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. I keep telling myself he really is not dead! He will come back, I keep telling everyone, you watch, there is no way they will kill Opie off, but after reading this I am crushed. Please let me be right and bring our Opie back…it could never be the same without him. I have watched it 2 times just because it was so sudden that I am in disbelief, still can not wrap my head around this lose…say it isn’t so! Please!!! Also do not do the same with Jemma, this series would be too void without her, Tara could never replace Jemma.

  2. Jones says:

    I was just as upset as everyone else to see Opie die, but that’s what makes this show so gripping and real. Kurt Sutter may not have made the popular choice, but he never really has. So many unbelievable things have happened in this series since the beginning and that’s what keeps us hooked. Kurt knows what he’s doing considering we are all still talking about this episode and probably will be for awhile. Hell, I’m still not over what Pope did to Tig’s daughter that was insane! And here we are only two episodes later and something even worse has happened! But that’s what I love about this show, it portrays a dark kind of lifestyle I would know nothing about in real life, therefore making it quality entertainment in a society of corny/crappy reality TV. I fully trust Kurt in his decisions because you have to look at the series as a whole, and eventually all good things must come to an end. He may make decisions that we don’t necessarily agree with, but we have to remember that this is HIS story to tell not ours. Our job is to sit back and enjoy the ride.

  3. larry says:

    so sad to see opie of the best characters on the show…hope to see more of him now on tv or movies…

  4. Julie says:

    The emotions that we were able to feel thru that scene, disgust, gut wrenching hate towards Teg and Clay for their part in Opies demise. The love and pain Opie felt at that moment. Every feeling possible at once was portraid with Jax and Opies phenomenal acting…Going to miss Opie, but done to perfection.

  5. TJeve920 says:

    Opie was my favorite character on the show. It sucked to see him go but you could tell he wanted to go. 8(

  6. i can;t beleave you let opie go, he was jax best friend, is there some way that , it was a setup so they think opie is dead, because he should stayed on the show, so how can they let this happen, was his contrack up on the show,

  7. I think Kurt Sutter spoiled the “someone is going to die” shocker not for social media, but for us that is so emotionally involved to prepare for it. Kurt knows his fans are VERY connected, and to give us that kind of SHOCK, would be cruel. He had to help us set our tone.

  8. Bill Bates says:

    Opie was a stand up guy. For those who say the can’t watch the show anymore, shame on you! It would as if Opie died for nothing! Live on Opie!! Deadman walking Mr Pope…

    • Tom Driggers says:

      I really agree w/your comment “Dead man walking” and I too can,t imagine the series w/o Opie. But I can tell you now, I can’t wait to see Pope burned, beaten with a pipe, and anything else our immagination will brew up for his character and roll he is portraying. I just have to believe it’s not going to be any time soon. I hope Tigg and Jax will give him (Pope) one last dinner before the take him out. But as TV goes “Stay tuned in for the seasons final episode. I’m sure the waiting line for the trilogy and season DVD’s will earn record braking sales. How would you like a piece of that pie?

  9. Roy Rodriguez says:

    I was so Pissed that my boy Opie was killed off, but before I read how and why Mr. Sutter explanation…I came up with this theory…Opie got himself locked up with the Sons to Protect Jax, he understood his fate and how his life would end…Protecting Jax & the Club…Jax now will have Tig do whatever he wants him to do…Tig has no choice…I believe that Jax at the end will have Tig kill Clay, which will be hard for him to do…also I believe Clay is the ring leader with the home invasions, recruited the Nomads to do his dirty work and try to split the club, Clays crew and Jax crew…Clay is trying to regain leverage…he is still looking for the letters, thinking that Gemma still has them…also rotated out Nero and his business…Jax will draw from Nero and Pope and will create his style of leadership…I don’t know that’s what I’ve been thinking…
    Tig will kill Clay, Happy will kill Juice, Tig and Pope kill each other and then Donna, Piney and Opie can Rest In Peace….

  10. Jani says:

    I did not like the manner that opie was taken down. It was way too harsh opie did not deserve that. He could have at least beat the other inmates and then been shot by that piece of crap guard if it was indeed that opie had to go. I don’t know, if, I can even watch anymore, opie was my favorite. Jax and tara are my second favorites. Opie has been through so much hell. I will have to think very hard about watching any further. It was beyond see opie taken out that way. I actually went outside and sat in the rain after that. I do hope and pray that the man whom has played opie so well, still.gets paid. Again it was a huge dishonor to take opie out like that. Sorry but it’s all tigs fault.

