THE TNT hit series Animal Kingdom returned for a fifth season on July 11.
In January 2021, TNT announced that Animal Kingdom was renewed for a sixth and final season.
What is Animal Kingdom?
The series follows a 17-year-old, who, after the death of his mother, moves in with his estranged relatives, the Cody’s, a criminal family clan governed by a matriarch, Smurf.
“After a heroin overdose kills his mom, Joshua ‘J’ Cody moves to Southern California to live with his freewheeling relatives,” TNT explains in the premise.
“The family’s matriarch is J’s estranged grandmother, Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, from whom he’s been shielded for years.
“J soon finds out the reason for the isolation — Smurf and ‘her boys’ make their livings through carefully planned armed robberies and other criminal activities.
“Prominent perpetrators include Smurf’s three sons: mentally disturbed ex-con Pope, hyperactive drug user Craig, and suspicious Deran.
“In order to stay alive, J must prove loyal to his beguiling grandmother, who rules with a borderline-incestuous love.”
Why did Ellen Barkin quit Animal Kingdom?
Fans of Animal Kingdom were shocked after season 4 saw the death of the matriarch of the Cody crime family, Janine ‘Smurf’.
At the start of season 4, Smurf learned that she has melanoma, which has spread to her lymph nodes and bones.
For the first time, she is staring death in the face, and as expected, Smurf wants to go out on her own terms.
In the penultimate episode of Season 4, Smurf starts a gunfight that is supposed to end her life; however, Pope saves her, prompting Smurf to ask him to finish the job.
She threatens to shoot him if he doesn’t pull the trigger.
Fans were totally stunned when her grandson J fires the shot that would end her life instead of Pope.
Animal Kingdom executive producer John Wells spoke to Entertainment Weekly on why Smurf died in the series.
“A big part of the challenge on any show is to try and keep it feeling real for the audience in the sense that it’s still fun to watch because you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” he said.
“Going forward, the Cody family will now have to find their way without their mother’s guidance.”
It appears Smurf was killed off to shake up the show and keep audiences on their toes.
At the end of the interview, Wells also made it seem that actress Ellen Barkin, who portrayed Smurf in the series, was on board with leaving Animal Kingdom.
“She comes from the movies where you normally do three months and then you’re done, so she was surprised it lasted this long,” he added.
“But she understood and thought it was a really good story, and she was really excited when we shot the scene. It’s a great final Macbeth moment.”
How can I watch Animal Kingdom?
Animal Kingdom airs Sundays at 9pm on TNT.
Folks can watch seasons 1-4 on TNT’s website by logging into their TV providers or via Hulu with an account.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/3288547/why-ellen-barkin-was-kill-off-animal-kingdom/