Animal Kingdom: Cast

Don Marley

Animal Kingdom

The TV series “Animal Kingdom,” which aired from 2016 to 2022, captured viewers with its intense crime drama. Based on a 2010 Australian film, it follows a Southern California family entangled in illegal activities. The show’s cast includes notable actors such as Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman, and Shawn Hatosy.

Ellen Barkin plays the formidable matriarch, Janine “Smurf” Cody. Scott Speedman portrays Barry “Baz” Blackwell, while Shawn Hatosy takes on the role of Andrew “Pope” Cody. They are supported by Ben Robson, Jake Weary, and Finn Cole, who bring depth to their gritty characters. This strong ensemble cast brought the story to life, making the twists and turns of their criminal exploits engaging for fans.

Animal Kingdom has been praised for its compelling story arcs and complex characters. The show explores themes like loyalty and family ties, making it a standout on TNT. With a blend of drama and crime, the series kept fans on the edge of their seats.

Animal Kingdom Cast Breakdown

The TNT drama series “Animal Kingdom” boasts an impressive ensemble cast that brought to life the Cody crime family and their associates. The table below outlines the main cast members and their corresponding roles:

ActorRoleCharacter Description
Ellen BarkinJanine “Smurf” CodyMatriarch of the Cody family, a ruthless and manipulative criminal mastermind.
Shawn HatosyAndrew “Pope” CodySmurf’s oldest son, emotionally unstable and prone to violence.
Ben RobsonCraig CodySmurf’s middle son, impulsive and thrill-seeking.
Jake WearyDeran CodySmurf’s youngest son, insecure and struggles with his sexuality.
Finn ColeJoshua “J” CodySmurf’s grandson, brought into the family business after his mother’s death.
Scott SpeedmanBarry “Baz” BlackwellSmurf’s adopted son and J’s father figure, also involved in the family’s criminal activities.

Additional Notable Cast Members

  • Molly Gordon as Nicky Belmont
  • Carolina Guerra as Lucy
  • Sohvi Rodriguez as Mia Benitez
  • Leila George as Young Janine “Smurf” Cody
  • Jon Beavers as Young Jake
  • Rigo Sanchez as Young Manny

The Ensemble’s Impact

The compelling performances of the cast members, coupled with the complex and morally ambiguous characters, contributed significantly to the show’s success. Each actor brought depth and nuance to their roles, making the Cody family and their associates both captivating and repulsive.

Over the course of six seasons, “Animal Kingdom” delivered a gripping narrative filled with crime, family drama, and personal struggles. The show’s popularity can be attributed in part to the exceptional performances of the cast, who breathed life into these flawed and fascinating characters.

Key Takeaways

  • Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman, and Shawn Hatosy starred in Animal Kingdom
  • The series ran from 2016 to 2022 on TNT
  • Animal Kingdom is based on a 2010 Australian film

Series Overview

Animal Kingdom is a crime drama set in Southern California which zeroes in on the lives of the Cody family. The show dives into their criminal world, weaving themes of family loyalty and survival amidst criminal activities.

Plot and Themes

The series follows Joshua “J” Cody, a teenager who moves in with his estranged relatives after his mother dies from an overdose. The Cody family, led by the matriarch Smurf, operates a criminal enterprise in Oceanside, California. In this intense environment, J learns about the family’s illegal ventures, involving heists and other criminal activities.

Family dynamics and loyalty are strong themes. Smurf’s control over her sons and their reckless behavior often create friction. The plot also explores survival, as each member struggles with their choices and the law. The show is filled with suspense and crime, making it gripping and dramatic.

Critical Reception

Animal Kingdom received positive reviews for its engaging storyline and strong performances. Critics praised the actors, especially Ellen Barkin, who played Smurf. Her portrayal captured the menacing yet charismatic nature of the character. The chemistry among the cast added depth to the family dynamics.

The show’s realistic depiction of crime in Southern California earned approbation. Some critics pointed out the intense and sometimes violent scenes, which gave the show its dark edge. Overall, fans appreciated the series for its thrilling narrative and complex characters. Many episodes achieved high ratings, proving its popularity among viewers.

Cast and Characters

This section covers key characters from the TV series “Animal Kingdom” (2016-2022), providing detailed insights into the roles and the actors who brought them to life.

Ellen Barkin as Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody

Ellen Barkin plays Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, the matriarch of the Cody family. Smurf is a tough, manipulative woman who runs the family’s criminal activities. Her control over her sons is both strong and deeply influential. She is a key figure in the series, known for her ruthless decisions.

Shawn Hatosy as Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody

Shawn Hatosy portrays Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody, Smurf’s eldest son. Pope is a complex character, often struggling with mental health issues. He is loyal but unpredictable, making him a dangerous member of the family. His relationship with Smurf is intense and complicated.

