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. meshele says:

    I turned off my phone so I didn’t see anything on FB or Twitter but I had a feeling it was gonna be Opie………..sad, love Ryan as an actor, he will be missed on the show! maybe you can shave him and cut his hair and no on will know it’s the same person lol

  2. tracy says:

    opies death just made the show more real for me. In life we lose the ones close to us. The a$$holes never seem to die. I loved op and he will be missed. He died a honorable death and I can’t wait to see how the rest of the series turn out.

  3. Cannibal says:

    I think Opie Kept us being humane, His heart his loyalty to his best freind over everything. He will be missed And I am sure Without him The streets will become red with blood. I know as someone watching thw show I feel Popes pain but I want him Tortured over and over again. Meaning keep bringing him back to good health and prolong the Torture over years In a dark hole.

    • Margaret says:

      I am waiting to see if anything happens to Clay. A lot of this is his fault. Killing Opie’s dad. and saying it was someone else . Tig was trying to get revenge on the person he thought was to blame. If Clay did not lie . That might not have happened. Then who knows where the story line would of went

      • Stefanie says:

        Totally agree. I hate clay. He should be dead instead of ope. kurt kill off clay please I think the amazing response of support would suprize you

        • Margaret says:

          I think somewhere along the line Clay will get his . They are using Clay to keep piece right now and I guess to try to get things they need.. Clay was one that I think the Cartel would listen too?
          I am still trying to figure out what is going one in future episode where they are on the highway and Jema and Jax wife try to stop them? You see Jax falling off Cliff I think

  4. Sandi Ortiz says:

    I found myself crying and just hoping that Opie did it for the right reason . He was so distraught over everything and did not have a direction that he could go in and be ok.

    He deserves to go out iust being Jax Brother and Best friend He and Jax had a friendship that not even the SONS could match once in a lifetime friendship. I applaud Ryan and Kurt for such amazing writing and acting.

    Opie always on mark and truly one of my favorite character and always will be. RIP Opie.

  5. Stefanie says:

    NO NOT OPIE!!!! Was so sad. I cried while he was dying. Between the look on his face and the look on jaxs face while watching his brother who took the choice from him! Ope you will be missed!

  6. damn that totaly sucked loved opie he was loyal to the club after they killed his old lady and his dad shows ya how ya always have to watch you back and never trust no one even if they are you brothers

  7. John Perella III says:

    That sucks Opie is my boy! my favorite on the show…. Keep it going guys, great show very intertaining!

  8. honeysucklehealer says:

    I have watched SOA from the pilot and was heartbroken at the loss of OPIE,but understand where Kurt is talking the show and the path he needs to take SOA down to get there,POIE was the true brother to his club a sad loss he will be dearly miss by all of us.God bless to Ryan Hurst and what comes next for him ,am looking forward to seeing him in anything he dose from here,THANK YOU TOO KURT SUTTER FOR PUTTING ON THE ONLY SHOW THAT COULD BE CALLED REALITY TV OR AS CLOSE TO IT .

  9. Debra says:

    WTF…..The only thing that will restore my faith in Sutter is if the Sons kill Pope’s a$$ in the same fashion as Opie went out and then they set his whole entourage aflame…. I was devastated…. Thank god that I recorded the show, because I had to change the channel when I realized that they were going to kill Opie. I know it’s a show, but I love the characters. For gods sake please let the Sons start running again,

  10. I was outraged when I saw Opie get outnumbered and killed! I don’t think it was wrong to kill Opie cause thats how it happens in real life sometimes! The Jerks who killed him should be killed too!! That’s the way it works in real life! Also who the hell is Pope compared to the C.I.A. and a club like the Sons? They need to off Pope quick cause in real if I was Jacks He’d be dead fast! I do think Jacks had to toughen up but that was a sad way to go about doing it watching a brother go through all the things he did and then die for the Club on top of it! R.I.P.Opie!

  11. Shannon says:

    This was the saddest episode I have ever watched. Opie is one of my favorites. To see him die like that broke my heart. I have never cried so hard watching a show. Opie was a great character and will be forever missed. In my eyes SOA will never be the same without him

  12. maddy says:

    only 4 shows worth watching: Sons, Homeland, Justified and Dexter…….and it’s just that, a TV show… hour each of excellent tv….

  13. i cant believe it i was totally shocked he will be missed he was my favorite :(

  14. ShadowRanger says:

    I think that Opie’s murder was the “push” that Jax needed to really step to the plate – He realizes that he cant be a good guy and win this “war” he needs to get dirty.
    Bravo Sutter

  15. Dolphin says:

    I was expecting it to be Tig, or some one on the outside, Not sad, I had tears in my eyes. Sucks, I would have also like to see Opie and Jaxs get the sons back on the right track and out of the mess they are in with Pope.

  16. Ricardo says:

    It took me completely by surprise and wondering what the f*ck had just happened and why?! I understood Opie stepped up to the plate for the club and I am sure the rest will explain itself honoring Opie’s life to the chapter.

