Sons of Anarchy (season 1)

The first season of the American television drama series Sons of Anarchy premiered on September 3, 2008 and concluded on November 26, 2008 after 13 episodes aired on cable network FX. Created by Kurt Sutter, it is about the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in Charming, a fictional town in California's Central Valley. The show centers on protagonist Jackson "Jax" Teller (Charlie Hunnam), the then-vice president of the motorcycle club, who begins questioning the club and himself.

Sons of Anarchy (season 1)
Season 1 DVD cover
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes13
Original networkFX
Original releaseSeptember 3 (2008-09-03) 
November 26, 2008 (2008-11-26)
Season chronology

Sons of Anarchy is the story of the Teller-Morrow family of Charming, California, as well as other members of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO), their families, various Charming townspeople, allied and rival gangs, associates, and law agencies that undermine or support SAMCRO's legal and illegal enterprises.


The series begins with the destruction of a warehouse the club uses to store and assemble guns, which is their main source of income, by a rival MC right before the overdose of Jax's Methamphetamine-addicted ex-wife Wendy. An emergency C-section is performed, and their son Abel is delivered ten weeks prematurely. Jax finds his father's memoirs when he visits a storage unit to collect some old baby clothes. John Teller, Jax's father, was one of the founders of SAMCRO, and the book describes his trials with and hopes for the club. Jax's mother, Gemma Teller-Morrow, is now married to the President of SAMCRO, Clay Morrow. Jax's best friend Opie has just been released from prison for serving time for a club-related crime. The first season deals with Jax trying to reconcile things happening to the club with what he reads in his father's memoirs, Opie trying to take a lesser role in the club, and local and federal law enforcement trying to shut down SAMCRO.

Cast and characters

Main cast

Special guest cast

Recurring cast

Guest stars


The first season received generally positive reviews from industry critics. Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe said the first season had "real potential".[1] The New York Times’ Gina Bellafante spoke highly of the cast's acting ability, particularly Sagal’s portrayal of Gemma. Brian Lowry of Variety gave a mixed review, admiring Sutter’s creation of the club and the town of Charming but observing the early episodes lacked direction.[2]


Although Sons of Anarchy is set in Northern California's Central Valley, it is filmed primarily at Occidental Studios Stage 5A in North Hollywood. Main sets located there include the clubhouse, St. Thomas Hospital, and Jax's house. The production rooms at the studio used by the writing staff also double as the Charming police station. External scenes are often filmed nearby in Sun Valley and Tujunga.[3] Interior and exterior scenes set in Northern Ireland during season 3 were also filmed at Occidental Studios and surrounding areas. A second unit shot footage in Northern Ireland used in the third season.[4]

Originally, Scott Glenn was cast in the role of Clay Morrow and an entire pilot episode was filmed with him. However, series creator Kurt Sutter decided to go in a different direction with the character and re-cast Ron Perlman in the role, and Clay's scenes were re-shot.[5] Additionally, Emilio Rivera was originally cast as a Sons of Anarchy club member named "Hawk," who eventually evolved into the character of Tig Trager.[6] Also, the One-Niners street gang who buy weapons from SAMCRO first appeared in The Shield, which Sutter produced.


