Fall TV Preview

Sons of Anarchy Cast, Creator Preview 'Crazier, Stronger and Much More Intense' Season 5

Sons of Anarchy Charlie Hunnam Season 5To the Sons of Anarchy fans who gasped for air at every turn during an incredibly intense Season 4: Brace yourselves, because things are not about to let up in Season 5. “You’ve had eight months to breathe,” Katey Sagal warns with a laugh.

SAMCRO rolls back into town tonight at 10/9c, and according to the FX hit’s stars and producers, the biker drama has accomplished the seemingly impossible task of upping the ante — and increasing the breathtaking — tenfold.

“This season is even crazier than the last,” executive producer Paris Barclay tells TVLine. “It’s stronger and it’s much more intense. I thought the last season was as intense as [creator] Kurt [Sutter] and our writers could make it… Not so. They’ve topped it.”

Asked to elaborate on how any future episode of Sons could possibly pack as much punch as, say, the Season 4 jaw-clencher “Hands,” a coy Barclay only notes that this year is “going to make you nuts… They twist the knife further with each episode.”

PHOTOS | Exclusive Scoop on New Season of Sons of Anarchy — Plus 45 Other Shows!

For Sutter, however, breaking the gritty series’ fifth cycle of episodes was never about “topping” anything. “Each season the mythology gets deeper, the circumstances get more intense, the stakes get higher and the relationships more strained,” he shares. “I didn’t come into Season 5 thinking, ‘How can I top Season 4?’ I came into it and all this s–t from the last four seasons… it’s just all there. It’s the nature of the storytelling and the characters we’ve developed.”

Here, Sutter and his cast reveal what specifically awaits fans in Season 5.

NERO, THE HERO? | Jimmy Smits‘ character, Nero Padilla, is introduced almost immediately (and memorably) in the premiere, and soon enough finds a place in Gemma’s orbit (if not her heart). Is such a warm welcome warranted? “I mean, the character’s name is Nero, if that’s any indication of what might come down the line,” the Dexter alum jokes, alluding to the notorious Roman emperor. That said, the escort agency manager does mean well — at least initially. “This guy has led a life that’s been rough. He’s seen the dark side, and he has what he perceives to be an exit strategy about how to better himself… It’s warped, but it is an exit strategy no less. And the fact that Nero seemingly has this plan is attractive to Jax.” Adds Sagal, “Gemma and Nero have a kindred connection — even though they meet through a drunken social interaction. These [people are] very instinctive, and Gemma is all about her instinct. So, if she feels that he’s OK, she trusts that.”

NOT-SO-BIG BAD | Damon Pope (portrayed by Harold Perrineau), meanwhile, comes on the Sons scene with a very clear objective: to hurt Tig — who unwittingly killed the crime boss’ daughter during an outburst of (misplaced) vengeance — and, presumably, the entire club. “He’s more than dangerous,” the Lost vet tells us of his eerily composed alter ego. “If he’s on your side, it’s a great thing. If he’s not, it’s bad news.” Perrineau, though, is reluctant to label Pope as Season 5’s mega-villain. “The whole Big Bad thing… there is a change that eventually happens,” he muses. “I don’t know if it’s in the man, but [it is] in the relationship [with the Sons]. It’s really interesting, when and how it happens.”

UNLIKELY DUO | A cast-out Clay and a guilt-riddled Juice will find an unlikely kinship. “Juice has always wanted a father,” Theo Rossi explains, “and these are two guys who are on an island. They’ve been separated and alone, and they come together.” And then they all lived happily ever after, right? It depends on your interpretation of this tease, courtesy of the actor: “What occurs from that [relationship] is just so crazy.”

Hit the comments with your thoughts on the new season of Sons of Anarchy!