Previous
Next

10 Most Hated Sons Of Anarchy Characters

 

 

Sons Of Anarchy was an ultra-violent grand guignol melodrama, one of the finest on television, rivaling the notorious HBO prison drama Oz for its murderous excess, and exceeding it for sheer gore factor. One thing it didn’t do as well, however, was subtle characterisation. Where Oz was an operatic character study, refusing to allow the imprisoned characters to be easily defined as good or evil, Sons Of Anarchy showrunner Kurt Sutter was delighted to give us the opportunity to absolutely, 100% loathe a good proportion of the bad guys that he created. But that’s not all. Like any show with a passionate audience, the producers cant always control who the viewers are going to decide that they hate.

This leads us to interesting problems when characters with good motivations but questionable actions, or good actions but questionable motivations, somehow attract the fury and ire of a good proportion of the television audience. Are there any characters on Sons Of Anarchy that divide viewers?

Let’s find out, as we kick off the countdown of the most hated characters in the shows run to date…

10. Hector Salazar

FX

The former president of the Lodi chapter of the Calaveras MC, Salazar is almost a cautionary tale for Jackson Teller in season three: this is how fast and how far a club president can fall when he loses control of a situation. That’s a lesson Jax would take to heart in later season. A smaller Hispanic club that often works for the Mayans, the Calaveras are held responsible for horribly screwing up several jobs, in particular the murder of a member of the Grim Bastards, a club friendly to SAMCRO.

Salazar also has Juice jumped and takes his cut, a completely unnecessary humiliation. When Alvarez, the Mayans president, finally has enough, he actually throws Salazar out of his own MC. Salazar then goes into business for himself, deciding to attempt to start a war between the Mayans and SAMCRO by savagely beating Lumpy Feldstein, a sweet old gym owner close to the Sons Of Anarchy MC and blaming it on the Mayans. When that fails, he kidnaps Tara and threatens to kills her unless the Sons kill Alvarez and bring him $250,000 of the Mayans money.

When that genius scheme goes horribly wrong, Salazar disastrously attempts to run a hostage game to improve his luck in mayoral candidate Jacob Hales’ office, with the whole Charming police force outside. Possessed of the unenviable combination of poor judgment, a nasty temper and weapons-grade incompetence, Salazar is a sweaty hot mess of a man by the time Jax stabs him to death.

9. Georgie Caruso

FX

No one quite plays slimeball creep like Tom Arnold, and Georgie Caruso is a Tom Arnold character overseen by Kurt Sutter. He practically raises being a slimeball creep to an art form.

A rival to fan favourite and MC wife Luann Delaney in the area’s porn business, we first meet Caruso in season two, when he attempts to steal Luann’s business and starlets. Physically threatening and abusing them to keep them from going back to her, the nasty little coward beats a hasty retreat when the Sons intervene of Luann’s behalf only to return, beat her to death and flee the country to avoid retaliation.

If there’s one thing more annoyingly hateful than an annoyingly hateful character, it’s an annoyingly hateful character who skips town to avoid his just deserts. Fortunately, Georgie returns to Charming in season four, believing that the coast was clear. The coast was absolutely not clear, Luanns husband being the crazier-than-crazy Otto Delaney, an incarcerated MC member who SAMCRO owe more than just a little.

When Otto demands that Caruso be killed for murdering his wife, the Sons pay Georgie a little visit. The sleaze tries to weasel out of his impending and much deserved doom by claiming to have made billionaire sex freak contacts in Asia, but after one last attempt at double-crossing the MC, Georgie is shot to death in the boot of his own car, and several million Sons Of Anarchy fans cheered as one.

8. Ethan Zobelle

FX

Ethan Zobelle is almost the opposite of a Georgie Caruso. As played by the normally warm, fluffy and cuddly Adam Arkin and introduced in the season two premiere, Zobelle is a local cigar store owner that secretly runs the League Of American Nationalists (L.O.A.N.), a gang of ruthless while supremacists. Of course, Arkin was cast specifically because of his usual image, the implication being that these are people living in our towns: businessmen, family men. People like us.

That’s most of the reason to hate Zobelle, but obviously it doesn’t hurt that he’s a thoroughgoing racist scumbag. Now, the Sons have a complicated relationship with race themselves, but a Nazi is a Nazi. When Zobelle practically orders SAMCRO to stop selling guns to minorities, the MCs president Clay tells him exactly where to go. And then, just as we think we have things figured out for season two, Zobelle orders his cronies to abduct Gemma, Clay’s wife, and our hero Jackson’s mother, and viciously beat and rape her as a warning not to disobey L.O.A.N in the future.

Gemma Teller-Morrow is many things, and not many of those things are sympathetic but she’s the hard-nosed mother-figure of the show, and there are some things you just don’t do. Zobelle’s plan, such as it is, backfires when Gemma doesn’t even bother telling Clay or Jax who assaulted her. Nevertheless, we know, and we can’t wait for Zobelle to get his.