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
U.S. viewers
11"Pilot"Allen Coulter & Michael DinnerKurt SutterSeptember 3, 2008 (2008-09-03)1WAB792.53[7]
The Mayans Motorcycle Club raids a warehouse in Charming, California full of guns belonging to the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original chapter (SAMCRO), before burning it to the ground. Jackson "Jax" Teller, the vice president of SAMCRO, moves into the Sons of Anarchy clubhouse after leaving his pregnant ex-wife Wendy Case, a heroin and crystal-meth addict. While visiting a storage locker looking for old baby items, he discovers his deceased father John's old keepsakes, including a memoir of John's life as a founding member of the Sons of Anarchy. The memoirs detail John's high hopes for and disappointments in the Sons of Anarchy. Jax's mother Gemma worries that her son is going soft, and relays this fear to her husband, SAMCRO president Clay Morrow.
22"Seeds"Charles HaidKurt SutterSeptember 10, 2008 (2008-09-10)1WAB012.20[7]
Deputy Police Chief David Hale discovers the bodies of two undocumented immigrants (whom Tig Trager was harboring in exchange for sexual favors) under the ruins of SAMCRO's burned-down arms warehouse. Charming's crooked Police Chief Wayne Unser, who is retiring soon, promises to keep Hale off SAMCRO's trail if the club protects one of his delivery trucks. In order to distract the police for long enough to dispose of the bodies, Jax has Half-Sack dig up some recently-buried cadavers to dump in public. The gang hijacks Chief Unser's truck and blackmails him into delaying his retirement until SAMCRO can rebuild its gunrunning operation. Tara accuses Gemma of supplying Wendy, who is recovering from her overdose, with the heroin that almost killed her. Opie mulls the option of returning to SAMCRO in the face of mounting bills. Tig and Bobby retrieve the immigrants' bodies and have them cremated.
33"Fun Town"Stephen KayKurt SutterSeptember 17, 2008 (2008-09-17)1WAB022.10[7]
When Tristen - the teenage daughter of prominent Charming businessman and landowner Elliott Oswald - is raped during a visiting carnival, Oswald turns to SAMCRO for justice. The police look to Tristen for answers, but her parents protest, fearing that the case will attract media attention. SAMCRO's IRA connection arrives in Charming with a truckload of AK-47 rifles, hidden in oil barrels shipped from Dungloe. After Wendy regains consciousness, Tara prods her to find out if Gemma supplied her with heroin. Gemma brings Wendy flowers and warns her not to tell Tara anything. Gemma then visits Tristen and her mother, and convinces them to reveal the rapist's identity. SAMCRO hunts down the rapist, a carnival clown, and brings him to Elliott, who brings a special knife normally used to castrate bulls which he planned to use to castrate the rapist. When Elliott has a change of heart and backs down, Clay performs the castration himself, then bags the fingerprinted knife to use as blackmail against Elliott, as Clay worries that property developers interested in Elliott's land will bring unwelcome attention to Charming.
44"Patch Over"Paris BarclayJames D. ParriottSeptember 24, 2008 (2008-09-24)1WAB032.25[8]
The club travels to Indian Hills, Nevada to store arms with a brother club, The Devil's Tribe. When the Mayans pose a threat, Clay decides to "patch over" the Tribe, making them an official Sons of Anarchy charter. At a party celebrating the patching over, Half-Sack flirts with Cherry, a Tribe groupie, but Clay sleeps with her to punish Half-Sack for ogling Gemma. When Jax spots the Mayans' bikes idling outside a local bar, he lures them into an ambush at the Tribe's clubhouse. Joshua Kohn, an ATF agent, begins investigating SAMCRO and witnesses their shoot-out with the Mayans. Gemma attempts to learn more about Tara and warns her to keep away from Jax. Someone anonymously mails Tara a photo of Jax having sex with a girl he picked up on the way out to Indian Hills.
55"Giving Back"Tim HunterJack LoGiudiceOctober 1, 2008 (2008-10-01)1WAB042.19[7]
