Sons of Anarchy Boss Defends Shocking, Brutal Death, Says 'It Will Color the Rest of the Series'

Sons of Anarchy OpieThe following contains major spoilers from this week’s episode of FX’s Sons of Anarchy.

FX’s Sons of Anarchy has killed its fair share of characters over the years, but no death has packed quite the punch as Opie’s grisly murder in this Tuesday’s episode. To recap, grimacing anew with every keystroke: Per the terms laid out by Damon Pope to solve the Sons’ prison problem, Jax would not only cede half of the club’s coke-muling earn, but also sacrifice one of his brothers. (Tig’s life however was not on the table, as Pope also insisted that his daughter’s killer rot behind bars, forever.) And while Jax adamantly refused to give up a Son, Opie made the tough call for him, forcing his way into an off-book prison melee that had only one possible outcome: his death, via several blows to the head with a steel pipe.

During a Wednesday conference call, Sons creator Kurt Sutter told TVLine that he first mulled Opie’s fate during Season 3, and firmed it up at the end of Season 4, when the character’s dad, Piney, met his own maker, at Clay’s hand.

“I got to the end of that season and realized there is this circular dynamic happening with Jax and Opie that I felt was very difficult to get out of,” Sutter explained. Having informally set his sights on a seven-season run, “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,” Sutter continued. “And 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].”

Sutter acknowledges that the manner of Opie’s death and the suddenness was hard-hitting, but promises it was not served up lightly. “I knew this would be a gut-wrenching episode and difficult for people to wrap their brains around, but… the death of Opie will color the rest of the episodes for the rest of the series,” he stressed. “It’s not a death that will happen in vain. Of course there’ll be a sense of vengeance, something that drives out guys to retaliate, but also the emotional impact that his death will have on the rest of the characters will always be there.”

Other topics Sutter addressed during the press call:

WHY OPIE GAVE UP HIS LIFE | “I do believe that some of it was a sense of, ‘Here’s an opportunity for me to go out doing the right thing, to be of best service to my club’ — and also to his family,” Sutter said, noting that Opie never really reconciled his life with his relationship to his ex and their kids. “Jax wasn’t going to force himself to make that choice [of who dies]. Opie saw that … and had to step in and make that choice.”

GIVING RYAN HURST THE BAD NEWS | “It’s a difficult thing. He 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,” Sutter related. “In the end, when he read the script and saw the episodes that follow, he understood the nature of it and the importance of it in the mythology of the show.”

WHY SUTTER HIMSELF ‘SPOILED’ THE BIG DEATH | For a showrunner who is extremely averse to spoilers, Sutter’s use of Twitter and the like to talk up the looming death was, to say the least, surprising. “The reason I ended up teasing it … was really because of social media and the speed at which information travels,” he explained. “It was about giving people a heads up that if they weren’t watching the episode [live] to stay off social media until they did, so it wouldn’t get spoiled.”

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  1. Shelley says:

    SOA is the best show ever, but as I see it Pope got his revenge by burning tigs daughter in front of him.. Opie didnt need to die :( I will continue to watch faithfully though.

  2. Steve Daniels says:


  3. This has put a FIRE and RAGE in Jax that will be awesome to see BUT Opie and his family had me from the start of the show…… I am sure we are in for a GREAT RIDE the rest of this show !!! This is the best show ever and I thought I was hooked on The Shield…. Kurt you are one story telling genius …Can’t wait for MORE !!! Make a SOA MOVIE !!!!

  4. Green Bay Sucks says:

    Sutter doesn’t know sh*t. He turned the previous best TV characther (Vic Mackey) into the biggest rat of all time. Dumbest ending to a series ever. I’m woried he is going to go that rout in this show too. Don’t F this up sutter!

  5. Chris C. says:

    All I can say is it was sad. Opie was my favorite on SOA. But all should remember JT’s book and letters Jax read in the beginning, JT predicted the Son’s would die a bloody and violent death if they didn’t get away from running guns. Prediction coming true! But also its time for some brotherly pay back. Pope and the lot of them need to cover their 6 and don’t even know it yet. I can’t wait to see how it all ends. If this is the last season or not a great ride always until the end!!!

  6. debbie says:

    I cried so much saying no not opie, I even woke my family up. Im hoping it was all a set up and opie will return. Hey i can hope cant I?.

