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Film & TV

What would a ‘Succession’ shiva look like?

After a major character’s death on the hit HBO show, we imagined the scene at a Roy family shiva

Editor’s note: Major spoilers ahead.

Media titan Logan Roy died Sunday, surrounded by his staff of confidants, soon-to-be ex-son-in-law and surprisingly giddy girlfriend. In the landscape of Succession, the hit HBO dramedy about Roy and his horribly dysfunctional family, this is a seismic development, finally opening up questions of inheritance that have lingered since the show’s pilot. 

Who will succeed the prickly patriarch? What does the future of his media empire look like? And, as author and journalist Mattie Kahn inquired on Twitter: “Imagine if the Roy children sat shiva?”

Well, the good news is you don’t really have to wonder. It just so happens that thanks to well-placed sources, we can show you an early sketch of what the aftermath of Logan’s death looked like back when the family was scripted as Jewish — including the surprising yiddishkeit of the Roy children.

Keep in mind, this is all a very rough draft  and we only have the first few minutes before the opening credits. We hope you will find it enlightening nonetheless.

SUCCESSION 403

“Shiv-a, baby”

INT. THE ROY HOME IN THE HAMPTONS – DAY

Greg and Tom are receiving guests at the door. A woman walks in with a plate of dainty, crustless finger sandwiches..

TOM: Thank you so much for coming … (When she’s out of earshot.) Jesus, did you see what she just came in with?

GREG: I didn’t. I’m lachrymose.

TOM: You’re what?

GREG: Just, the tears. I can’t see because of the tears.

TOM: She just came in here with a platter of watercress sandwiches. Watercress? What is that, karpas? Has she met Jews before? Do I need to worry about her clearing away the mirrors to check her teeth?

GREG: I didn’t see.

TOM: Right, you were too verklempt. Sorry: lachrymose. 

INT. SITTING ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Kendall walks in wearing a kippah and sunglasses. Roman notices.

ROMAN: Oh look, haimish Hamlet. You modeling the Kith bereavement collection? 

KENDALL: Stop.                                                                                         

ROMAN: No it’s good … I just wanted to know if they have that for all 11 months of saying kaddish?

Shiv walks in with a plate of rugelach.

ROMAN: Shiv, do you think big brother here looks sufficiently in grief? Ah! Shiv, Shiv-AH.

SHIV: Roman, you were rending your shirt back on the yacht when we got the call. 

KENDALL: No, he was in denial. He needed to see the body.

ROMAN: That’s a thing! There’s a reason they have you look in the casket at the chapel — proof of death. Empirical … whatever. 

Beat.

KENDALL: You know, this week’s parshah is Toldot. [Editor’s note: originally Logan was supposed to die in the winter, right in the middle of when we read Genesis.]

ROMAN: Oh, of course, it’s tolhasafrassafriss …

KENDALL: That’s when Isaac blesses Jacob with Esau’s blessing.

ROMAN: Oh, cool! So now is where you tell us how this is exactly like what dad did. Except dad is dead. And, I’m pretty sure dad isn’t really blessing anyone from beyond the grave. 

Karl joins the circle. 

KARL: The cantor is about to do some tehillim. 

ROMAN: What? No. Who asked for that?

SHIV: Dad would not ask for that.

KARL: He didn’t exactly leave us with detailed instructions.

ROMAN: I mean, sure. The alter kaker thought he’d out live everyone. Do we have to be there?

KARL: Supposed to be for your comfort …

ROMAN: Right.

SHIV: I’m more comfortable not trying to remember my Hebrew.

KENDALL: Aramaic.

SHIV: What?

KENDALL: Kaddish is Aramaic.

SHIV: No one’s talking about … OK. Karl, let the cantor know that we’re very busy right now trying to … s–t, what are we allowed to do? 

ROMAN: We’re busy not caring about being Jewish.

KARL: Great. I’ll send the message.

Karl leaves. Connor enters with Willa. 

ROMAN: Oh great, Captain Connor and his May Bride here to bring down the mood at the shiva.

CONNOR: This is a gift. I know you three are busy with your backbiting, your subterfuge. Shiva is an opportunity to take a break from all that. You get a week off!

KENDALL: The markets don’t take a week.

SHIV: The board, PGM …

KENDALL: Nan Pierce with a cudgel.

ROMAN: You see how much dirt she heaped on the coffin? You’re supposed to get one scoop. And supposed to be reluctant about it.

Hugo edges into the room.

SHIV: Hugo could you just …

HUGO: Karolina had some quick questions about the draft statem —

ROMAN: Jeez! Can you just all let us breathe for a second? I’m calling time out on the shiva. I can’t be eating this much smoked fish.

Roman puts on his coat. Gerri enters as he makes his way out — he notices the watercress sandwiches on her plate.

ROMAN: And who brought the goyishe sandwiches?!

He throws one and exits.

GERRI: There’s a woman in the foyer who took a sheet off a mirror. Fixing her lipstick.

SHIV: Well, if that’s not an omen …

The main theme (klezmer version) plays over credits.

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