Jerrod Carmichael
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Why Deran's Coming Out Journey on Animal Kingdom Is Unforgettable

<img src=animalkingdom.jpg" alt=Deran Cody Coming Out">

Editor's note: this post contains spoilers for the season 6 finale of TNT's Animal Kingdom! Continue reading at your own discretion.  

My favorite TV characters are the ones that are so flawed, complicated, and typically just bad people, but on the same token have you rooting for them. Dexter, Cersi from Game of Thrones, Jax from Sons of Anarchy, and virtually every single main character on Animal Kingdom. The hit TNT series recently came to an end, and only 2 of those main characters were left standing. One of them is the show’s gay character, Deran Cody (Jake Weary).

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At the beginning of the series, Deran was closeted. He went out of his way to come off as straight (like when he hooked up with a girl at one of their house parties to make it seem like he was obviously into women). He even beat up his male love interest when he was caught with his pants down in a public bathroom stall with him. But considering who his family is, it’s no wonder he resorted to violence when it came to coming to terms with his sexuality. 

The Cody’s. It begins with Smurf (Ellen Barkin and Leila George), the "animal" who brought her children up to be Oceanside’s most notorious, hyper-masculine criminals. She taught them how to pull “jobs” and become cold-blooded killers when needed. Deran was her baby boy, the youngest of her 4 children, 5 if you count Baz (Scott Speedman and Darren Mann), who she raised as her own since he was little. The son Smurf manipulated the most was Pope (Shawn Hatosy and Kevin Csolak).

Pope, the mentally unstable, tortured soul became a fan favorite as the series progressed. While he was the most violent of the brothers, he had the biggest heart. I think many would agree that Shawn Hatosy is long overdue for an Emmy for his portrayal of Andrew Cody a.k.a. Pope. He is the reason Deran and his other brother, Craig (Ben Robson), risked their lives to break him out of jail in the series finale. 

The most exciting parts of the show are the action scenes where the fam is pulling a job. From breaking into Camp Pendleton, to robbing a shipping container at the Port of Long Beach, to jumping out of a plane with nearly a million dollars, the (sexy AF) brothers and their nephew Jay (Finn Cole) pulled out all the stops to get the jobs done — all to make Mama Smurf proud. But I think the main reason Deran was afraid to come out is that he didn’t want Smurf to disown him like she did with their sister Julia (Jasper Polish) when she was pregnant with Jay and struggling with drug addiction. Ultimately, Smurf didn’t care about who he loved or slept with. What she did care about is ensuring that the people they let in their circle kept quiet about the family business. Which brings us to Adrian (Spencer Treat Clark), Deran’s boyfriend. 

It was hard to watch how Deran would treat Adrian, as he clearly took his identity issues out on him. Though their relationship was complicated, I doubt they ever stopped loving each other. And it wasn’t until Deran started his own “legitimate” business (a bar bought with stolen money) that he felt comfortable enough to be himself. The bar was Deran’s safe place, and where he rekindled his relationship with Adrian (after a few hot hookups with other dudes). 

Finally, Deran was happy and in a healthy relationship with Adrian — until the cops found out Adrian was Deran’s “roommate” and blackmailed Adrian into getting information on the Codys. When Smurf got wind of Adrian’s dilemma, in typical Cody fashion, she decided he needed to be eliminated. Deran made a plan to save Adrian’s life. He made arrangements for them to start a new life together in Indonesia, but when the time came for Deran to flee with Adrian, he bailed. Deran couldn’t leave his family and chose them over a fresh start with the love of his life. 

In the intense series finale, Deran made a promise to Craig (as he held him tight in his arms while he died), but many fans, including the show’s executive producer Daniele Nathanson, believe Deran will find and be with Adrian again. Nathanson told TV Line, "he is going to keep his promise to Craig, but that doesn’t exclude him being with Adrian."

I’d like to believe Deran gets his happy ending, and hopefully, we’ll get to see that play out in an Animal Kingdom spinoff show. 

If you like action, drama, amazing actors, and dope cars, be sure to watch Animal Kingdom (don't worry I didn't spoil everything!), on Amazon (seasons 1-5, free with subscription), Hulu (season 1-3), and the TNT app

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RELATED | Actor Jake Weary On Playing a Closeted Character in Animal Kingdom 

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