'Animal Kingdom': Shawn Hatosy on 'Satisfying,' 'Rewarding' Final Season (Exclusive)

The actor previews the sixth and final chapter of the TNT family drama.

The Codys have one last mission before closing the chapter on Animal Kingdom.

In the sixth and final season of the TNT family drama, the Cody boys discover that they can’t outrun their past. With their empire expanding, a cold case investigation sets off a series of events that puts the entire family in jeopardy. Revenge, betrayal and a reckoning with long forgotten violence leads to an explosive conclusion that's been six years in the making.

"I think the fans are excited to see how this turns out. For me, it's bittersweet," series star Shawn Hatosy, who plays Pope, told ET, acknowledging it's been over a year since they filmed the final season. "It's also a unique experience in that we did six seasons. We knew we were ending, so the writers are able to create a very satisfying ending. Having been the guy to play Pope for six seasons, my emotions have been pushed and pulled. We've created a very multi-layered, multi-dimensional character. To bring that all to a conclusion is quite rewarding."

Ahead of the swan song, Hatosy reflected on the six-year journey, Pope's unconventional journey and whether the Codys will make it out alive this time.

ET: Pope has gone through a lot in these six seasons. Looking back on that roller coaster, can you encapsulate your character's journey over these six years? 

Shawn Hatosy: We were talking a little bit before about, our source material is a film, and that character in the film was a beautiful portrayal. He's a lot darker than [our version]. We started out that way, but it's not something you can sustain for six seasons. I think the audience would turn on him. And initially they did because you see him as this very disturbed guy who stares at people in a weird way. And he gives off a very creepy vibe. As the seasons go on you learn that he has been programmed by this toxic relationship with his mom. It's impossible for me to articulate the ups and downs of this guy because there have been so many. I can say though that after the first season, he was at such a place. He murdered this woman that he loved. He was told he had to do it to protect the family. He is such a loyal guy. It is his job to take out the trash for the family and he did it.

Jumping off from that, every season I go, "Well, it can't get any lower for him." And then they do. They manage to do it every time. I can say that going into season 6 -- season 5 was very much about Pope's coming to terms with the death of his mom, who he has that toxic relationship with, but it is a very necessary relationship to him. And how he's going to move forward without her emotionally and in terms of how the family business is going to operate. Going into season 6, we're going to see a different Pope. Somebody who is maybe a little less walled off, somebody who -- from time to time -- might smile, which we've never seen before. It's a nice place to be. I actually enjoyed him for once. I think other people might, too. We know that they're investigating the murder of Catherine. They find her body at the end of season 5. The investigation is coming to the Codys' doorstep. Obviously with Pope, it will not be without a lot of difficult, emotional scenes.

How would you kind of describe this final chapter for the Codys?

I think this show is satisfying because it's like a family in that we all have our way of dealing with each other. Not all families like each other or are the most kind to each other at difficult and challenging times. They get pulled apart and what works best for the Codys is when they're working together, there is the pulling apart of them, but there's also them coming back together and figuring out how they're going to, not only get through a heist, but evade whatever is coming their way. We do that in the season and we magnify it times 10, and it has a ton of action. The brothers rely on each other in a way that they never have before. It's emotional, what can I say.

The lifestyle that they're ingrained in, there's always danger lurking and their mortality is always in question. Should that be something in the back of viewers' minds of who makes it out alive at the end of the series?

If we're doing our job, if the writers are doing their job -- and they are, they're very good at it -- that always has to be lingering. Baz (played by Scott Speedman) was a central character to the show and he didn't make it through the second season. Smurf (played by Ellen Barkin) is obviously the most important character and she didn't make it through the fourth season. The world is on fire in our posters for a reason.

What do you want to say to those fans who have stuck with the show since the very beginning? Now, this is kind of that last chapter. What do you want to say to those loyal viewers?

There are parallels between what Pope, the character was experiencing, and me as the guy that portrays him, because Pope was walking through these scenes from time to time as the cops were circling in. And he was coming to terms with what he did, but there are scenes in the show where he's looking around, remembering fondly, saying, "Ah, I remember this." "Baz was here and he was cooking." He is feeling things that we haven't seen him feel, but I, myself, as the actor, as the show is ending am going, "Gosh, I might not get a chance. I'm not going to do this again. I'm not going to walk this set. I'm not going to walk from my trailer to the house."

And experiencing this show as a fan with you guys as fans. Seeing a premiere episode on TV, on TNT, and then going to Twitter to check to see how the people are reacting. I do that and it drives me in a way -- in a very good way -- because Twitter can be used for good in this world. People are rallying for the Codys. I'm really going to miss that. Without that support we wouldn't be here. I thank them for taking the ride with us and participating with us in a way that has been collaborative. 

Animal Kingdom premieres its final season Sunday, June 19 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on TNT with back-to-back episodes.

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