Gemma hosts a fundraiser for Charming High School, which brings Kyle Hobart, an excommunicated member responsible for Opie's arrest, back into town. Kyle and Opie settle their differences in a fistfight, but when Jax and Opie see that Kyle has not blacked out his Sons of Anarchy tattoo, they lure him to the clubhouse and have Tig burn it off with a blowtorch. Otto Delaney, a SAMCRO member imprisoned in Stockton, brokers a deal between Clay and Chuck Marstein, a bookkeeper and compulsive masturbator seeking protection from his former employers in the Chinese mafia. The gang helps Chuck retrieve money from its hiding place in a Chinese restaurant, but upon discovering that the money is counterfeited, make a deal to hand him over to mafioso Henry Lin. Tara is approached by Agent Kohn, who is a former lover of hers from Chicago, and against whom Tara has a restraining order.
66"AK-51"Seith MannNichole BeattieOctober 8, 2008 (2008-10-08)1WAB052.09[7]
Piney Winston brokers the sale of the IRA's AK-47's with Nate Meineke, an old war buddy. Meineke and several militia associates attack a police convoy to free an associate, killing three people including a police officer. Clay is detained by ATF Agent June Stahl under suspicion of supplying the militia with the weapons and the ATF secures a warrant to search Gemma's auto shop, forcing Jax to improvise by hiding the rest of the guns in a septic truck. When the ATF searches the clubhouse, Agent Kohn finds a picture of Tara with Jax and flies into a jealous rage, destroying Jax's room. Stahl learns that Kohn's supervisors in Chicago believe he is on vacation. Gemma learns about Clay's tryst with Cherry in Nevada and breaks Cherry's nose, earning herself a trip to jail, where she confronts Clay. Cherry assures Gemma that she isn't a threat, as she is interested in Half-Sack. Stahl lets Clay go free after the ATF finds no guns, though they did find the IRA's decoy barrels. To avoid further suspicion, SAMCRO blows up the militia's base in the woods.
77"Old Bones"Gwyneth Horder-PaytonDave EricksonOctober 15, 2008 (2008-10-15)1WAB061.87[7]
Tara asks Jax for a ride home from the hospital, and Agent Kohn follows them. Jax warns Kohn to stay away from Tara, and Kohn retaliates by breaking into Gemma's house and vandalizing Abel's nursery. Jax beats him savagely, and Kohn is fired for violating federal law and Tara's restraining order. A construction crew unearths the bones of three SAMCRO victims; two Mayans bikers and Lowell Harland Sr., the father of a mechanic at the auto shop. Clay tells Harland Jr. that his father was killed by the Mayans, but the police cause Harland Jr. to doubt Clay's account, and during a relapse, he accuses Clay of killing his father. Clay admits that he killed Harland Sr. because he was an abusive father and husband. Bobby tests Cherry's loyalty to Half-Sack by trying to sleep with her, but she rebuffs his advances. Clay, Tig, and Chibs fix a boxing match by placing a large bet against Half-Sack, but when Half-Sack misreads a hug between Cherry and Clay, he gets mad and K.O.'s his opponent instead of taking the fall.
88"The Pull"Guy FerlandKurt Sutter & Jack LoGiudiceOctober 22, 2008 (2008-10-22)1WAB072.14[7]
Ernest Darby, the leader of the Nordics, receives an envelope in the mail from ex-agent Kohn with evidence linking SAMCRO to the IRA. Darby offers the intel to Mayans leader Marcus Alvarez in exchange for the murder of Clay Morrow. With the IRA gun payment looming, SAMCRO scrambles to come up with the cash. They turn to Otto's wife Luann Delaney, a porn producer, for a generous loan, and get the rest by stealing a hijacked oil truck back from the Nords and selling it to Chief Wayne Unser. Half-Sack steals an ambulance in an attempt to repay the money lost on his fixed boxing match, an attempt for which he is thoroughly mocked. The Mayans make a failed attempt on Clay during his meeting with the IRA connection, Cameron Hayes. Hayes is injured in the attempt and is taken to the clubhouse in Half-Sack's ambulance. The Mayans also send men after Darby, but leave after killing the wrong man. Jax goes to Tara's to retrieve medical supplies for Hayes. When he leaves, Kohn ambushes Tara, holding her at gunpoint and professing his love to her. He coerces her into 'confessing' to having an abortion when they were together, and then begins to undress, leaving his holstered pistol on a bedside table. He pins Tara down and attempts to rape her, and she plays along long enough to grab his pistol and shoot him in the stomach. Tara calls Jax for help, and when Jax arrives he offers to call the police, but warns that when Kohn is released from prison, he will be free to come after Tara again. Kohn hears them talking about him in the next room, and calls Tara a "biker whore." Jax rushes into the room and shoots Kohn in the head, killing him instantly, to Tara's horror. Jax calms her down and the two share a kiss before making love just feet away from Kohn's body. Meanwhile, SAMCRO and the Mayans prepare to go to war.
