"Sons of Anarchy" season 6 premiere became talk of the town when it was screened at TCA summer press tour last August. Now that it has hit airwaves, series creator Kurt Sutter once again explains the controversial scene in the September 10 episode.
At the end of the episode titled "Straw", [SPOILER ALERT!] a boy opened fire in a school, which might open the wound caused by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School a few months ago. Like the first time he defended the scene, Sutter says that he had mapped this story three years ago and didn't film it just to be controversial.
"I've wanted to do that story for about three years," he says. "I know obviously that it would be somewhat controversial, but I feel like as much as I wouldn't do something because it was controversial, I'm also not going to do something because it is [controversial]. It's an organic story to our world; thematically, it's the right fit."
Sutter believes the timing is right because the shooting and other events in the season opener "are really the catalyst for the third act of this morality play we're doing." He adds, "It sets everything in motion for this season that will ultimately lead to the end that then will bring us into the final season and what I see as the ultimate comeuppance of everything in terms of the series."
Asked why it had to be a 11-year-old boy who did the shooting and why it was set in elementary school, he explains, "I felt like I wanted it to be close enough to Jax's son's age to impact him. Somehow when you move it to high school and you're doing it with teenagers, not that it makes it okay by any means, but there's more responsibility on the individual at that point."
He continues reasoning, "When it's a child like that, who really can only be influenced by outside things, whether it's religion, obviously there's some mental illness going on ... To me, it puts the burden more on the people that caused it, rather than the individuals."
Sutter did seek approval from FX Networks CEO John Landgraf before he wrote the story. Landgraf even justifies the scene, telling TV Guide, "If you're going to portray things, you should portray them honestly and fully, and you should be willing to confront the consequences of it," adding that they agreed from the beginning "that he was going to find a way of portraying it that was respectful, that was non-explicit."
Sutter additionally says that he wasn't "making a political or social statement about gun violence" with the scene. "If it furthers [the debate] and brings more awareness and ultimately helps it, all that is great. But that's not my job," the screenwriter/producer stresses.
"Sons of Anarchy' 6.02 preview: