Succession is a series that succeeds for a number of reasons. Even though many of the characters are not especially likable, their constant efforts to get ahead and to achieve success makes for compelling drama. There’s no question, however, that a major part of what makes the show so appealing to many is its snappy, often viciously funny, dialogue.
All of the characters have, at one time or another, uttered a quote or an insult that revealed everything anyone needed to know about their personalities, how they think about the world, and what they want to accomplish.
10 Tom: “I Just Wonder If The Sad I’d Be Without You Is Less Than The Sad I Get From Being With You.”
Tom is, arguably, one of the weaker characters in the series, always willing to be led, either by his wife, Shiv or by her father, Logan. Of course, his relationship with Shiv is also notoriously difficult but, in his usual fashion, Tom seems unable to decide whether he wants to stay with Shiv or not. This quote reveals that, deep down, Tom is the kind of person who genuinely doesn’t know what he wants and, even if he did, that he wouldn’t know how to get it.
9 Shiv: “ I, I’m Saying, You’re Like Family, Which Is Good, But Also Not Family, Which Is Kinda Good.”
Shiv, like all of the other Roy children, is constantly trying to secure her father’s blessing and belief in her, and she emerges as someone that Succession fans love and hate. Unfortunately, she is always plagued by doubt, and she frequently tries to split the difference. In this quote, she’s doing much the same thing, as she points out that Tom is both family and also not, since he’s not related by blood to anyone else. It’s another example of not just her ambivalence toward her husband, but also of her desperation to do whatever is expedient in the given moment without an eye toward the long game.
8 Kendall: “He Loves Me. He Does. I Think It’s Just The Wrong Kind Of Love Expression.”
The central conflict of Succession is Kendall Roy’s relationship with his father, Logan, whose love and respect he desperately craves but which he is constantly denied. In each season, he shows that, despite a willingness to sometimes challenge his father, he fundamentally believes that he’s a good man and, just as importantly, that he has his father’s love.
It is, perhaps, a bit delusional for him to think so, but this quote reveals just how deeply that desire goes, even as it shows why he remains one of Succession‘s most complex characters.
7 Logan: “I Blame Myself. I Spoiled You. And Now You’re F***ed. And I’m Sorry. I’m Sorry You’re A Hothouse Flower, That You’re Nothing. You’re Curdled Cream. Maybe You Should Write A Book Or Collect Sports Cars Or Something. But For The World? Nah. I’m Sorry. You’re Not Made For It.”
Logan is a powerful patriarch (and one of Brian Cox’s best roles), and he’s not afraid to drop some very vulgar language whenever it suits him. Likewise, he’s not afraid to share what he thinks his children, especially Kendall, need to hear, no matter how hurtful those words might be. Here, he essentially says that Kendall, whatever else he might be, is simply too weak to deal with the world as it is. It’s a brutally honest assessment, and it shows how much Logan doesn’t respect Kendall but still, in his own way, loves him.
6 Roman: “Waystar Royco? We Do Rollercoasters And Hate Speech.”
There’s no doubt that Roman Roy is the most irreverent of the siblings, and he has a penchant for saying the most inappropriate things at the exact wrong time. However, he also has a firm grasp of how things are, and in this quote he offers a remarkably clear-eyed assessment of the company that his father founded. He recognizes that the two things the company offers are, as he says, entertainment and hate speech. It’s a sentiment that’s as amusing as it is disturbing, and it’s one of the reasons that this will become one of Kieran Culkin’s iconic roles.
5 Greg: “I Can Take A Lot In Terms Of Psychological Pain, So…”
Cousin Greg is something of the black sheep of the family, largely because he is rather inept at navigating the fraught and dangerous dynamics of the rest of the family. However, he has shown himself to be remarkably resilient, enduring quite a lot of abuse and dismissal from almost every other member of the family. This quote reveals that he’s actually very self-aware of that fact, suggesting that he might not be quite as dim as his family assumes.
4 Connor: “This Family’s Broken. And That Has Consequences.”
Connor Roy is another outcast in the family, for while he is older than Kendall and the others, he doesn’t seem to have earned his father’s esteem or respect.
Though he is prone to delusions of grandeur and to an inflated sense of his own abilities as a politician, he does have moments of genuine incisiveness, as in this comment, when he reveals that he understands just how dysfunctional his family is and how destructive their problems can be.
3 Gerri Kellman: “You Little Slime Puppy.”
At first glance, Gerri seems like a rather mild-mannered person, the sort of company functionary that can be relied upon. However, there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface, as she reveals in this quote, when she begins demeaning Roman. It turns out, however, that he enjoys it, and thus begins their strange quasi-sexual relationship. This quote also reveals that Gerri is willing to take advantage of an opportunity, whether personal or professional, when it presents itself.
2 Frank Vernon: “She Could Be Our Coriolanus.”
Frank Vernon, like Gerri, is a crucial part of Logan’s inner circle, and though he can occasionally seem weak, he has a sharp mind and incisive business instincts. Thus, when he remarks that Rhea, the representative from another business family, might be their Coriolanus, he’s demonstrating to Logan, once again, that he’s a good adviser, able to sense something about people’s motivations that might not be immediately obvious on the surface.
1 Marcia Roy: “No. No Discussion. I Am His Next Of Kin. I Am His Proxy. I Am In Charge. Thank You.”
Marcia Roy is Logan’s newest wife and, as a result, she has a very difficult relationship with his children, who are reluctant to really admit that she is a part of the family or that she wields any power. However, Marcia soon proves that she is not the type of person to simply sit back and let the children decide on things. With this quote, she reveals that she is willing and able to assert her own rights as Logan’s next-of-kin, no matter what the children might like to say about it.