‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Creator Kurt Sutter Defends ‘Gut-Wrenching’ Death

Wed, September 26, 2012 3:58pm EDT by 123 Comments
Sons of Anarchy Opie death
Courtesy of FX

‘Sons of Anarchy’ fans were furious when a beloved character was killed Sept. 25, but Kurt promises the big death serves a much larger purpose.

If you still haven’t recovered from last night’s shocking Sons of Anarchy death, you’re not alone. Fans have been tweeting their anger, confusion and sadness to creator Kurt Sutter all day — but during a conference call with reporters Sept. 26, the showrunner justified his “gut-wrenching” decision: “It’s not a death that will happen in vain.”

Kurt explained that Opie’s (Ryan Hurst) death was a necessary event, one that will instill a sense of duty and purpose in the show’s “hero,” Jax (Charlie Hunnam).

“This is the first [season] I’ve had to think about the end game, and knowing where I wanted to get my hero and knowing how I wanted to get there, the road I wanted him to travel,” Kurt said. “Jax needed that emotional upheaval, that one event that happens in a mans life that can change the course of his destiny — the death of his best friend was [that].”

Kurt also noted that, although Ryan initially struggled to accept his character’s fate, he eventually realized “the importance of it in the mythology of the show.”

“It’s a difficult thing,” Kurt admitted. “[Ryan] is very plugged into the show and loves the character, and Ryan is a super-sensitive dude, so it was difficult for both of us to figure out how to do this.”

You’re probably still bummed about Opie’s death, but do you feel better after reading Kurt’s explanation? Drop us a comment with your (new) thoughts on the show’s tragic loss.

— Andy Swift

More Sons of Anarchy on HollywoodLife.com:

  1. ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Shocker: Which Major Character Was Killed Off?

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KOwen

Posted at 10:18 PM on September 27, 2012  

I don’t normally participate in forums or replies to columns, but my frequently online wife told me about the abundant posting in various sites over Opie’s death. I have to wonder why many people watch artful film or TV, because a surprising number of viewers here and elsewhere have said that the decision to kill the character was a “bad” one and that they will no longer watch the show. Huh? The point of dramatic art is to make the audience deeply feel ALL emotions, not just the pleasant or harmless ones, but the depths of grief. For those who have forgotten or are–unbelievably–unaware, the greatness of tragedists like Sophocles and Shakespeare resides in their ability to hurt the audience. The hanging of King Lear’s innocent and loving daughter, Cordelia, is so excruciating it kills the king and devastates the audience. It’s supposed to. (Victorian Brits usually saw a Bowdlerized version because they couldn’t allow that much violent grief into the emotionally sanitized world they tried to create.) I bring this up not just as a general concept, but because Sutter himself has referenced Shakespeare on several occasions in interviews, and because specific allusions, especially to Hamlet, abound in the script itself. In Opie’s particular case, his death was perfectly logical and plausible, even inevitable, within the universe of the show and in the context of the character’s personality and history. God, the man was so hollowed out by loss he wasn’t even sure if he loved his children anymore. Logic of plot and character is what matters in narrative art. (Aristotle figured this shit out more than two millenia ago!) Because of it, Opie’s self-sacrifice was one of the most devastating scenes I’ve seen on film, whether in a movie or in a TV series, and I thank the Sons of Anarchy writers for affecting me so deeply. Opie’s death is a “bad move” only if the show’s purpose is shallow entertainment that coddles the audience, but Kurt Sutter and his staff are attempting high art. Sentimentalist viewers fearful of dangerous emotion are the ones falling short, not the writers.

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Mel Ramsey

Posted at 5:18 PM on September 28, 2012  

Hear, hear !!! Amen brother amen !!!

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Lawanna

Posted at 10:07 PM on September 27, 2012  

I think you would got the same result with a less important character , like his son, wife etc.
You suck!

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Dorothy

Posted at 9:17 PM on September 27, 2012  

Ok I love the character Opie and really hated for him to die off show. I literally cried during his brutal beating. For him and for Jax’s pain. At that point I knew it would make Jax’s think different. So i will continue to watch and see. But the old man better die at the end of this one.

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Julie

Posted at 8:58 PM on September 27, 2012  

I agree killing Opie was a bad move,whether it may justify the long story or not. There were other possibilities out there I am sure! I’m afraid the shocking choice may have cost the show a ton of viewers, Sons fans are dedicated and addicted to these characters…Opie was a major loss! Sad to see him leave

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Denise

Posted at 8:44 PM on September 27, 2012  

when you killed opie you killed the show and lost a fan, sutter, what utter bs

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Linda

Posted at 7:13 PM on September 27, 2012  

Killing off Opie was the worst decision for the show. Clay should have been the one to go because he would have been the least one missed.