    • Leelee says:

      I agree a 100% that was a bad call to kill him especially and that matter…..way too brutal, he deserved way more than this.

      • Margaret says:

        Didn’t Pope already have thing set in motion on how one of the Sons were going to die.. Yes it is sad that Opie did. They have is Character now would be a hero to the rest of the club I think.

  11. Emily Barney says:

    I think, like in real life, when someone passes, it usually is a shock. I saw where several people were not going to watch anymore and think that is insane! I think Sutter is AMAZING!! I loved Opie as well. When you feel like you should be going to a funeral of a friend or someone you loved, that is when ya know Ryan Hurst and Sutter obviously did a good job!

  12. call me x says:

    I felt that final blow to opie’s head, I honestly felt that tig was the 1 to go but after reminiscing on it I realize that tigs demise will be brutal and so will Pope’s
    I also think clay has some plan to rise again, he just seems too easygoing now

  13. Joe says:

    Truly a king amongst your lesser peers, Mr. Sutter! I aspire to write greatness myself after school, he’ll even now, but you are a master of your craft. I didn’t like Opie dieing anymore than anyone else, however I understand and appreciate the skill and precision that it takes to create your story and to not be afraid to make it grand! You’ve done an excellent job, sir, getting me involved in your world and getting me to care. The ‘box’ scene was one of the hardest and more emotionally driven moments in my recent writing or viewing career! Kudos, you broke my heart….

  14. Sandi says:


  15. Scott holbrook says:

    RIP OPIE. On another bitch, is it just me or has anyone else wondered who picked these new prospects &I do u really think vet club members would trust them to guard their family? These guys look & act like they came from a sci-fi convention.

  16. Matt Norris says:

    very sad ……. Opie was by far my favort on the show , but he had a rough life on the show loseing his wife and father i dont think he really wanted to live. it was to hard on him .that is why i think he put him self out there .I will miss him in the show nodout .but this will only make Jaxs a better leader because there is nothing like loseing a brother to murder i know i have and i know what it did to me ..Going to be so differt not haveing opie on the show but i cant wait to see the rest ,best show on tv i wish it would go forever ..

  17. Junacis says:

    I think you should’ve waited a little bit longer for the death of Opie. He was a very well loved and liked character And I also think that it made a lot of people very mad and upset with the show!

  18. Brandy says:

    I cried like a baby then cussed out the tv. I lov the show im a loyal watcher from day season 1 im very careful not to read any media before a show so im suprised. Im excited to see were we go from here. Cant wait for Jax to get even.

  19. Jerry says:

    When Opie started to take off his shirt because it was about to start my whole body tensed up as if these were my real friends. I will tell you I sat in silence for about 5 minutes thinking about how messes up that was. He was one of my favorites. If it were real the guards just should have been killed when right when Opie head butted him. More guard would have come but at least the Lt would not be there anymore. Was hoping that maybe Opie was still alive and Tara would save him but after rewinding and seeing the 9ers continue to beat him in the background that hope left. My thought on the guard is that Jax will find him and find out that Pope had his kids or something and forced him to do that to the Sons. We all know Pope will hurt peoples kids to get to them. Jax will feel sorry for the guard since he too is a father that would do anything to protect his children.

  20. Sefor says:

    One last thing and a bit off subject: I always thought Op was the Horatio character on SOA…..after a couple days of Op’s death soaking in and everything going on now, I think that roll is Chibs. The most loyal to Jax, never questioning him. No matter how rash his decisions are. Chibs is just as bad ass and important to the show as Op. And I think we’re gonna see his and Jax’s relationship grow closer. He will be the one to go forward telling Jax’s story, once the time comes for the series to end and Jax to die. Cause it will happen. They follow Hamlet close, and everyone BUT the Horatio character will die……..on a second, LONG shot of a guess, if its not Chibs, it’ll end up being Nero……thoughts?

