Warning: This preview has spoilers for new viewers and a few “press released” spoilers for current fans.

The Boys of Summer are coming back! Animal Kingdom’s Season Three will premier May 29th on TNT. This season will undoubtedly be great, with the addition of Dennis Leary as Deran’s dad!

I’ve been following Animal Kingdom for two years now, ever since Ben Robson was (spoiler alert) killed off on Vikings and started working as a modern day viking on Animal Kingdom.

If you haven’t seen Seasons One and Two, you can catch up on Amazon Prime. TNT is also pretty good about rerunning the show leading up to the new season.

For new viewers, Animal Kingdom follows the Cody family in Southern California. Smurf, or Janine, played by Ellen Barkin, has three biological and one foster son who pull off robberies and cons in high adrenaline heists. Momma Smurf plays all the boys off of each other.

We left the Cody family second season with Smurf in jail, at the hands of her sons. And her adopted son Baz had just been shot by a backstabbing girlfriend – we think. Craig ran off to Mexico with his old flame to blow through tons of cash.

Character Introductions for New Viewers


Yes, it’s a nickname from childhood. Smurf is the matriarch of this twisted little family. Each of her sons has a different father. She takes excellent physical care of the family, keeping a roof over their heads and feeding them. But she is less than great at mental health with the kids. She has them twisted around her fragile narcissistic finger.


I think Pope is the first born. He’s creepy, but he has a conscience – sometimes. He is easily manipulated by his mother, but last season he overcame her. Not before (spoiler alert) killing the only woman he’d ever loved at his mother’s command.


Baz is Smurf’s adopted son. She took him in as a foster teenager of an abusive alcoholic father. He is the typically oldest child, with all the anxiety and superiority complex that goes along with that. Smurf trusted him above all her sons to run the “business”. The business being laundering money through fictitious rents on buildings they own.


Deran is the smartest of Smurf’s biological sons. He’s the baby. He had high hopes in high school of being a professional surfer. His family got in the way. He had been (spoiler alert) hiding the fact that he’s gay from everyone but Craig. He’s lost all hope of gaining his mother’s love and is trying to break away from the family by opening his own bar. It remains to be seen if either his mother or his brothers will force him to use his bar to a crime front.


Josh is Smurf’s grandson. We think Josh is Baz’s son. We haven’t gotten a definitive answer on that and I’m not sure we’ll ever trust Smurf’s manipulative ways to give an honest answer. But Josh is definitely Smurf’s grandson, via her now deceased, drug addict daughter. Josh is smarter than everyone in the family. He finishing high school and could probably go onto college. But he’s gotten a whiff of the money involved in grandma’s operation, so who knows which way he’ll go. He’s stable enough to see Smurf’s manipulative ways and is probably playing her. He’s really good at playing innocent to all the parties involved.


(Bias alert: I’ve saved the best for last. Craig is my favorite.) As stated earlier, Ben Robson is why I started watching this show. Craig is another of Smurf’s biological sons. Craig’s the heavy lifter of the group. Even though he pulls off heists for a living, he’s a big squishy hippie at heart, who doesn’t want to hurt anyone. He just wants to have a good time – like, ALL the time. He’s dumber than a bag of rocks, but damn, he’s pretty. He’s also naked quite often, and without warning.

That’s not a bad thing, I just think new viewers should have a heads up. At the end of Season One, you may have seen enough of Craig’s butt, if that’s possible. Think of him as a cross between Rollo from Vikings and Keanu Reeves in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

What’s in store of Season Three

Previews of the first few episodes are tense. Baz is in the hospital after the shooting. Smurf is still in jail, champing at the bit, unable to control how things play out with the boys. And Josh is juggling the business. The episodes are highly stylized and dark. The only other thing I’ll divulge is that, after joking in interviews, about seeing too much of his co-star, Ben Robson’s butt, a completely different Cody boy gets some “exposure” this season.


Check out two trailers for Season Three from TNT below!

Photo Source: TNT Animal Kingdom & Eddy Chen

Leslie Gayle

Leslie is a one time CPA, wife and mom of twins. She’s an over thinker who loves karate, thunder, and travel. Her sweatpants are yoga pants and she takes her coffee with milk.

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