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. Lena says:

    I’m devastated I walked away from the Tv & didn’t finish watching the remainder of the episode. I don’t think I’ll be watching it anymore. Super bummed :'(

  2. shawn says:


  3. Stefano says:


    • JimmyD says:

      ^ This, so bored of clay and gemma now, and why is wendy back? after losing one of the best actors on the show it’ll be tough to make improvements. RIP Opie!

  4. Jelle says:

    I was so sick of it, I wanted to stop watching the show for a moment. WTF, Ope was my hero! One of the coolest guys of the club. We live in the Netherlands, so I only watched the eposide yesterday evening. But I am truly sick of this, still the day after! I hope they give that warden and Pope’s men a harsh death!

  5. Sandra says:

    Son’s won’t be the same with out Opie but I am sure we will see Ryan in something else very soon. He is such a great and talented actor. Although I was sooooo pissed off at what happened to Opie, he was my favourite character. I am trusting that Kurt knows what he is doing and we will all understand his reasoning by the end of the season. Looking forward to the rest of the season just not with Opie……how sad. :*(

  6. Marc says:

    Came across this via a friend. The episode was great. Excellent writing, but reading some of your comments has me perplexed.
    Crying? Panic attacks? A way of life? Not going to watch anymore because a fictional character was killed off a TV show? A good many of you fans are beyond crazy and need real lives. Stop watching TV if an episode causes you to become more emotionally unstable than what you already are. Once again, great episode, great series, can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for next week.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I CANT BELIVE OPIE DIED!!!! Really screwed up the show. I know alotta people that’s not going to watch the show now. It Suxx! I hope SOA has a big come-back……. :(

    • Margaret says:

      I think people will continue to watch the show. Figure They are curious as to why Opie sacrificed his life for the club.

  8. malinda says:

    Truly emotional scene. I turned my head at the final blows. Too disturbing.

  9. judy medeiros says:

    It totally sucks. I would have rather seen anyone else go besides Opie or Jax. My family and friends feel the same way. I do not know if I want to even watch the show anymore.

  10. ashley says:

    I cryed like a baby i love opie and so very sad to see him go. we love you and are going to miss you lots.

  11. Adam says:

    PLEASE REMOVE “OPIE’s DEATH EXPLAINED” from the title of this article as it shows up in google and ruined the episode for me when I was trying to watch it online.

  12. sweetcaroline says:

    Im sooooooo ANGRY!!!! I sat in shock for a long time. I loved Opie …..I agree Clay should have been the one but in truth I don’t like any of them leaving the show …..this is the best ADULT show ever!!! It is real life hate all these virtual reality shows….. I hope the Sons go on forever….. there has not been a show on TV this good in a long time since Miami Vice…. I really miss that show….. PLEASE KEEP SONS OF ANARCHY ON FOREVER!!!!

  13. SusanAnn Summers says:


  14. Harleygirl says:

    I think everyone needs to relax Sutter has done an awesome job in writing these characters and the show. I have been shocked many times and will be many more, He keeps you on your toes and your emotions running wild… Sooo I would say great job on the shoe and i love the twist and turns. and yes i cried when they killed Opie!!! But you can bet your ass i will be watching every Tuesday.

  15. Caa says:

    Great show good writing enuff said

  16. Doug Heffernan says:

    I’ve had enough. If the writers keep killing off favorite great characters. I will find another series

  17. ksafino says:

    It was shocking how Opie died, a complete surprise that I didn’t see it coming. This will be interesting to see how Kurt Sutter plays it out. Everyone I talk to quickly points at Tig for killing Pope’s daughter, there is no dispute that Tig made a terrible choice. But I can’t help but think the trigger in Tig’s actions was the lie that Jax and Clay told. If not for that lie, none of the steps that followed would have happened. I hope this point comes back around at some juncture.

  18. Bonita Dukes says:

    Screw you Sutter. I’m sorry– you can justify the nonsensical decision to kill off the best character on the show all you want. In the end, it’s b.s!! Yes, I took it personally! I have watched SOA from Season 1, Episode 1, and I guess I’ll have to take your word that Opie’s death was so necessary, because I will NEVER, EVER turn my tv to your pc Of trash tv show ever again! & as far as your ” blah blah” about the shows hero– I can’t believe that you actually believe Jax is Sons hero!! Au contrâire, the hero on SOA has always been Opie. You just killed your shows hero! Good job!!

  19. DaLeeta says:

    ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????? I am distraught!!! What was Sutter thinking getting rid of Opie???? He was one of EVERYONES favorite!! I dont know if I can watch this any more and I have NEVER missed an episode!! BAD BAD BAD thing!!!!!! And is SUCH a horrible manner!!!

    • Barbara Good says:

      I loved Ope also and am really sad to see him leave the show, but all the negative things being said about Kurt are just unnecessary. How many of the people commenting ever stopped to think that it may not have been Kurt’s idea. Maybe Ryan aka Ope may have wanted to leave the show. Maybe he had something else lined up and wanted to go in a different direction. They may bring him back later as a twin, cousin or some one else. I understand how most of you feel and I would love to see Ope back on the SOA. We don’t know what the season holds. So people just calm down and lets see what Kurt has in store for us all this season. Will always be a fan.

  20. Peter says:

    SOA? Awesome and unpredictable! Great job Mr. Sutter! Ope was the man…R.I.P

  21. Mac says:

    Wow what a croc of BS! Hope Sutter gets the crap in order. Cause that sucked. In fact, it was garbage. Watched this show in hopes that Op’s kick ass was all that his form was, but Sutter your form was poor.

  22. Caa says:

    To all fans I hope for a reaction but opie was my fav n the biggest badass behind that quiet voice he was by far the best character n that is y they did it n with his performance on this show he has bigger things ahead many of u say chibbs or rig n some say clay but it is tv the impact is much greater n as far as the writing dnt stop watcin u will only dissapoint yourselves Joe Pesci was the best in goodfellas did u immediately turn it off doubt it dnt give up on a good show it’s not personal but I do agree w tara n Gemma boring good luck to all I hope u all still watch I will

  23. Caa says:

    One more thing if u wnt cinnderella watch it if not watch gangland not all that far off on any side ain’t no happy ending

  24. Mike Smith says:

    Done watching the show, was looking forward to Opie bringing back a conscience to the club and Jax. Too many annoying story lines going on and that’s the only thing I was waiting for. Other then the idea of Clay and Gemma getting killed together when everything gets revealed.

  25. Ryan says:

    Yeah nice spoiler warning when you put the spoiler in the title of the article…. Thanks for ruining season 5 for me

  26. Jessica C says:

    So sad to see Opie die..he was a favorite of mine. I know that there is a reason, but the show may not be the same without seeing him.

  27. Opie says:

    YOU STUPID IDIOT, YOU RUINED THE EPISODE FOR ME AND PROBABLY LOTS OF OTHERS, NEXT TIME DONT MAKE THE TITLE THE EPISODE KILLER. Stupid idiot, I really want to swear at you violently but the post wouldnt be allowed probably so im going to say politely, dont ruin an episode again you stupid clown.

  28. Tela says:

    Opie was my favorite Son he was so sexy & so gangsta hands down the most loyal one in the club. I know it’s tv but I cried for 30mins that ish ruined my day….”WHY KURT SUTTER WHY”. rip op.

  29. Morla says:

    It’s all my fault. Every time I think a dude is uber hot on TV he gets killed.

  30. vine J King says:

    Man I Can’t Believe Opie Died Am Watching Sons Now Opies Funeral It Make Me Cry Opies Was A Great Man Sons Just Won’t Be The Same Without Opie

  31. Jeff says:

    Look how big it is right now everyones in tears bcuz he left If it was clay or tig no1 would care.. I mean it is sad.. But it’s making me wanna watch more and maybe thats why they went big and got rid of a huge star.

  32. bob says:

    anyone that still likes this guy after murdering an innocuent old lady who was well loved by everyone, is an idiot

  33. bob says:

    woops evidently i dont watch the show )

  34. bob says:

    but i can say that its only a tv show and only an idiot would get that emotional over it )

  35. Reggie White Eagles says:

    I didn’t see it that way, It appeared that he was there to protect Jax but I think it was simply an assisted suicide play, Opie didnt’ die FOR the club, Opie died BECAUSE of the club, The club took everything that Opie loved away, his mother, father, wife and porn star wife, it was impossible for Opie to move on, can’t be in the club because they ruined his life, can’t function out of the club because there’s nothing left,

  36. Reggie White Eagles says:

    There’s a difference between being a hero and being a martyr, a hero acts because its the right thing to do, a martyr act to make a point, Opie died not to save Jax from dying but to save Jax from becoming another Clay….

