Over the course of its six seasons, Sons of Anarchy has had one of the largest casts on television. In addition to the leads of the show (Jax, Gemma, Clay, and Tara), there has always been an abundance of supporting characters that appear in every episode, so many sometimes that I feel like I almost need a family tree with names and pictures to remember every single member of SAMCRO. However, even though there has been a plethora of supporting stars throughout Sons of Anarchy‘s run, there have been some characters that stand above the rest. Here are my picks for the five best supporting characters on Sons of Anarchy. (For the record, in my opinion, you can still be a supporting character even if you are a series regular cast member.)
In the first season of Sons of Anarchy, Tig was nothing more than Clay’s follower. He did whatever the then-president said without questioning his orders, including trying to kill Opie when Clay believed he was a snitch. As everyone who has watched Sons of Anarchy knows, Tig actually shot and killed Opie’s wife, Donna, by mistake, making him the most despised character on the show. However, Tig’s come along way since that incredible low point in season one. He has since become a loyal, trustworthy, and even somewhat heroic member of the club and endured tremendous suffering (such as the murder of his daughter in front of him) and found redemption through his pain and his desire to do better. Plus, Tig’s also good for an off-colored and usually hilarious one-liner.
When Eli Roosevelt was introduced as the new sheriff of Charming in the season four premiere of Sons of Anarchy, I thought we were in store for another typical, by-the-books, law enforcement antagonist, who would constantly go up against SAMCRO no matter what. However, over his three seasons on the show, Roosevelt found an understanding with the Sons, even if he didn’t always agree with them. He realized that while they were criminals, they were also men who only wanted the best for Charming. I’ll miss Roosevelt during Sons of Anarchy‘s final season this fall.
I may not always be able to understand what he’s saying but that doesn’t make Chibbs any less great of a character. Always loyal, supportive, and compassionate, Chibbs gets my vote for favorite member of SAMCRO. Throughout season six, he served as a great VP to Jax, and no matter what a brother is going through (like Juice’s guilt-driven suicide attempt in season four), Chibbs is always there to help in anyway he can. Not to mention, you just can’t beat that Irish brogue.
Wayne Unser walked the fine line between corrupt and not corrupt when he was Charming’s sheriff, always helping the Sons of Anarchy when he could. However, when he was forced to retire due to his health, Unser essentially became a member of SAMCRO without the tattoos. He’s been an incredibly helpful ally, who has always has the guys’ backs if he believes what they’re doing is right or will fight against them if he knows that one of them is trying to do something horribly wrong (cough cough Clay cough cough). If there’s one fault that Unser has it’s that he loves Gemma too much, a love that will certainly be tested if he discovers that she was responsible for Tara’s death during the final season of Sons of Anarchy.
Opie is by far one of the best characters to ever be on Sons of Anarchy period. Throughout his five seasons on the show, Opie was the true definition of a supporting character, as he acted as Jax’s conscience as he rose to power as SAMCRO’s president, and Opie’s role was bolstered by the lead actor performance of Ryan Hurst, who put everything he had into every single one of his scenes. Opie’s death in season five of Sons of Anarchy still stands out to me as one of the saddest television deaths ever but not because of how gruesome or brutal or was. No, it was because, like Jax, we were saying goodbye to a dear friend that we all wished that we could have spent just a little more time with.
All photos via FX