Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

SOA's Kurt Sutter Stood By S6's Controversial Premiere (Despite Backlash)

There are some TV dramas that deal with topics that hit so close to real-life tragedies that many find them difficult to watch. There are some viewers who believe audiences should be shielded from such scenes, thinking it's better to censor such graphic and violent events. One series that surely hung around the line of this type of controversy was FX's "Sons of Anarchy," and its creator, Kurt Sutter, had no problem pushing plotline moments to the limit. One of these debated moments came from the Season 6 premiere episode, in which a gut-wrenching topic (one that's become unfortunately all too familiar) played out for fans to experience at home.

Over its seven seasons, "Sons of Anarchy" had its fair share of scenes not intended for the faint of heart. But amongst the world of criminal organizations like SAMCRO, these moments were far from gratuitous, actually highlighting the many obstacles the motorcycle club was forced to go through. The final moments of the Season 6 premiere included one of the most controversial scenes in the whole series, as it dealt with the horrors of a school shooting. 

This surely angered some viewers who may have felt that this topic crossed the line when it came to scripted entertainment. However, when grilled over the controversy surrounding the episode, Sutter stood by his creative decision, which was on par with the unflinching stance he took over the entire run of the series.

The scene was for commentary, not controversy

Season 6, Episode 1 ("Straw") of "Sons of Anarchy" kicked off by dealing with the continuing story of Otto (played by creator Kurt Sutter), who is dealing with his unfortunate time in prison. The rest of the episode bounces around several ongoing storylines but concludes at a school, where Arcadio's (Dave Navarro) girlfriend's son walks in with an assault rifle and begins shooting students and teachers. The point of the moment was to show where the guns that SAMCRO sells might end up, leading to more issues with the law.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Sutter explained his reasoning for writing the scene. "My desire to do this story just felt very organic to the world: These guys deal guns, and there's a certain amount of disconnect once you put those guns out on the street not really knowing whose hands they're gonna end up in and what violence that they create," he said. Sutter added that this ethical conundrum reflects on the internal struggles Jax (Charlie Hunnam) experiences while he continuously grapples with both his criminal world and doing what's right for his own children.

Sutter explained that he is aware of all the backlash he can and will face for all the scenes some fans think he took too far. That, of course, included this school shooting scene. "I thought about it a lot. There's a part of me that really didn't want to do it because I'm opening myself up to being viewed as just doing it to be sensational," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "But I also felt that I'm not going to not do it because I'm afraid of blowback." Sutter's stance on pushing the envelope clearly didn't stop, as fans who watched all the way to the series finale know.