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Series / Animal Kingdom

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Bad. Is. Bred.

The 2016 Foreign Remake of the critically acclaimed 2010 Australian indie movie, the 2016 TV series Animal Kingdom, set in modern-day suburban Oceanside, California. It details the life of the Cody family, a bunch of criminals plus adrenaline junkies who live on the Pacific Coast, near the US-Mexico border and the strategically located Camp Pendleton of the United States Marine Corps, just north of the city. Following the death of his mother from a heroin overdose, Joshua Cody (J as he's called) moves to be with his grandmother (called Smurf) in the city near the beaches and its famous pier and is introduced to a life of crime by his uncles - plus their love of extreme sports. No one even among their friends would know what's next for him, his grandma, and his uncles.

Unlike the Aussie original it has a mix of old and newcoming stars with veteran movie actress Ellen Barkin in the lead role as Janine "Smurf" Cody, while incorporating elements of Oceanside's best spots and its surf scene. Aired on TNT, it is produced by Jonathan Lisco and John Wells - the same production team behind ER, The West Wing, Southland and Shameless (it was reported that the program would be aired before on Showtime alongside the latter, but it was rejected and TNT later approved it).

Given its high ratings despite mixed press reviews in the weeks before and during its June 14, 2016 premiere, TNT gave the signal for a second season of the series in July of 2016. Also airs in Canada through Bravo.

Fans of the movie upon which the series is based may be advised that the tropes featured here may be different or similar to it. The Characters page has a separate section for this.

The Cody Family of Oceanside

  • Janine "Smurf" Cody (played by Ellen Barkin) is the evil but loving matriarch of the family.
  • Joshua "J" Cody (played by Finn Cole), Smurf's grandson and the Only Sane Man of the group as well as the kid (as well as the youngest at 17)
  • Barry "Baz" Blackwell (played by Scott Speedman) is The Smart Guy of the family and the only member of the family not there by blood.
  • Andrew "Pope" Cody (played by Shawn Hatosy), oldest of the family, spent time in jail before the series premiere.
  • Craig Cody (played by Ben Robson) is a Handsome Lech and drug addict.
  • Deran Cody (played by Jake Weary) is an Armored Closet Gay surfer and extreme sports fanatic.

Recurring cast of the US TV adaptation

Per Season 1:
  • Renn (played by Christina Ochoa) - Craig's lover
  • Adrian (played by Spencer Treat Clark) - Deran's friend (and secret lover)
  • Nicky (played by Molly Gordon) - J's girlfriend at the start of the season, gets into a relationship with Craig by the 1st season finale
  • Alexa Alexander (played by Ellen Wroe) - J's high school teacher
  • Detective Sandra Yates (played by Nicki Micheaux) - a detective with the Oceanside PD who tried to investigate the family
  • Paul (played by C. Thomas Howell) - an active duty officer with the United States Navy stationed at Camp Pendelton and Nicky's dad.
  • Patrick (played by Dorian Missick) - Yates' partner in the Cody family case

