• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


Farm-Fresh balance.pngYMMVTransmit blue.pngRadarWikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotes • (Emoticon happy.pngFunnyHeart.pngHeartwarmingSilk award star gold 3.pngAwesome) • Refridgerator.pngFridgeGroup.pngCharactersScript edit.pngFanfic RecsSkull0.pngNightmare FuelRsz 1rsz 2rsz 1shout-out icon.pngShout OutMagnifier.pngPlotGota icono.pngTear JerkerBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersHelp.pngTriviaWMGFilmRoll-small.pngRecapRainbow.pngHo YayPhoto link.pngImage LinksNyan-Cat-Original.pngMemesHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconicLibrary science symbol .svg SourceSetting

Sons of Anarchy is a television drama series from the FX network; it was created by former The Shield writer Kurt Sutter. The series, which can be described as "Hamlet meets the Hell's Angels", focuses on the criminal exploits of the Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club in the northern Californian town of Charming.

The Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original (SAMCRO, Sam Crow, the Sons, or just Sons of Anarchy) is a motorcycle club that sells guns to various gangs, all the while "protecting" the town, in order to preserve Charming as a small town unmolested by big corporations, chain stores, and other corrupt aspects of upper-class suburbia. The main character/Hamlet analogue is Jackson "Jax" Teller, son of deceased founder John Teller and step-son of the current leader of the group, Clay Morrow. The series begins with Jax entering fatherhood as his ex-wife gives birth to their first-born son, while at the same time discovering a manifesto his father wrote prior to his death in which he decries how his hippie biker club became an organized crime syndicate that was the very thing that he was rebelling against when he conceived of the club.

The manifesto inspires Jax to try and steer the club towards his father's original vision by attempting to move the club away from organized crime. Needless to say, this does not go over well with the Evilly Affable Clay or his Affably Evil mother Gemma; the show implies that they had Jax's father murdered when he began "going soft" on them.

Like The Shield, Sons has a rich supporting cast of characters balancing out the Hamlet-esque drama; other bikers include Bobby Munson (a bookmaker/Elvis impersonator by day and a biker by night), Tig Trager (Clay's right-hand man and chief enforcer who has some bizarre sexual habits), Opie (Jax's best friend, whose interests are also split between the club and his family), Opie's father Piney (who founded the club along with John Teller), Juice (a Hispanic computer geek from Queens), Chibbs (a Scottish former Army medic and one-time member of the IRA), Half-Sack (a young Iraq war vet/"prospect" who lost a testicle in action), and Happy (a ruthless triggerman for the club).

On the civilian side, there is Tara (a doctor who was Jax's childhood sweetheart, who serves as the chief threat to Gemma's control over her son), corrupt Police Chief Unser, his straight-as-an-arrow deputy (and potential successor) David Hale, and Agent June Stahl.

While the show borrows heavily from Hamlet, much of the drama comes from the gang's criminal exploits and the Faustian implications of SAMCRO's presence within Charming. This has led to the wealthier elements of the town to make their own (even worse) Faustian pacts, such as bringing in white supremacists into Charming (see Season Two) to destroy SAMCRO by any means necessary.

The show provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Season two was supposed to feature the introduction of the Tacoma Washington branch of SAMCRO. Their criminal specialty would be established as robbing banks along the west coast, resulting in an episode where they would team-up with Opie and several other SAMCRO members in robbing a bank, in order to obtain the money needed to bail Jax/Clay/Juice/Bobby/Tig from jail after their arrest. As it stands, the plotline got dropped save for the introduction of the Tacoma Branch's Sgt. At Arms Herman Kozik. The storyline was eventually reworked for Season 4, only now its the Tucson, Arizona chapter and they're involved in drug dealing with the cartel.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Stephen King appears in a cameo role as a "cleaner" called Bachman, a reference to his old Pen Name, Richard Bachman.
    • When planning Gemma's hiding in Canada Tig suggests her to "go redhead," referencing Katy Sagal's role as Peg Bundy in Married... with Children. Gemma states that she'd rather shave her head.
    • When Jax takes Luann to the new porn studio she is initially afraid that he is going to murder her. Jax tells her he isn't going to "go Adrianna" on her. A reference to Drea De Matteo (who played Jax's son's mother)'s character from The Sopranos.
    • Chibs' name dropping another movie he was in.

 Chibs: I love the green! All about the Benjamins!"

