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Meet 'Sons of Anarchy's' New Big, Bad Boss: Damon Pope

"Lost" star Harold Perrineau takes on the role of a grieving father on a mission for revenge in season five of FX's drama.

Sons of Anarchy 501 Damon Pope - H 2012
FX

Sons of Anarchy has created some intimidating, complicated characters over the past four seasons, but season five brings a new big, bad boss to the quaint California town of Charming.

Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) is a wealthy, ex-drug kingpin who rose from the streets to build an empire. He comes to Charming after his daughter is accidentally run down by Tigg (Kim Coates).

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“I think I’m the last person you think could play this character,” says Lost star Perrineau in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

On Lost, Perrineau played Michael Dawson, a father whose one goal was to get his son Walt back from The Others. Perrineau tells THR that Damon Pope wasn't such a large leap for him as an actor.

“For me, it’s not that hard because it’s not that different from Lost because I’m playing a grieving father,” Perrineau says. “This is just a grieving father with means and a bit of a mean streak.”

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Pope is a very different kind of leader than the leather-vest-wearing, motorcycle-riding members of SAMCRO. Pope wears fine suits and is driven around in a sleek black car, and seems to always be one step ahead of everyone else.

Perrineau says that Pope is based on a mix of characters from fiction and reality. He says Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter talked a lot about Denzel Washington’s character Frank Lucas in American Gangster as an inspiration.

“There are a bunch of guys like that in New York – because that’s where I grew up – that I sort of take little bits and pieces from here and there,” adds Perrineau. “A lot of those old school gangland guys, those guys who end up not dying but retiring. I did a lot of work and research about those guys.”

While Damon Pope begins the season on a revenge mission, it seems that his role in Charming may change over time, according to Perrineau.

“What happens is, he ends up being more of a mentor to Jax (Charlie Hunnam),” Perrineau reveals. “It’s really odd in how that happens. In tragedy, sometimes you make odd connections.”

“He’s not just going to go there, sort of waving a sword around, cutting off heads everywhere he goes,” he adds.

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Perrineau says that filming the FX drama, which is shot in Southern California, has been very different than starring on Lost, which was filmed in Hawaii.

“In Hawaii, we were all sort of sequestered away. Especially that first season, we all just felt alone, even though we were all together. And then the show got really big, and got really, really weird,” he says.

“But this, I’m walking into a machine that’s already moving and so I don’t feel any of that,” he adds. “It’s kind of nice to walk in and do my job and then go home. I get to walk away from this, which is really kind of great for me because I don’t know if I could live with this person day in and day out. It’s kind of intense.”

Season five of Sons of Anarchy premieres on Tuesday, September 11, at 10 p.m. on FX.

Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford