Succession’s Matthew Macfadyen says Tom ‘broke’ in explosive argument with Shiv

Succession star Matthew Macfadyen has shared his explanation for his character Tom’s harsh words in an argument with his wife, Shiv (Sarah Snook).

The seventh episode of the drama’s fourth and final season aired on Sunday evening (7 May) in the US. Ever since, fans have been reacting to a scene that featured an explosive argument between the estranged couple on the balcony outside a high-profile party.

Spoilers for episode seven, season four of Succession below.

Barbs exchanged include Tom telling Shiv she has a “f***ing thin” sense of self and that she wouldn’t be a good mother – not knowing that she is pregnant, most likely with his child.

Shiv, meanwhile, calls Tom “striving and parochial” and accuses him of stealing the last six months she could have had with her father before his death.

Speaking on HBO’s official Succession podcast after the episode dropped, Macfadyen shared his thoughts on what caused Tom, who is usually even-tempered with Shiv, to explode.

“It’s just the f***ing injustice that he feels,” the actor said. “He thought maybe they were in a good place and he realises she spent the whole party, when they were supposed to be throwing it together, sort of telling everybody he was heading for the chop. So, something breaks.”

Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook as Tom and Shiv on Succession (Getty / HBO)
Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook as Tom and Shiv on Succession (Getty / HBO)

“It just comes to a head,” he told show host Kara Swisher. “The facade goes and he can’t accept it. I remember in the scene feeling the terrible rage at the injustice of it. He spends a lot of the time being diplomatic and politic and swallowing his tongue and letting her win and letting her have the last word, and maybe he doesn’t this time.”

In Macfadyen’s view, Shiv has more emotional trauma as a result of being a child of the late Logan Roy (Brian Cox).

“They don’t feel loved by either of their parents, so maybe you can’t love yourself or you can’t love anybody else and you don’t have a real confidence. And I don’t think that’s true of Tom, necessarily,” the actor added.

Succession continues in the UK on Monday 15 May at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW.