Sons of Anarchy is one of the best TV series of its era, thanks to its excellent drama and wonderful array of gritty characters. Of course, these include the likes of Jax Teller, Clay Morrow, Chibs Tellord, and Gemma Teller, played by Katey Sagal.
Sagal is the partner of Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, and the pair were together long before the drama series ever hit screens. Their relationship informed the development of the show and Sagal revealed that this, and her place in her life, was the direct inspiration for the character of Gemma Teller.
Speaking to NPR back in 2012, Sagal shared her story of how her character was created from the pair’s relationship. “[Kurt Sutter’s] idea [for Sons of Anarchy] came from meeting with our other executive producers who had wanted to do a movie in this arena. And he thought it would be a good television series, and so he wrote this world which sort of had a Hamlet arc about it, and there was definitely the mother of our Hamlet.
“And so he came to me as he was writing it, and said ‘I think I have a part for you,’ but he didn’t really tell me what it was. And I didn’t really know what it was until I actually read the script.” Sagal continued, explaining, “But he did write it with me in mind, and then we were hoping the network would sign off on that. If you asked him, what he would tell you probably is when he came into my life, I already had two children, and he’s their stepparent, and I was very protective of my children.
“He hadn’t been around that kind of energy quite so much, so I think that’s what was the springboard for Gemma. It was not so much the heinous things she does; it was that at her core, her motivation is her children, is her child. At any cost, she will protect him and her club.”
That direct, real-life inspiration for characters informed lots of Sons of Anarchy, which is partly what helps the series to feel so real and grounded. For any fans of Gemma Teller, knowing that her character comes from inspiration from the experiences of Sutter and Sagal won’t be a huge shock.
For more on Sons of Anarchy, learn about the major Yellowstone connection that you probably missed. Or, find out what we know about the Mayans MC season 5 release date.