logan Roy. The family's status and influence over the media may remind you of some other prominent media tycoons, and that's because creator Jesse Armstrong looked to families such as the Murdochs, the Redstones, and the Sulzbergers for inspiration (via The New York Times).

But as Logan grows older and his health declines, which of his four children will succeed him in running the family business? Most likely, it won't be eldest son Connor Roy, who's shown no interest in the company's internal politics, or youngest son Roman Roy, who lacks the focus and maturity to run the company. This leaves the family's only daughter Siobhan "Shiv" Roy, who possesses natural leadership skills and drive, and second-eldest son Kendall Roy, who's just as power-hungry as his father. Possibly, none of the children will ever get the chance since the decision is ultimately up to their manipulative, ruthless father.

"Succession" is built on the foundation of brutal family drama fueled by fear and admiration for Logan. In order to remain in the hierarchy, the Roys must all do whatever it takes, even if that means punching down, committing and covering up crimes, or abusing their loved ones. Nothing is off-limits. Time to get PR involved, because we're ranking the worst acts committed by "Succession" characters. Spoilers for the first three seasons of "Succession" ahead.

12. Logan makes false promises

In the pilot episode titled "Celebration," there's an unspoken promise that Logan will be naming the Waystar heir following his retirement at his 80th birthday celebration. Kendall believes he's cemented his spot as CEO, being the child who's been most involved in the company's operations. However, Logan makes a shocking announcement which ends up being the first of many twists throughout the show. Logan will not be stepping down — instead, he asks all his children to sign papers giving his third wife, Marcia, two votes on the trust to decide his successor upon his death.

Soon enough, we learn these kinds of lies and deceptions are commonplace among the Roy family. Sincerity is just another weakness someone can exploit. In the first episode of Season 2, Logan targets his daughter with another false promise offering to make her CEO. Despite having previously worked on the campaign for Gil Eavis — a Democratic presidential candidate and Logan's public rival — Shiv is very excited about this prospect. But during a dinner with rival media giant Pierce Global Media, in which Logan tries to convince the Pierce family to sell to him, Logan refuses to name his successor and shuts down the idea of Shiv taking over. Whether it's just a cruel scheme to get his daughter to cut ties with Gil or if Shiv doesn't live up to his expectations, this becomes another instance of Logan using his children as pawns in his game.

11. Shiv cheats on Tom

Being the offspring of Logan, Shiv is no angel. Engaged to Waystar executive and lapdog Tom Wambsgans at the start of the series, Shiv ties the knot with Tom in the Season 1 finale, "Nobody Is Ever Missing." It's hard to tell if the two truly love each other, given that their entire relationship is corrupted by the family business. Tom desperately wants to be accepted into the powerful Roy family, and Shiv takes full advantage of this, using him to push her own agenda whenever she can. The reality of their dysfunctional relationship sets in when Shiv cheats on Tom with fellow political strategist and former boyfriend Nate Sofrelli. Shiv denies this ongoing affair until hours after their wedding when she decides to come clean and requests an open relationship. Despite being obviously uncomfortable and heartbroken, Tom falls in line as usual.

The strain on their relationship tightens in the finale of Season 2, "This Is Not for Tears," when a group meeting on a yacht turns into everyone throwing each other under the bus as they try to decide the company's public scapegoat during the Waystar cruise scandal. While Tom sits right across from her, Shiv signs on to the idea that Tom should be the one to go to jail. This pushes Tom to admit to Shiv how unhappy he is in their marriage, which ultimately leads to Tom shockingly backstabbing Shiv.

10. Kendall kills the family rabbit

Kendall has done some pretty heinous things but killing the beloved family pet crosses a sacred line. With his estranged wife, Rava, the pair have two children, Iverson and Sophie. Always caught up in the family business or attempting to take it down, Kendall isn't as involved with his children as maybe he should be. So, to make up for his absent parenting, Kendall buys his kids a bunny. But since kids can't take care of a high-maintenance rabbit, the job is left to the babysitter. Sophie calls Kendall in Season 3, Episode 5, "Retired Janitors of Idaho," and complains that the babysitter won't let them feed the rabbit a bagel. Despite the babysitter's warnings of a fatal aftermath, Kendall delivers the memorable line, "Let the rabbit have some bagel. Those rules are for f***heads who're going to Tampa and leave a rabbit with a Big Gulp and a dozen cinnamon raisin. A little's not going to hurt." Those words come back to bite him when the rabbit gets sick in the same episode and, as we can guess, dies.