99"Hell Followed"Billy GierhartBrett ConradOctober 29, 2008 (2008-10-29)1WAB082.06[7]
Jax buries Kohn in a shallow grave. Unser brings Clay and Darby in for questioning about the Mayans' attempts on their lives. Clay urges him to bring in Alvarez so that the three can parlay. Jax approaches Tara in the hospital for help patching up Hayes, who is in a bad way at the clubhouse. He asks her to stay in Charming despite all that's happened, and she agrees, confessing that Charming is the only place she felt safe. They return to the clubhouse and Tara patches up Hayes' wounds. Alvarez and Clay meet and negotiate a peace; Alvarez comes clean about Kohn's intel, and Clay offers to sell the Mayans arms for their turf war against the One-Niners. Clay warns Alvarez that his men will want blood for the attempted hit, and Alvarez offers up his son Esai, who is killed by Happy Lowman. Donna issues Opie an ultimatum: her or SAMCRO. Hayes offers to clear SAMCRO's gun debt and a free month of guns for the assassination of a whistleblower, Brenan Hefner. Opie volunteers to take on the job, and Clay sends Bobby and Jax along as backup. Opie freezes when faced with the act, and Bobby is forced to step in and finish the job. The three make a quick escape, but they are seen by Hefner's mistress. Jax returns to Kohn's grave to burn his corpse, and throws his father's memoirs into the fire before regretting his decision and retrieving the charred manuscript from the fire.
1010"Better Half"Mario Van PeeblesPat CharlesNovember 5, 2008 (2008-11-05)1WAB092.14[7]
The ATF commandeers the Charming police station, and Agent Stahl places Unser on leave for his dealings with SAMCRO. Stahl puts pressure on the women of SAMCRO, raiding down Luann's porn company and grilling Donna, Cherry, Tara, and Gemma. Stahl heads up to Stockton State Prison to coax a confession from Luann's husband Otto in exchange for leniency in Luann's case. Donna prepares to leave Opie once and for all. Cherry is arrested for the arson of her abusive husband's condo in Nevada, but Jax convinces Unser to grant him access to the jail, where he warns Luann about Stahl's ploy with Otto before breaking Cherry out. During the jailbreak, Jax sees Deputy Chief Hale and Agent Stahl having sex. Luann warns Otto that the ATF is attempting to bring RICO charges against SAMCRO, and upon Stahl's next visit to Stockton, Otto attacks her. Jax orders Happy to smuggle Hayes and Cherry up to Canada.
1111"Capybara"Stephen KayKurt Sutter & Dave EricksonNovember 12, 2008 (2008-11-12)1WAB102.22[7]
Although Luann is released, the ATF raids the SAMCRO clubhouse and arrests Bobby for the murder of Brenan Hefner. Opie, meanwhile, is nowhere to be found, though Juice Ortiz brings Clay and Tig evidence that Opie and his family may be in witness protection. Jax is skeptical of the evidence, and correctly intuits that Agent Stahl is trying to paint Opie as a turncoat. Deputy Chief Hale takes issue with Stahl's blasé attitude towards Opie's safety. Stahl tries to convince Donna that the club will kill Opie when he is released from custody. The ATF releases Opie after 48 hours, and unbeknownst to him bug his cellphone, bike, and car. Tig searches Opie's things during a SAMCRO meeting and finds the bugs. Believing that he has turned on the club, Tig and Clay agree that Opie has to die. Jax's ex-wife Wendy returns from rehab and has a friendly visit with Jax and Abel in the hospital, causing Tara to doubt her future with Jax. Gemma tells Wendy that if Wendy stays clean and gets her act together, Gemma will do what she can to ensure that Wendy and Jax get back together.
1212"The Sleep of Babies"Terrence O'HaraKurt SutterNovember 19, 2008 (2008-11-19)1WAB112.46[7]
Abel is finally healthy enough to return home. Wendy walks in on a tender moment between Jax and Tara and realizes that Gemma is using her to get to Tara. Wendy confronts Gemma, then notifies Tara that she intends to mend her relationship with Jax and that Gemma is determined to sabotage Jax and Tara's relationship. Having sold all of their arms from Ireland and strapped for cash to pay for Bobby's legal defense, Clay plans to sell the club's own guns to the Mayans. In Oakland, Clay and Jax are to pick up the guns, while Tig and Opie drop off the money. However, Clay has given Tig orders to kill Opie. Eager to play both sides of the war between the Mayans and One-Niners, Clay