If you thought your family was stressful, imagine being part of the Cody crime syndicate on Animal Kingdom. On the surface, the family appears to be leading a chill SoCal lifestyle — but appearances aren’t all that they seem. Relationships get infinitely more volatile as drug money comes into play, and allegiances begin to shift.
J (Finn Cole), left reeling by the death of his mother by drug overdose, is brought into the extended family fold by his grandmother (Ellen Barkin), Smurf. But she’s not your traditional “milk and cookies after school” grandma. Instead, Smurf is an amoral puppet master, lording over her four sons while ensuring that everyone toes the family line. Not only does she demand loyalty, but she may also be inviting discord by not so subtly pitting brother against brother as she works to build up their criminal operation.
Not only are her two oldest sons, Baz (Scott Speedman) and Pope (Shawn Hatosy), struggling to scrape their way to top of the pack, but they’re also in love with the same woman, Catherine (Daniella Alonso).
The younger sons, Daren (Jake Weary) and Craig (Ben Robson), may appear to be on board with a life of surfing, women, and easy money, but secrets threaten to come to the surface before too long. This coupled with a desire to handle their own business instead of taking marching orders from Smurf threatens to make things more complicated for the youngest Cody boys. On top of the family drama, Deran is also struggling with his sexuality and dealing the frustration of being a closeted gay man in a hyper-masculine culture.
And somewhere in between is J. As he learns more and more why his mother was estranged from her family, J finds himself in the tough position of being drawn into the family’s life of crime while also entertaining the idea of turning the entire organization over to the cops. As he simultaneously gets closer to Smurf while also potentially selling her out, J finds himself in hot water from both sides of the law.
The fomenting rebellion is no joke, and it will be interesting to see what kind of uprising these two cook up this season, whether or not the older brothers join in, and whether J goes all in on the family business or will he continue to work with the cops who are closing in. Will the Cody family become stronger going forward, or will they tear each other apart?