9. Caroline sells out her kids

Logan's second wife and mother to his three youngest children, Caroline isn't any different from the rest. The kids' reactions to having to see their mother again for Shiv and Tom's wedding are enough proof to know she's an intolerable person in her own right. Absent for most of the kids' lives, Caroline admits to giving Logan custody to ensure the kids' shares in the company during an intimate conversation with Shiv in Season 3, Episode 8, "Chiantishire." During that same conversation, Caroline reveals the cold truth that she wishes she never had children. This admission of regret — while heartbreaking — isn't shocking, since her actions have always proved this to be true.

During Shiv and Tom's wedding, Caroline goes around to the guests and asks how long they think the marriage will last. When Kendall tries to open up to his mother about his recent struggles, she blows him off. But nothing is as hurtful as when Caroline sells out her kids behind their backs. In the Season 3 finale, "All the Bells Say," the kids' chances of succession are jeopardized when Logan decides to sell the company without their input. There's still hope when the three remember a clause in their parent's divorce settlement granting them veto power over any change in company control. Kendall, Shiv, and Roman finally team up against their father, but lose once again when Logan informs them that their divorce agreement has been renegotiated. Thanks to Caroline, the children no longer hold company control.

8. Roman rips up a huge check in front of a kid

Roman has a childish quality to him, but that won't stop him from trying to prove himself. Constantly shot down by his father, Roman takes out his pent-up resentment on regular everyday people — from waitstaff to Waystar employees. He takes on the role of playground bully as he wields his inherited power against anyone beneath him. It could be argued that compared to people like Logan, Kendall, and Shiv, Roman's actions are harmless, but there's one scene in the pilot episode that particularly stands out among the rest. During a Roy family softball game, Roman recruits one of the staff's kids to join the game. Solely for his personal entertainment, Roman offers the kid a million-dollar check if he can make a homerun. His parents watch on from the sidelines, knowing this million dollars could change their lives forever. For Roman, on the other hand, this is a small price to pay for an interesting game of ball. The kid nearly finishes with a homerun before being tagged. Roman cruelly rips up the check right in the kid's face, leaving him to walk away in defeat.

7. Roman sends unsolicited photos of himself

Roman's gross behavior also extends to his family and his immediate inner circle. In Season 2, an unorthodox relationship develops between Roman and Gerri Kellman, Waystar's General Counsel and trusted subordinate. What starts as playful flirting escalates to phone sex in Season 2, Episode 4, "Safe Room," when Roman calls up Gerri after a failed attempt at phone sex with his girlfriend. This wouldn't be the first time Roman has failed in this department. Roman's sexuality is a bit of a mystery during the earlier episodes of the show, when it's established that he doesn't actually have sex with the women he dates. As it turns out, he just needs an older woman to verbally berate him. No judgment here.

During their intimate phone call, Gerri throws out insults like, "You disgusting little pig" and "You're pathetic. You are a revolting little worm, aren't you? You little slime puppy." Actor J. Smith-Cameron boasted to The Los Angeles Times, saying, "I made up slime puppy ... I'm proud of slime puppy. It's my contribution to American literature."

The sexual acts continue, but Gerri demands their "relationship" (for lack of a better word) stays out of the office. Later in Season 3 she shuts him down altogether, refusing to continue their secret affair. Well, this doesn't stop Roman from attempting to send Gerri an unsolicited photo of the slime puppy in his pants during a company meeting. Except, he mixes up his messages and sends it straight to Logan instead. Logan takes five; Roman is mortified.

6. Kendall fires Vaulter's editorial team

Loyalty is almost as valuable as money in the family business. So while plotting his way back to the top, Kendall has to play by Logan's rules. Despite Kendall vouching for the hipster news website Vaulter, Logan is against investing in what he thinks is a useless website inflating its numbers. In a way, Kendall brutally firing Vaulter's entire editorial team could be blamed on his father, but it's the way he goes about doing it that makes this one of Kendall's worst acts. At first, it seems as though Kendall is planning on defying his father yet again when he meets with Vaulter's owner and editorial team promising them salvation if they agree not to unionize and pitch him some redeeming ideas. But really, he's transferring ownership and taking their ideas behind their backs. Shortly thereafter, he unceremoniously fires hundreds of employees on the spot. Yikes.

