Interview: Katey Sagal On the Final Ride of ‘Sons of Anarchy’


Preston Barta // Editor

SONS OF ANARCHY -- Pictured: Key Art. CR: FXAs we mentioned earlier today in our interview with director Peter Weller, tonight’s episode of SONS OF ANARCHY is one of the strongest episodes of the series. Secrets come to light, blood is shed– big things go down tonight.

But before you tune in, check out our interview with Katey Sagal, who plays Gemma on the show. We spoke with her about working under Mr. Weller’s wing, what’s in store for fans in the remaining episodes, and the legacy that SONS will leave behind.

First, I wanted to ask you about Peter Weller as a director. I know he’s directed several episodes through the course of the show, including tomorrow night’s. I speak with him pretty regularly, but I wanted to get a talent’s perspective of how he works and what he brings to the table compared to the other series’ directors.

Katey Sagal: “For me, I love to work with directors that are also actors. They have a certain way of speaking that we just relate to, and Peter definitely comes at it from that standpoint. He’s a really interesting guy. If you’ve ever talked to Peter very much, he’s certainly a Renaissance man and knows a lot of things about a lot of things. Each director has their own sort of way of doing things and with Peter, you can really talk about the emotional landscape of where you are at that given time and it’s great.”

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller. CR: James Minchin/FX.

Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller. CR: James Minchin/FX.

Your husband as well as the creator of the show, Kurt Sutter, talked a little bit about how he’s known since the beginning of the season that he wanted Abel to be the one to tell Gemma’s secret. I was wondering if you could talk about why you think that was so important and what it means for Gemma to have Abel who she’d been trying to protect to be the one to ultimately undo her.

Sagal: “I suppose, how can she do anything but forgive him really? It’s out of the mouths of babes and I wonder sometimes if Gemma really thought she could get away with all of this. I don’t know. It’s really an interesting question. I don’t think that she has animosity towards her grandson whatsoever. You have to watch. You’ll have to see some more. I don’t want to talk too much about that. [Laughs].”

So, with only three episodes left, obviously we’re in for a lot of action and drama, so what are you most excited for fans to see from the final three episodes?

Sagal: “The conclusion. I’m excited for them to see the conclusion. I feel like this season overall has been so strong in the character department. It’s not that there’s not action, there’s a lot of action, but there’s also a lot of character-to-character conversation and slower beats. And I think the whole season just has a more fluid approach, so I’ve really enjoyed watching this year and I think that all of the characters have been serviced really well. I just think it’ll be really great for fans. I don’t think they will be disappointed at all.”

How you feel about the legacy that SONS OF ANARCHY has left on the world of television, and what that will be like now?

SONS OF ANARCHY -- "Playing with Monsters" -- Pictured: Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller. CR: Michael Becker/FX

SONS OF ANARCHY — “Playing with Monsters” — Pictured: Katey Sagal as Gemma Teller. CR: Michael Becker/FX

Sagal: “I think SONS, it’s an entertainment show and I always look at what I do and what the services entertainment is that it is just that. It’s service, so you’re providing something for people. The fact that people had become so engaged and so invested in the story and the characters, that’s done something for them. I think that’s its own legacy is that it has become a successful way for people to be entertained.

And so I think, too, that it’s sort of in that wave of everybody talks about of cable dramas that have—it’s sort of like the little independent film world now in television. I think that SONS has helped to open all those doors just as THE SHIELD did, so I would imagine that it will be in the wave of those shows, the MAD MEN and those kinds of shows that have come around at this time. I think legacy is such a big word. Really our job is to entertain and I think we’ve done that.”

What will you personally miss most about being involved with the show?

Sagal: “I’ll miss so many things. It was a great working environment. I’ll miss the people. That’s what you really connect to and I’ll miss the writing. I’ve been in television a long time and you don’t find great parts that readily and you don’t find great writing that readily. It’s been just a great creative experience to be able to have both of those things, and it’s a colorful bunch of people to work with, so going to work was never boring. I will miss them all terribly.”

Episode 11, “Suits for Woe,” airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET only on FX.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.