'Sons of Anarchy' Season 5: Kurt Sutter on Harold Perrineau and Jimmy Smits, plus the show's 'endgame'
"I've said this before, but this is really the first season I've had to have a very clear sense of the endgame, because I realize this season I have to write to that endgame," Sutter said Saturday (July 28) at the Television Critics Association press tour. "I think the stakes get higher with each season, the circumstances get more dire, the wreckage gets deeper. ...
"I don't know quite how all that will fall apart, but I know eventually it will."
Pics: Overheard at the TCA summer 2012 press tour
Season 5, which premieres Sept. 11, opens a couple weeks after the events of the Season 4 finale, with Clay ( Ron Perlman) on the outs with both SAMCRO and with Gemma (Katey Sagal); Jax ( Charlie Hunnam) figuring out his leadership role in the club; and Oakland gangster Damon Pope (guest star Harold Perrineau) gunning for the club after Tig ( Kim Coates) unintentionally killed his daughter.
The Tig story will drive a lot of the action in the first couple of episodes, Sutter says: "When you have a character like Tig who we've seen go through so many big swings in terms of the things he's done -- and even last season, when you saw the ramifications of things he'd done for Clay ... it just seemed like a good segue into beginning the season with stripping him down and breaking him a little bit."
Perrineau's character, Sutter says, is modeled loosely on Frank Lucas (subject of the movie "American Gangster") and is someone who "has come out of the streets and changed the perception of who he is." He begins the season as the club's biggest antagonist, Sutter adds, but will begin to have some influence on Jax down the road.
So will Jimmy Smits' character, Nero Padilla, who comes from a different background but whose life has some parallels with Jax's. "They've experienced a lot of the same pain, a lot of the same violence," Sutter explains.
Clay, meanwhile, starts off the season as a broken man, both physically and emotionally. Sutter says he's less interested in getting people to "embrace" Clay again than in playing out the consequences of the character's actions.
"Perhaps for the first time [Clay] has a deep sense of, 'Wow, I really f**ked up,'" Sutter says. "What does Clay look like broken? What does his remorse look like, what is his desperate need to try to correct the damage -- what does that look like from an alpha-male, narcissistic, Machiavellian character like Clay Morrow? I can't predict if the response to it will be, 'I can embrace Clay again, let him back in.' I'm just trying to do it from the truth of the character and the truth of the circumstances he's created."