  17. Rick in Atlanta says:

    I want everyone that has commented on Opie’s death to read the following:

    “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

    That one biblical verse, sums up the meaning for Opie’s death…he was a TRUE BROTHER to all in the club, even those that did him dirty. He chose to make the ultimate sacrifice for his brothers. Very few in this world today, would have made the same decision that Opie did. Opie showed the fans of the show what true courage and sacrifice are all about…and his death WILL be avenged. Granted, the Sons are not saints…but they do have a strong moral code of loyalty.

  18. cgall says:

    Someone give Ryan Hurst a job! I want to see him back on the screen.

  19. kim b says:

    i think u should consider more than 7 episodes dammit im hooked

  20. Sherry says:

    I cant believe how emotional I got for that scene. It got worse when I saw the look opie gave Jax right before he got slammed in the back of the head! OMG, I still see his face and get teary eyed. I know its made up on tv but dayum! I am a fan and am very emotionally connected to the show and the characters. I loved Opie, he was sexy and sweet. I was mad and very sad when I saw him getting beat to death. I just wish he didnt have to go cuz I loved him on the show.

  21. CCNoelle says:

    Someone needs to employ Ryan Hurst on another ongoing series or some movie roles or something. I need to get my Opie fix. Orrr I mean someone could just go ahead and and give him my number ;oP

  22. Darlene says:

    I have watched “sons” from season 1 … And I love it !…
    Through out the different deaths of the “sons” , I have never cried like I did for Opie …. I loved his character ….
    And was in total shock! That it was him , not that I liked the idea of them having to choose a “sons” to die , but I think it was just that he was such a strong hearted character that everyone loved so much , that it made his death so tragic and felt so real !……… But Mr. Sutter I know you have good reason behind his death and I trust that you do or you wouldn’t have made that choice …. I trust you because every one of your episodes have been fantastic ….RIP OPIE you will forever be missed….. Mr. Ryan Hurst , good luck, hope u have something lined up ( love your movies) you will be greatly missed the rest of the seasons …….

    • Darlene says:

      I have watched “sons” from season 1 … And I love it !…
      Through out the different deaths of the “sons” , I have never cried like I did for Opie …. I loved his character ….
      And was in total shock! That it was him , not that I liked the idea of them having to choose a “sons” to die , but I think it was just that he was such a strong hearted character that everyone loved so much , that it made his death so tragic and felt so real !……… But Mr. Sutter I know you have good reason behind his death and I trust that you do or you wouldn’t have made that choice …. I trust you because every one of your episodes have been fantastic ….RIP OPIE you will forever be missed….. Mr. Ryan Hurst , good luck, hope u have something lined up ( love your movies) you will be greatly missed the rest of the seasons …….

    • H.Houston says:

      When Opie took off the blue prison shirt I half watched half looked away, I saw the look between the two and quickly closed my eyes and hit mute. There are some things I just don’t need to see. I know it happened, but I didn’t need to see it.

      • Darlene says:

        I also seen the look they gave each other and I think that’s just what ripped my heart apart , they love each other like brothers and they would have done anything for each other …my tears just wouldn’t stop coming down …

  23. Darlene says:

    And I will continue to watch the “Sons”

  24. Chara Lewis says:


  25. Nikki says:

    I cannot believe Kurt Sutter killed Opie off. He was my favorite character and made the club and Jax see things in a different light. It will not be the same with out him and I think we will see a new side of Jax, because of the loss of his best friend.

  26. Bulldog says:

    You know when Jax needed someone to listen to him about the BS and to help guild him he always went to Opie his boy. Opie understood the rules and the consequences if they messed up. Opie was always there for Jax good or bad. Now that you have taken that from Jax you know there can only be bad mistake after bad. He has no one else to turn to that will have his back.

    Everyone will always want something in return, and for that Jax will never be the leader the club needs. NO MORE TRUE LOYALTY LIKE OPIES. (Tara can’t do it she’s nothing but an old lady of a club member) BAD MOVE FOR THE SHOW.

  27. Jen says:

    Opie was the show for me. All this bad happening and we all k we he really was the good

  28. Rebecca says:

    \i understand why and what he did but i will miss him . thought he would be second and change the club as many thought . but Tigris needs to be reeled in and to his knees . see alot of plays and cant wait to see them .
    i hope there are plans for him in more movies shows he is a great actor just wish i had seen him in sturgas s.d before this happened

  29. Jen says:

    Opie was the show for me. All this bad happening and we all knew he was the really good One. Maybe they will have him come back as his twin brother. He can be a clean cut version. Someone needs to take care of the kids. Then Jax’s can suck him into the club. You know like a soap opera. This is a joke. But I can’t see the show without him.

  30. Jennifer says:

    Well, personally I would have preferred to see Jax and Opie become the next J.T. and Piney. I would have loved to have seen Opie get his revenge on Clay…but I have faith in Mr. Sutter, considering he sucked me in to a show that I never thought I would like let alone be this passionate about!!! I’m still upset over losing Opie, more importantly over losing Ryan Hurst but I hope he has something amazing lined up for himself! You are killing me Kurt!!!

