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'Sons of Anarchy': Showrunner Kurt Sutter Explains Season 6's Shocking Event

"It will be the catalyst that I believe takes us into the last act of our tragedy here," he tells THR.

Sons of Anarchy Jax 601 - H 2013
FX
"Sons of Anarchy"

Sons of Anarchy’s season six premiere wrapped up on Tuesday night with an event that was sure to shock viewers.

In the final moments, a child is seen walking into a school with an automatic weapon. He opens fire and blood spatters the windows. The gun came from the SAMCRO motorcycle club.

School shootings portrayed on television are often emotional and shocking, but Sons showrunner Kurt Sutter tells The Hollywood Reporter that there is a purpose behind this horrible plot point.

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“These guys, they deal guns in urban areas,” he says. “We’ve seen them unload cases of modified automatic weapons, and we’ve seen some of the ramifications of that in terms of the violence blowing back on bad guys, but I felt that at some point it would be a disservice to the mythology and to the realism not to suggest that what they do ultimately is not blowing back on innocents.”

Sutter says he’s wanted to have a school shooting or some other scene that showed the affects of the club’s violence on the community for several seasons, but he had to wait for the right time.

“I also knew that once I did that, it’s sort of one of those things in the mythology that once it lands, it can’t just then morph and mold into the bigger mythology,” he says. “It’s such a devastation that I would have to use it as a mile-marker to take us to what ultimately will be the end.”

The end game is very much on the mind of Sutter, who has said he plans to end the popular FX series after seven seasons. Often outspoken, Sutter is aware that his decision to include a shooting might rub some people the wrong way in the wake of the the tragic school shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn., late last year.

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“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 says. “But I also felt that I’m not going to not do it because I’m afraid of blowback.”

Sutter adds that even if viewers are upset after watching the episode, they’ll grow to understand his reasons as season six progresses.

“We didn’t do it for shock,” he says. “It will be the catalyst that I believe takes us into the last act of our tragedy here."

Another surprising event from the premiere is the infidelity that occurs between club leader Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff). While Tara is in jail, Jax sleeps with a madame of a brothel named Colette (Kim Dickens).

Fans who are very supportive of the Jax-Tara relationship might be shocked by his choice, but Sutter says Jax has his reasons.

“Not to make it more weird than it already is, but I just felt like the reason he’s with [Tara] is it’s more maternal than it is sexual,” he says. “At the end of the day, Jax is sort of a little boy and when that love is cut off, when Tara shuts the door on him and doesn’t want to talk to him, he just feels the disconnect of that love.”

“He’s a guy who just needs to be f---ing loved,” he adds. "For me it was just that sense of -- [Colette] just had this maternal, nurturing energy, which is where he’s at and what he needs."

Sons of Anarchy airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.

E-mail: Rebecca.Ford@THR.com
Twitter: @Beccamford