'Sons of Anarchy': Another beloved character says goodbye
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read this post if you haven't watched the third season premiere of "Sons of Anarchy."
If fans of the FX drama didn't catch their breath over the hiatus, it's not going to happen now. Still reeling from the kidnapping of baby Abel and the gruesome and sad stabbing death of everyone's favorite Prospect (Johnny Lewis), viewers now must also cope with the sudden passing of Deputy Chief David Hale.
And we mean sudden.
When that other outlaw gang showed up at Prospect's viewing and opened fire on SAMCRO, a lot of blood was shed.
But we never saw it coming — the gangster van that plowed into the almost chief of police, killing him instantly.
"As far as deaths on that show go, it was about as merciful as I can remember," actor Tayler Sheridan, who played Hale, said during a phone interview. "It was fitting to Hale that he went out in battle without any regard or awareness."
If it's any consolation, Hale didn't die alone. About 4.1 million viewers tuned in Tuesday night, making the premiere the third-highest-watched episode of the series and the year's most-watched telecast among 18-to-49-year-old viewers, according to figures released by FX.
For an actor who loved his role and working on the top-rated series, Sheridan took his forced departure well. Creator and executive producer Kurt Sutter explained his plans to the actor well in advance of the script landing on his doorstep.
"It was quite a difficult secret to keep, but I think it was really a great warrior’s death for him," Sheridan said. "I think it’s very bold and very daring, and ordinarily in a series they don’t do that to characters that are so interwoven. It's artistically a pretty incredible choice, even though I would have loved to have done the show for longer."
Hale was the kind of character that grew on viewers. When we first met him in the first season, he was a self-righteous man of the law who saw life in black and white. As time passed, his humanity broke through his shield and, although he remained on the right side of the law, he was willing to help friends from the other side.
"That’s the brilliance of the show," Sheridan said. "As much as 'Sons of Anarchy' is a stylized, highly dramatized version of this way of life, in certain ways it mirrors this way of life quite well in that justice isn’t always served. The good guy doesn’t always win. The bad guy doesn’t always get caught. Things happen to people that it shouldn’t happen to. It’s really what keeps the audience glued together."
Working on the show has spoiled Sheridan in a way.
"It makes it difficult to choose what to do next because I feel the bar’s been set so high for the next project," he said. "So I find myself walking away from things that two or three years ago I would have been very happy to have been involved in. It’s such a unique group of actors that have worked on so many different projects, so they bring a wealth of experience and playfulness. We kind of teasingly played our roles off-set as well. The cops-and-robbers thing. We had fun with that, and I’ll miss that."
His next project has nothing to do with acting.
"I’m about to be a father, any day now," he said. "That’s really been my focus the past few months. Once I figure out how to change a diaper, I’ll probably start looking for what to do next."
— Maria Elena Fernandez
Photo: Tayler Sheridan as Deputy Chief Hale on "Sons of Anarchy." Credit: Prashant Gupta/FX
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