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The Unser Detail In Sons Of Anarchy That Makes No Sense

Kurt Sutter loves his tragic characters, and he fit plenty of them into the seven year run of "Sons of Anarchy," but perhaps the most tragic was Charlie Unser (Dayton Callie). We are introduced to the man as a corrupted friend to SAMCRO, but he's also the chief of police in the small town of Charming. By the end of the series, Unser has retired from the police force, but he still does the occasional favor for the club while living in a trailer next to their shop. 

It wasn't the most glamorous of roles amid the bike-riding outlaws that made up the show, but Callie created one of the most relatable and empathetic characters in it, with the creative team keeping him around nearly to the end. The actor is credited with appearing in a whopping 88 out of 92 episodes, which should say something about how integral Unser became to the world of "Sons of Anarchy." 

While Unser's storyline was one of the best in "Sons of Anarchy," there is one glaring detail about the man that stands out and, quite frankly, doesn't make a ton of sense. The confusing detail, however, really stems from what a powerful presence Callie became on the show. 

Where did Charlie Under's cancer go?

"Sons of Anarchy" has plenty of death and carnage in its seven season run, but amidst all of that violence, Unser stood tall nearly until the end. What doesn't quite add up about this long run is we learn almost immediately when the show opens that Unser is on his way to retirement, partly thanks to a bladder cancer diagnosis that is terminal. It's a running plotline with Unser and Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal) growing closer through his recovery, and Unser even puffing on some goofy grass to help with his symptoms. 

The plan is for Unser to retire and David Hale (Taylor Sheridan) to take over when he does. The monkey in the wrench for this plan is that Hale is killed in the premiere episode of Season 3 after Sheridan and the network could not reach a deal (via Deadline). That leaves Unser to continue on. Due to his cancer, then-SAMCRO President Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) tells him he only needs to stick around a few more months following Hale's death. Unser complies, but even after he retires, the man lives on and on, getting into plenty of scrapes, and his cancer got mentioned less and less, with Unser presumably doing better. 

It was a bit of a rewrite of history as Unser's death seems so set in stone when the show starts, but Callie was such a strong addition to the cast that fans never complained too much. 

Unser sticking around was a blessing in disguise

Unser never dies of cancer, instead being shot by Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) in one of the last episodes of the series as he tries to protect Jax's own mother, Gemma. It's a heartbreaking scene and end for the character, but it likely would have been more heartbreaking to watch the man deteriorate from his failing health, if that was the original plan. After contract negotiations broke down with Sheridan — who also wanted to work on other projects, like writing "Sicario" — Sutter said there was a plan B for the show that included Unser staying on as chief of police, rather than Hale taking over. 

Sutter said the potential was simply more exciting as Unser's history with SAMCRO creates a duality and a give and take in Charming's top cop (via Digital Spy). That duality plays until the bitter end when Unser must make the ultimate choice about who he really is. It's a phenomenal storyline, but it does leave one wondering how this joint-smoking, corrupt officer ever beat that terminal cancer he was so concerned with in Season 1. 

Hale's death was a bit surprising for viewers and gave a premature end to his character, but the positive to come out of it (besides Sheridan's writing and directing career) was the chance for Unser to stick around, becoming one of the show's best characters.