Blink and you may miss the coolest moment in Tuesday's season finale of FX's high-octane drama, Sons of Anarchy.
As a character sits in a jail cell, the TV plays a scene from The Shield, the high-octane FX series where Sons creator-executive producer Kurt Sutter worked before building his Shakespearean drama about a California biker gang (excuse me, motorcycle club).
The move is complete Sutter, a subtle shout-out to reward fans and friends that adds extra flavor to an action-packed episode capping a completely compelling season. And it comes during an episode that wasn't supposed to happen at all.
But Sutter, as the show's rebellious mad scientist, convinced the suits at FX to let him turn the last third of a planned 90-minute season finale into a new episode, airing at 10 p.m. Tuesday. It helps that Sons has been leading cable shows in ratings for viewers ages 18 to 49, even beating many network TV shows by leveraging a crackling season filled with blood and intrigue.
This season is resolving storylines Sutter first hinted at in the show's 2008 debut, as energetic hero Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam) realizes his stepfather and club leader Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman) killed his biological father and tried to kill his wife after she learned about the murder.
Last week, we saw Morrow barely survive being shot by the son of another club member he killed. In Tuesday's season finale, as police prepare to bust a high-stakes meeting among the club, Mexican drug cartel members and Irish drug runners, the question hangs: What can possibly come next?
Sutter, known for his brutal honesty both on Twitter and his blog Sutterink, was nice enough to answer some questions about all things Sons via email. Here's his take on wrapping another murderous season with Jax and the boys.
Deggans: Is this season about Jax realizing he can't live a healthy life in the club or being forced to excise Clay's evil from the club?
You've built some of the best antiheroes around. What's the key to keeping people engaged by characters who can be racist, sexist, gun-running murderers?
No secret. It's what all good dramas are supposed to have; real relatable characters. Whether they're dealing meth, saving children from burning buildings or shooting guys in the head. If you open them up, show layers of vulnerabilities and flaws, it makes them accessible. You don't have to like them; you just have to be drawn to them.
Your wife, Katey Sagal, plays the show's matriarch and she has been through a lot, from sexual assault to the ultimate beatdown from Clay. The only living character to get it worse is the character you play, imprisoned club member Otto Delaney. Are you guys just gluttons for punishment?
It's not so much about punishing as it is showing the violence that comes with the life. It's real. It happens. My goal on this show is to never let any bad deed go unkarma-ed. S--- doesn't happen in a vacuum. Violence begets violence. Rage begets rage. Betrayal begets betrayal. These are dangerous people making dangerous choices. This ain't the f------ Good Wife.
Your new character, Assistant U.S. Attorney Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon), was wonderfully quirky; mysterious and human at the same time. Is he based on a real person?
We did the research on federal DAs. They are the new rock stars of (organized crime prosecution). We rooted the character in reality, gave him a backstory, then turned the idea on its head to make him more interesting and unpredictable (the same way I did with Forest Whitaker's character on The Shield).
Any idea what project you'll tackle after Sons ends?
I'll continue in both features and TV. I want to direct a feature I wrote, Delivering Gen, which I realized I couldn't do during a hiatus. That's the first thing I'll probably do when I finish Sons. Then hopefully do another show. I love TV.
'Young Turks' widens liberal tone on Current
This is an idea that may stun some conservatives, but there are folks out there who think left-leaning cable channel MSNBC isn't liberal enough.
One of them is Cenk Uygur (pronounced JEH-nk YOO-gur), host of the popular YouTube show the Young Turks, who hosted the 6 p.m. weekday time slot on MSNBC for about six months this year until the channel tried moving him to weekends and he left. (Al Sharpton eventually took over at 6 p.m.)
Now, Uygur will join fellow MSNBC expatriate Keith Olbermann on the Al Gore-owned Current TV at 7 tonight, hosting The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur just before Olbermann's transplanted Countdown.
"MSNBC is a pro-Democrat channel except when they're not and they air (conservative Republican Joe Scarborough's show) Morning Joe," Uygur said. "Current is an actual progressive channel. So if there is some Democratic politician who is not remotely (liberal), believe me, they're going to get called out on Current."
Current seems to be building a prime time lineup to challenge MSNBC for liberal viewers. It is also developing a 9 p.m. show, The War Room, featuring former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, to debut in January.
"MSNBC is conservative in the morning, news during the day and quasi-liberal at night," said David Bohrman, who left a top job at CNN to become president of Current. "They put Cenk in a tie and tried to have him be a clone of Keith. That's completely misunderstanding the vibe of the Young Turks."
Instead, Bohrman decreed, no ties and no TelePrompTers for the show, which will try to translate Uygur's 30 million monthly YouTube views into a freewheeling, cable TV version of the Young Turks.
"It is an absolute fact that almost every decision in politics goes back to money … but on all of cable news, they never talk about the influence of money," Uygur said. "And they take these politicians at face value on what they believe. They don't believe anything; all they want to do is take the money and do the bidding of the people who paid them."