  21. Dan says:

    After reading some of the comments on here and watching ep 3, how could you not admire the pure genious that is Kurt Sutter. Look at the conversation he’s sparked just on this one site alone, 5 pages! I didn’t know about this show till December last year and after watching the first episode on Netflix, I was hooked! Every single episode is better than the last. I watched all 4 seasons in less than a month watching 3 or 4 episodes a day and it’s killing me to only watch 1 epsiode at a time. I can not wait to watch Jax slowly kill that guard. I hope he torutres him for a long time before letting him die.

  22. Nicole Chartier says:

    I was am very sad to see Opie, but i understand the motivation needed for Jax to get business done. I would like to see Opies ghost stand by Jaxs side and help him with his struggles.

  23. liz says:

    Honestly if you moved by the episode Sutter, and cast, aren’t doing their jobs. And I have cried over the loss of characters in books before too. That’s how I know both are damn will written!!!! You need to be pulled in an emotionally invested. An Sutter is doing the same awesome writing technique that Sopranos used. Gangsters with heart, criminals that are lovers an family men. You don’t just see then add one dementional characters. And Opie’s death was harsh. They are violent this season. That last blow to the head would have brained him an left him twitching on the ground either brain dead or paralyzed and in our primal minds we know that but….THEY KEPT BEATING HIM!!! To see Tig, who’s done the things he’s done, turn away. To see Jax, who we know looked at Opie like a blood brother, watch an in pain….you could see a darkness from that character being born there. I love this show. I love it’s unpredictable and will make me gasp and prevoke emotion. But I really want to know…..who tink tink (the one legged guy, comedian Katt Williams reference here sorry) is leading the home invasions!!! We think Nero has something to do with those

  24. Done says:

    Oh yeah, it was “to be of best service to his family” to leave his children fatherless. Great call Sutter.

  25. b1gd0gdad says:

    tig will get the head of pope, like he said and at some point jax and chibbs do clay

  26. kari Robertson says:

    The first episode i could not get out of my head couldn’t even sleep that night, it was too real looking for even me…so sad about it…i had no idea i cared so much for his part.

  27. Devon says:

    SOA #1 show….KURT SUTTER #1…..Loved Ope…Character & Ryan Hurst Actor….Sad 2 C Ope killed…great writting …everyone that says they are not watching anymore are definately not true fans…a true fan couldn’t stop watching after an episode like that for nothing. I do hope Opie is respectefully remembered with a funeral with everyone there including his mother, kids, his ole lady Lila, & all the SONS….that is 1 thing I disagree with the writters or who ever did not give Piney the respect he deserved when leaving the show ….no funeral we never saw his ole lady nothing it was just Piney was shot dead & he’s gone ….even Half-Sac & Donna (Opes Ole Lady) had a funeral….Ope deserves this respect he laid down his life for the club….what life they had not already taken.

    • Leelee says:

      Opie death left a sour taste in my mouth, I can honestly say I will miss a couple episode to deal with it. I will never wrap my brain around it, I will forever think it was a mistake to kill his character. Ope character has been the only true loyal non-conniving menber of the club period. Damnnn I really think that was a bad move Sutter

  28. marta says:

    Here’s to Opie, To a great and loyal friend, you will be missed, I just couldn’t watch TV after that episode it really broke my heart, I cried I really hate changes!!!

  29. Ben Thorpe says:

    You know when Capt. Kurt asks Spock, Dr. Mcoy, officer Zulu and luteniant Nethers to join him in the transport room. You KNOW who isn’t coming back!! Why Op?? Why why why. One of the main draws for myself and other friends who watch.

  30. Rhea says:

    Ryan Hurst you are an incredible actor and will be missed. Never wanted it to be Opie, he had already lost so much,too much, however,SOA is more like life. Opie had morals, well some, respect, he put everyone before himself, in real life the person who sacrifices and is there for everyone, the one person you know was loyal, even after what he endured and would always be loyal. Other than Jacks he truely has the clubs best interest to do better for the club and their families.So ofcourse Opie died,that’s realistic. I can’t wait for Jacks to avenge Opies death, and put them all in their places. Clay, I will enjoy his demise the most. And those of you Bitching that its a tv show and we need to get a life,well yes it is a tv show a damn good one. Best show ever. Are y’all just jealous because we can show our emotions for such great acting that they have made us feel like part of the family. Ya don’t have to watch you know you can change the channel. I will watch til the end, hope it goes on and on and on. When I watch I get mad, sad, laugh, cry, pissed,awe moments. I get it all. Thanks Kurt Sutter. Thanks to the cast.

