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Why Did Taylor Sheridan Quit Sons Of Anarchy?

Before Taylor Sheridan had written hit films like "Sicario" and launched a major television empire with his Paramount Network shows — including "Tulsa King," "Mayor of Kingstown," and "Yellowstone" and its prequels — Sheridan was just another actor who'd hit his stride on the small screen.

He'd appeared as Danny Boyd on several episodes of "Veronica Mars" before joining FX's "Sons of Anarchy." There, Sheridan was on 21 episodes throughout the first few seasons as Deputy David Hale, the straight-arrow Charming Police Department deputy chief. Hale longs to purge Charming of the Sons out of moral concern, not corruption or financial gain.

But the deputy chief eventually crosses some lines, including sleeping with an ATF agent and tolerating the white supremacist L.O.A.N. organization, and his story abruptly comes to an end in the first episode of Season 3, when he is killed during a drive-by shooting attack on SAMCRO. As Sheridan later revealed, that wasn't the original plan for his arc — the character was actually killed off because Sheridan wanted to leave the series. Here's why.

Sheridan was offered a 'very unfair' salary

The real reason Taylor Sheridan left "Sons of Anarchy" was over salary negotiations. The actor and writer told Deadline, "At that time, they were offering me what I thought was a very unfair wage. It was less than virtually every other person on the show, and not enough for me to quit my second job."

Sheridan's attorney tried to negotiate, but the show wouldn't budge. "The guy goes ... 'That's what he's worth. There's 50 of him. He is 11 on the call sheet,'" Sheridan recalled of their explanation. The "Yellowstone" co-creator shared that his subsequent decision to leave wasn't about the money as much as the disrespect: "It was so much more that that's how the business saw me." Sheridan also felt that a somewhat bland role like Hale was as good as he was going to get, and that didn't seem like a satisfying place to stay for the rest of his career.

He instead quit the show, leading to his character dying quickly at the start of Season 3. As Sheridan put it, "I decided right there that I didn't want to be 11 on the call sheet for the rest of my life." He then turned to writing prolifically, including screenplays and teleplays. The decision clearly paid off: Sheridan now has a massive nine-figure deal with ViacomCBS as a writer, not an actor (via The Hollywood Reporter).