Ben Robson as Craig Cody

Ben Robson plays Craig Cody, the middle son of the Cody family. Craig is known for his reckless behavior and tendency for taking risks. Despite his wild nature, he is deeply loyal to his family. He often finds himself in precarious situations due to his impulsive actions.

Jake Weary as Deran Cody

Jake Weary takes on the role of Deran Cody, the youngest son. Deran is a closed-off character who runs a bar as a front for the family’s operations. He grapples with his sexuality and his place within the family. His struggles add depth to his character.

Finn Cole as Joshua ‘J’ Cody

Finn Cole stars as Joshua ‘J’ Cody, the teenager who enters the Cody household after his mother’s death. J’s journey from outsider to a key player in the family’s crime business is central to the series. He is often caught between loyalty to his relatives and his own moral compass.

Scott Speedman as Barry ‘Baz’ Blackwell

Scott Speedman plays Barry ‘Baz’ Blackwell, Smurf’s adopted son. Baz is strategic and the brains behind many of the family’s heists. He plays a crucial role in planning and executing crimes. His relationship with Smurf is strained, adding tension to his character arc.

Molly Gordon as Nicky

Molly Gordon portrays Nicky, J’s girlfriend. Nicky starts off as a naive girl but gets drawn into the Cody family’s dangerous world. Her relationship with J and the Codys evolves as she gets deeper into their criminal activities. She represents the impact of the Codys’ lifestyle on outsiders.


“Animal Kingdom” showcased a compelling blend of character-driven narratives and thrilling crime plots. This section dives into the details of how the show was developed and the locations where it was filmed.


“Animal Kingdom” is a crime drama series created by Jonathan Lisco for TNT. The show is based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, directed by David Michôd. The show premiered on June 14, 2016.

David Michôd and Liz Watts, who were involved in the original film, played key roles in the series production. The show ran for six seasons, concluding in 2022. The creators stayed true to the film’s gritty and tense atmosphere while expanding on characters and storylines. The series was praised for its strong performances and complex characters.

Filming Locations

“Animal Kingdom” was primarily filmed in Southern California. The show’s setting plays a significant role in creating its atmosphere. The sunny beaches and urban landscapes of California provide a stark contrast to the dark themes of the series.

Key locations included various sites in Oceanside. The series captured the essence of the California coast, using real locations to add authenticity to the scenes. This choice contributed greatly to the raw and realistic feel of the show. The crew’s dedication to selecting perfect shooting spots ensured visually engaging and immersive scenes.

Series Evolution

Animal Kingdom, which aired from 2016 to 2022, follows the ups and downs of the Cody crime family in Southern California. The series shows changes in both the plot and its characters over time.

Seasonal Progression

From its start in 2016, Animal Kingdom features intense story arcs and shifting power dynamics. The first season introduces the Cody family, led by the strong and cunning Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, played by Ellen Barkin. Early episodes focus on Joshua ‘J’ Cody, portrayed by Finn Cole, adjusting to the family’s criminal ways after his mom’s death.

Over the following seasons, the family’s grip on their illegal business is tested. Shawn Hatosy’s character, Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody, faces inner battles while trying to stay loyal. By the middle seasons, viewers see more heists, betrayals, and shifting alliances. The closing seasons look at how the family handles law enforcement pressure and internal conflicts.

Character Development

Characters in Animal Kingdom grow in complex and layered ways. Janine ‘Smurf’ Cody, the family’s matriarch, evolves from just being powerful to showing vulnerability. Her control over her sons and business weakens, revealing more about her past and motives.

Andrew ‘Pope’ Cody, played by Shawn Hatosy, shows deep emotional struggles and loyalty to his family. His behavior becomes more unpredictable, adding tension to the story. Deran Cody, acted by Jake Weary, deals with accepting his identity and finding his place in the family business. Joshua ‘J’ Cody, initially naive, learns to navigate the family dynamics and takes a more central role in their activities. This evolution adds depth to the story across all six seasons.

Recurring Themes and Motifs

Criminal Activities

A major theme in “Animal Kingdom” is the Codys’ involvement in crime. They engage in heists and robberies to maintain their lavish lifestyle. These activities create suspense and drive much of the plot.

Family Dynamics

The Cody Family relations are central. Their loyalty and trust get tested constantly. This creates intense drama and conflict.


Survival is key. Characters often face physical dangers and moral dilemmas. They must navigate these challenges to stay alive.

Power Struggles

Within the family, power struggles are frequent. Each member vies for control, especially after Smurf’s death. This makes their alliances fragile.

Teenager Perspective

The story is also seen through J, a teenager. After his mother dies, he joins the Codys. His struggle to fit in adds another layer to the narrative.

