Sons of Anarchy Post Mortem: Maggie Siff, Katey Sagal, Kurt Sutter on Deadly Finale, Plus Scoop on Season 7 -- 'Jax Is Completely Untethered'

Sons Of Anarchy Tara DeathIf you have yet to watch Tuesday’s Sons of Anarchy season finale, hit the nearest exit. Everyone else, read on…

As far as brutal, emotionally eviscerating onscreen deaths go, Tara’s meat-fork murder at the hands of Gemma in Tuesday’s Sons of Anarchy finale will be tough to top. But as difficult as it was to watch, imagine how grueling it must’ve been for their respective portrayers, Maggie Siff and Katey Sagal, to execute.

Actually, no need to imagine — read on as both actresses recall what it was like to shoot — and watch! — the grisly sequence. Sons boss Kurt Sutter also reveals when he knew Tara had to die and what’s ahead for Jax and the rest of the Sons in the FX hit’s seventh and final season.

RECAP | Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Finale Recap and Poll

It seemed as though this could have been the end of the series, emotionally…
KURT SUTTER | Obviously, it’s a major shift in the mythology. I knew, ultimately, where I wanted to take Jax in [the] final season… I wanted to remove his ‘True North,’ because I feel like there needs to be this major psychic and emotional shift that has to happen. What direction it will push him in we will see next season. But what happens to a guy like that now that he’s lost both of the people he loves the most, who were able to be his moral compass, with Opie and now Tara. It really is Jax completely untethered and on his own in the final season.

Kurt, when did you decide that this was the right time for Tara to go? And Maggie, when did you find out?
SUTTER | I knew fairly early on that Tara would die before the final season — probably as early as Season 2. I didn’t quite now exactly how it was going to happen in terms of story, but in terms of a mythology mile-mark, [I knew] that’s when it would happen.
MAGGIE SIFF | We had a conversation about it in the beginning of the season and Kurt told me, so I had some time to wrap my mind around it…

Can you talk about shooting that kitchen scene? And what was it like watching it back?
SIFF: Watching it was really hard. Shooting it was really hard. Because the character ends, my experience of shooting it was really about feeling everything around me, which was Katey and Charlie — and that was really painfully hard. The sense of loss is really [about] the people you leave behind — and I was so aware of their loss. But it wasn’t about me, it was about them. It was very surreal. And at the same time, digesting that this character I’ve been with so long is going away. Watching it put into story and into the context of the entire series and everything we’ve all been through together, that was hard.
KATEY SAGAL | [Choked up] It was really hard… I was nervous abut it the whole time. I think I was just in denial and that [Kurt would] actually change his mind.[Laughs] The biggest struggle for me was to remain truly with Gemma.. The truth of it is that she’s not aware of the things going on behind the scenes. I think that’s maybe why it was so hard [for me] to watch, becasue it was so clear. But in the moment for Gemma, all [she] knew was that [Tara] had ratted. She had betrayed my son, she had betrayed my club, she was taking my grandchildren away — all the things that were Gemma’s center. In that moment, there’s a blind rage that goes on. It’s not premeditated act — she didn’t even know she was going to see her… As Kurt’s reminded me all these years, she’s not Katey. This is a violent world; these are violent people… This s–t goes on. First of all, I love Maggie. We’ve been the little female island in this testosterone world. It’s so interesting because as an actor, it was kind of awesome to do things you haven’t done — I’ve never killed anyone violently in anything before. It was really hard to watch. Charlie was so devastatingly beautiful at the end, and everybody. Theo [Rossi]! And Tommy crying at the end… Everybody. It’s a great bunch of people and they’re all doing great work.

What went into planning that death scene? Why did Tara die in that way?
SUTTER | I knew I wanted it to be simple and pedestrian and of Gemma’s world, not of the club’s world. I didn’t want it to be a gun or a knife. There’s almost something more horrific in terms of us seeing Gemma in that opening montage washing dishes and you have no idea that something as simple as dirty dish water and a carving fork would be used as implements of death… Gemma is just reacting, as Katey said. Gemma is wired to react — not unlike her son — and then clean up the pieces later… I made the decision to cut after that scene… There was a moment where Katey looks back at that fork, so you don’t see her face and it’s almost a moment of, ‘Oh, where did that come from?’ And then coming back to that scene and it’s like she just lived through a bombing and is completely in shock. Katey and I had discussions about it and the emotionalality that was going on with Katey leading up to those scenes defined where that scene went… Initially, I didn’t have Eli giving her the info about Tara, but then I realized that would be a missed opportunity… It all dovetailed into each other….