    • A basketball player calls Kozik a "lemonheaded sucka." Hmm, didn't Kenny Johnson play a guy in a certain TV show where his nickname was "Lem," which was short for "Lemonhead"?
  • Affably Evil: Pretty much everyone in the motorcycle club, including the group's matriarch Gemma Teller.
  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Sons, which finances itself in the blackmarket arms trade. The members of the Charming chapter are completely capable of violence and murder, but are also more moral than other outlaw bikers, having formed a truce with the local police and community. Other chapters of the gang, as well as other gangs in the area, are little more than thugs. The show occasionally shows the contrast between outlaw bikers and regular bikers.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys:
    • Jax and Tara
    • Donna and Opie
    • Lyla and Opie
    • Gemma's dad's caretaker and Tig
  • Angry Black Man: Lampshaded by Tig and Clay when they plan to frame the One-Niners

 Tig: Blame it on the angry black man.

Clay: It's the American Way

  • Animal Motifs: The crow is a recurring symbol of the club.
  • Anti-Hero: Jax straddles the line between Types IV and V. The rest of the gang is straight Type V
  • Anyone Can Die: Half-Sack, Piney Winston, Kozik, Hale, Stahl.
  • Ass Shove: Early in the show, the Sons raid a warehouse where the Mayans are working with a NORD. After killing them all, the Sons pile the bodies and insert a lit stick of dynamite into the NORD's butt as a final insult.
  • Ax Crazy:
    • Josh Kohn
    • Salazar comes close. Plus he uses an actual axe
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted; Jax's relationship with his ex-wife does not get saved by the birth of their first born.
  • Badass Beard/Beard of Evil: Most of the club has one or both of these. YMMV as to who has which.
  • Badass Grandpa:
    • Piney. The man uses his portable oxygen tank as a melee weapon!
    • Clay is still dangerous even as he's facing crippling arthritis in his hands.
    • Father Ashby easily tosses Jax on his ass when the younger man rushes him.
  • Badass Bikers: A show built around the trope.
  • Badass Preacher: Father Ashby. Looks old and slow. Turns out he's just resting.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • This is how Zobelle deals with biker gangs who stand in his way. He finds a way of provoking them into brash, violent action, calls the cops and the bikers end up getting arrested and jailed for a long time. The only reason this initially fails to work with the Sons is because he underestimated Gemma.
    • Agent Stahl uses a number of Batman gambits on the Sons but they all fail since she does not understand what makes them really tick.
    • U.S. Attorney Potter seems to be playing Batman gambits on both Otto and Juice
    • Jax was able to exploit Agent Stahl's arrogance to make her think that she has beaten SAMCRO and thus they were no longer a threat to her. This was part of a larger Xanatos Gambit, and therefore workable either way, but if the Batman Gambit failed the Sons would have been in a much weaker position with both the IRA and the Russians gunning for them.
  • Berserk Button: Tara does not take disrespect of her association with the club well. She also freaks out at threats to the integrity of her family.
  • Big Bad
    • Season 2: Ethan Zobelle
    • Season 3: Jimmy O'Phelan
    • Season 4: Clay Morrow
  • Black and Gray Morality: SAMCRO is a criminal organization that deals in illegal firearms and routinely commits other crimes like armed robbery and even murder. But the other criminal gangs they clash with are almost always even worse.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Gemma being gang-raped by white supremacists in the season two opener
    • Otto does this to Agent Stahl when he breaks her nose after she tries to trick him into giving her evidence to open a RICO case against the club.
    • Agent Stahl herself intends to do this to SAMCRO by turning them against each other and thus subverting the principles of loyalty and brotherhood the bikers are so proud of. This becomes the primary motive in seasons 2 and 3. She fails and the Sons break her instead
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Jax and Trinity, though they find out before they go all the way.
  • Bungled Suicide: Juice tries several times to hang himself. When he does manage to jump off, the branch snaps.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer:
    • Chuck Marstein is a skilled criminal accountant who developes a compulsive tic: unconscious masturbation. He has his problem "cured" by a rival gang leader who amputates all but his forefingers.
    • Bobby is an Elvis impersonator on the side, which seems seriously out of place in an outlaw biker gang. He is also a stone cold killer.
    • Bachman, the crime scene cleaner, is an oddball and apparently likes to listen to Eighties music when he disposes of corpses.
    • Lincoln Potter, the Assistent U.S. Attorney who's investigating the Sons. He has a number of strange mannerisms that get the Sheriff to call him "a weird dude." He says that his behavior does serve a purpose, but it's also because he doesn't like most people.
  • Butt Monkey: Half-Sack and Chuck.
  • Can't Stop the Signal: Tara makes copies of Teller's letters.
  • Career Killers: Happy's primary function for the club is killing, but assassination missions are given to a number of club members. Clay also hires one from outside the club.
  • The Cast Showoff: Katy Sagal has worked as a professional singer. She provides vocals for several songs used in the show.
  • Celebrity Paradox: The Shield appears in one season. Kozik and Agent Kohn previously appeared on that show as Det. Lemansky and Wagenbach, respectively. As did the One-Niners gang.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The ambulance stolen by Half-Sack on Season 1's "The Pull"
    • Maureen's message for Jax.
  • The Chessmaster:
    • Ethan Zobelle
    • Stahl, who repeatedly attempts to play this role, though her plans all eventually have unfortunate consequences.
    • Jax Teller shows throughout the show that he has the best head for intrigue. This is particularly notable when he utterly outplays Agent Stahl at the season 3 finale.
    • U.S. Attorney Potter seems to be a few steps ahead of the Sons and they are not even aware of his existance yet
  • Child Soldiers:
    • Jimmy O'Phelan's recruiting these to employ as muscle
    • Weston's son Dukie who tries to shoot the Sons and police who come to raid their house.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Sean Casey of the IRA subjects Liam O'Neill to this. While Happy watches with a smile.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: While it's not prominent, the gangs display their own colours. Samcro wears a lot of blue, Mayans have green and the One-Niners purple.
  • Cool Old Guy: Bobby, also Piney and, to a lesser extent, Unser.
  • Combat Sadomasochist: Tig
  • The Consigliere: Father Kellan for the True IRA Council
  • Corrupt Cop: Just about all of the local cops except Hale are in league with the Sons. Outside of the local cops, Agent Stahl is a particularly notable example, going from cocky crusading cop to dirty cop to cold-blooded murderer in just a few seasons. Hale is a notable aversion, though he still goes dirty once when he allies with Lincoln Potter and later regrets the decision.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Zobelle, though he's a small business owner rather than a corporate stooge.
  • Corrupt Politician: Jacob Hale becomes mayor just so he can streamline his real estate ventures. He doesn't even do a whole lot to conceal it, either.
  • Crossover: One of the gangs featured, the One-Niners, also appeared in The Shield.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Half Sack is an Iraq War veteran and a surprisingly skilled boxer.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Nobody actually bothers to talk about it, but it's worth mentioning that Opie went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Clay for killing Piney. This begat Tig going on one against the Niners because he believed they had shot Clay, and then that begat the leader of the niners to start his own rampage against SAMCRO for attacking and killing some of his people in broad daylight.
  • Dark Action Girl: Polly, Ethan's daughter. Luisa, Salazar's girlfriend
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gemma. As well as Agent Stahl.
  • Deal with the Devil: The running theme of the series.
    • SAMCRO is able to run roughshod over the town and its law enforcement officers in exchange for keeping outside influences out of the town.
    • Kurt Sutter recently posted backstory material on his blog, stating that the SAMCRO/IRA relationship was born out of a deal with the devil. The massive medical bills from when Jax's younger brother was in the hospital due to his ultimately fatal illness, led to SAMCRO entering into their alliance with the IRA, just so that John and Gemma could avoid bankruptcy.
    • When Jax makes a deal with Agent Stahl it's hard to distinguish whether the career criminal or the federal law enforcement agent is the 'devil' in that bargain.
    • In the season 4 finale Jax is forced into another deal like that when he receives An Offer You Can't Refuse from the CIA
  • Depraved Bisexual:
    • Possibly Tig, if an offhand comment is correct.
    • Agent Stahl is seen having sex with Deputy David Hale in season 2 and in bed with Agent Amy Tyler in season 3.
  • Dirty Cop:
    • Unser works with SAMCRO, though he insists that he does it for the sake of Charming.
    • Agent Stahl frames someone else for her wrongful shooting, then later outright murders her lover to further her career.
