vulture investigates

Who Leaked the Big News on Succession?

Was it Greg? It was probably Greg. Photo: Macall B. Polay/HBO

The twist in Sunday night’s episode of Succession was a big deal for anyone who watches the show, but it was an even bigger deal in-universe. The death of Logan Roy is the kind of news event that stops presses and sends stock prices tumbling. Unfortunately, the news started to leak out before Logan’s kids had a chance to fully process it: No-nonsense PR maven Karolina informed the grieving children she’d been contacted by “a reporter who heard a rumor about Logan’s health.” Torn as always between the demands of their human feelings and the demands of running a large media conglomeration, the three traumatized adult children needed to put their tears aside and act now.

We never learn the identity of the leaker, but Karolina identifies a few likely explanations for the news getting out: plane-to-ground comms, flight tracking, eavesdropping. Which of them is most likely? Let’s run down the suspects and see if we can’t crack the case.

Greg, accidentally
In any roundup of suspects, Greg has to be Lee Harvey Oswald. This man is incapable of acting normal at the best of times; watching him attempt to form a coherent sentence is like watching somebody in socks slip down a flight of stairs. How likely is it that he’d be able to keep a secret as big as Logan’s death — especially while making small talk with a journalist covering the wedding, a woman professionally invested in getting information out of him? About as likely as him winning his lawsuit against Greenpeace, I’d say.
Odds: +100

Greg, on purpose
There’s an alternate theory to consider. Shortly after instructing Greg to keep schtum, Tom also says to make sure people know that Tom was with Logan when he died. Might Greg have interpreted this as a sign that he should in fact leak the news, as part of his designated role as the minion for tasks Tom finds too odious to do himself? Still, Logan’s death is unquestionably bad for Tom, and whatever he gains from a tiny amount of narrative spinning would be dwarfed by what he loses from the news getting out.
Odds: +1,250

The Greglets, via Kerry
The plane, too, is not a secure infosec environment. Traveling alongside Logan and the higher-ups are a bevy of assistants Tom refers to as “Greglets,” about whom the only thing we know is that they are somehow even less qualified than the real thing. (After all, it takes many of them to replace one Greg.) Even if they somehow were spared a glimpse of the chaos going on in the front of the plane, remember who gets sent back to their area? That’s right: Kerry, who is in no state to keep any sort of secret or intimidate them into silence. All it takes is one errant “OMG” text and the news is out.
Odds: +400

Someone tracking the jet
Sandi and Stewy have a vested interest in knowing whether Logan is truly heading to Sweden, but randos on Twitter could be following his movements too. If so, an octogenarian’s jet making an abrupt 180-degree turn over the middle of the ocean is something that might set off alarm bells. Plus it’s a weekday (the markets are open), which means there are plenty of bored people sitting around their work computers ready to retweet unverified reports of something bad befalling a right-wing billionaire. Still, while those people would indeed turn out to be right, there are also many innocent explanations for the jet turning around — maybe they hit some geese? — which makes this theory less of a sure thing.
Odds: +500

Someone at the airport
I’ll be honest: My knowledge of the inside workings of airports is slim. But according to Wikipedia, Teterboro Airport has over 1,000 employees, and I think enough of them would have to be let in on the jet’s unplanned emergency landing that you can’t guarantee total operational secrecy. This one’s a little more secure than the plane-tracking theory, since the airport staff would also be looped in on the ambulance waiting on the tarmac.
Odds: +275

The bartender
Or should we go back to the source? Look closely, and you’ll see that the Roy siblings are not completely on their own when they get the fateful call from Tom. The area of the boat they’re huddled in has a bar, and it’s staffed by a female bartender. (You can see her in the background around 15 minutes into the episode.) She’s still there when Roman asks Tom, “You’re saying dad’s sick?” in a voice loud enough for her to overhear. Knowing what we do about the way these kids treat service workers, I doubt she’d have any incentive to keep this news private.
Odds: +200

People just figured it out on their own
Whenever they interact with the general populace, the Roys are the most famous people in the room. (Hence their preference for semi-private powwows whenever possible.) Kendall especially is only a few months removed from being a major figure in the news cycle. Which is to say: There are a lot of eyes on them at this wedding. After Kendall fetches Shiv to fill her in, the siblings walk past at least a dozen people. While they do their best to stay discreet, many of those bystanders would be able to overhear Ken saying “dad,” “the plane,” “it’s bad” or “chest compressions.” Even more people have a glimpse of the Roys’ frantic comings and goings. Seeing the looks on their faces, combined with Logan’s absence, it wouldn’t be hard to guess what’s occurring. You’ll rarely go wrong pinning something on Greg, but in this situation, there may not even be a leaker to blame at all.
Odds: -200

Who Leaked the Big News on Succession?