Where will next season pick up?
SUTTER | I don’t want to lose the weight of what’s happened [in the finale]. There may be a little bit of time [passed] like we had this season, which will be a few weeks… But there won’t be a vast amount of time.

Will Jimmy Smits be back as Nero?
SUTTER | Yeah, we made a deal with Jimmy. I love him and feel that he brings such gravitas to the show… I want to be able to play that out.
SAGAL: I just want to know if [he and Gemma] break up… [Laughs]

What’s the plan for Peter Weller?
SUTTER | Even if I wanted Peter to go away, Peter wouldn’t go away. [Laughs] Peter will be back. A lot of that stuff is happening in Stockton. And I’d love to bring back Kim [Dickens]’ character as well.

What lies ahead for Juice now that he’s on the outs with Jax and has aided and abetted Gemma?
SUTTER | I’m not quite sure exactly where that’s headed. Knowing that he’s betrayed Jax is not necessarily a place that you want to be in in the outlaw community… I don’t think it was a calculated move on Juice’s part [to save Gemma]; in the moment he did what was expected of him… But now the great thing is that we get this rich dynamic between the two of them. They were tied with the whole Clay of it all and now they’re deeply tied with this secret… Now we have really something fun to play with.

How does Gemma come back from this?
SAGAL | I truly have no idea. I don’t know. I’ve asked him questions: Is that a secret she holds? She’s a good secret-keeper. Is that something she self-destructs behind? And Kurt will figure that out for sure.

Patterson made it clear that she’d take Jax down if this plan doesn’t pan out — will CCH Pounder be back next season to make good on that?
SUTTER | I’d love to bring CC back and we’re in the process of trying to bring her back… That relationship between [Jax and Patterson] was way more potent than anything I could have imagined with Donal [Logue]’s character. She’s got that really strong maternal energy, but it’s a little bit masculine. We got to see [that dynamic] play out in that scene [at the ice cream shop]. I’d love to bring her back and play with what does she do now? Procedurally, what would happen is they would bring Jax in and place him in custody and question him extensively. We’ll see what that all looks like [next year]. I just knew that I didn’t want to end the season on a police beat.

Maggie, talk about the power of that Jax/Tara scene in the park.
SIFF | I feel like that was the most important scene in the episode. I knew it was the only moment for Jax and Tara to really penetrate each other, in a sense. It was very tricky because coming to the point where I actually believed it was possible that Jax could kill [her] was a long, hard and scary place to get to… I also really felt like she had to believe her time was up. It was about saying all the things she had to say to him and reckoning with herself… It was a lot to carry and I don’t know how I feel about it. [Laughs] It was a hard day at work. But whenever I work with Charlie I just feel like we find our way together and I just hoped for the best.

Kurt, when did you decide that Eli had to go?
SUTTER | When he became a series regular on The Mentalist. [Laughs] That’s only half true. I love Rockmond [Dunbar], he’s a great guy and actor. We had talked about a couple different ways to not necessarily write him out but creating an opportunity to bring someone else in in case he wasn’t available next season. It was in writing that scene that I realized there was an [opportunity] for Juice to cross that line, to have him protect Gemma. It all happened organically…

Maggie, do you think the fact that Jax was about to forigve Tara and understand where she was coming from will help your cause with the Tara haters?
SIFF | I don’t know. I can’t really speak to the Tara haters. [Laughs] The Tara haters love Jax and Jax loves Tara, so therein lies the confusion for me. The people out there who want Tara to die, I find that confusing on a number of levels… If you root for Jax then you sort of root for Tara and Jax because they love each other and she’s a big part of his happiness…. So, I don’t know. I think the Tara haters are kind of irrational. [Laughs] It was important for me that Jax and Tara had love in the end. I really didn’t want the series to end for me with this continued alienation into distrust [and] into hate and into death between Jax and Tara; that felt wrong to me after everything they’ve been through together and fighting for all these years. There’s this romantic center to these people and the Jax-Tara love story is a real piece of that. That’s what makes this series work in a way; these people love each other passionately… You really feel that and I felt that was true to the Jax-Tara story.

