‘Succession’: This Fan-Favorite Character Was Initially Written for a Man

HBO’s Succession is one of the most popular and most critically-acclaimed shows on television. A fun fact about the satirical comedy-drama is that one of the most talked-about female characters on the show was initially written for a male actor.

Sarah Snook, Hiam Abbass and J. Smith-Cameron at a 'Succession' FYC event in 2019
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 17: Sarah Snook, Hiam Abbass and J. Smith-Cameron attend the “Succession” FYC Event at Time Warner Center on April 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

The character of Gerri and the origins of the role

HBO’s official description of Succession reads, “The Roy family – Logan Roy and his four children – controls one of the biggest media and entertainment conglomerates in the world. Succession tracks their lives as they contemplate what the future will hold for them once their aging father begins to step back from the company.”

The series stars Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Hiam Abbass, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin, Alan Ruck, Nicholas Braun, Matthew Macfadyen, Peter Friedman, Rob Yang, Dagmara Domińczyk, Arian Moayed and J. Smith-Cameron

Gerri, played by Cameron, is the company’s general counsel. Cameron revealed in a The Ringer feature about the women of the show that the role, initially Gerry, was first written for a man. She sent in an audition tape despite that. Like several characters that have flaunted in and out of the show (Parker Sawyers had main cast billing for the pilot before never appearing again), she said the character was “only definitely meant to be in episodes 2-6 of Season 1. There wasn’t any sign that it was going to be such a rich, ongoing role.”

How the character has evolved as the show goes on

But with Smith-Cameron landing the role, it was retooled. And as we’ve seen through the first two seasons, the character is an integral part of the show’s canvas.

When asked about who the character was supposed to be and how that has evolved since she’s been in the role, Smith-Cameron told Thrillist, “Gerri’s really knit into the fabric of Waystar and is really indispensable, but she’s really different from the other main characters because she will never have that entitlement that the name gets her. She always has to sing for her supper. She’s there by merit, by her wits. She straddles the world of the family, but she doesn’t have that carte blanche that they all have, that entitlement.”

She continued, “She’s somehow worked into the fabric of their relationships as well. It’s very unique. It’s really interesting. You feel it even on set, the dynamic between actors. I’m just always, very carefully finding my way through it, and emailing the writers, [creator] Jesse [Armstrong] in particular, all the time.”

When will ‘Succession’ return for season 3 and what can we expect

Succession’s third season will premiere in 2020. While an exact date has not been announced or set, given the fact that the first two seasons premiered in the summer, the third one will likely premiere any time between June and September 2020.

As seen in the second season’s finale, a huge twist was revealed. Kendall (Strong) seemingly turned on his father and didn’t go down as the family’s “blood sacrifice” after a company disaster.

The beginning of the season, and perhaps the season overall, well definitely explore the fallout of his actions and what it means for the rest of the Roys.