'Succession' Season 3, Episode 1: Brian Cox Explains Logan's Choice for CEO (Exclusive)

Brian Cox breaks down Logan Roy's moves in the season 3 premiere of HBO's 'Succession.'

After a two-year delay, Succession returned with season 3 on Sunday night in a big way. The Emmy-winning HBO family drama about the Roys fighting each other for control of Waystar RoyCo picked up soon after where things left off in the shocking season 2 finale, when Kendall (Jeremy Strong) publicly blamed his father, Logan (Brian Cox), for the company’s various misconducts. And it’s not long before Logan goes to war. Speaking with ET, Cox breaks down the patriarch’s key decisions, including naming a temporary CEO while he navigates the potential repercussions of his son’s actions. 

[Warning: Spoilers for Succession season 3, episode one, “Secession,” written by creator Jesse Armstrong and directed by Mark Mylod.] 

The premiere, aptly titled “Secession,” opens with Kendall in New York City, where he’s scrambling to set up a base of operations after realizing there’s no returning to Waystar. Meanwhile, the rest of the family, Connor (Alan Ruck), Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), as well as Waystar’s top lieutenants, Shiv’s husband, Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), Frank Vernon (Peter Friedman), Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron) and Hugo Baker (Fisher Stevens), are with Logan as they await his decision on what to do next. 

“He’s initially bemused by his son’s behavior,” Cox says, before referring to a scene in the season 2 finale where Logan told Kendall that he’s not a killer. That moment is then followed by his son throwing him under the bus. “It’s like I’ve inspired him to do that. And it’s kind of ridiculous.”

Although Logan initially reacts with a smile, showing a hint of pride in what his son has just done, Cox says that once it settles in, that pride turns into rage. “It’s now a public conflict. Everybody sees him being accused of this,” the actor explains. “So now he’s got to wrangle his way through that. And it’s a big demand. It’s a big ask, which is what provides the momentum for the beginning of season 3.” 


After soaking it all in, Logan gets an honest assessment about the ramifications of what’s just happened as he figures out what to do next. From there, he makes a strategic move to send Roman, Gerri and Shiv back to New York with Shiv tasked with getting a top lawyer, Lisa Arthur (Sanaa Lathan), to defend him. Meanwhile, Logan decides to head to Sarajevo with Frank, Hugo and Tom as they create a mobile war room. (The capital of Bosnia notably has no extradition laws with the U.S., a fact that Shiv points out to the rest of them, including a forlorn Tom.)  

At this point, Cox says Logan’s “got to be a bit nervous. He’s not impervious [to the law]. He does have to deal with things and deal with things as they come… It’s a bit exhausting, but he deals with it and finally he settles into a strategy.”

That strategy is to go on the offensive, which includes everyone lawyering up, working the ranks of Congress, adding pressure in the media and rallying the shareholders with an emergency board meeting. But the biggest decision, and perhaps the one with the most consequences for his children, is temporarily stepping back as CEO. “He has to step back while certain things take place,” Cox explains. 


While Logan gives Frank, Hugo and Tom a chance to debate who among them should take his place (while he still operates the puppet strings), he ultimately decides on Gerri over Roman or Shiv. “Well, clearly they’re all up for it. They all want it,” Cox says. “But the person who’s really the most capable and who is the ethical face of Waystar RoyCo. So, it’s understandable that it’s going to be Gerri. It was always going to be Gerri.” 

Cox then goes on to explain that Logan would have liked for the choice to have been one of his children, “but they’re not ready. They’re not capable. They can’t do it,” the actor says. “His daughter talks too much. Roman is too much of a loose cannon with these kinds of adolescent, masturbatory inclinations. So, in a way, he has to deal with that. And that’s the ramifications of Kendall’s open [attack], that he has to think about, ‘Where do I go from here? And who’s going to be the person I can call upon?’” 

“And he realizes that it’s not going to be his children as much as he would like it to be his children,” Cox continues. “They are not ready. But Gerri is. She’s considerable. And also, as I say, she is the ethical face of Waystar. So, in a way, it’s a no-brainer. But he comes to it in a roundabout way.” 


Although relinquishing the title is a temporary move, Cox explains why Logan is not worried of it ever becoming a permanent one. “I mean, there’s always that possibility, but I don’t think he thinks about it. He just says, ‘There it is. I am detached from it. I will keep detached from that possibility for as long as possible,’” the actor says.   

But that’s also because Logan contemplates things, as seen at the beginning of the episode, when he’s sitting alone while everyone is guessing what he’s thinking. Those moments are “a sort of catchup in his head,” Cox explains. “As soon as he’s caught up, he goes ahead and then he immediately puts himself into a strong position by doing that. And that’s what is happening all the time because the scenario is shifting, shifting, shifting. And there are so many aspects to it.” 

“Logan is also under a test all the time. He’s testing himself to see how far he can go,” the actor continues. “And, of course, he loves it. It’s a challenge, but he loves it. It’s a very happy state for him.” 

When it comes to Logan declaring they’re at war, it’s anyone's guess as to how ruthless he’ll get in the coming episodes. Especially given how uncensored he can get when unleashing his wrath on any given target, including his own son. 

When asked about this, Cox says that Logan will get “as ruthless as the conditions allow... If the conditions are smooth, all will be well. But if the conditions get out of hand, he will rise to the occasion and he will deal with it.” 

“The key thing is that he’s committed to himself. He’s committed to Logan Roy,” he continues with an ominous note about his health. “And Logan’s not always getting on. He’s already had a stroke. He’s had a couple of bad times with these walkarounds, when he gets lost… But somehow or other, he always gets a second wind and he trusts that. He trusts that he’ll get a second one.”

Want to watch Succession? The series is now streaming on HBO Max and new episodes air Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO. (We may receive an affiliate commission if you subscribe to a service through our links.)

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