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'Succession' takes us behind the scenes of an anti-democratic conclave, and the sights are terrifying

"Succession" creator Jesse Armstrong has often downplayed the influence of the Murdochs on his fictional plutocratic clan, the Roys. Similar to but not exactly like their real-life counterparts, the Roys comprise an octogenarian media mogul in ill health and his four adult children, the youngest three of whom have vied for years to be eventually handed control of the family company.

Logan Roy (played by Brian Cox), center, sits at an event as his eldest son, Connor (Alan Ruck) stands to his left in "Succession." Foto: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Armstrong, who once wrote a screenplay titled "Murdoch," has insisted that for "Succession," he and his writers have taken inspiration from a wide array of modern-day dynasties, including the Hearsts, the Redstones, the Mercers, the Maxwells (as in Robert and Ghislaine) and the Windsors.

But the hard-to-categorize HBO series (I'm currently going with "dramatic farce") delivered the best episode of the season thus far - and one of its greatest installments ever - on Sunday by leaning hard into the Murdoch comparison...

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