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barb winegardner

Posted at 6:55 PM on September 27, 2012  

i do not agree with this at all..i was a huge fan but sad to say this is one fan he lost. it wont be the same.rip opie

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robert

Posted at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2012  

I would bring a twin that nobody knows about even jax .Opie never knew about his brother work around that Mr Sutter sincerely bob

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nevrsoa

Posted at 5:00 PM on September 27, 2012  

I will probably see where the show goes from here but for me to watch my favorite character of my favorite show of all time die so brutally, and keep watching, well Kurt Sutter better f***ing amaze me with nothing less than replacing the epic element of the show that Ope was! I wil miss him and SoA will nevr be the same. R.I.P. Opie Winston.

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sherry webb

Posted at 3:53 PM on September 27, 2012  

I am devistated that opie died! i always looked forward to tuesday nights to watch sons i will No longer be watching what a horrible decision!!!

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Nessa

Posted at 3:21 PM on September 27, 2012  

Bring back opie..i hate that hes dead..end of comment.

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Michael

Posted at 1:57 PM on September 27, 2012  

No, no, no I’m still not happy with killing off Opie. He was the unsung steady that I liked watch on the show. I will probably not stay as focused as before on watching unfortunately. To me he was part of a original band that you don’t kill off. I understand the concept of his decision but still do not think it was the right one. I wish Kurt would of come up with a different outcome.

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Trish Persen

Posted at 1:50 PM on September 27, 2012  

Kyle is a genius! Although I was in shock and the sense of wanting to throw up almost consumed us for a good while after if was over. My Husband and I turned to each other and stated “This is what Jax needed…” Opie understood the moment Jax came clean with everything including the reasons why Clay has to stay alive and after stating how he does not know how to keep everyone safe. Deep down Opie had already made up his mind that he did not want to continue to be apart of the Club Clay destroyed, and there was nothing left that he could do to change that, but had the power at that brief moment to control the fate of the one that does…Jax.

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Trish Persen

Posted at 1:45 PM on September 27, 2012  

Ryan is a genius! Although I was in shock and the sense of wanting to throw up almost consumed us for a good while after if was over. My Husband and I turned to each other and stated “This is what Jax needed…” Opie understood the moment Jax came clean with everything including the reasons why Clay has to stay alive and after stating how he does not know how to keep everyone safe. Deep down Opie had already made up his mind that he did not want to continue to be apart of the Club Clay destroyed, and there was nothing left that he could do to change that, but had the power at that brief moment to control the fate of the one that does…Jax.

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Trish Persen

Posted at 1:47 PM on September 27, 2012  

I apologize I meant to say Kyle and Ryan are genius’

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Kay

Posted at 4:13 PM on September 27, 2012  

I thought the same thing, that Jax needed to be pushed that way, then I remebered that Opie has children. They’re mother was bruattly murdered, their grandfather was brutally murdered, now their father was bruatlly murdered. That’s a lot. Jax gets to be motivated but that’s a terrible price for others.

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Traci

Posted at 11:23 PM on September 28, 2012  

agree 100%..was sick to my stomach watching opie get killed..i was furious and sad at the same time, but its that kind of drama that keeps me coming back for more! This is the greatest show ever! will definately miss opie though, he was one of my favorite characters for sure!

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Sandy

Posted at 11:10 AM on September 27, 2012  

I was so devastated I cried for an hour over the death of Opie, crazy I know it is just a show but gosh so shocked.
I think they should of killed off Clay or Tig they are the ones that has brought greif to the club geez, anyway I still
am having a hard time but guess I will see were it goes from here. It is a great show and hopfully will continue to
get better as it goes, and I hope Opie’s death is avenged.

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robbie

Posted at 8:35 AM on September 27, 2012  

I am in shock! When I first heard about Opie, I definitely thought it was a rumor for an upcoming plot! I can’t believe I missed such a controversial episode all because I was caught up in my office at DISH on Tuesday; that’s what I get for procrastinating!
I just wonder how the show is going to progress from here. It sounds like Sutter has something up his sleeve. I can’t wait to find out! I am definitely making a point not to miss another episode from here on out. I’ve already set the series to be the top priority on my recording list. And since my Hopper DVR has so much memory space, I’ll never have to worry about it being too full to record it, so I’m sure to be right there for all the action. Do you guys think we have any more unexpected deaths coming?

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Jesper

Posted at 3:32 PM on September 27, 2012  

I just think you can expect alot of death from now on. Opie dying will turn Jax into a darker and tougher president.. I think already in the next episode you’ll see that annoying guard get owned by Jax. And Im pretty sure Gemma is gonna get wacked by either Tara or Jax.. Gemma really do piss me off so fucking much.

