Shawn Hatosy on "Animal Kingdom"  SOURCE: TNT

Eight episodes into its first season, there’s little doubt that the Codys will stop at nothing to carry out Smurf’s plans and stay loyal to their blood. The last nail in that conclusive coffin came Tuesday (August 2) when Shawn Hatosy’s emotionally-fragile ex-con Pope took matters into his own bloody hands after suspecting that Catherine was on the verge of going to the cops.

Series standout Shawn Hatosy was eager to check in with Zap2it and talk us through the twisted mindset of his unhinged character — shedding light on where things may go as Season 1 comes to a close. Read on for his thoughts, but beware: Spoilers ahead.

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“When I got to Catherine’s murder, I threw the script on the ground. I was like ‘Oh my God!’,” remembers the 40-year-old actor. “I had to put it down. I couldn’t believe it.”

The reason, Hatosy explains, is not only the murder itself but the nature of how it is committed. For two human beings, there is no act more loving and soul-baring than sex — and to flip that to the most brutal act one could do to another is as jarring as it is powerful.

“Visually, the idea of being with somebody, in that way, and then it turning so violent when she is at her most vulnerable. Emotionally and physically, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done as an actor,” he says of the jaw-dropping scene between himself and actress Daniella Alonso.

“Daniella had a lot of heavy lifting to do in that episode, performance-wise. She had to pull off some challenging things, so my hat’s off to her. It’s also tough when you’re playing a character on a show that is successful and wonderful, and then you find out you’re not going to be on anymore. She handled it in an amazing way, and her performance is wonderful.”

As far as the continuing characters in the show are concerned, however, Hatosy says that Pope’s brutal actions will impact everyone. “When something like this happens, the show will never be the same,” he explains.

“Which isn’t a bad thing. I think when people look back at the show’s evolution, they’ll point to this moment as the thing that made it go in another direction. With Pope, it’s hard to say if he’ll change — in my opinion, he’s so unpredictable that he’s constantly changing his behavior, from a moment of levity to stabbing you in the neck — but the consequences of his actions will cause a rip in his relationship that is already strained with Smurf.”

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Which is interesting, since Pope's actions would seem to be the ultimate show of loyalty to Smurf and the Codys. But, says Hatosy, he is increasingly thinking that his devotion may be misdirected.

"He's beginning to realize how she uses him, and how she uses somebody like Baz, Deran and Craig," he explains. "Pope is starting to understand what his superpower is, within this group of superheroes. But that is taking its toll on him, and we will see him clashing with her. Who knows where it will go from there."

With only two episodes left -- and a recently-announced Season 2 to follow -- Hatosy says fans can expect the heat to be turned up.

"Episode nine is a game-changer," he says of next week's episode. "It changes the dynamic of everything. There's so much up in the air after the heist and how Baz is going to react to Catherine not being around, and J's story with the police closing in on whether he'll go to their side or show his true Cody colors. All of that comes into focus by [the season finale] episode 10; you'll get a lot of colors, some more questions -- and then a satisfying finale. The fans are going to be very happy."