More than a decade before now, 2008 was another challenging year for many. At that time, an alluring television series caught a lot of attention on the FX Network.
The show resonated with a wide swath of humanity, from real bikers to doting grandmothers, from teens to seniors. In fact, just about every walk of life hung on for the weekly chapter of the fictional MC known as Sons of Anarchy, operating out of Charming, California.
The cast of memorable characters caused viewers to immediately embrace the story rich with themes of loyalty, revenge, fraternity, class contrasts, and racially charged divisions.
The unique quality of Sons of Anarchy
In a series that regaled with testosterone-drenched tales of a 1 percent MC, their women were who left a mark for many.
The series featured Katey Sagal, the wife of showrunner Kurt Sutter (Mayans MC, The Shield) in a killer queen role in which she laid waste to any other fictional antihero female characters on the small screen in the history of TV.
As the matriarch, Sagal’s Gemma Teller was the alpha and omega of all the action, despite the series’ masculine bent. Her son Jax (Charlie Hunnam) was the crown prince who ultimately was pitted against her second husband (Ron Perlman as Clay) in a layered and complex story that lasted seven years, and that still counts passionate fans to this day.
Jax’s wife, Dr. Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) was brilliantly paired in a scene with her mother-in-law, with whom she endured a twisted relationship which ultimately led to her undoing.
Which character surprised Sutter in Sons?
It was Wayne Unser — Charming, California’s former chief of police — who was devoted to Gemma and who protected the Sons out of his love for her.
Sutter used social media to communicate with the SOA fanbase.
In an open call for fans to ask him a question, Monsters and Critics wanted to know which actor(s) surprised him in performances of roles he had written in a two-dimensional frame but who blew up their role with an interpretation that influenced their character even more.
Who were the biggest casting surprises that delighted you to no end for Sons and Mayans? The wild cards who blossomed out as epic characters that you never saw coming? #sutterthinks
— April Neale (@AprilMac) March 23, 2020
Sutter replied on Tuesday.
“I think every actor surprised me in different ways. They all took their characters in directions I never imagined,” he said, adding, “I think the biggest story surprise was Dayton Callie’s character, Unser. He was a half-baked character in the second episode…”
[Unser] became the glue of the mythology. That wouldn’t have happened without Dayton’s beautiful work. He took a shell of a character and made him real and multi-dimensional. Every season, whether I planned it or not, Unser became the lynchpin that pulled the season together. https://t.co/cvhLj8uSBS
— kurt sutter (@sutterink) March 31, 2020
As planned, Callie was not meant to last the gauntlet of the series.
However, fans know that his character Wayne Unser was critical to the entire arc of the series. He grew on the viewers in ways that were at once humorous and heartbreaking.
His devotion to Gemma saved SAMCRO more than once, earning him a place near the infamous SAMCRO table where the family made life and death decisions at the bang of the gavel.
The reaper spared Callie until Jax shot him in Season 7. He did so in a cinematically lensed and action-packed, violent series in which many actors did not know whether or not they were going to make it through to the season’s end.
As a tribute to Callie, enjoy a rewind.