  • Disney Villain Death: Clay executes a traitorous IRA biker by shoving him off a roof.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Season 2 ends on one. Jax's son has been kidnapped, Gemma is a wanted fugitive, and Half-Sack is dead.
    • Season 1 also doesn't end well.
  • The Dragon:
    • Tig and Happy fill this role for Clay.
    • AJ Weston for Zobelle.
    • Luke Moran for Jimmy O'Phelan on Northern California. Donny fills this role in Belfast.
    • Darby is recruited by Jacob Hale to act his Dragon but he quickly resigns. Then, Hale seeks out Hector Salazar, of the Calaveras MC. However, Salazar pulls a Dragon with an Agenda and blackmails Hale.
    • Liam O'Neill, SAMBEL Sgt-at-arms.
    • Sean, for Father Ashby.
    • Luis Torres for "Romeo" Parada.
    • Roosevelt for Lincoln Potter, who acts somewhat like The Man Behind the Man.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Otto. Subverted, since he fails and it was actually part of a plan to get revenge for Jax by killing the Russian that stabbed him while in Prison. Possibly a double subversion when Otto asks Potter to get his execution date moved up as part of his deal to become Th eMole.
    • Juice, due to his heritage (he's half-black, a no-no for the club) and the fact that he killed Miles. He bungles it, however.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him:
    • Hale, who's killed off suddenly in the opening of season 3.
    • Kozik, who's given a sudden and anticlimactic death by landmine. The main cast drinks a shot in his memory and the show continues as if nothing happened. Even his vitriolic best bud Tig barely bats an eyelash.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Minor example: in the early episodes Tig, Opie, Bobby and Chibs all have noticeably shorter hair than in later seasons and some are missing facial hair. The cast clearly started growing out their hair upon landing the role and continued letting it grow as the seasons progressed.
  • Easy Evangelism: Subverted; after being gang raped and forced to hide what happened to her in order to keep her family from going to jail for murdering her attackers, Gemma does some soul searching of the God variety and ends up coming to the conclusion that God wants her to kill the woman who colluded with the rapists.
  • Equal Opportunity Evil: The Sons seem pretty progressive for an outlaw motorcycle gang, which helps keep them sympathetic for the majority of the show, but typical outlaw biker bigotry occasionally rears its head to remind us that these aren't boy scouts.
    • For seasons one through three, a positive aspect of the group was that they were largely shown to treat their women with respect, and Gemma even wields a lot of power as the club's Team Mom. But season four ended this with Clay savagely beating Gemma and cursing her out. Jax also beats up a porn star who was creating havoc with Jax and Opie's lives.
    • Similarly, the group accepts Latino and Jewish members into their ranks and also have black and Latino allies. One member has a black lover and mixed-race children. Most real outlaw biker groups are racially segregated, and white gangs often have strong White Supremacist ties. However, black members are not allowed in the club. The current members adhere to the rule even though they recognize it as a relic from another age. This becomes a major plot point when Juice's father turns out to be a black man. The police use the fact to blackmail him into cooperating, since exposing it would get him kicked out of the Sons or worse. However, it turns out that the rule is more lax than he expected. As long as your birth certificate doesn't list you as black, your actually ancestry doesn't matter.
  • Friendly Enemy: Darby toward the Sons. He works against them, but will sit down and chat with Gemma for a few minutes, even though she's got "some Jew in her." He also behaves this way toward the local Jewish boxing coach. Darby has reformed at that point, but it's clear that the two men have exchanged more than just threats and slurs over the years.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas:
    • Happy may have murdered 14 people, enjoy torture and frequents a strip club that employs victims of sex trafficking, but he's not about to let you make his aunt or nana wash your dishes!
    • Jax and Gemma, obviously.
    • Averted with Gemma: she had a horrible relationship with her mother and lists her as one of the few people who could legitimately scares her.
    • Episode "Dorylus" introduced Vivica and her sons Luther and Vandross. The club suspected that she had bought their stolen weapons, but it turned out to be her sons who went behind her back. They wanted to to use the money to surprise their mother with a new vehicle. Her disapproval clearly indicates that she's got her family of thugs well under her thumb.