Unfortunately, we have to make do with his daughter, the equally repellent Polly, and his henchman A.J. Weston (who orchestrated and participated in the assault on Gemma), because Zobelle is an FBI informant, and skips town to Budapest to avoid the Sons retribution. That’s right, Ethan Zobelle is a misogynist Nazi and a grass. Lets hope they finally catch up with him in season seven.

7. Galen O’Shay

FX

Rarely has any television antagonist come with such a sinister gaze and punchable face as the serpentine Galen O’Shay, Clay’s link to the Real IRA. Nominally on SAMCROs side, as they have a gun-running connection to keep alive, Galen and Jax do not see eye to eye at all, O’Shay blaming Teller for the events of season three, where Jackson’s pursuit of his kidnapped baby boy to Belfast resulted in the deaths of several of his friends.

Since Galen won’t deal with Jax, Jax has to keep Clay alive to keep the gun connection afloat. The gun connection has to stay afloat because Jax has problems with Damon Pope, amongst many others, and so he needs all the balls to stay in the air while he tries to arrange a way out for the MC. Trust us, by this point the plot has become more tangled than a kitten’s ball of wool, but the upshot is that Galen and his scary eyes and irritating smile prevent Clay from meeting Mister Mayhem at the end of season four. That alone would be reason to loathe Galen, even if you couldn’t see his face: but he spends the next two seasons carefully placing more and more spanners in the works too, even killing a club member and a prospect.

This isn’t through any genuine malice towards our boys in leather, you understand. Galen’s just a jerk with a power complex. When Jax shoots him towards the end of season six, its a relief as well as a blessing.

6. Damon Pope

FX

The big bad in season five, Damon Pope is one of the most dangerous gangsters in California: the man who runs Oakland, yet from behind the scenes, publically so squeaky clean that he cant ever be connected with the violence and crime meted out on his behalf. There are pretty much no lengths that Pope won’t go to in order to enforce his will and his authority, including some apparently random acts of ultraviolence at the beginning of season five that set up everything to follow and, just incidentally, giving that seasons first three episodes the high watermark in casual brutality for the entire show.

After the hapless Tig Trager murders his daughter by accident while on an unannounced revenge trip against the wrong man (for the second time in the show), Pope sets fire to Tigs own daughter in front of him, burning her alive. When the Son’s are jailed, Pope has his connections savagely beat Opie to death but more, he makes Jax choose who will die first, Opie only taking matters into his own hands after it becomes clear that Jax will sacrifice himself.

Pope also makes it clear after the Sons are released that Trager will, at some point, belong to him to murder at his leisure. Pope is a businessman, and mourning the loss of his daughter, but these are steps too far. Tig is a massive douche, but hes our massive douche, an opinion Jax shares with the television audience. And Pope had Opie killed. Nothing else matters. Pope needs to die€ but how?

The man has a team of assassins on stand-by, ready to murder with extreme nastiness the person or persons who lays a finger on him. That’s how he stays alive. It’s a good thing Jackson Teller can be a fiendishly inventive man when he wants to be. As Pope himself tells Jax  thats how players become kings.

5. Tara Knowles-Teller

FX

There’s a common phenomenon across the fanbases of shows like Sons Of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, The Walking Dead – cool shows, involving lawless people doing cool stuff, where the love interests and/or wives of the protagonists are vilified by fans for doing what, one would hope, any love interest and/or wife would do in the same situation.

Tara, Jackson’s wife in Sons Of Anarchy, is a perfect illustration of this. Somehow people have gotten into their heads that in order for them to fully support Jax, they have to hate Tara when she said or did something that ran counter to him. Similar sentiments were expressed whenever Skyler expressed concern or outrage at Walter White for, you know, bringing violent psychopaths and potentially decades of jail time to their family. Lori in The Walking Dead got it in the neck from fans so much that many admitted to cheering when she died giving birth via an impromptu caesarian section without anaesthetic on a filthy prison floor. Feel free to reread that and then feel a little ill at the nature of the human race.

In the case of Tara, one of her sons had already been kidnapped and the other constantly put in harm’s way by actions Jackson had taken, first as the vice president of the MC, then as the president. Despite his promises, first to get clear of illegal activity, then just to get clear of Charming, the violence kept ratcheting up, kept getting worse, kept getting closer to their family. Any normal mother of two would have considered leaving her husband by that point: but in Taras case, she was well aware that you dont walk away from the MC.

Even if the boys had let her, Gemma certainly wouldn’t have. And Gemma didn’t, as anyone knows who watched last season€™s finale episode. Tara shouldn’t be one of Sons Of Anarchy’s most hated characters€ but she is. Which is an indication of sad times for us all, really.

4. Gemma Teller-Morrow

FX

All of which brings us neatly onto Queen Gertrude herself or is it Lady MacBeth? Gemma Teller-Morrow is a fascinating character: a violent, bad tempered narcissist with obsessive mothering tendencies, who is nonetheless also one of the most reliable and stable personalities in the show.

Brought to vivid life by one of the greatest actors on television, Katey Sagal, Gemma is a genuine force of nature. As of the end of season six, she has now helped orchestrate the murders of both her husbands and killed her daughter-in-law with a barbeque fork, leaving him bereft and her grandchildren motherless. But Gemma won’t care about that last part because shes always considered Jax’s children her children, really.

The events of the season six finale seem to indicate that, at least for the time being, she’s covered for the murder, rogue MC member Juice having killed the only witness and helped her escape from the scene in some moment of posthumous loyalty to Clay. This next season being the final season, of course, she isn’t likely to stay covered for long. Jackson will find out, and when he does Gemmas chances of emerging from the show unscathed drop to practically zero.

That’s not to cheer on her demise, however. Gemma Teller-Morrow, as much as her son Jackson Teller, is the living, breathing heart of Sons Of Anarchy, just as Sagal’s riveting performance is the anchor for every other performance in the show. She’s a scheming, manipulative, nasty piece of work, but she’s your mom, man. Dont kill her.

3. Clay Morrow

FX

If Katey Sagal is the show’s raging, obsessive mother figure, then Ron Perlman’s Clay Morrow was the abusive yet tender stepfather to Sons Of Anarchy as much as to Jackson himself. But so many of the events that have led to the tragic season six finale are Clay’s fault. His murder of John Teller and marriage to Teller’s wife set off a gradual snowball effect, as do his greed and scheming, backed by violence when called for, and often when not.

Towards the end of his life, having lost the ability to ride, lost his club, and lost his wife, Clay is repentant, but resigned to having no way of atoning for his past sins. Losing everything has made him see who he was a little clearer by then. It’s not enough, though. Not for the club, not for Jackson, and certainly not for us, the television audience.

Viewers may love Ron Perlman, and even have a guilty affection for Clay but that’s not enough. He set fire to everything in his life that was worthwhile, and as fire does, it spread to burn everything else around it too. Like an abusive stepfather, we may find ourselves missing him from time to time but were just as glad that the monster’s gone.

2. Lee Toric

FX

And now that the problematic three are out of the way, our top two most hated characters in Sons Of Anarchy. It’s hardly a surprise, but disgraced ex US Marshall Lee Toric is most assuredly number two.

In any other television show, Otto’s random murder of an innocent nurse would be the most horrifying event of the season. In any other television show, when her brother, a retired law enforcement officer with a maverick sensibility showed up to get revenge on the lawless biker gang that caused his sister’s death, we’d be rooting for him (and he’d probably be played by Jean Claude Van Damme). Instead, Lee Toric is by far one of the most despised characters on the show.

Part of that is due to the audiences tendency to vote against anyone acting against Jackson and the MC but the vast majority of the ill will against Mr. Toric is simply because he’s a very, very bad man. A drug addict who kills an innocent woman through sheer addled incompetence within a day or so of arriving, and who’s maverick sensibility essentially amounts to police brutality and doctored evidence and paperwork, Toric arrives in Charming and immediately sets to work obtaining any form of leverage he can against SAMCRO.

To return to the comparison, if this was a Van Damme movie, or a Seagal movie, he’d have gone to a bar, beaten some rednecks up, found out where the bad guys lived and then hit them there. Hard. As it stands, Toric uses the weapons that were always at his disposal: doctored evidence, framed witnesses and forced confessions. Not only is the poor murdered nurses vengeful brother actually worse than most of the bad guys we’ve seen during the course of the show, we hate him even more because he should be a good guy, working with the law to apprehend the bad guys.

His punishment of Otto should be a just and noble one, we should be encouraging him. Instead we cringe as Otto is, once again, brutalized beyond human endurance, this time beyond even his endurance. It’s fitting that Otto got to send Toric to meet his sister the same way he killed her. It shouldn’t be fitting, but that’s Sons Of Anarchy for you.

1. Agent June Stahl

FX

ATF Agent June Stahl is, by some long chalk, the most hated and despised character in the whole of Sons Of Anarchy and she’s the one that’s supposed to be upholding the law. Investigating the clubs involvement in arms dealing, Stahl attempted to co-opt well, pretty much everyone, showing no fear or favour as she stabbed anyone in the back that she could to achieve her aims. She tried to turn Opie, she tried to turn Luann, then she tried to turn Luann’s husband Otto (which was clearly a huge, huge mistake on her part, as anyone who knew Otto would have been able to tell her). Not finished, Stahl tries to turn the IRA against SAMCRO, Jax against the IRA, Clay against the IRA, and Chibs against SAMCRO.

When she finds out that white supremacist Ethan Zobelle is an FBI informant, she makes sure that the information gets to the MC as soon as possible. She makes deals with the IRA in order to get to the club, and then murders her IRA contact and frames Gemma for it. Stahl is, directly or indirectly, responsible for multiple murders, frame-jobs, cover-ups and the kidnapping of Jackson’s baby son by the IRA. She does all this for ambitions sake to begin with, and afterwards simply because she can. Shes a sniveling coward, arrogant with the apparent invulnerability that her badge gives her, yet crying and blubbering with fear when that invulnerability is shown to be an illusion.

Stahl’s final, sobbing comeuppance at Opies hands, her death echoing the death of his wife that Stahl caused, feels like a moment of natural justice in a television show that so rarely deals with the concept of justice, preferring instead to deal in vengeance.

Previous
Next
Please wait...

And Now... A Few Links From Our Sponsors

Loading...