If you saw this week’s Sons of Anarchy episode, “Wolfsangel,” you know how bloody it was. Even for Sons of Anarchy, it featured an unusually large number of bodies dropping, especially the bodies of significant characters. But two of those deaths weren’t planned, and had to be written into the show for scheduling reasons.
Indeed, while “Wolfsangel” worked as a great, action-packed, and shocking stand-alone episode, what didn’t make sense in the context of the entire season was the climactic death of Donal Logue’s character, Lee Toric. As I explained in the recap, it felt too sudden, seemingly dead-ending several running plotlines before they’d been concluded.
Turns out, there was a reason for Toric’s abrupt departure, as Kurt Sutter explains to EW:
Logue, who’s contracted to be a series regular in season 2 of History’s Vikings, had to leave much sooner than anticipated to begin shooting that show in Ireland in June. “Donal felt awful,” Sutter says. “We had set up this season-long arc for this character, and suddenly I didn’t have the actor. It’s just sort of the nature of the business, and so, what I always try to do when that stuff happens is say, ‘Okay, how do I turn a negative into a positive?’ That’s happened to us before where we lost actors and had to make changes, and ultimately, we managed to do it fairly seamlessly and sometimes it even works to the benefit of the show…. In Season 3, we couldn’t make a deal with the actor who played David Hale [Tyler Sheridan], so that character ended up going away, and what we were able to do is put a lot of that onto Unser [Dayton Callie], and that’s really what blew up that character. I’m so glad I was able to do that because he’s become such an integral part of the show.”
So, how does Sutter plan to continue Logue’s plotlines without Logue? More CCH Pounder:
Going back to the drawing board for season 6, Sutter saw that he could beef up the role of DA Patterson (CCH Pounder). “I was sort of like, ‘Well, okay. I guess this is supposed to be. Let me just figure out how to put it into her court.’ And so what I ended up doing is taking a lot of the antagonistic qualities that Donal was going to carry and finding a way to bring it around and make it Patterson’s quest and Eli’s quest,” Sutter says. “It’s interesting because it’s a little bit different energy. You had a character like Toric, who is really kind of out there, as opposed to Patterson, who’s much more by the book but equally as much of a threat.”
Although not originally planned for this episode, Otto had to taken out too, although his death felt more organic (and merciful):
“I just felt like Otto has killed so many f—ing people in jail at this point, I could not have him do some other horrific act of violence and not take a half-dozen bullets in the chest because it would have been too ridiculous for him to get away with yet another one,” Sutter says. “So, I was like alright. It’s time to go.” Was that how he’d always envisioned Otto’s demise? “I had this idea about Otto ultimately maybe getting the gas chamber or a lethal injection. That would be an interesting way to go,” he admits, “but then the more I thought about that, the more it just didn’t feel like our show. I just thought there’s only one way this guy can go out. After all the violence he’s perpetrated, his karmic energy is he just has to go out bloody and violently. He can’t go out peacefully. So, ultimately I think that was probably the way he was going to go anyhow.”
Well, that explains it. Does this mean the Irish plotline gets elevated this season, or will the school shooting plotline continue along as planned, with other characters taking over Logue’s characteristics. Maybe we will get to see CCH Pounder go loony. Hopefully, it will also somehow mean more C. Thomas Howell.