5. Tom abuses Greg

When cousin Greg lands a job with Waystar, it isn't surprising when Tom starts taking advantage of the newcomer. Essentially an outsider who worked his way within, Tom will take any opportunity he can to flex his power on someone below him — especially Greg. Throughout Season 1, Tom degrades and abuses Greg while Greg takes it all in stride, thinking it's just another part of the job. The worst of it comes when Tom uses Greg as his sacrificial lamb when the Waystar cruise line's history of sexual misconduct and murder bubbles up to the surface. Tom tasks Greg with the cover-up, forcing him to shred evidence in the form of documents.

Despite the abuse, their relationship transforms into a bromance for the ages. Tom begins to respect Greg more as Greg becomes more confident in himself. The two start to look out for each other because as far as the Waystar Royco family ranking is concerned, they're mostly the same. However, that doesn't cancel out the awfulness of Tom's initial abuse.

4. Greg shreds company documents

By following through on Tom's demands to destroy evidence, Greg puts himself in the most danger he's ever been in. What makes it worse is that Greg knows what he's doing is wrong, yet he does it anyway. But having learned a thing or two from watching the Roys, Greg sneakily keeps copies of the important documents in case he needs to save himself later. Unfortunately, this isn't enough when the cruise scandal goes public and the investigation is taken up to a congressional hearing. Both Tom and Greg testify (poorly), but they avoid jail time thanks to Shiv's terrible actions. The documents Greg saved end up coming in handy when Kendall publicly pins all the crimes on Logan in the Season 2 finale.

It's hard to say if his actions make him as bad as the Roys. Actor Nicholas Braun gave a better understanding of Greg during an interview with The Wrap, saying, "There's adversity here that he's overcoming. He's able to be ambitious and it's working, somewhat, sometimes it's not. He needs that stuff and it's not just about the money. And I think he thinks Logan will take care of him financially as well. So, I think he's taking a bet on himself and he's taking a bet on the Roys in that moment and hoping it pays off."

3. Shiv silences assault victims

Shiv makes it on the list once again for arguably her worst act ever. In Season 2, Episode 9, "DC," we see a new side of Shiv ... or maybe it was always there. During the investigation into the cruise scandal that could end the Waystar company for good, Shiv gets word from her former boss Gil that a woman by the name of Kira will be testifying. Shiv and Rhea are tasked with meeting with Kira to convince her not to testify — an act that's both unethical and illegal. While Rhea backs out last minute — knowing how bad what they're about to do is — Shiv carries on and manipulates a victim of sexual harassment and abuse into staying silent. There's no remorse or understanding, even though she tries to play it off as such. Woman-to-woman, Shiv instills fear into Kira, reminding her of the consequences others like her tend to face when they speak out. She'll have to live with her name forever tied to her trauma, face public scrutiny, and be attacked by the rich and powerful. Shiv offers a solution, but her intentions are always in favor of herself.

2. Kendall kills a man

In Logan's eyes, all of his children are screw-ups. But when Kendall's addiction drives him over the threshold from screw-up to murderer, he sets a new family record. In the Season 1 finale, Roy family dynamics reach a turning point when Kendall wanders off in search of drugs with one of the fired waitstaff members from Tom and Shiv's wedding. With both driving under the influence, it's hard not to tell where the scene is going. A deer in the road causes the car to swerve, and the two go flying off a cliff into the water. Kendall makes it to the surface, but doesn't save his new friend.

"It was really hard to shoot," actor Jeremy Strong tells Vox when explaining the scene. "It was hard emotionally, it was hard physically. But in a way, those are the given circumstances, so you kind of lean into that ... I think there's always joy in the creative process, on some level, but actually, what is the character's experience, and what is the character's struggle — I don't think you can really spare yourself from that if you want to embody it."

1. Logan is an abusive parent

Maybe the Roy family wouldn't be so deranged if it wasn't for Logan's constant abuse. Whether he's manipulating his children or pitting them against each other, Logan makes it a point to always be in control. He's created a hostile family environment where everyone is always competing with each other. But probably his worst act of abusive parenting is how he handles the situation involving Kendall's murder. The following morning after the accident, Logan takes advantage of his upper-hand and blackmails Kendall into giving up on his takeover. Kendall crumbles before him, reverting to a helpless child. Here you see just how far Logan will go to win.

"I remember talking to Jesse about if [Logan] really loves his children," actor Brian Cox recalls to Vox. "Jesse said, 'Absolutely. He absolutely loves his children.' And I think that's the tragedy of the piece, that's what gives it its stature. It's not just — it is a morality tale, certainly, but the thing about Logan is his children mean a lot to him. They're all f***-ups, and he sees that, and that sort of fills him with great sadness, that they have to have their hands held."