No relationship on Succession is pure, or healthy, or good. Fathers use their children like pawns; children repeatedly try to destroy their fathers. Spouses betray each other, or simply “joke” about not actually loving them during foreplay. Things were even more febrile than usual on Sunday night’s shocking Season 3 finale, with so much big news that you might have missed a smaller character exchange: Amidst his own father all but destroying him and his siblings, Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) reached out to be Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), the interim Waystar CEO with whom he has a history of phone sex and even d*ck pics. And she refused to help him.
In a new interview with Variety, Smith-Cameron was asked the inevitable: What’s next for everyone’s favorite weirdo couple (after Tom and Greg, that is)? She, of course, doesn’t know; she’s not on the writing staff. But she did have some insights into the character she’s played over three seasons. And she says Gerri, at least, was never actually interested:
The idea of them having a sexual relationship, from Gerri’s point of view, was always just a matter of time to get it through his head that it wasn’t going to happen. I don’t think he really wanted it to either. He’s got his weird hang-ups, and I think he would’ve been shocked if Gerri had said, “Sure, let’s go.” I feel like it was a sort of fantasy relationship and getting more and more on Gerri’s last nerve because she knew what was at stake, even before the worst possible thing that could happen happened. I feel like they were on borrowed time.
The actress says that while she doesn’t know what’s next for them, she laid out some possible pathways. “I’d like to think they have enough of a real connection that there’s something else coming — either they somehow make contact, even if it’s to be arch-enemies, or it takes the form of them being really furious with each other,” she explained.
Smith-Cameron has spoken about Gerri and Roman’s strange relationship many times before, even explaining its origins as some fun improv between the two that the writers took and ran with. It’s provided the show with some real kink — and with a loaded gun that didn’t go off until the season’s penultimate episode, in which Roman accidentally sent a private image intended for Gerri to his own dad.
Smith-Cameron also talked about where Gerri ranks on the list of characters with the closest thing to a sense of decency. And she thinks Gerri is up at the top, even if no one on the show is anyone’s idea of good.
“I think she has a soul. On the other hand, the universe of “Succession” is depicting the whole world of big business being soulless. In that sense, none of them have souls,” she told Variety. She continued:
I think within that, she has things she will and won’t do. She’s managed to distance herself from some of the more repellant things that have happened at Waystar. She picks and chooses how far she’ll go. I’m always the one telling [Logan], “Sorry, we can’t stop the publication of a book.” The one time you see Gerri in her apartment in Season 2 — after the shooting at Waystar and the first phone sex call from Roman — she’s watching the news, and it’s Pierce News, not ATN. I think she watches the real news; she knows the difference. She compartmentalizes and has a soul and a life and daughters whom she cares for. I think that’s a common thing about human nature, people can be very moral in some ways and have a completely desensitized take on other things. Within the gang of “Succession,” I think she’s one of the more soulful people.
Then again, Gerri does work for Logan Roy, played by a man who, unlike his character, actually cares about the well-being of others.