also makes arrangements with Laroy Wayne - leader of the One-Niners - to ambush the sale. Clay and Jax escape the ambush unscathed, and when given the chance to kill Opie, Tig balks. Tig tells Clay that he didn't get a chance to kill Opie during the chaos of the ambush, so Clay orders Tig to finish the job after Abel's homecoming party and to make it look like a drive-by perpetrated by the One-Niners. Feeling guilty that Stahl's actions have framed an innocent man, Hale tells Unser about the bugs the ATF planted on Opie. He then angrily confronts Stahl, who is being pulled from the cold case. At Abel's homecoming, Tara kisses Jax in front of Wendy, and slaps Jax when he privately asks her not to rub their relationship in Wendy's face. Tara leaves, as does Opie and his family. Opie takes the kids home in Donna's car, and Donna takes Opie's truck to run some errands for Gemma, who is busy hosting the party. Unser shows up at the party and tells Clay that Opie is innocent. Clay attempts to call off the hit, but Tig misses the call and shoots at Opie's truck with an UZI, accidentally killing Donna. SAMCRO is quick to arrive at the crime scene, and as everyone consoles a devastated Opie, Jax shoots a furious glare at Clay, and Hale blames a shocked Stahl for Donna's death. Back at their home, Wendy consoles Jax and the two have sex.
1313"The Revelator"Kurt SutterKurt SutterNovember 26, 2008 (2008-11-26)1WAB122.48[7]
Jax consoles Opie, who blames his choice to return to SAMCRO for Donna's death. Jax visits Tara at the hospital to check in on her and she breaks down, guilty over Kohn's murder and unsure about her future with Jax. She tells Jax of her plans to leave Charming, and he accuses her of using him to do her dirty work. Jax assures Tara that she is the only one he's ever loved. Gemma consoles a guilt-ridden Clay, but orders him to put on a strong face for his men. Opie's father Piney is eager to hit the One-Niners as 'revenge' for Donna's death, and demands satisfaction from Clay. Piney drives up to Oakland and demands a meeting with Laroy Wayne, and Clay sends Jax, Chibs, and Half-Sack after him to prevent him from making any messes. Wayne assures them that the Niners had nothing to do with Donna's killing. Bobby's lawyer Rosen warns Clay that Brenan Hefner's mistress is preparing to testify against Bobby and Opie, and Clay blackmails Elliott Oswald into helping SAMCRO figure out her identity so that they can silence her. Hale begs Unser to help him take down the club, but Unser flatly refuses, encouraging Hale to let the bikers serve their own justice. Hale reaches out to Jax and tells him that he suspects that Clay is guilty of ordering Opie's murder. Jax confronts Clay and demands the truth, but Clay lies and tells Jax to put it out of his mind for the good of SAMCRO. As Jax leaves the club, Juice informs him that Hefner's mistress is a 17-year old girl, and Jax rushes off to prevent her assassination. He stops Happy, Chibs, and Tig just before they finish the job, and then tussles with Tig (knowing he assassinated Donna on Clay's orders) in the safehouse before leaving and drinking himself to sleep in the Charming graveyard. He wakes up and walks to Donna's funeral. Tara gives him his SAMCRO kutte and a kiss, devastating Wendy. He shoots a knowing look at Clay, Gemma, and Tig before placing a flower on the coffin and walking off. Piney follows and hands Jax a fresh copy of his father's memoirs, declaring that it's "time for a change." Jax visits his father's grave and proclaims his agreement as Gemma and Clay look on, nervously.

Home media release

The first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 18, 2009.


  1. "Biker Gang Saga Anarchy, has Sopranos Appeal". Boston Globe.
  2. Lowry, Brian (August 29, 2008). "Sons of Anarchy". Variety.
  3. "Sons of Anarchy Filming Locations". Internet Movie Database.
  4. "First pictures Sons of Anarchy". Chicago Tribune. June 8, 2010.
  5. Hunnam, Glenn and Sagal in FX's Anarchy
  6. Emilio Rivera Talks SONS OF ANARCHY, a Guest Spot on THE MENTALIST, and Feature Projects
  7. Berman, Marc (January 30, 2010). "Sons of Anarchy Ratings". Mediaweek. Archived from the original on April 18, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2015.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  8. "FX Orders A 3rd Season Of Sons Of Anarchy". Seat42f. December 3, 2009. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
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