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Ron Perlman reveals why his Sons of Anarchy character had to die

Ron Perlman starred in the biker gang thriller series as Clay Morrow but, like many of the show's characters, he experienced a brutal end.

Ron Perlman as Clay in thriller series Sons of Anarchy

One of the most memorable characters in the thriller series Sons of Anarchy was Clay Morrow, as embodied by Ron Perlman. The character was violently killed off in season six, but it’s a move Perlman understood was inevitable.

Even Clay saw his death coming, cooperating with Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and the rest of the SAMCRO as they staged his death to look like a fight with the Irish gang. He was executed by Jax in the episode Aon Rud Persanta, which aired in 2013.

TV series creator Kurt Sutter has openly spoken about the fact his drama series was inspired by William Shakespeare play Hamlet, which is part of what clued in Perlman as to his inevitable demise.

“I’m playing Claudius, and Claudius doesn’t make it to Act 5. So I was ready for this,” Perlman told Entertainment Weekly. “If it’s an examination of power, you have to see the new king when he’s not mirrored by the resonances of the old king. You have to see what he does when he stands alone in the world. And as long as Clay is around, he can’t do that.”

Perlman might have expected what was coming, but he didn’t want to know too far in advance how exactly his character’s farewell would play out on screen.

“There was not a whole lot that was shared in terms of how it would play out. I’ve always been a fan of not knowing, of getting the scripts and dealing with what I see when I see it. So I was okay with not knowing what it was going to look like,” he said.

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“Kurt Sutter did mention that Clay would be seeking some sort of personal redemption. I didn’t know how that was going to play out, whether it was going to be a material kind where he was given back some of the things that were taken from him or just a spiritual kind, where he was going to commit some sort of act of self-sacrifice.”

For more from Sutter’s world, find out about the Mayans MC season 5 release date. You can also check out our lists of the best anime series, the best horror series, and the best comedy series if you’re after a change of tone.