HomeNewsAnimal Kingdom: The 11 Most Shocking Deaths in the Series' History, Ranked

Animal Kingdom: The 11 Most Shocking Deaths in the Series’ History, Ranked

Over the course of its six blood-soaked seasons, Animal Kingdom bumped off and rubbed out so many characters that you could imagine sticking a shovel just about anywhere in the desert and accidentally hitting a body that the Codys had buried. But of course, not all of the TNT drama’s deaths were truly, ahem, killer.

Now that the series has aired its finale — and added three more major casualties to the list — TVLine is counting down the 11 most shocking murders in the show’s entire history. Keep in mind, though, as you scroll through the rankings below that these aren’t necessarily the saddest deaths ever, just the most starting, whether because of their horrifying circumstances, their significance or, at least in one case, the perpetrator.

In other words, we’re looking for jaws on the floor instead of tears in the eyes.

Ready to see which characters’ demises made this, the unkindest of cuts? Keep scrolling, then hit the comments with the death that left you the widest-eyed.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list

Photo : Courtesy of TNT

Once Smurf had had the character at No. 2 on this list offed, it was a much smaller surprise when she hired the Trujillos to blow away his cunning lover in Season 3’s finale.

Agent Livengood

animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list

Photo : TNT screenshot

Season 5, Episode 10, had us convinced that dirty cop Chadwick had actually turned on the Codys — until he arranged for them to meet with the DEA and plugged their worst nightmare in front of their eyes.


animal-kingdom-recap-season 4 episode 4 tank renn returns

Photo : TNT screenshot

Threatening to put Adrian on Pope’s hit list as a stool pigeon in Season 4, Episode 6, got the lowlife fatally shot by the surfer’s boyfriend, Deran. Who knew he had it in him? Not us, not until then.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list mia

Photo : TNT screenshot

After learning in Season 4, Episode 8, how treacherous Baz’s executioner really was, J was given the option of putting a bullet in his conniving f—ck buddy’s head — and took it.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list

Photo : TNT screenshot

The legal secretary never saw it coming. But, after the incidents at No. 8 and No. 6, we knew all too well that J had it in him to poison his significant other in the series finale.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list

Photo : TNT screenshot

Arguably J’s most brutal murder came in Season 3, Episode 12, when he slashed the leg of the attorney who knew too much and left her to the sharks.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list pope

Photo : TNT screenshot

If these deaths were ranked on the basis of how heartbreaking they were, Andrew’s would be No. 1. But since we’re evaluating their shock value, c’mon. We all knew he wouldn’t survive the series finale, right?


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list catherine

Photo : TNT screenshot

That Smurf would order Baz’s babymama killed was to be expected. That Pope would carry out the order — after having sex with the woman he’d loved for so long — altogether horrifying.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list craig

Photo : TNT screenshot

We’d imagined the middle Cody brother meeting his maker a zillion times. But not once did we see the introduction being made, as it was in the series’ ender, by a pistol-packing kid during a minor-league holdup.


animal kingdom season 3 episode 1 baz dies

Photo : TNT screenshot

After a long, hot summer in suspense, we found out in Season 3’s premiere that Smurf’s surrogate son hadn’t survived the hit that she’d taken out on him at the tail end of Season 2.


animal kingdom most shocking deaths all time ranked list smurf

Photo : TNT screenshot

“They wouldn’t,” we thought. “They couldn’t.” And yet, they did. In Season 4’s penultimate episode, the powers that be had J grant his cancer-stricken grandmother’s death wish before she could shoot Pope.

Animal Kingdom’: Who Survived the Dramatic Series Finale?

The TNT drama series Animal Kingdom came to an end on Sunday, August 28, after six seasons, but which characters made it out alive, and who ended up saying goodbye for good?

In the finale, titled “Fubar,” the Codys put together their plan to break the oldest Cody son, Pope (Scott Speedman), out of jail. However, J (Finn Cole) had plans of his own, as he sought to get revenge on family matriarch Janine “Smurf” Cody. What followed was an episode of double-crosses, violent showdowns, and, yes, plenty of murder.

The violence started when J turned on his uncles Deran (Jake Weary) and Craig (Ben Robson), abandoning them while in the middle of a shootout with the cops following the prison break-out. Later, Craig and Deran held up a convenience store for some cash and a first-aid kit. But the store owner’s child shot Craig, who wound up dying as Deran promised to raise Craig’s son like his own.

J’s girlfriend Penny (Stevie Lynn Jones) also met her demise after she decided she wasn’t going to run away with her beau. Knowing that he couldn’t leave behind any loose ends, J fatally dosed Penny’s cocktail and wept as she passed away.

And while Pope survived the shootout with the police, the guilt weighing him down after years of psychological abuse from Smurf eventually became too much to handle. So he ended up setting the Cody house on fire and laid down to die. As for J, he lived to fight another day. In the episode’s final moments, we saw a glimpse of J, all alone in some kind of luxury getaway.

With J and Deran surviving the finale, fans immediately began speculating about a potential spinoff series. While TNT has yet to confirm any plans for future series set in the Animal Kingdom universe, the network’s general manager Brett Weitz said in 2021 that he is open to the idea if the show’s creator Jonathan Lisco is on board.

“John knows how much we love him and love working with him,” Weitz told Deadline. In our jobs, you want to nudge the creators, you don’t want to force them into a decision. So, when he’s ready and he feels like there’s a natural evolution to that show or spinoff, not only is my door open, but there’s probably a slot on the air for him to do that. He could do no wrong in my books.”







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