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Animal Kingdom Season 6 - What We Know So Far

"Animal Kingdom" is a fascinating crime drama that combines messy family drama with weekly heists. The series centers around Janine "Smurf" Cody (Ellen Barkin), the tough matriarch of a family of ruthless career criminals who steal to get by. The Codys will do whatever they can to keep the good life they've established going, including putting their youngest member – Joshua "J" Cody (Finn Cole), Smurf's grandson — in jeopardy. 

The 17-year-old is made Smurf's ward after the death of his mother and Smurf's only daughter, Julia. Smurf runs the family with an iron fist, towering over her sons as she runs the gang and tries to maintain the family's foothold in their Southern California hometown. Throughout the show, we get flashbacks to Smurf's youth (this younger version of Smurf, referred to as Janine, is portrayed by Leila George), as she forms her own street gang and graduates to selling drugs, laundering money, and murdering the competition on the way to forming her own crime syndicate.

TNT recently renewed "Animal Kingdom" for a sixth and final season (per Deadline). When can fans expect to see it, what will it be about, and who will star in it? Here's what we know about "Animal Kingdom" Season 6.

Is there a premiere date for Season 6 of Animal Kingdom?

Per the first teaser released by TNT, Season 6 of "Animal Kingdom" will air at some point in 2022. There's no word as to which quarter the show will occupy, or if it will maintain its typical time slot. Via IMDb, "Animal Kingdom" typically airs as a summer program for TNT, with new episodes from May to August, although the show broke this tradition for Season 5 and aired from May until October of 2021. 

If the network wishes to replicate the success of the show's previous five seasons, it's likely that "Animal Kingdom" will be back on Sundays at 9 PM EST, and it's quite possible that the show will return sometime in May 2022. The fifth season of "Animal Kingdom" was stretched out over a greater number of weeks than any previous season, so it's impossible to tell at this point when the series might conclude. All schedules, naturally, are subject to change.

Who will likely star in Season 6 of Animal Kingdom?

No announcements have been made by TNT about any cast changes or additions ahead of the Season 6 premiere. But in light of a number of dangling plot threads left over from Season 5, it's easy enough to predict which main characters will return for Season 6.

It's quite likely that Leila George will return as the younger Smurf, while Smurf's three sons — Andrew "Pope" Cody (Shawn Hatosy)Craig Cody (Ben Robson), and Deran Cody (Jake Weary) will all return to the program as well. Naturally, Finn Cole will also return as J, and Jon Beavers and Rigo Sanchez will probably be back to wrap up their storylines within the flashback universe as young Jake Dunmore and Manny, respectively. 

Presumably, there will also be further incursions from law enforcement officials, some of whom we've likely already met, who are now on the tail of the Cody gang after a rather gruesome discovery in the Season 5 finale.

What might Season 6 of Animal Kingdom be about?

The Cody family is going to be up against some incredibly formidable opponents when "Animal Kingdom" returns for its sixth season. The police finally discover the body of Catherine Blackwell (Daniella Alonso), the wife of the late Barry "Baz" Blackwell (Scott Speedman), J's biological father and Smurf's adopted son, at the end of Season 5. Catherine is killed back in Season 1 when Pope smothers her for embezzling money from Smurf after a botched seduction attempt on Catherine's part. Catherine's body is discovered buried in a new housing development linked to the Codys. This bit of bad news might kick off a season of payback for the entire family.

Elsewhere, J and Deran finally work out a deal to co-lead the Cody gang after Smurf's death. Deran, the family black sheep who initially wants nothing to do with Smurf's criminal enterprise, even agrees to launder money for the gang through his bar. Elsewhere, Craig's drug addiction spirals into a crisis situation and results in his series-long love, Renn (Christina Ochoa) finally leaving him. All of these plot points will likely be resolved in a major way when "Animal Kingdom" returns for its sixth and final season next year.