 Tig: Vivica makes Gemma look like Donna Reed.

Jax: I suddenly feel a little less dysfunctional.

  • Even Evil Has Standards: Violence against children is a big no-no for SAMCRO. Also dealing drugs in Charming. A big part of the show is putting the characters into situations that test whether they will adhere to the standards they set out for themselves. Clay does not seem to have a line he is not willing to cross if it is to his benefit. In contrast even Tig has principles he will stand up for even if it means opposing Clay.
  • Evil Matriarch: Gemma, though she's since been downgraded to Defrosting Ice Queen.
  • Evilly Affable: Ethan Zobelle, Clay Morrow, Putlova
  • Expy: "The True IRA" are a stand-in for "The Real IRA," which splintered from the IRA to continue their militant actions aftet the ceasefire in 1997.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
    • Jimmy O'Phelan: First when the Russians give him to the Club all he does is greet Jax and Clay and gets in the car without another word. Second after the ATF rescues him and then Stahl gets ambushed He looks his killer in the eyes, smiles, tells him to take care of his wife and stepchild. He even takes his Glasgow Smile and stabbing without any fear.
    • Averted with Stahl, who breaks down when she realizes she's gonna die
    • AJ Weston simply sits down and accepts his defeat. In an apparent trade-off, he demands that his son be left out of the grudge and not see his corpse afterwards.
  • Fair Cop: Deputy Hale.
  • Fake American: Jax. Charlie Hunnam is from Newcastle, UK.
  • Fake Irish: Jimmy O'Phelan and most of the rest of the Irish characters in season 3.
  • Fake Russian: American actor Keith Szarabajka playing a Russian gangster in the final few episodes of series three.
  • False-Flag Operation: So many.
    • Tig stages the murder of Opie to look like a Mayan retaliation, accidentally killing Donna.
    • After Opie takes vengeance on a Mayan biker, Jax (who knows it was Tig) stages the dead body to look like a One Niner killing.
    • Agent Stahl stages the Irish killing to look like Gemma's to frame her.
    • Agent Stahl stages her partner's killing to look like the Calaveras trying to rescue Hector Salazar.
    • SAMCRO stages the murder of Stahl as a Real IRA hit (at least Jimmy's killing was done on their orders).
  • Foreshadowing: Unintentionally invoked in Season 3.

 Kozik: "You do realize one of us is gonna end up dead, right?"

Piney: "I'm counting on it."

