If a TV show is successful, the usual instinct is to keep it going as long as possible. It’s like the old parable of the golden goose. That’s why this news comes as a shock. In his discussion with the New Yorker, Armstrong explained why he chose to give “Succession” what some will doubtlessly call a premature ending.

Armstrong believes the very title of “Succession” holds the “promise” of an ending. He said, “I’ve never thought this could go on forever. The end has always been kind of present in my mind. From season 2, I’ve been trying to think: Is it the next one, or the one after that, or is it the one after that?”

As Armstrong recalled, he told his writers’ room before they started season 4 that he thought it was time to wrap up, then put the question on the floor:

“We played out various scenarios: We could do a couple of short seasons or two more seasons. Or we could go on for ages and turn the show into something rather different, and be a more rangy, freewheeling kind of fun show, where there would be good weeks and bad weeks. Or we could do something a bit more muscular and complete, and go out sort of strong […] and the decision to end solidified through the writing and even when we started filming.”

Next question — why did Armstrong drop this bombshell now? He admits he considered not revealing it until after season 4 finished airing, but he ultimately felt, “a responsibility to the viewership,” because, “we don’t hide the ball very much on the show.” Plus, he wanted to save his cast and crew the awkwardness of keeping a secret during interviews.

“Succession” season 4 debuts on March 26 on HBO.