  7. cindy says:

    Im sad too about Opie, he was awsume.What a hero to make such a sacrifice. Its just really bad tho, cuz i was just in south dakota, bought my S.O.A. shirt at easy riders, waited in line for 3 hrs, met Opie n had him sign it and take pics!!! now, it is already a memoribilia shirt :( time to frame it in *the man cave* R.I.P Opie

  8. craig mooney says:

    It was such a shock to see Opie go out that way, He will be truly missed. As for that guard, i for one can not wait for justice to be served to him and Pope. RIP Opie.

  9. Keith Magnuson says:

    All I want to see is Tig get ass raped for the rest of the season! Can’t stand the fact that he’s alive and Opies dead! Pope should have burned him with his daughter!

  10. MsChill says:

    I typically don’t have a weak stomach and I love SOA and never found myself shocked with it’s graphic nature. I completely understand why Opie sacrificed himself, however once I saw him die they way he did, I immediately got ill. For some reason I found that the most graphic thing I’ve ever seen… And I still gonna watch till the end!

  11. Debbie says:

    I love SOA, it’s my favorite show. But in just three shows this season, Kurt Sutter has managed to totally freak me out. The first episode with Tig’s daughter getting burned alive was horrible! I was watching it on my DVR, and when Tig was screaming as his daughter burned I had to stop the show and take a breather. Now Opie dies!!! I ended the season looking forward to Jax and Opie taking the Sons to a new, less violent place….instead it looks like everything that has happened and taken Jax to a more violent place! Judging by the hard look in Jax’s eyes at the end of this episode, and the way he is suddenly willing to use other Sons members for his own ends, this is a whole new Jax now. And the one thing that I haven’t seen anyone say yet is that, in reality, Opie committed suicide. I think the death of Piney was just the final straw for him. He had gotten out of the club, then Jax brought him back, over Donna’s objections. Opie ended up losing Donna because of the club, then he lost his father. And the people who commented that Opie would never have sat at the table with Clay are right…so in essence, Opie had lost the club as well. We can all blame Clay for starting all of this insanity, and I agree that Clay needs to go….but in my opinion, Gemma needs to kill him, no one else. But bottom line, Opie knew that Pope had resources in jail and that they might not make it out of there alive, yet he still punched the cop so he would go…he even arranged for Lila to take care of his kids….he knew what he was going to do. I don’t think he ever expected to walk out of there. He also chose to be the one executed, and I think he started planning that as soon as Jax told him what was going on. I’m just hoping that Kurt Sutter doesn’t take this whole theme too far and make Jax as hard as Clay….that would be too much, the fact that Jax is still a human being is what makes the show so interesting.

  12. Rachel says:

    We are all shocked by Opies death, but this is exactly the stuff we love from Sutter…the rage the love the emotions that give us the connection to his show.

  13. Nicole gray says:

    Before this seasons over with I’m gonna need blood pressure medication!!! Such a good season so far and it’s jus began!!! Wat a way to kick it off with a bang!!

  14. Sam Momserrate says:

    I can’t stop seeing that image of Opie smiling at his brothers just before the fatal blow that was so graphically portrayed. The way Chibbs was hitting the window, screaming “NO!” was exactly what I was doing. There is purpose for Clay to stay alive, although not many want that, but that’s where you will all get that sweet taste of redemption. The same taste that we all enjoyed when Opie killed that filthy whore of a federal agent that caused so much trouble for our brothers in Charming. Sutter, you’re a genius, but we all miss Opie so damn much.

  15. batgirl says:

    So, Sutter could write Gemma out of being framed for murder and save Clay from certain death but he was out of story for Opie? Seriously? He needed this to make Jax “harder”… having his mother ganged raped, his wife and his child kidnapped, a members wife and father killed (also a member), a hit placed on his wife, his own father killed, and a members daughter burned alive- with good writing- could have all been more than enough to harden him. Lame. Lame and ummmm… LAME.

  16. Kacie says:

    I had a feeling that something like this was going to happen. Opie hadn’t been the same since his first wife died. Opie was one of my favorite characters on the show.

    All I have to say is “Pope, your days are numbered.” If Jax doesn’t get him, Tig will.

  17. charlieboy says:

    Brilliant sutter! Brilliant!! Can’t wait till next tuesday!

  18. Jeri says:

    Sutter is going in the very same direction as The Sheild….which I stopped watching because of all the BS! Clay needs to go! I’m so fed up with he crap…& Gemma…really?? going to Michelle to get at Tara? How low are you? I’m giving Sutter 2 more weeks to make this “go somewhere” if not….I’m done watching. I predicted the outcome for the Sheild so I’m guessing I could do it here also!

