Fall TV Preview

Bastard Executioner Boss Kurt Sutter on Depicting 'Colorful Brutality' and FX's Decapitation Mandate

The Bastard Executioner FX

Kurt Sutter‘s new period drama The Bastard Executioner might be set in a different time and place from his last FX series, Sons of Anarchy, but that doesn’t mean the two shows don’t have something in common. (Beyond their creator, of course.)

As one might expect from its killer title, Bastard — which focuses on a 14th-century warrior (played by Lee Jones) who begins leading the life of a journeyman executioner — won’t shy away from a little bloodshed. But Sutter insists the violence will serve a higher storytelling purpose.

“There’s nothing wrong with a little colorful brutality,” Sutter quipped Friday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills. “[FX Networks CEO John Landgraf] doesn’t want a show where there’s a head in a basket every week, and I agreed with him.”

In response to concerns that shows like Game of Thrones and Outlander can get away with excessive violence due to their medieval setting, Sutter added, “My mandate, as it was on Sons, is that the violence — as absurd as it could be sometimes on Sons — always came from an organic place. [For] every violent act, there were ramifications. That’s my same mandate here [too].

“Yes, it’s a medieval setting, and the laws in terms of punishment were brutal and heinous,” he continued. “That’s a reality of the world. And there are ways to portray that violence that don’t make it openly gratuitous. Anything that happens — be it a battle sequence, or an execution, or a torture scene — comes out of story. And it always has some ramification.”

The Bastard Executioner — whose cast includes Sons alumna Katey Sagal, True Blood‘s Stephen Moyer and The Americans‘ Matthew Rhys (in a guest-star role) — debuts with a two-hour series premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at 10/9c.

Watch a trailer for Bastard below, then hit the comments and tell us: Will you be watching this fall?