6 Reasons You Should Be Watching the Just-Renewed 'Animal Kingdom'

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Animal Kingdom - Finn Cole, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson
Turner

Dysfunctional Families Rule: To say the Cody family is dysfunctional is an understatement but once J (Finn Cole, left), Pope (Shawn Hatosy, center) and Craig (Ben Robson) come together – as they did when they recently for a job – there is a team element that works…until it doesn’t!

Animal Kingdom - Ellen Barkin
Turner

A Mother to be Feared: In last week’s episode, Craig asked his imprisoned mother, Smurf (Ellen Barkin) why she put J in charge of the family business. Her smile when she says “Who says J is in charge” is exactly why we love this lioness, who would eat her young if necessary. And, be warned, Smurf may not be in jail forever so all the Codys (and everyone else for that matter) better watch their backs!

Animal Kingdom - Jake Weary

Father & Son Drama: Jake Weary’s Deran has been trying to get his life together by owning his own bar and enjoying a new, hot and heavy fling with ER Nurse/former motorcross rider Clark (Damon Williams). But will the sudden reappearance of his father, Billy (Denis Leary) shake things up even more? Or will Deran find a connection with his messed up Daddy?

Animal Kingdom - Shawn Hatosy

The Ticking Time Bomb: With the unpredictable Pope (Shawn Hatosy), he can show his soft side with his niece Lena (Aamya Deva Keroles) – whose mother Pope actually killed, remember? – but with anything else, there’s a fire brewing beneath the surface that could explode at any time. With more people staying at the house, he’s unnerved but also helpless, which is never a good spot for Pope to be in.

Animal Kingdom - Denis Leary -Warm and fuzzy aren’t words to describe the clan of criminals that populate TNT’s Animal Kingdom—so edgy actor Denis Leary felt right at home when he joined the cast this season (starting with the June 19 episode). Leary plays Billy, deadbeat dad to Deran Cody (Jake Weary) and an ex of Smurf (Ellen Barkin). “I have played in a lot of dysfunctional family stuff, and this is by far the most dysfunctional family,” Leary says. Tensions escalate once Smurf learns Billy has worked his way into the Codys’ crime ring. “She’s ready to kill him, but then the old sexual spark reignites and she can’t help herself,” Leary says. And we couldn’t help taking a look back at his eclectic TV career. Animal Kingdom, Tuesdays, 9/8c, TNT
Eddy Chen/Turner

Brilliant Casting: Some shows bring in guest stars that don’t really fit but Denis Leary, who we’ve seen play dysfunctional characters his entire career, joining this season as Deran’s father Billy has been genius. But once Smurf is out of jail, watch out for the two to clash in a big way!

Animal Kingdom - Finn Cole, Molly Gordon

Young and Hungry: As J (Finn Cole) has gotten more power this season while Smurf is in jail, we’re seeing more and more that he’s a Cody through and through. Lost in the shuffle has been his relationship with Nicky (Molly Gordon), who is lost in her own way and looking for something to save her.

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Life with the Cody family is never boring on TNT's Animal Kingdom, and we found out earlier this week that the adventures of the family of criminals will continue as the drama was renewed for a fourth season!

The current Season 3 of the series, based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name, could've hit a series of potholes with the departure of original cast member Scott Speedman (his Baz character was shot and killed in the Season 2 finale) and star Ellen Barkin (who plays menacing matriarch Smurf) in prison. Then there was addition of Denis Leary (Rescue Me) as the long-absent father to Jake Weary's Deran.

The good news is that Animal Kingdom has taken each of those elements and made them all driving forces in all the stories we've seen play out. And still, the show is thankfully the one fans fell in love with, and TNT couldn't be happier.

In the gallery above, we offer up six reasons why the just-renewed show should be on your must-see list this summer. Check them out and tell us in the comments if you agree!

Animal Kingdom, Tuesdays, 9/8c, TNT