  37. Badbrad says:

    am honestly shocked at this . and it was very hard watching that episode . seeing opie get killed . but to add with that it was in its way even harder seeing his wake. i will be honest i hoped and hoped that the next episode we would just find that he was in a comma and might recover . since ther was nothing in the eposide of the fight . showing that opie was in dead pronouced dead . but to the sadness of it . Opie was dead . the wake was the hardest i cried even harder watching that part of the episode 4. biggest part is i grew up around biker’s ive been to biker funeral’s . so it felt very real to me . i remember those brother’s gone . and just honestly believe Opie’s character is at a better place with all he’s suffered . but yes the actor him self is truely a great actor all since the start . he was always my favorite character in this show . wont replace that for 2 reasons i expect doesnt need to be explained . a big part of me does wish he could just get a chance to be another character just to see him in this show yet again . but i know that wouldnt happen . i hope this comment reaches out to those within the show . and th crew of it . so you all can know that episode 3 and 4 willl forever be remembered . this show is one of my most fav shows EVER . its not much of a show to me . its got so many aspects of the child hood life i grew up around . and live around . its alot of . as u may say . familiar . and true . minus the depth of the gang murders and arms deals and drug runs and such . from Canada .RIP Opie Live Long .Ride Longer

  38. To the dumb ass writing this show……You just jumped the shark and i’m done watching…..You have made a biker soap opera….That’s what you were going for really….7 seasons….You should have stopped at 4 and Opie kills Clay….What a waste of my time…Can i get a refund on my time

  39. robert says:

    With Ryan Hurst gone from the show , I can now go to bed earlier on tuesdays! The show is over in my book . Plus now i do not have to buy the seasons on dvd anymore …

    Ryan the show is a flop with out you

    Kurts an idiot .. to bad he was shooting for a seven season run its over now

  40. Brandon says:

    I agree Opie was my fav character I would have rather seen jax take the pipe to the head and Opie take the prez patch.

  41. Sharon Ball says:

    WOW! How could Opie have so much love for Jax and the family to let him self be killed like he did?
    Don’t know that I could! Great show! RIP Opie

  42. Javier says:

    Opie was a cool kat
    Went out a hero
    Funeral was a class act
    Rip ope
    Good luck in your future endeavors Ryan

  43. Margaret says:

    What is wrong with some of you people, yes it was very sad to see Opie die and i even shed a tear. But he went a hero for the club. Aside from that, it’s a show. People saying that they aren’t going to watch the show anymore because Opie is gone, that’s just stupid.
    FYI its not real, For all you delusional people out there, get a life outside of the show. A fan is one thing, but you might want to participate in you own life, instead of a TV show.

    To Kurt Sutter – great writing, look forward to the rest of the season.
    To Ryan Hurst – you were great and will be missed as a character, all the best to you in the future

  44. Cam says:

    This was the first damn link when I google searched “Son’s of Anarchy Season 5” and it had the Title “‘Sons of Anarchy’ — Opie’s Death Explained — Season 5 – TVLine”.. Thanks so much Matt, you ruined it for me with your successful article *sigh*. Every bone in my body wants me to kick the Google search bar in the back of the nuts right now.

  45. carrie says:

    I loved Opie!! he was so HOT!!! That was surely a very disturbing and gut wenching episode!! Loved it!! sad though no more Op….

  46. Beth says:

    I would just like to say I really understand why he did it but killing him off may have hurt the series. The love peole had for Opie was so great. When he was killed it was like I lost one of my own family members I cryied about off and on for seveeral days and when they brought the casket in and opened it I started sobbing again . He is a character that will be missed in such great lengths no one could have expected it.

  47. crystal says:

    Ryan Hurst needed out of the show his 11 year old son was diagnosed with cancer. He was a great part of the show one of my favorites. But family always comes first

  48. Chris says:

    It’s like every tv show there is always one person everyone loves. I thought opie was fantastic in it and hate to see him killed off in it…. It pissed me off but then I watched the following episode and thought this could lead to very I treating things like jaxs getting revenge so I will look 4word to mor episodes

  49. Symone says:

    I’m so sad to see Opie’s demise as such. :'( but I do realize that was the only way to allow Jax to really step up on being in control of his fate with the club. I really loved Opie… He was my Baby’s Daddy LOL

  50. Darren Charming says:

    completely baffled by all these “Opie was my Favourite” statements…the guy was a piece of wood…his acting was so bad,,,as were his plugs…i seriously think the show couldn’t afford to pay for the hairdressing budget….good ridence Dopie!!