  31. elise says:

    i agree i loved opie,and i didnt just cry like a baby i was physically ill from his passing…but i do understand why sutter did this,what an awesome writer…he has made us all feel like we lost our own brother,and its just a show! i love SOA,and am a die hard fan and im in it till the end! now on to Jax getting rid of Clay,Pope,and that bastard guard! cant wait! Sutter you def have my attention!

  32. James says:

    I felt opie never lost it completely if my wife and father were killed I would have went nuts I feel kurt should have made opie a lil nuttier and now he kills him off disappointed

  33. Tony says:

    Opie was severely depressed and I got the feeling he did not want to live any longer. Sacrificing himself was the noble way out versus killing himself or living with the specter of Clay and his crimes. We must also remember that ALL of this mayhem was directly caused by Clay and as such, I doubt that Jax will allow Clay to live much longer.

  34. joan says:

    Three Sons were sent to jail; one to stay and one to die; one to go home if the deal played out. So it seems Chibs was Pope’s intended death for the crooked cops death?

  35. Shanda says:

    I was so excited Opie went in to be with Jax. But when Opie headbutted that guard I was screaming along with Jax. When he took that brutal beating I was sobbing as tho I was being forced to watch my bestfriend be murdered. My brother said “its justa show, the actor Ryan is still alive” I yelled n said nows not the time, this is too sad to discuss actors, opie’s gone” Great show Kurt Sutters, lets see Jax kill Pope!!! Slow n very painfully!!!

  36. It was so hard to watch, R.I.P opie,the show won’t be the same

  37. sherrill says:

    I understand–storyline wise–why it was done. But I really would have preferred seeing Opie alive and trying to come back from the dark place that he has been in for so long. I think the club would have been better for having Jax and Opie running it. I really hate seeing Ryan Hurst go–he was my favorite!

  38. Dianna says:

    I couldn’t believe it. Opie was one if my favorite people to watch. Cried and couldn’t watch when they started on him..will miss him..understand why it had to happen..not happy but understand

  39. I am not ashamed to say I cried for Opie, he is truely a hreo for stepping in to keep Jax from sacraficing himself, after I read the comments from Mr Sutter I realize this had to happen. Jax needed this to focus him on turning the culb around like his father invisioned. RIP Opie you truely are a hero in my eyes. As for Tig, the bastard turned his back on what Opie did and didnt have the balls to watch. I hope Pope has alot in store for Tig. Nad he had better stick to his word he gave Jax. Also I love how Tara is taking charge of her and Jax life and standing up to Gemma and her bitchiness.

  40. Leelee says:

    I think it was a bad move to kill Opie, he was one of the best character on the show since day 1. I really think he was very valuable to Samcro and one of the true brother…bad move very bad move

  41. suzy says:

    Thanks Kurt, for SOA! It was sad, but I love your show, and I trust where you are going with it!

  42. Leelee says:

    Why in the hell would Tara thinks that Jack is gonna kill his mother for her, this trick done gone crazy

  43. Gen says:

    So sad to loose Opie, I actually cried when I saw the scene. Very emotional :(

  44. Dusty says:

    Being that I am from this life style I understand why this had to happen with Opie but it is upsetting to see him go. Opie will be missed! Thank you for this show, it is the best I have ever watched. Really hits home. Drives me crazy waiting for the next show every week. :)

  45. juli says:

    I think there was a better way to go than to kill Opie,

  46. Kate Dwyer says:

    Opie was my favorite. I was very upset that he died but now reading Kurts reasoning it does make sense
    ..still sucks but makes sense. :)

  47. Teri says:

    Pope wanted a dead “sons” – they should’ve gave him Otto

  48. Don says:

    The script makes no sense to me. Having been involved in government agencies, I know for a fact that the CIA could have easily handled the entire situation in favor of the club, as could the “cartel”. In a real world, a pisshead like Pope would be gone in minutes.

  49. moonghosts says:

    Watching with a stillness as our hearts bumped in our stomach. The character that won my heart who wore his darkened soul on his chest gave his life. Those blows were contained in each held breath.
    At first I didn’t know who , but as episode three played on I knew more and more. Jaz’s closeness to Opie was seeking forgiveness prior too. Opie’s wounds bled freely and truths were revisited.

  50. Michelle says:

    I just kept saying, “no opie no!”with tears running down my face.