  • The Fundamentalist: Unlike the Big Bad Ethan Zobelle, or fellow CoDragon Ule, AJ Weston can't even consider the idea of collaborating with Latinos.
  • Gambit Roulette: Season 3 is either this or a Gambit Pileup.
  • Genre Savvy: AJ Weston in season two, especially after he decides to have his group of Aryan tough guys bring guns to a planned "rumble" against SAMCRO so that they can just shoot Jax and his crew dead. Jax was also savvy enough for ensuring he had allies to back him up in case of a double-cross.
  • Glasgow Smile: Chibs was given one by Jimmy O and returned the favor. O'Neill also gets one from SAMCRO
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted with Chibs' Glasgow Grin and even Darby, who sufferes severe burns and turns his back on his gang and drug-dealing
  • Grim Reaper: The Sons' motif. Their symbol is the Grim Reaper holding a crystal ball with the anarchy symbol and a M16-handled scythe reflecting the founder's service in The Vietnam War. Other examples are M16 scythe shirts and Jax's cut, which features a "Reaper Crew" patch. Some members have it as a back tatoo.
  • Groin Attack: On Stahl, of all people.
    • The carny from "Fun Town" who was castrated by Clay and left to die. They even show his severed testicles!
    • And later in Season 3, Gemma stabs someone in the groin.
    • Early in season 1, Jax finds the dealer who sold smack to his pregnant ex-wife, breaks off a pool cue, and stabs him in the crotch with it.
  • Hannibal Lecture: Tig does this to a group of bounty hunters who capture him.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Season two big bad Ethan Zobelle claims to be this, after telling Deputy Hale that he formed the League Of American Nationalists after his wife was killed by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting.
  • Hero Antagonist: Averted or played with for the most part.
    • Pretty much all the cops in Charming are corrupt and on the take from the Sons in the first three seasons (except for Hale and even he starts to become slightly more cooperative towards the end of season 2 before he dies).
    • Agents Kohn and Stahl are also revealed to either have their own agendas or be corrupt.
    • Season 4 has Eli Roosevelt and Lincoln Potter who both fit the bill a lit bit better. Still played with because Roosevelt has some Cowboy Cop tendencies (mostly towards the beginning of the season), while Potter uses people rather callously and occasionally bends the rules, but not to the point of corruption.
  • Hero of Another Story: Alvarez, the President of the Mayans. Not particularly "heroic", but he is playing power games with SAMCRO the whole time he is fighting a bloody turf war over Oakland with the One Niners.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Gemma.
  • Hot Mom: Lyla, one of Luann's porn starlets
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Jax: "You are seriously gonna stand there, and lay the guilt of a dead wife on me?"
  • I Am a Humanitarian: A human head gets hidden and cooked in a chili pot. When some cops demand free bowls of the chili, they are none the wiser.
  • Iconic Item: Every character's "cut" or "colors," their vest with the MC patches. Taking or damaging another biker's cut is VERY Serious Business.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Unser says his dealings with Clay and SAMCRO were about protecting Charming, not about getting payoffs.
  • Idiot Ball: Half Sack and Juice tend to trade off possession of this.
  • I Have This Friend: When Tara asks her supervisor for help finding Lyla an anonymous abortion clinic, she assumes it's really about Tara. It was about Lyla, but Tara does have the same thing on her mind.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: What Donna wanted for her and Opie. Sadly, Donna got killed off and her husband became a child-neglecting biker even more devoted to the gang that Donna loathed.
  • Ill Boy: Abel in the first season. Seems to be better now.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Juice tries to hang himself but the tree branch breaks.
  • Ironic Nickname: Happy, a violent clubmember and accomplished scowler. When a girl mentions that he seems "nice," Clay does a Spit Take.
  • Jurisdiction Friction:
    • Between the local police and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
    • Averted in the 4th Season. The ATF, FBI and San Joaquin Sheriff Department collaborate to bring down the Russians, the True IRA and SAMCRO
  • Karma Houdini: Ethan Zobelle manages to escape to Budapest with his life, but little else. He lost his daughter, his business, and his contacts, and his status as an informant is known.
  • Karmic Death: In the third season finale, both Stahl and Jimmy O get this. Stahl, whose setting up of Opie in season one as a rat got his wife Donna killed by mistake, is in turn killed by Opie. Chibs kills Jimmy O, finally getting back at him for taking his wife and child and holding them hostage for years.
  • Killed Off for Real: It's a long list...
    • Donna
    • Luann
    • Half-Sack
    • David Hale
    • Agent Stahl
    • Jimmy O
    • Piney
    • Kozik
    • Miles
    • Georgie
  • Klingon Promotion: The implied way Clay Morrow got control over SAMCRO. Confirmed in the fourth season. John Teller wanted to take the Sons out of the gun-running business, but Clay wanted to keep the money, take control of the club, and take Gemma as well.
  • Kavorka Man: Bobby and Tig
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Deputy Police Chief David Hale
  • Knight Templar: A. J. Weston
  • Ladykiller in Love: Subverted. Borderline misogynist and lady's man Tig is clearly broken up by a girl who was taken from him by Kozik. Tig says he still thinks about her every day, even years later, and refuses to ever forgive Kozik even though they were clearly close friends. It turns out that Tig's "girl" was actually his dog.
  • Lady Macbeth: Gemma
  • The Lancer: Opie to Jax's The Hero
  • Land Mine Goes Click: More like Land Mine Goes High-Pitched Beep in "Call of Duty."
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Although they're a motorcycle gang rather than the Italian mob, SAMCRO uses this trope in the exact same fashion. Everybody knows what they do for a living, but whenever they're accused of being a biker gang by law enforcement officers, they'll assert that they're just a club of Harley enthusiasts.
  • Little Miss Badass: Action Girl Trinity Ashby, not so young but kinda little and definetely Badass
  • Love Triangle: Subverted by Tig and Kozik when it's revealed that they were fighting over a dog, not a lover.
  • The Mafia: The Cacuzza crime family, led by Jimmy Cacuzza.
  • The Mafiya: Led by Viktor Putlova. But not anymore. It's just business.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Both Gemma and ATF Agent June Stahl.