This series contains the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Pope clearly suffers from his mental problems and wants to be better but his family doesn't help, nor has an abusive prison stay.
  • Adaptational Heroism: A very-very mild case of it as Pope is very clearly mentally ill and subject to both abuse as well as manipulation from his family. Which leads to a case of Adaptational Villainy from the rest of the family as while Pope can't help being a monster, they do it because it's fun.
  • Affably Evil: The Codys appear to be this way and look like a place J could have some serious fun. Sadly, he finds out they're very much Faux Affably Evil.
  • Alliterative Name: Alexa Alexander.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: The Codys eventually evolve into having this opinion of J after putting him through hell. By this time, The Dog Bites Back.
  • Armored Closet Gay: Deran thinks he's this but Craig knows he's gay and so does J. Smurf and Pope are likely to as well, which would mean it's more a case of Transparent Closet.
  • Bad Boss: The four uncles decide to get out from under Smurf's thumb in season 2, on account of her not paying them enough for services rendered, mismanaging jobs and being an abusive control freak.
    • Meanwhile, in season 3 Deran gets angry at a friend who was on a job with him and had to pay bail to get him out of county jail. He warns him that he's the nice Cody, that either he or one of the family (should Deran be indisposed) will kill him if he ever mentions his name to the cops again, and fires his gun right next to his ear as punishment, probably perforating the poor guy's eardrum.
  • Best Served Cold: Smurf can hold a grudge for a long time. She tracks down the man she blames for her mother's death more than fifty years earlier just so she can finally get revenge on him. She also holds a major grudge against the brother of Pope's father but makes nice with the guy for decades before finally stealing all his gold and killing him as her Last Dance.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Every Cody has secrets they're willing to kill for.
  • Brutal Honesty: Pope hooks up with Angela because he has know her most their lives and she has never lied to him. In turn she can tell him the truth about all the bad stuff she has done and he will not judge her.
  • The Cartel: Baz's mistress Lucy and her brother Marco are involved in one, which does business with the Cody syndicate. In the third season, J is forced to pay protection money to another to ensure Smurf is safe in prison.
  • Character Death:
    • Baz is shot at the end of season 2 and confirmed dead at the beginning of season 3
    • Smurf is killed at the end of season 4
  • Cliffhanger: Season 2 ends with Baz shot up and his fate left uncertain. He doesn't survive.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: As much as the family try to be careful about laundering their ill-gotten gains, they have vices. Jetskis, Ducati motorcycles, big trucks and supercars, all of which they're prepared to drop and burn like a hat if they have to be used in jobs. Also, they love to surf, sky dive and consume large quantities of drugs and alcohol, or visit high roller strip joints.
  • Death Glare: Smurf and Pope are both partial to this, such as when Lucy tries to brush off the fact that Lena (a small child) was nearly killed at a crazy party.
    • In fact, all of the Codys do this at one point or another. In the Netflix splash screen for the show, they're all doing it towards you. Most of the other criminals and cops will do this too as antagonism is the lifeblood of the series.
  • Disappeared Dad:
    • All the Codys grew up without a father figure in their lives
    • Smurf was raised by her mother and when she was killed, Smurf went into foster care
    • Pope's father was killed a few days before his birth
    • Craig's father stole from Smurf and she told him that if he ever came near her or Craig she would kill him. Since she already crippled him by shooting out his knee cap, he chose not to test her resolve.
    • Deran's father is a drug addict and petty crook who did not participate much in his son's life and when he supposedly tried to make amends, he stole money from Deran instead.
    • J does not know who his father is
    • Averted by Craig who insists on raising Renn's baby with her even though he might not be its father.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After numerous cases of having his life threatened by his uncles as well as his girlfriend manipulated as well as seduced (right after he broke up with her to protect her), J decides to turn state's evidence. Subverted through a Engineered Public Confession making J start to have Magnificent Bastard traits.
  • Dramatic Dislocation: Craig tackles an old friend of his after chasing him across rooftops for the money he's owed. But this causes the guy to fall off the side of a building, and Craig just manages to grab his hand, but he has too much weight on his shoulder and it dislocates. This causes him to lose his grip of the guy and he falls to a grevious injury. Deran subsequently tries to reset his shoulder, but changes his mind and takes Craig to a hospital instead. It's stated that this isn't the first time he's popped his shoulder, and he also got shot near there in the pilot.
  • Dual Wielding: Pope does this very effectively during some of his brazen, one man bank heists towards the end of season 2, to hold up multiple people at once.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Subverted, surprisingly, in what is the point of the series. The Codys present a face of a loving family but their selfishness and sociopathic tendencies make them enemies to each other as much as family.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The Cody Clan versus the FBI as it turns out the latter are every bit as crooked as the former.
  • Faux Affably Evil: J's uncles are all murderous scumbags of one sort or another. Smurf is arguably the worst of them all.
  • Fan Disservice: J having sex with his very hot crying teacher.
  • Get Out!: Pope orders this to an entire crowd of partygoers, out of disgust that his child neice was nearly run over and generally neglected during the wild rager, and to discuss important matters with his family.
  • Hidden Supplies: The Codys have several hiding spots for guns around the house- shotguns under the chimney and on a rack beneath the pool table, a MAC-10 under a bed, a revolver in the fridge behind a beer case, etc. Justified because their criminal rivals are not above invading the family home in their confrontations and so home defence is important. Also, there are money stashes around the house, Smurf keeps safes of cash and jewelry in her storage unit, and Baz hides some himself inside the drywall of his house.
  • Honey Pot: The FBI turn Alexa Anderson a.k.a Jay's teacher into one of these against her will. She ends up having sex with him to stay out of jail despite it being Statuotory rape.