  19. jeremy kay says:

    Op had to die this will only make the club stronger jax especially blood will be spilled for this act op wasn’t one of my favorites he was my favorite so o was pissed but i feel it was a necessary sacrifice. Rip op ride on

  20. calteisha brown says:

    I was so saddened,stunned,and upset tht one of my favorite charaters opie was killed.they cud have killed chibs instead.

  21. Michelle S says:

    Im still so sad about Opie!! I would have also loved to see Jax and Opie’s friendship grow…. I would have loved to see the finale with them two walking away arm in arm!! It sucks and I actually feel tears when I read or think about what happened! Really upsetting!! I hope the show “makes sense” from here on out! I love you Ryan “Opie”… It won’t be the same without you!

  22. Well Im not ashamed to say that I did cry for Opie and the heroric way he took the choice away from Jax. After reading Mr Sutters responce I understand now, as shocking as it was I agree this is what Jax needed to start bringing the club back around to what his father invisioned in the first place. And might I say, WOW to Tara for standing up to Gemma, way to go girl………

  23. Pamela Napier says:

    When I watched it I new it was going to be Opie!! There friendship/brotherhood was so close and he would never let anything happen to Jax. That is why he went in there in the first place to protect Jax. The pain of loosing his wife and dad made him the perfect one to sacrifice himself. True man and friend!!!! It was a hard thing to watch but it had to be like true life and it was. I will miss Opie….loved him….RIP…..Sutter did the rite thing writing and shooting it like that!

  24. Michael says:

    I really hope something good will come of this. Opie and Jax were closest the club had to a moral compass. Their contrast with the rest was always good.

  25. I hated seeing Opie die, but that is part of the story line. I have read almost all of the comments to this and I am just amazed…. So many people willing to stop watching the show now because someone died…. well its kinda like life cant stop living because someone passes on…. have to live and learn and grow and see how the end game is…. Wow really? Stop watching because it didnt go your way…. This is starting to be a society if temper tantrums…… *smacking forehead*

  26. Ken says:

    I’m amazed that so many are saying they are taking their balls and going home. What a buncha dopes! It’s a freaking television show. If it’s going to be the same banal crap every other producer offers us then I’ll leave. When it offers visceral images of good and evil and how things work, I wanna watch. This is the best program on the tube and the only one that I do not miss. In fact it’s the only show that I have any idea of the time it’s on.
    Opie is like Jesus Christ. The sacrifice for those he loves in spite of their actions toward him was a necessary component for true resolution. Halfsack was a terrible loss too but again it was to save someone else, the difference being that Halfsack sacrificed himself to save the innocent and Opie sacrificed himself to save the guilty.
    This is deep stuff kids. If it’s too much for you then by all means go away. Those of us that know how life really works are going to stick around to the bitter end and enjoy every minute of the ride even when it’s tough!

  27. KIM says:

    TIG should have been the one to die not OPIE.

  28. Kay says:

    I loved Opie. Haven’t ever been upset at an episode but that was extremely hard to watch. And strange maybe, but I didn’t sleep well, that image kept running through my head. I don’t watch shows if I don’t get involved with the characters in it. I knew it was what Opie would do and it would be brutal but that just really hurt. Can not wait to see what Jax does to that damn guard and Pope, I wanna see some massive sufferering on their part before they go out.

  29. Karen KT says:

    Wow…all I can say is “Wow”….deeply saddend by the loss of Opie, cried when it happened. Outstanding acting on his (Ryan’s) part….& kudos to the writers & Kurt Sutter for once again shocking us to the point of WTF…you will be truly missed Opie my man…RIP <3

  30. Matt says:

    I guess people are not that familiar with projects that Sutter has worked on in the past. The Shield also killed off the character who was the “heart and soul” of the show to help drive the main character to a point of no return. It sucks and Opie will be missed but the Jax that will come from all of this will be better then ever.

  31. dan herring says:

    the show sucks now a man comes from nothing to go up i the group and then you knock him off wow want be worth watching now i was hoping he would set at the table with jack so off show now want be watching it anymore

  32. Veta says:

    Opie was loved by us all, but he went out like the great guy we knew him to be. He made the decision For Jax out of love for his best friend and his club. He also knew his death would give Jax the incentive he needed to finally get rid of Clay’s old ass once and for all! RIP Opie. I am in it for the long haul! (Best damn show on tv!) Way to go KS!

