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Tuesday’s season five premiere of Sons of Anarchy was memorable for many reasons – from the new faces in town to the transformation of Ron Perlman’s Clay Morrow from a strong, powerful leader to a feeble, wounded man — but one scene in particular will stick with viewers as one of the most dramatic in the show’s history.
[Warning: Spoilers from the season five premiere ahead.]
Tig Trager (played by Kim Coates), the shoot-now-ask-questions-later member of SAMCRO, had gotten himself into some hot water after accidentally killing gangster Damon Pope’s daughter in the season four finale.
The repercussions of his actions were quickly addressed in the season five premiere in a harrowing scene in which Pope burned Tig’s daughter alive — as Tig watched on. Because Tig was chained up, there was nothing he could do as his daughter screamed out for help, yelling “daddy” over and over again.
“I’ve never been asked to do something like that before,” Coates – a seasoned actor with more than 50 film credits to his name — tells The Hollywood Reporter about working on the brutal episode.
Coates found out about the scene early on, in April when he met with show creator Kurt Sutter in New York.
“Between you and me, I literally kind of froze. I got very, very distraught,” says Coates, who is a father himself to two daughters.
“And then when I got the script a couple months later, it was like, ‘f—, are you kidding me,’” he adds.
Coates says he and Sutter didn’t have a lot of talks about how the scene would go, but that he did have a long discussion with a close friend who is a therapist.
“He went over the human condition and emotions with me so beautifully, with what happens to our body in times of flee or fight, or the adrenaline, the shock, the awe,” he says.
The scene was shot over two nights on Sons of Anarchy’s Southern California set. Directed by executive producer Paris Barclay, the bulk of the scene took 38 takes, reveals Coates.
“For me, I just literally never went to me winnebago – I just stayed chained up, for two nights in a row, and when it was all over, I went home and took a shower, and stayed in bed for a full day,” says Coates.
As for where this terrible turn in the road will lead his character, Coates says Tig is “off the leash,” because he’s dealing with this horrible loss, and also the loss of his loyalty to Clay, the former leader of the club.
“He doesn’t know who he is anymore,” he says. “He’s just f—ed up.”
Coates hints that something happens in the third and fourth episodes involving Jax (Charlie Hunnam), Opie (Ryan Hurst), Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) and Tig that will again shock the audience.
Further into the season, Tig will get “put back on the leash” by new club leader Jax, but don’t expect that to last for long.
“In the last few episodes, you can tell that Tig is ready to snap again,” says Coates, who is currently working on the 11th episode of the season.
He admits he has some idea where Tig will be heading for the final episodes of the season, but if the Sons of Anarchy season five premiere proves anything, it’s that you can never predict what Sutter has planned for his dynamic California biker gang.
“I guess we’ll see what Tig’s got up his sleeve,” Coates says.
Sons of Anarchy airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on FX.
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford
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