Sons of Anarchy - Kurt Sutter, director Paris Barclay and cast members Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst, Theo Rossi and Dayton Callie
Writer /creator Kurt Sutter, director Paris Barclay and cast members Katey Sagal, Ron Perlman, Maggie Siff, Kim Coates, Mark Boone Junior, Tommy Flanagan, Ryan Hurst, Theo Rossi and Dayton Callie answer questions from television critics during the session on Saturday, Aug. 6 at the 2011 Summer TCA at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA © 2011 FX

On September 6th, the TV drama, Sons of Anarchy, which follows the tumultuous relationships between members of an outlaw motorcycle club in the fictional town of Charming, California, returns for its 4th season.

The series stars Ron Perlman as Clay, the President of the Club, Katey Sagal as his wife Gemma, Charlie Hunnam as Jax, Gemma’s son, Maggie Siff as Tara, Jax’s girlfriend, and Theo Rossi as Juice and Mark Boone Junior as Bobby, both members of the Club.

At the end of last season, several SAMCRO members were sent to prison for their illegal practices. As the series resumes, fourteen months of prison life have gone by the club members are about to be released.

It’s been 14 months that these guys have been in jail. What has changed for them? What was the experience like, and how has Charming changed in their absence?

Sons of Anarchy - Ron Perlman
Clarence ‘Clay’ Morrow (Ron Perlman) © 2011 FX, Photo by Prashant Gupta

Ron Perlman: Well, Charming has changed rather dramatically. Sheriff Unser has been retired. We have a new sheriff who we haven’t met yet. We come to meet him very early on and come to dislike him very quickly thereafter.

We have a new mayor, Jacob Hale (played by Jeff Kober), who is determined to change the spiritual socioeconomic makeup of the town.

So we come out to a transformed environment, to a place where they’ve tried to scapegoat the club and say the Sons of Anarchy are responsible for all the ills that you’ve ever experienced in Charming.

We’ve got our work cut out for us because the town has always been something that was partially in our own image of what it was we found tolerable about a decent mom-and-pop, rural American place.

And how has prison changed your character?

Ron: I’m bisexual now!

Sons of Anarchy - Theo Rossi
Jean Carlos ‘Juice’ Ortiz (Theo Rossi) © 2011 FX

Theo Rossi: How has prison changes us? Fourteen months is a long time.

For my character, Juice, this was his first long prison stretch, and I think it’s really made him delve much deeper into the club and really just get involve with these guys, because now it’s real.

It’s realer than it’s ever been for Juice. And his prison stretched only established that more for him.

During those fourteen months the burden fell on the women to run the business.

Sons of Anarchy - Maggie Siff
Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) © 2011 FX

Maggie Siff: I think that the fourteen months is a strange time for the women, because in one sense it’s very peaceful. There’s a reprieve from all of the general shenanigans that happen in Charming.

My character, Tara, has had a child, and so there’s a real sense of waiting.

Also Tara is sitting with a whole bunch of information from those letters that she read at the end of last season (from John Teller, Jax’s father, who had found out of Clay and Gemma’s relationship, fearing they would murder him).

My feeling is that those fourteen months have been a gestation period in more ways than one. There’s having the child, caring for the child, and then beginning to try to think about what the family could be in a longer-term way.

I think my character’s investment in the safety of my family is taken to a whole other level, and I’m sitting on all of this information. So there are a lot of things going on in my mind in terms of trying to plan for the future, and I need to wait for Jax to come home and see where we are in order to do that.

Katey, last season Gemma went to Ireland to find her kidnapped grandson, Abel. It was such a huge event for your character. What did that year feel like to you?

Sons of Anarchy - Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman
Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) and Clarence ‘Clay’ Morrow (Ron Perlman) © 2011 FX

Katey Segal: Last year I thought it was bold and brave to take us out of where we were in the story that Kurt wanted to tell. As actors we didn’t get to see each other quite so much. We were in different countries, and it played out that way.

That sometimes felt a little odd, but it worked with the story. There we were in this other country, trying to desperately get my grandson back. And so that felt splintered as, I think, was appropriate.

And this season feels different, but splintered in another way because there’s a lot of internal struggle that goes on this season. I think as an actor I really like seeing some of the people I wasn’t able to see that much last year, so that’s kind of fun.

Sons of Anarchy - Mark Boone Junior
Robert Munson (Mark Boone Junior) © 2011 FX

Mark Boone Junior: This year it seemed there’s a lot more about what our personal relationships are about.

The troubles that are brought on the club this year, it seems like we bring them on ourselves somehow as opposed to exterior things. We invite them into our lives, and that’s really what it’s been about for me.

Do you have any freaky stories where really scary people have walked up to you out of the blue and said, ‘Hey, I really like your show?’

Katey: I actually got asked for my autograph. I went to get my daughter her driver’s license. I was at the DMV and this guy asked me to sign the back of his parole officer’s card. He said he watched us in prison and he was really excited to meet me.

And there was also a time where a guy had Charlie (Hunnam) and I both write our names on him, and he walked away and came back 15 minutes later and he had had them tattooed, these huge names, on his body. That was kind of interesting!

Do you have any great guest stars this season?

Ron: We have the great Danny Trejo all season long doing a rather powerful arc on the show, so there’s some major gravitas.

Katey, since your Golden Globe Award, have you found that more people are aware of the show?

Katey: It’s been a very nice compliment to get the Golden Globe, but I think that more awareness for the show has happened from Netflix more than winning the Golden Globe. We’ll see what kind of audience response we get to Season 4.

I would like to think that any kind of notoriety we get will bring some more eyeballs. I just know for me personally it was really wonderful, so we’ll see if it brings more viewers.


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.