  33. mandie maggard says:

    I could see why it was opie who had to go…..opie has been thro a lot n he has a lot of courage n bravery for his brothers and his club there for sacraficing himself for his club n brothers…..I jus never saw this twist coming n I cried like a baby when it happened lol R.I.P Opie

  34. As shocking and brutal as it was, Kurt Sutter wrote the absolutely perfect scenario for the show. Brilliant work, Mr. Sutter!

  35. DeeDee says:

    RIP Opie, he was my fave character but knowing that he is with his wife, who he never got over losing, and his father eases the hurt. Although I think it should have been Clay or Trig, since it was his fault to begin with. In the end though it is a show that has caught up all. Kurt is one hell of a writer. I look forward to seeing what will be happening in the future. I am a die hard SOA fan!!! I hope we see Ryan in something else in the near future.

  36. mandie maggard says:

    I wonder what other twists Kurt has up his sleeve….it has me sitting on the edge of my seat :)

  37. wanda Durant says:

    Opie’s death was so heartbreaking it’s gonna be so hard to even finish out the season,don’t get me wrong I love Sons but Opie was my heart!

  38. Bob says:

    The show is crap now. Fire all the Hell’s Angels cast/crew, they drag down the reputation of the show. Next up — kill off Hell Boy.

  39. Jimmy^2 says:

    Had to download this ep along with all the others. Im in NZ, and we dont get SOA for 6 months after it screens in the US. Was an awesome ep tho. Got a wicked root after. Crying chicks FTW

  40. Karen says:

    I cried. Didn’t want it to be Ope. Watched the episode twice more (with son and hubs) but had to leave the room during that scene. I don’t feel like Ope died for the club. I think he stepped up for Jax because that was all he had left in him. Hoping Sutter didn’t forget the kids. They have nothing left and Jax needs to be there. I admire Sutter’s writing. I don’t like what happened but you have to admit it has wrung every freakin’ ounce of emotion out of you. I was drained, and yet still ready to skip along with Jax to that rat bastard guard’s house singing “somebody’s gonna get it!”. I am hoping to see more of Ryan Hurst in other venues! He sure brought Opie to life for me.

  41. Derek says:

    …..what a hollow and numb feeling. When Opie went in to that fight I knew the outcome was inevitable and yet I still held out a fools hope that he would win. Opie was a true hero, a man who lost everything because of Samcro and still at the very end gave everything he had left to save his best friend from making an unthinkable choice. I only hope he can now find the peace that eluded him in recent seasons. I hate that Opie is dead but applaud the brave decision by Sutter to do what he did. Opie was the best of the sons, I hope Jax’s future choices honor his death. Ride on Opie, ride on!

  42. Michelle says:

    It is a shame that opie had to die but it was a shocker I will not forget I love this show and all of the crazy moments you don’t see coming sutter is a great writer must say keep up the good work R.I.P opie

  43. Hippie says:

    Dude why Opie! He’s the one I really connected with in the show and now its like we lost our brother. Personally I would have chosen Autoo on the grounds that he sold out the club for Rico. He still a son and in Prison and he wants to die so why not him? I was really looking forward to seeing Jax and Opie take over the club. Total let down / Buz Kill

  44. no longer a fan says:

    I have watched my last episode of. SOA killing opie before he had the satisfaction to avenge not only the death of his father. but.his wife aswell was in my opinion SUPER BULLS#ITyou could have atleast gave his character that much before taking him off the show noone in the cast fit their character better than opie and as Isaid I’m done watching thanks Kurt for spoiling my Tuesday nights

  45. Radar says:

    Its sad to see Opie go but for the good of the club and the show I can see and understand where things are going tig will get his in the end for bringing this onto the club R.I.P Opie

  46. Christine Solazzo says:

    I was shocked at the way it happened it was just gut wrenching, i cried. But not surprised that he did that. Opie wanted out…nothing was going right in his life. So i saw it coming

  47. Donna says:

    Loved Opie…show will never be the same….that was so hard to watch….Jax needed better find out way bring him back from the dead….you should have had two different endings and let public decide…I have never missed a show but now I don’t know if I can watch and I have several friends feel sameway….

  48. Jarvis H. Renfrow Jr. aka: Butchie Boy says:

    Shouldn’t Have done opie In.

  49. Michele says:

    It was so violent that it make me wonder if I want to watch anymore.

  50. Amy says:

    I have obsessed over Opie for 4 whole seasons!!! I CRIED when I seen him die!! PLEASE bring him back!!! Jax is working with the CIA….can’t they fake Opie’s death to set up Pope! PLEASE…..I DON’T beg but in this case I AM begging!!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!