The queen of the Roy family household has returned to her throne in the most recent episode of Succession, and she’s out for blood. Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass) is back following her billionaire husband Logan’s (Brian Cox) death—though one plucky assistant is making things more complicated.
The claws come out in “Honeymoon States,” which sees a major confrontation between Marcia and assistant Kerry (Zoe Winters), who have spent the past two seasons vying for Logan’s utmost respect and adoration. In Season 4, Kerry has become a main fixture in the cast, with her horrible ATN anchoring reel, bangs that have set the internet ablaze, and a savage comparison to Chuckles the Clown.
Kerry has become one of Logan’s closest allies in a similar sense to Tom (Matthew MacFadyen). Now that her biggest advocate has passed, Kerry has nowhere to go. The entire Roy family is against her. Marcia has tucked all of her belongings at the Roy family household into a neat little bag, and does everything but push her into the elevator to kick her out of Logan’s celebration of life.
“It felt really brutal,” Winters tells me over Zoom. Forced out of the Roy household with no job, no lover (or mentor—whatever Logan was to Kerry), and no family heirlooms to her name, Kerry is completely lost. She can’t even exit as swiftly as possible; Kerry drops all of her belongings on the floor, losing all chance for a graceful exit.
In the wake of Logan Roy’s passing, Winters chatted with The Daily Beast’s Obsessed about mourning behind closed doors, duking it out with Marica, and how Marion Davies inspired this twist in Kerry’s life.
When you were filming, was the confrontation with Marcia as ferocious as it looked?
Yeah, it was. It’s the day after we’ve just witnessed this tremendous, chaotic shock. That’s all coming into [this episode] as well. She’s being shut out. She got some message from Marcia about respecting the family at this time—that they’re in grief and please respect that, and they’ll be sending her belongings. She knows she has a small period to get into that house and get her things, and try to look for proof, try to make it up those stairs and find what she’s seeking. She’s desperate, and also in total disrepair.
What’s going through Kerry’s head when she has that brief moment to plead her case to Roman (Kieran Culkin)?
Promises have been made. Conversations have been had. She’s looking for a place to land—she’s desperately seeking that, because she needs to land somewhere. What we’re seeing here is that Marcia and he never divorced, and she gets to be the public face of grief in this. Kerry doesn’t. We’re dealing with someone who is suffering from a loss of identity and purpose, and loss of being protected. At the same time, [she] can’t publicly express that. She’s very untethered.
What was in those items that was so precious to Kerry?
The prop department is incredible in this show, and they’re very specific about what belongs to everyone. Everything that spills out of her bag makes sense. She’s looking for jewelry or mementos in that moment, or meaningful pieces. Or expensive pieces—things that he’s given her as he’s courted her through the years.
You’ve talked a bit about having a backstory for Kerry. Can you unpack that a little more—where did she come from?
She is distanced from her family, that’s a big part of it. She’s hugely ambitious. She’s gone through a lot of schooling and has political intentions, and would love to be a political commentator in some way. Maybe not on ATN! [Laughs] She’s really driven around that. She has a lot of distance from her parents, and that’s part of the reason why she’s addicted to being seen in this world in a certain way. She’s also maybe politically different from her parents, and that has caused some erosion in the relationships.
Not to say that she looks in anyway to Logan as a father figure—I don’t think that’s any part of it. When we were talking about this scene, and this experience, we talked about Marion Davies and her fallout when [William Randolph] Hearst died. She has this sentence that she says that she wrote to Charlie Chaplin’s second wife in a letter, and she talks about how what Hearst gave her was that she was worth something to him. [There was] this feeling of being seen and being worthy. Kerry feels that with Logan, that she’s worth something to him. What I think we see in this scene is her scrambling to find out if she was worth something to him, because she needs help. She’s maybe realizing in some ways that she wasn’t worth what she thought she was.
What do you think Kerry was hoping for in a future with Logan?
Part of the success of the show is that there’s no exposition in the writing and they only give you what you need. There’s this thrum of anxiety that the characters feel around: Who are their allies? Who’s betraying them? Who can they depend on, and who’s lying to them? The audience feels the same thing of not knowing everything. That’s why all these theories pop up, because the writers are very careful not to hand hold the audience in any way.
I love how inexplicit [Logan and Kerry’s] dynamic was and their relationship has been. Have they been together? Have they not? Have they been professional? Has it been a mentorship? Has it been a romance? There are so many different theories, and I really respect the artistic integrity but also the choice to not explicitly show anything, to let the audience have their own imagination and their own theories around that. Thus, I think by doing that, they have their own anxiety, fear, and distrust.
How hard was it to keep Logan’s death a secret?
It was so strange! I felt like I knew something that my family didn’t know. I’m a really good secret keeper, so I knew that I could do it. But it gave me anxiety.
But it was very satisfying for it to come out. And I’m so glad that it didn’t come out in some way, and that the audience got to have this incredible experience. It’s so rare to get to experience [that]. You know, people go see movies and they tell you about it. It was so exciting to have so many people sit down on the same evening at [the same time] and have this experience. It was really gratifying. I’m so glad, because I think it was an incredibly artistic, fulfilling moment.