    • Catherine tries this with Pope after Smurf sends him after her. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: The Cody brothers all think of J as a potential threat and risk to their family's criminal activities. This despite the fact J is clearly traumatized by recent events and just wants a family to appreciate him. Ironically, they start to trust him only after they've effectively burned any bridges he has with them.
  • Hot for Teacher: Not initially but Jay eventually slips into this. Alexa is forced to comply by the FBI.
  • It's Snowing Cocaine: Not to ludicrous levels, but Craig and his girlfriend Renn do many lines per episode. He gets Nicky hooked too when they're together, and it comes to define her character.
  • Kick the Dog: Mostly done to Jay by every single member of the family.
    • Deran tries to drown J to scare him away to protect the secret of his homosexuality.
    • Craig has sex with J's teenage girlfriend to distract her. Subverted, ironically, by the fact he's so sexist as to not realize this would be an issue as he believes J has moved on to his teacher.
      • Played straight when he leaves his OD girlfriend/dealer to die and robs her.
    • Baz does this by rejecting J's attempt to bond with him as his potential son and praising him only as a criminal.
    • Pope does this about once an episode.
    • J does this to Angela and by extension Pope when he takes Angela to a restaurant where her old dealer works as a cook. He expected her to go Off the Wagon and thus break Pope's heart.
  • Le Parkour: Done briefly by Craig and a guy he's trying to shake down for money. The apartments they're chasing across are level, but they have to leap between the buildings.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe:
    • J is definitely a Cody. Whether he's Baz's son or not is anyone's guess.
    • Craig might be the father of Renn's baby. She initially tells him that he is not but he still steps up to help her with her pregnancy and is willing to treat the baby as his. She later admits that the baby is probably his.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: When Jay slices his leg during the church robbery, Baz "fixes" it by sticking him together with a staple gun.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Implied, and played seriously instead of for laughs. Pope makes a promise to wait to pick up Lena after school, and an authority figure has to point out to him that a grown man waiting around a school like that looks creepy. Pope is creepy for other reasons, but he's no pedo.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The show's popularity among fans can be partly traced because of shirtless scenes featuring the Cody boys (plus some nudity) loved by almost everyone from the series premiere onward.
    • Baz only has one in the pilot.
    • Craig and Deran often have such scenes in the 1st season
    • J only has a few such scenes
    • Pope's poolside scene in Episode 2 has him naked
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump: Done very memorably by Pope. He is pissed when he learns that Lena was nearly run over at a party, so to clear out the guests, he retrieves one of the stashed shotguns from under the chimney, rips out the speakers, and then...
  • Papa Wolf: Played with; in the absence of her actual father Baz giving much of a shit about her, it's usually left to Pope to play Uncle Wolf for Lena. Might be a straightforward example because Pope could be her biological father himself.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: One of the major differences between this version and the 2010 movie is that the Codys don't seem to be cop killers (at least, as of season 2) as they don't want that kind of heat after them. This makes sense narratively; it would be hard to justify over the length of several seasons as to why the family could keep police off of them in response to this violence and stay out of prison/still alive, something the version of the family in the movie only barely managed to do in a shorter runtime. It probably helps that law enforcement in Oceanside seem less willing to resort to extreme methods than in Melbourne.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Deran strongly disapproves of Smurf making the rest of the family accessories to murder after the fact in season 2, reasoning that if he does a job and takes a four year sentence, that's on him, but he didn't sign up for twenty to life and certainly not for her.
    • Pope decides to give back a fortune in gold back to its previous owners because keeping it will get the Codys involved in a feud with a Crazy Survivalist militia. He would love to keep the gold but does not want to spend the rest of his life watching his back.
  • Rape as Drama: Nicky tries to freeload some blow from her dealer, but is told she has to pay right away. When she says she can't until next time, she's given an ultimatum before being allowed to leave: either find a way to stump up the the $1000 right now, or suck him off. She calls J in desperation, who shows up, tells the guy he's good for cashflow and that he's related to Pope and this seems to scare him off. But then the dealer tries to sneak attack them with a baseball bat as they're leaving, but J's associate Mia pistol whips him and they get away with it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Pope actually turns into one in season 5 when he decides against keeping a fortune in gold because giving it up is the only way they can get out of a pointless Cycle of Revenge feud that Smurf got them involved in. The Codys have enough problems without taking on Smurf's old grudges.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: J's uncles abuse him out of fear he'll turn on them. Guess what happens as a result.
  • Silver Vixen: Smurf is very sexually active and played by the attractive Ellen Barkin. She's also the mother of four kids with a fifth adopted one, two of which had kids of their own.
  • Take My Hand!: Craig tries to do this for a friend he managed to chase off a building, but because Craig grabs his hand while he's ended up on his side, this is too much weight even for his significant strength, and his shoulder seperates and the guy falls from his grasp.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: J and Pope dislike each other from day one. However, by the end of season 4 they realize that neither can lead the family on their own. Pope is a seasoned criminal that is respected by other criminals but he lacks the smarts for the behind-the-scenes stuff Smurf took care of. J knows how to launder their money and who to pay off to get protection but he has little street cred and other criminals do not trust him. If they work together, they can show the criminal underworld that the Codys are a group to be reckoned with even without Smurf.
  • Time Skip: Implied during the jump from season one to two, as J and Nicky are preparing for graduation and the boys have gotten to the point where they want to reduce ties with Smurf. Again suggested by the leap from the first to the second episode of season three, where Deran has cut his hair and is doing his own jobs, and Smurf is getting increasingly impatient in the slammer. This one was confirmed to be 6 months later.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: J wants this from Baz. What he gets is pretty much the exact opposite.