TV Critc’s Corner

Denis Leary set to prowl ‘Animal Kingdom’

Ellen Barkin stars in “Animal Kingdom.”
Eddy Chen/TNT
Ellen Barkin stars in “Animal Kingdom.”

My not-so-guilty pleasure is “Animal Kingdom,” the TNT drama in which Ellen Barkin plays Smurf, a profoundly unmaternal matriarch in a Southern California crime family of surfer boys. It’s like “Sons of Anarchy,” but with tans.

So I was delighted to discover that Denis Leary has signed onto “Animal Kingdom” for season three. Each of Smurf’s sons on the show has a different father, and Leary will play the father of the youngest son, Deran, who is gay. His character’s name is Billy, and he’s a drifter who Smurf kicked out years ago.

Leary, originally from Massachusetts, is generally considered a comic, but he tends to shine in dramatic settings. He was particularly impressive in all seven seasons of “Rescue Me,” for which he was nominated for three Emmys.


That’s the good news. The bad news is that Scott Speedman is reportedly eyeing an exit from the series, even though he is expected to appear in a few episodes of the new season to wrap up his character Baz’s story line.

The show returns this summer.

Matthew Gilbert can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.