When Kurt Sutter was writing for The Shield, he developed a reputation as being the groundbreaking cop drama's resident sick soul, always arguing to push the limits of what basic cable would allow. Then, in 2008, the FX network debuted Sutter's own series: Sons of Anarchy, a pulpy, Shakespearean saga about the criminal enterprises and family feuds of a small-town NorCal motorcycle club. Given the chance to make a TV show in his own image, Sutter served up a thick, raw, bloody cut of meat, seasoned liberally with the kind of "holy shit" moments that he'd brought to his previous gig.
Over the past six years, the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club: Redwood Original (a.k.a. SAMCRO) has wreaked havoc in and around the fictional Charming, California, engaging in high-body-count battles with law enforcement, racist gangs, rival clubs and themselves. All the while, bright young Jax Teller (played by Charlie Hunnam) has tried to follow the lead of the club's founder — his late father — and disentangle the organization from all illegal businesses, over the objections of his Machiavellian mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), and his stepfather, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman). Early on, Sutter compared his baby to Hamlet on two wheels, but as the series has played out, it's moved beyond its origins to become a densely populated, corpse-strewn study of men and women steeped in a culture of violence. Even when these outlaws and mavericks try to live righteously, they end up murdering a few dozen people first.
Tomorrow night, FX will air "Papa's Goods" — the 92nd and final Sons of Anarchy episode. In recognition of what Sutter has built up (and blown up), we present 20 of the show's most memorable moments. Some of these are gory and violent, some of these were jaw-dropping and shocking, and some were quieter and more contemplative — an aspect that Sutter and his cast have handled just as gracefully as the big set pieces on this souped-up he-man soap opera, if far less often. But all of them remind us of why we'll miss riding with Jax and Co. every week.
(Warning: For those not fully caught up on the show, there are many, many spoilers to follow. Proceed with caution.)