  • Mama Bear: Gemma in regards to her son, Jax, and her grandson to the point of being a Knight Templar Grandparent, especially in Season 3 where she holds a gun to the head of another baby to extort information about Abel's whereabouts.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: There's a recurring homeless woman who might just be slightly crazy or might be an Angel Unaware.
  • Mercy Kill: Subverted. In Season 4, Clay is introduced to a man who is slowly being eaten alive by ants. He kills him because he overheard a conversation he and Bobby had, not to end his suffering.
  • Mob War:
    • A bloody war with the Mayans is a large part of the backstory of SAMCRO. By the time it was over, John Teller was dead and Clay was in charge. Without that conflict the club might have been quite different than what it is now.
    • In seasons 1-3 a large part of the plot is driven by the Sons trying to avoid getting entangled in a Mob War with the Mayans, Aryans or the various factions of the Real IRA
    • In season 4 Clay's scheme ends up putting the Sons in the middle of a war between rival Mexican drug cartels. As the situation deteriorates there is also a real possibility of a war between the Sons and the Niners.
  • The Mole:
    • Liam O'Neill and McGee.
    • Both Juice and Otto in season 4 after some prodding and manipulation from Potter.
  • Motive Decay: Agent Stahl's obsession with bringing down SAMCRO, which went from normal case to full-blown obsession after she was brutally assaulted by a member in prison, who broke her nose in the process. By season two, she's forgotten all about bringing them to justice and is just fucking with them for the sake of malice. In season three her motive seems to shift to ruthless ambition when she is presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break a major IRA network in the US. She promptly starts to undo her frame-up of Gemma and starts to protect the Sons since she needs Jax Teller to make the case. She then quickly goes even further over the Moral Event Horizon than most of the 'bad guys' on the show. And at the end she seemed to be primarily motivated by a case of Break the Haughty when she can't resist betraying Jax Teller so she can show the Sons how their pride in club loyalty and brotherhood was just a lot of hot air.
  • Music Video Syndrome: Music montages show up fairly often in this show. On several occasions, the vocals to background music are provided by Katey Segal, therefore doubling as The Cast Showoff.
  • Murder by Mistake:
    • ___Tig's murdering Opie's wife because she happened to switch cars with him.
    • He does it again in the first half of the season four finale by accidentally killing the girlfriend of the leader of the Niners (Leroy) while aiming for Leroy - because Jax told him that the Niners were responsible for Clay's attempted murder.
  • Mushroom Samba: Tig and Half Sack get dosed with mushrooms to test their efficacy before SAMCRO sells them.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: The Sons' loyalty to their club.
  • Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters: The Sons make themselves a fixture in the local community, even heading up fundraisers to give themselves some respectability and keep the town from rising up against them.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Charming, in spite of SAMCRO's claims that they keep out bad influences, is a crime-ridden and corrupt little podunk town. In season four, Tara calls it "poisonous."
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Given the show's nature, the Sons give a lot of these and are on the receiving end of a few themselves
    • In the series premiere, Clay forces Unser to stay on as chief of police by threatening to destroy Unser's trucking business
    • Juice is forced to help the police or Potter will reveal to the club that he is half black
    • Georgie has to help the Sons wreck Mayor Hale's housing project deal or they will kill him.
    • Jax has to keep Clay alive and keep the club in business with the Irish and the drug cartel or the CIA will withdraw its protection and let the feds arrest everyone in the club
  • Oh Crap: Kozik's reaction when he steps on a land mine.
  • Oireland: A major part of Season 3
  • One-Scene Wonder: In the third season, Stephen King utterly steals two scenes of one episode with his sudden inexplicable appearance. It's amazing since he barely has any lines.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The individual Sons have patterns of behaviour they tend to stick to and if they break that stereotype, we know that things have gotten really serious.
    • When Tig goes against Clay and makes a stand based on principle, we know that Clay has crossed a major line.
    • When Otto loses faith in the club, things are really falling apart.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • A number of non-Irish actors play Irish characters. Titus Welliver (who plays Jimmy O) has the worst accent. At times he manages to do a passing Irish accent, but with his pronunciation of certain words he actually ends up sounding more English.
    • The English Charlie Hunnam has a good American accent overall, but you can sometimes hear his accent, particularly in scenes where he's shouting.
  • Outlaw Couple: Clay and Gemma.
  • Pet the Dog: Tig is initially characterized as a depraved misogynist, but he always behaves like a gentleman around Gemma and clearly cares for her. He also loves his daughters and willingly lets them exploit him because he knows that he'll get to see them again when they need more help. He's also a dog lover.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Gemma and Unser move in this direction throughout the second season. By the end, when she's on the run from the law this has pretty much been cemented.
  • Police Are Useless: The Sons have the local police chief and county sheriff deputies on their payroll so they see little interference from them in their criminal activities. The ATF agents who go after them have their own private agendas and grudges and the Sons are able to use this against them to neutralize them. Season 4 averts this with new, more competent police moving in and providing an escalated threat.
  • Rape as Drama: Gemma in the second season opener. This is about as graphic of a depiction you will ever see (but mostly hear) on American basic cable television.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Bobby. Don't let the pompadour or organic cooking fool you.
  • Rearrange the Song: The Theme Tune during the Belfast episodes is rearranged with some Irish/Gaelic style
  • Sarcastic Confession: Done at the start of "With an X" when a kilogram of cocaine is missing.