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Ben

Posted at 5:38 AM on September 27, 2012  

Sitter killed spa when he killed opie

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Adam

Posted at 2:19 AM on September 27, 2012  

Huge mistake Sutter! U spent the last 4 seasons making Opi a victim of the club; jail time, losing his wife; father killed off, etc. The strongest story you could have had this year was building Opi up while at the same time allowing Jax to grow as the new head of the table. Opi was one of my favorite characters and I don’t think the show will be the same….

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AGE FEIN

Posted at 6:40 AM on September 27, 2012  

YOU ARE SO TRUE

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Greanderunner

Posted at 11:56 AM on September 27, 2012  

i dont disagree with them killing opie off the show. I think they killed him off to early in the season i mean killing him off on ep3 thats what made me mad! that should have been the season finally. Opie was to good go a character to kill him off that early in the season mistake!

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Danielle Torres

Posted at 11:46 PM on September 27, 2012  

agree

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B Alford

Posted at 12:56 AM on September 27, 2012  

Fans are grieving! The death of Opie was straight out of our own life experiences…we were all with Jax behind the barrier completely powerless to stop the events as they unfolded. We are not in control; we are shaped and transformed by the joys and tragedies that life brings. I understand why Kurt Sutter wove the story in this direction, because it will no doubt be a critical turning point for Jax. Opie was such a central character that he will not be forgotten, kudos to the actors for bringing SOA to life.

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Chaos

Posted at 12:45 AM on September 27, 2012  

I am a long time season follower but removing the role of Opie from the show will damage ratings and was down right stupid. Don’t worry you still have the premadona Jax to drag the rest of the sorry a** club down too. Smooth move Sutter, I’d rather tune in to Orange County House Wives now. Good luck with later seasons to come, but I will be one of many no longer following this sorry a** show.

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Jesper

Posted at 3:36 PM on September 27, 2012  

And the price for the most stupid comment goes to you! Good job! It’s always funny to see theese wannabe directors act like it was a bad move by Kurt Sutter, Im pretty sure he knows what he’s doing. Opie dying was heartbreaking but if you want a fairytale when everything turns out the way you want then rent a romantic movie instead. Im pretty sure Opies death will spice everything up.

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Linda McCallisster

Posted at 11:31 PM on September 26, 2012  

Now Kurt Sutter and Chuck Lorre have so much in common!

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Little Wing

Posted at 11:28 PM on September 26, 2012  

Well I dislike Jax a great deal, I don’t buy him as the President of an outlaw MC, so out of what you have said I am very sorry to hear that it’s all about Jax (Don’t get me started on Tara!)…I loved Ope, but hell I am not upset, he took one for the club and he died like a real man. I am very tired of the fan page nation blaming Tig, give it a rest! I will keep watching, until it becomes a Jax/Tara fairy tale, then I am out!

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Bethany

Posted at 11:22 PM on September 26, 2012  

To Kurt-Ridiculous reason! You could have found another way! My family was looking forward to seeing how they ran the club together finally! He was my favorite character, and now what is the point in watching. I understand you have to make huge sacrifices, but doing it in the third episode was a mistake, simple as that. This is not real life, this is a show that people want to watch for a reason. You have killed one of the few remaining reasons to watch-Ryan-we love u!

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Linda McCallisster

Posted at 11:20 PM on September 26, 2012  

You and Chuck Lorre should have a lot in common now!

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asfandancer

Posted at 11:20 PM on September 26, 2012  

I still say this show is Kurt Sutter’s creation and I for one think it is brilliant. I would like to see those who are complaining so bitterly create something so compelling and original. I know I sure couldn’t. I’m on board for whatever Mr. Sutter has in store. I loved Opie too, but understand that in order for a TV show, movie, book, etc to evolve and not become stale hard choices must me made.

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tonyaky

Posted at 3:13 AM on September 27, 2012  

Bring opie back, im upset about this. I will not be looking forward each week like I use to, not good at all.

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sarah

Posted at 3:34 AM on September 27, 2012  

I agree Sutter’s creative but he could centered a whole season just around Opie, make us all really happy, then wham, kill the character off. What a waste of a character in his prime!

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Patrick

Posted at 12:24 PM on September 27, 2012  

Opie was depressed over the death of his wife and then losing his father.He was depressed and suffering a great deal.I was very shocked to him die but,It was coming opie had enough

 
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TONKATUFF79

Posted at 9:41 PM on September 27, 2012  

maybe sutter could have chosen a diferant character to kill off instead of opie that would have given jax the same jolt that he needed but it is his show and its his choice but as we have seen so many times in the past it only takes one bad choice to destroy an awsome show ( R.I.P OPIE WINSTON )
cant wait to see what ryan dose next would love to see him do a movie like avengers or something along those lines

 
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