Secrets and Lies

Secrets and deception play a big role. Characters often lie to protect themselves or manipulate others. This adds tension and unpredictability.

Critical Analysis and Interpretation

The cast of Animal Kingdom has left a notable impression on viewers and critics alike. The show’s exploration of crime, survival, and family dynamics has provided rich material for analysis.

Symbolism and Cultural Impact

Animal Kingdom’s cast brought life to characters entangled in crime and survival. The show’s portrayal of a family driven by criminal activities symbolizes the blurred lines between right and wrong. The character Janine “Smurf” Cody, for instance, represents the matriarchal control and authority.

This dynamic illustrates power and manipulation within family ties. The heists and schemes highlight the desperation and lengths people go to for survival. The crime drama genre often reflects societal issues, and Animal Kingdom is no exception. It sparks conversations about morality, loyalty, and the influence of environment on behavior.

Viewer Reception

Viewers and critics received the show with mixed reactions. Many praised the actors’ performances, particularly Finn Cole as Joshua “J” Cody and Ellen Barkin as Smurf. Their portrayal of complex characters was a highlight. The tension and drama kept the audience engaged.

On the other hand, some felt certain plotlines were predictable. Despite this, the majority appreciated the intense storytelling and character development. Animal Kingdom managed to maintain a strong following throughout its six seasons, solidifying its place in crime drama television.

Digital Presence

The TV series “Animal Kingdom” has a strong digital presence. This includes official media pages where fans can find the latest updates, and fan communities where they can discuss their favorite moments and characters.

Official Media Pages

The official Animal Kingdom media pages give the audience updated news, episode previews, and behind-the-scenes content. The TV season pages provide detailed information about each season. Fans can navigate these pages to find TV episode pages, which include cast lists and plot summaries.

On Profile Menu sections, users can see biographies of actors and crew. The media pages may have image pages with pictures from episodes and promotional shoots. Translation Selector allows viewers from different regions to read content in various languages.

Fan Community

The Animal Kingdom fan community is active online, providing spaces for discussions and sharing ideas. On platforms with community features, users can join discussion pages to talk about plot twists and character development.

Each post can spark conversations where fans can reply and share their thoughts. These communities often have an activity feed showing the latest contributions from users. Fans can quickly search for topics using a search bar and join the latest threads.

Keyboard shortcuts make navigation easier, and features like an add image window let users share screenshots. These communities help deepen the viewer’s connection to the show by providing ongoing interaction and engagement.

Merchandising and Marketing

“Animal Kingdom” created a variety of merchandise, helping fans connect with the show.

The most popular items included:

  • T-Shirts featuring the Cody family logo
  • Caps with designs inspired by characters
  • Posters of iconic show moments

Limited edition items also drew attention. Toys and collectibles, like action figures of key characters, became favorites among fans.

Marketing efforts used various platforms. Social media played a big role. Cast members often shared behind-the-scenes photos and videos. These posts kept fans excited.

Key marketing strategies:

  • Teaser Clips: Short videos showing upcoming episodes
  • Interviews: Cast interviews and talk show appearances
  • Fan Events: Meet-and-greet events with actors

Billboards and bus ads in major cities helped reach a broader audience. Streaming services also showcased the series, adding to its visibility. The show’s presence on platforms like Netflix brought in new viewers.

Overall, “Animal Kingdom” successfully used merchandising and marketing to build a strong fan base. These efforts made the show more than just a TV series but a brand fans could engage with daily.

Frequently Asked Questions

The “Animal Kingdom” cast has gone through many changes over the seasons. This section will address specifics about new members, returning actors, notable exits, and key plot revelations.

Who are the new cast members in Animal Kingdom Season 7?

While Season 7 hasn’t been officially confirmed, future casting would likely feature new faces to add fresh dynamics.

Which actors returned for Season 6 of Animal Kingdom?

In Season 6, many original cast members returned. Shawn Hatosy reprised his role as Pope. Ben Robson continued as Craig. Jake Weary and Finn Cole also returned, playing Deran and J.

Who joined the cast in Animal Kingdom Season 5?

Season 5 introduced new characters such as Darren Mann, who played the young version of Baz. Leila George appeared as young Janine. They helped explore the backstories of main characters.

What led to the departure of Ellen Barkin from Animal Kingdom?

Ellen Barkin, who played Smurf, left the show in Season 4. Her character was killed off, which created significant changes in the storyline.

How did the character Baz exit from Animal Kingdom?

Baz, played by Scott Speedman, was shot and killed in the Season 3 premiere. His death sent shockwaves through the Cody family.

Is the identity of J’s father revealed in Animal Kingdom?

The show has implied that J’s father might be Baz, but it has never been confirmed directly. This leaves some mystery about J’s true parentage.