 Juice (Juan Carlos Ortiz):: Yeah, I stuck a key of blow down my pants and just walked right out the front door.

  • Scary Black Man:
    • The One-Niners is a gang full of them.
    • The Grim Bastards are a biker gang full of them, though they're allied with the Sons.
  • Setting Update: Of Hamlet.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Played with in episode 4.08. Lieutenant Roosevelt remarks that Jax has a beautiful family and naturally, it would be a shame if anything happened to them. However, he's not threatening Jax, just emphasizing that getting into the drug business could cause his loved ones serious harm - by this point the Sons have already been witness to multiple assassination attempts by their cartel's competition.
  • Shirtless Scene: Jax gets these every so often.
  • Shout-Out:
    • SAMCRO has a similar history to the The Hells Angels MC. Both were founded by veterans (WWII instead of Vietnam in this case) in California, and originally had more counterculture leanings before becoming a straight up organized crime syndicate. The Hells Angels also have a vicious rivalry with the Mongols MC (founded by Hispanic Vietnam War veterans), similar to the feud between SAMCRO and the Mayans. Sonny Barger even has a recurring role as an old SAMCRO member.
    • In "Seeds":

 Chibs: Shit is addictive. Turning me into a fat bastard.

    • In "To Be (Part 2)" Juice is actually watching The Shield on TV
  • Sociopathic Hero: Pretty much everyone in SAMCRO. Tig is the leading example in the early episodes, but he's overpaced by Happy. While the club watches an IRA member torture a traitor, most are shown to be either stoic or disturbed by the display. Happy is smiling.
  • Spit Take: Clay spits out some beer when a girl mentions that Happy seems "nice."
  • Stalker with a Crush: Josh Kohn
  • Straw Hypocrite: Ethan Zobelle is initially presented as a white supremacist who is trying to run the Sons Of Anarchy out of town. His white supremacist right hand man thinks this is because the Sons are selling guns to latino and black groups. However Zobel has no issue with dealing with nonwhite gangs. Zobel is actually an FBI informant who is trying to kill the gun trade and make a tidy sum of money in the process.
  • Tattooed Crook: An Enforced Trope. All of the Sons get club tattoos on their backs. If you leave the club, the tattoo also has to come off.
  • Team Mom: Gemma, who wields a lot of influence over the club in spite of not being an actual member. She eventually tries to groom Tara into taking her place.
  • Tears of Remorse: Tig, while high from shrooms, breaks down and cries from the guilt of killing Opie's wife by mistake.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The Lin Triad
  • Those Wacky Nazis:
    • The Nords are a local Neo-Nazi gang. They're pretty harmless.
    • L.O.A.N. (League Of American Nationalists) is a more militant but also more respectable organization of Neo-Nazis.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Half-Sack's death could've been avoided if he just locked the front door. Or closed it.
  • To the Pain: "If you ever talk that way about Tara again, I will pound those half-dead hands so hard into this table, you won't ever be able to hold that gavel again."
  • Villain Protagonist: Pretty much the entire main cast outside of Tara is this to varying degrees. Clay Morrow takes the cake in season 4 though, crossing the Moral Event Horizon at least three times and pushing this trope to its logical limits and becoming hated by most of the audience.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tig and Kozik. Tig will never forgive Kozik for stealing his "girl" long ago, but they are still clearly friends.
  • Warrior Poet: Apparently John Teller was this.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Sinister Minister Father Kellan Ashby is a highly respected Catholic priest who is also a high ranking IRA leader. He strongly believes in the Cause and will go to great lengths to protect it. This includes having a man executed in his church and using Jax's infant son as a bargaining chip to have the Sons murder a rival IRA leader.
  • Wham! Episode: Each season finale tends to be this.
  • What Have I Done: When Clay sees Donna's corpse as he had mistakenly caused her death, having sent Tig to kill Opie, whom Clay believed had sold them to the ATF. Stahl has a milder moment at the scene as well.
  • Wife Husbandry: Jimmy O threatens this against Chibs, which also counts as a Kick the Dog moment for him.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Claimed by Juice when he's asked to translate Spanish. "I'm a Puerto Rican from Queens. I speak better Yiddish."
  • You Remind Me of X: In episode 4.08, Piney says to Jax "I'm not going to tell you how much you just sounded like your old man."