If the first season of Animal Kingdom has taught us anything about Pope, it’s that he’s dangerous, and that he will do anything for his family. Both of those traits were combined in last week’s penultimate episode when Smurf informed him that Catherine had stolen $10,000 from her, and furthermore, Smurf suspected she’d been talking to the cops.
The moment Smurf told Pope that information, he knew what he was expected to do. “He’s so easily manipulated by Smurf, she’s programmed him in such a way that he is in protective mode for the Codys,” Shawn Hatosy tells EW. “And then when he goes over to Catherine’s, he’s in investigation mode and he’s faced with performing this horrible murder to somebody he adores and admires and has for such a long time.”
And when Pope finds Catherine’s packed suitcase, complete with Smurf’s $10,000, Catherine’s fate is all but sealed. “She tries to manipulate him too, but he won’t let his heart go where it always wanted to,” Hatosy says. “I ultimately think that he was hoping upon his investigation that [he’d find out] Smurf wasn’t being truthful and he hoped that she wasn’t. But once Catherine said, ‘It should’ve been you,’ that’s what sent him over the top. When she says she loves him, that was the nail in the coffin.”
As for what that means for the season finale, Hatosy claims that Pope doesn’t spend too much time thinking about how his actions will affect others, namely Baz, but the one relationship the murder could damage is the one between Pope and Smurf. “How it affects his relationship with Smurf is a whole other question, because I do think that the consequences of what she has programmed him to do are going to reveal themselves to Pope,” Hatosy says. “As much as he doesn’t like to be managed, he does need to be managed, but I think it’s going to create some intensity within their relationship going forward.”
The other big question walking away from the murder: What about the fingerprints? After all, Pope just committed murder without so much as wearing gloves. “I talked with [executive producer] Chris Chulack about that quite a bit because of Pope’s nature and how he handles himself and how clean he is,” Hatosy says. “I was like, ‘Shouldn’t I be wearing gloves?’ That’s the way that we did it. It could create some interesting storylines going forward, I guess. With Smurf in charge of this family, and we learn very quickly in episode 2, she’s not comfortable with any loose ends and the way that Pope handled this, he’s left a lot of them open.”
Watch an exclusive sneak peek of the finale above before it airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET on TNT.