  31. donnna says:

    i am in shock.. Find my self so sad had to remind my self it is a tv show..

  32. kenny says:

    Killing off Opie was a selfish and rediculous thing. Im so sick of these writers a producers having to express this ,that and the other saying oh “I feel this was the only way to go with the show” and ruin a perfectly good thing… Watch how far the ratings fall after killing Opie. Myself and all of my friends that have never missed an episode, will never watch another

  33. Jason says:

    I too was shocked to see it be Opie. I hate to see Opie gone he did it so Jax wouldnt have to decide who dies. It will fuel Jax into taking the club where is dad wanted it before Clay got a hold of it. He will get his revenge on Pope. Jax is going to start kicking ass and taking names.Its about to get real!!!!

  34. Lisa says:

    We do everything we can to avoid any spoilers so we were simply shocked when Opie was killed. He was our favorite character. RIP Opie!!! Sat flabbergasted for quite some time after the show and had a real hard time getting into the “relaxed” mode to go to sleep. I can already envision what the last 2 seasons will entail. Just wish it was Clay or Tig instead of Opie since this was their fault for the situation with Pope.

  35. Kip Ward says:

    Sorry to say it had to be someone who Jax loved dearly. And Opie knew that it would only INSPIRE the much awaited DEATH of Pope. I cant wait to see how Pope meets his maker at the hands of Jax.

  36. Cindy Kopac says:

    I think he should come back from the grave as Jax adviser from Jax’s dad.

  37. H.Houston says:

    I understand why it was Opie. Sutter never allows the fans to become comfortable. The deaths will always hurt, it will always be someone that leaves a giant hole when it happens. Opie is not the first Son that we have loved that Sutter has killed off and let’s be honest here folks — with the way things are going he will NOT be the last one either. Clay is merely a dead man walking, Juice in a large way is well, and let’s all be absolutely clear… so is Tig. Tig will NEVER repair the damage to Jax’s heart and mind over the loss of Opie. What he said to Pope was spot on… he needs the lapdog for now to get them through the RICO stuff… but after that, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jax drives Tig to Pope’s house and leaves him there. Also, hell yeah Tara. Stand tall and hail to the new Queen.

  38. Barbara Gwaltney says:

    Aww Opie, not you please!!

  39. PatsyPearl says:

    after reading all the comments…i am crying again. :(

  40. i think jax said fine i hand you the two guys that had a hand in your daughters death tig stays in prison and clay who lied that niners is that one who shot him that way everyone at hand of her death pays for the deceit and the motivies of a innocent kiling

  41. ryan kall says:

    I think it was b.s. He was killed wats next his kids too im absolutely mad about this it doesnt even matter if jax gets everybody that had a part in opies death it still dont bring the best character period back horrible move sutter u made me not wanna watch the show anymore

  42. anna fox says:

    Its ashame that opie died it wont be the same without him on the show r.i.p opie Wintson :(

  43. Synde says:

    He is not dead…bring him back…he has to be alive in the prison somewhere….close to dead…but not dead. I want my Opie back!!!

  44. biker girl says:

    I cant believe they killed him off. WHAT THE!!!! Bring him back to life……

  45. Pam says:

    Honestly- Opie was the only decent guy left. My husband and I think it was wrong to kill his character. Feels like the show is just getting too grisly, and dark, hard to see any good in any of the characters now. Not liking the new direction of the show. At least you could have waited to kill off Opie, it seemed like his character was going to become more involved, and then he was gone. Very sad!

  46. Jesica R says:

    Ryan Hurst is an amazing actor! First saw him in Remember the Titans, and to see him now in SOA..such a diverse guy! Love him and he will Def be missed!! Wish it didn’t have to be Opie, but it was really the only way..totally wished it could have been Tigg…never liked him. Good Luck Ryan, look forward to seeing you in the future!

  47. Paula says:

    Was shocked Opie got killed off the show I loved him his acting was great I guess I will haft to see were the story leads now .

  48. Alan B. says:

    Wow. I can’t believe so many people are saying that they are not going to watch the show, just because one character died. I would think that by the end of the series, most of them will be dead.
    It’s a tribute to Sutter and his writers that people are so honestly upset… I don’t believe that all of you will stop watching – it’s just like waking up with a hangover and saying you’re quitting drinking.
    Lets not forget, that if these characters were indeed real, they are not people you would want to know. They are drug trafficking, gun-running, murdering scum.
    Again, kudos to Sutter & crew for making us love them in spite of all this.
    Great episode, keep the blood flowing!

  49. lyn says:

    me too!! i kept screaming No! No! Not Opie!! i had to close my eyes coz i was about to cry. i thought for sure he would lead the club, right hand to Jax. But i would probably react the same way with the other club members/ characters, coz i love them all. Except Tara!! For some reason, i dislike her more and more every week. You can kill off Tara next, i would be okay with that :)

  50. Ken Cavill says:

    Definitely a true brother now bring his identical twin on!