The “Team Gemma” response online always seems to be overwhelming. Do you think that might shift now, Katey?
SAGAL | I haven’t paid a lot of attention… I know that’s there; I’m not worried about it. [Laughs] I have had a few moments where I knew everyone would hate Gemma now… But, ultimately, in that moment she’s not really thinking anything except her base instinct, which is that she’s a violent woman and that is the way she’s lived her life for many many years. And I think she has enormous remorse when she realizes the truth of the matter.
SUTTER | I think Team Sadness will win. [Laughs]

Any closing remarks?
SUTTER | Working with these two women — obviously Katey being my wife — I had never intended for the female characters to jump out and become as strong as they have been. It was this organic arc that happened because I had these two actresses who can turn a 5 or 6 on the page into an 8 or 9 or 10 on the screen… I want to thank Maggie. I’ve been a fan of hers since I saw her on Mad Men; she’s a tremendous actress. And I want to thank her for making me a better writer these last six seasons.

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299 Comments
  1. K says:

    ITS A SERIE PEOPLE, THEY ACT!

    God you americans are horrible.

    • Jennifer says:

      “You Americans”. Oh shut up. You don’t strike me as a very evolved person yourself if you have to make sweeping generalizations about 300 million people.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I just finished season 6, and though I agree with others that there was something off about the arc that the writers chose to follow (acting was superb though), I don’t share the opinion of the majority here that there are characters who got or didn’t get what they deserved. I don’t love or hate any of the characters particularly (though I do have moments where I empathize with some more than others). I accept each of these characters on their terms, and the fact that just as in real life, things don’t always turn out the way that our notions of “cosmic justice” say they should. I accept that each of these characters are creatures of both light and shadow, and that they all have fatal flaws and make tragic mistakes and half-blind choices based out of their own brokenness, and al of those flaws and mistakes and choices lead each somewhat chaotically to their end.

    I’ll be watching season 7, not to see who gets what, but simply to allow myself to be told the story Kurt Sutter wants to tell. I’ll end up having questions, and feelings of lingering dissatisfaction, but my heart has been broken over this story since the beginning, and that won’t change no matter where the story goes. No happy ending wrapped up in a neat little bow can change the fact that these are violent people who live violent lives, and maybe no one, not even the kids, will escape whole. That’s the way it is. That’s the way life goes.

  3. Reda Gurl says:

    I just finished season 6 and sooooo disappointed that Tara was killed!!! The hope is gone and there will be no happy ending for Jax and his boys – doesn’t matter who they try to pair him with Wendy or Collette – neither will work! Gemma doesn’t deserve to be with them and to use her own words following Clay’s death “It’s the code we live and die by.” I don’t think killing her will satisfy the need for vengeance as much as taking away all the things and people that are important to her – her family (Jax and his boys, Nero, Wayne and the MC). Just don’t see how the next season will play out or how it can possibly live up to its predecessors! :(

  4. A.G.L says:

    I think everyone that is complaining about the violence of the show never should’ve started watching it in the first place. That is what this show is all about and if you watch just one episode you will know that. It sucks Tara died but the show is coming to a close and you had to know it was building up to that with everything she had done leading up to that. It’s for the shock value which nearly ever episode contained. It’s made to keep you on the edge of your seat. It’s a biker show, who really thought it would be all flowers and happiness, I mean come on. Someone above said they thought Jax and Gemma needed to go and quick… You really think that’s going to happen when the show is basically centered around them? Yes, they will probably die but it will not be early in the season. The show will have to go out with a bang!! So much is going to come out in this season and I can’t wait! For those of you that said you would probably only watch the season finale, that Tara’s death ruined it for you… Why were you ever watching in the first place? This show is always about violence and every episode leaves me craving more. I’ve watched faithfully from the beginning and I believe that if you haven’t done the same, you won’t understand “the big picture”.

  5. A.G.L says:

    Sons of Anarchy in my opinion is the best show on tv. If you can’t handle the violence then don’t watch…plain and simple.

  6. Dada Ray says:

    WHEN IS SEASON 7 COMING ON AGAIN? IS IT STILL GOING TO BE ON A&E?? THANK YOU DADA RAY. 03/07/2014

  7. Kristie McClean says:

    I think it is wrong to kill off the person that makes the show have that underlying love story the thing that makes everything jax has done worth it. I’m not sure i will watched the next season either. i have every season and love them.

  8. Tamara says:

    I hate that Tara is dead I loved seeing her and jax together with their boys I balled my eyes out watching the last episode. Come on done make her dead, make out she survives and is just hidden away in ICU in protective custody for like 2 seasons or something and she just looses her memory and they re-united their love later after Gemma gets caught out.

  9. robin says:

    I wish they would keep reruns on its so long before you can watch the show seeing this is the last season star from season 1 and end with 7 hate to see it end looked forward to it every week

  10. Casper says:

    I Love This Show!!!

  11. sylvia says:

    i want to see jax kill his mother, honestly.. dont like Gemma

  12. Joe G. says:

    “Oh no, my favourite character died, better boycott the show, they’ve jumped the shark” stop it. You guys are a bunch of sooks. The scene was brilliant and was set up to be tragic, “glimmer of hope bla bla” anyone up to the sixth season who still has a glimmer of hope is a moron and clearly hasn’t been paying attention. The freaking show is based off of Hamlet, A TRAGEDY STORY. I for one cannot wait for season 7 because I want to see how it plays out. All these wannabe TV critics “there’s nowhere to go from this.” Well that’s why Kurt Sutter’s writing it and not you, because he’s actually creative and hasn’t ceased to surprise me with how well he is able to keep story arcs on track and give them closure, and still bring forth a whole lot of consequence to keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

  13. Ps..were my comment ? Av just noticed you cannae curse or swear…. ???? Wit on the S.O.A every thing goes except on the Website ??? Well if you deleted it am sorry a never new a did …. ALBA Tommy Flanagan main man …

  14. Shpend says:

    Really addicted to this show. I watched the pilot on netflix 2 weeks ago and just last night at 5 in the morning I finished the 6th season. Every single episode in 2 weeks. Still in shock how intensely twisted violent & dramatic Tara’s ending and the while show, but a good show goes without saying.

  15. Rose says:

    Jax will never make it out alive. Nero will get his farm and take the boys there. Gemma will die.

  16. Teri says:

    Tara was writing a lot of info when she got out of jail. Info about SAMCRO, Jax etc that could harm the mc. Where is her paperwork she had in her purse? Will it be found during the investigation?

  17. Doris Cardona says:

    I know Kurt mention that he need to do something emotional to push Jax. But the idea of chose Tara’s dead it wasn;t my favorite.I’m going to miss her character so much. Hope he got something pretty good coming that donot disappoint us as fans. Please do not kill Jax!

  18. Grant says:

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  19. bosslady says:

    I hate this…Why tara,cant watch no more Gema isen’t the star really tho gema needs to die, long before tara death

  20. bosslady says:

    I hate this…Why tara,cant watch no more Gema isen’t the star really tho gema needs to die, long before tara death and don’t know how to feel about Jackson wow

  21. Sam says:

    I have not made it to the season 6 yet I started watching because a co-worker recommended it and became team Tara- Jax, really hoping they pulled each other to the right course. I heard of Tara being killed and was really hoping it wasn`t so as I haven`t seen what leads up to it yet I`m not sure if I could really get behind it and I really hope it doesn`t turn me from finishing the series. I read meny MC books and enjoy the ideas behind it but also like the concept of good eventually overuling bad in the end.

  22. Babs says:

    I expect to see Abel kill Gemma for killing his mom, the cycle of vengeance perpetuated.

  23. marion long says:

    hi just watched season6 it was great glad tara was killed it is going to be a great season 7 cannot wait for all actors played a great part in this glad clay got whot he decived i think nimo joing the other crew will make it good

  24. angel says:

    I think when Jax finds out that his own mother (Gemma) which I think he should find out the truth… I think he’s gonna kill his own mother and she deserves it Gemma has been so trifling and kept so many secrets from her own son throughout the whole show she should’ve been killed if anybody should’ve made it through the show it should’ve been Tara cause she was trying to get Jax and the kids out the life style cause technically the club turned into something completely different than what it was supposed to be formed for in the first place… But I think Gemma should’ve been killed along Time ago cause she causes so much of the troubles for the club its ridiculous and I couldn’t wait till clay got killed he caused alot of issues for the club also