Why Opie Was Killed Off In Season 5
9 mins read

Why Opie Was Killed Off In Season 5


  • Opie’s death in Sons of Anarchy was heartbreaking but essential for the narrative, pushing Jax’s character forward in a dramatic way.
  • Opie’s sacrifice was a final act of loyalty to the club, showcasing his unwavering dedication to his friends until the very end.
  • The legacy of Opie in Sons of Anarchy stands as one of the most tragic and memorable narratives in the series, leaving a lasting impact.



Sons of Anarchy sees most of its main characters die, but to avoid the most heartbreaking scene, fans have to remember, “when does Opie die?” Created by Kurt Sutter, Sons of Anarchy follows the story of Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), VP of the motorcycle club SAMCRO. The members of the MC were a big family, always looking out for each other – or, at least, most of them did. Throughout seven seasons, viewers got to know SAMCRO’s members quite well, and a big favorite is Opie Winston (Ryan Hurst).

Opie was Jax’s best friend since they were kids and the son of Piermont “Piney” Winston (Willaim Lucking), one of the founders of the club. Opie’s arc in Sons of Anarchy was marked by tragedy. In season 1, Clay ordered Tig Trager (Kim Coates) to kill Opie, but he killed his wife, Donna, instead. Opie spiraled into depression but eventually returned to the club just as Jax, Tig, and Chibs Telford (Tommy Flanagan) were arrested. Opie punches the sheriff and this leads to Opie’s Sons of Anarchy death.


Sons Of Anarchy: What “Mr Mayhem” Stands For

Sons Of Anarchy’s titular bike club has lots of terms with hidden meanings, and here’s what the ominous “Mr. Mayhem” stands for on the show.

Why Opie Had To Die On Sons Of Anarchy

Once in jail, Jax was forced to accept a deal under Damon Pope’s (Harold Perrineau) terms, which included Jax choosing which of them was going to die in prison, so the others could be freed. Jax refused to choose and was about to offer himself up instead when Opie stepped in and hit one of the guards. Opie became the SAMCRO victim Pope wanted, so the deal was still on, and Opie was killed in front of his friends. Opie’s death is one of the most heartbreaking moments on Sons of Anarchy.

It wasn’t easy for either Hurst or Sutter to let Opie go. Speaking to Variety, Sutter shared that he loved Hurst and Opie, but the road they took him down “was so heavy,” and that due to all the death and betrayal that he was subjected to, he just “organically could not have that guy sit at the table with Clay.” There were several reasons behind Opie’s Sons of Anarchy death.

It follows that his last act of martyrdom was partly suicide.

Throughout the series, Opie faces tragedy after tragedy. Most of the characters in the show experienced a downward arc from beginning to end, as was the nature of the series, and Opie’s legacy is no different. By the time he was in prison, he had experienced so much loss that he was a shell of his former self, and it follows that his last act of martyrdom was partly suicide. To have him die for the club was a testament to his character and demonstrated his loyalty to his friends right up to the bitter end.

Opie’s death in Sons of Anarchy was also the incident Jax needed to push his arc forward. Without his best friend’s death, Jax would never have become the man he was meant to be. Clay’s actions changed the trajectory of Opie’s life. It was clear from his wife’s death onward that Opie would never be the same, nor would he be able to sit with the remaining club members and erase that betrayal. In the end, Opie’s Sons of Anarchy death was integral to his character development and necessary for the show.


How Jax Died On Sons Of Anarchy

Sons Of Anarchy spared few of its characters in the final scene with lead character Jax also meeting his end; here’s how it happened.

The Sons Of Anarchy Creator Confirmed That Killing Opie Helps The Narrative

Sons of anarchy Creator kurt sutter Angered A Real Life Motorcycle Club

During a Q&A session on a since-deleted Twitter thread, Sutter opened up about Opie’s death and shared that he didn’t enjoy killing any of these characters, but when “you’re telling stories that take place in an uber-violent world, dying is part of the truth.” He admitted that killing off Opie deeply affected him for a while, just like it did to the cast, crew, and viewers. In 2012, in an interview with TVLine, Sutter explained why Opie had to die on Sons of Anarchy.

“I got to the end of [season 4] and realized there is this circular dynamic happening with Jax and Opie that I felt was very difficult to get out of… Jax needed that emotional upheaval, that one event that happens in a man’s life that can change the course of his destiny — the death of his best friend was [that].”

As for why Opie stepped in, Sutter said it was his opportunity to go out doing the right thing and be of the best service to the club and the family with whom he never fully reconciled. Although Sutter’s reasons for killing Opie are understandable, mostly from a narrative point of view, Opie’s death will continue to be listed among the more memorable but painful moments in Sons of Anarchy, and his arc stands out as one of the most tragic narratives.

What Ryan Hurst Has Done Since Sons Of Anarchy

Beta walking in a herd on The Walking Dead.

After Ryan Hurst left Sons of Anarchy, his career didn’t slow down. Before he appeared on the show, he had several smaller roles in everything from Remember the Titans to Beverly BHills, 90210. However, Sons of Anarchy made him a star, and he cashed in on that after leaving the show. After leaving the biker club series, Hurst took on a recurring role in Bates Motel, where he appeared regularly in the last three seasons of the show as Chick Hogan, a secondary antagonist in the Norman Bates origin story.

While Hurst was in very few movies, he did get a decent role in the 2018 movie A Million Little Pieces, alongside fellow Sons of Anarchy co-star Charlie Hunnam. However, his true career was on television. After Bates Motel, Hurst moved on to the WGN series Outsiders, which told the story of mountain folk in the Appalachian Mountains in Kentucky. He then got an eight-episode run as Hector Bonner in the Prime Video series Bosch.

Ryan Hurst found great success in the realm of video games.

Hurst then got his biggest role since Sons of Anarchy in The Walking Dead. He was part of the Whisperers group and the second in command known as Beta. He was a hulking and dangerous presence and was responsible for more than his fair share of deaths before he finally died in season 10. While that was his biggest role, he is still working, with a role as Oliver in the American Satan spinoff Paradise City and as Milligan in the Disney+ series, The Mysterious Benedict Society.

Finally, Ryan Hurst found great success in the realm of video games. He took on the voice acting role of Thor in God of War Ragnarök. The video game brought Hurst some of his greatest acclaim, a nomination for Performer in a Supporting Role at the BAFTA Games Awards.

Sons of Anarchy Final Poster

Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy, created by Kurt Sutter, follows a notorious outlaw motorcycle club, the Sons of Anarchy, as they confront drug dealers, corporate developers, and law enforcement to protect their livelihoods and their hometown of Charming, CA. Loosely based on William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Sons of Anarchy explores what happens when the seduction of money and power comes between family. The show follows the Teller and Morrow family legacies, with Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller handling his duties as the V.P. of the club while dealing with the new president – his stepfather – Clay Morrow.

Kim Coates , Charlie Hunnam , Theo Rossi , Mark Boone Junior , Maggie Siff , Katey Sagal , Tommy Flanagan , Ron Perlman

Release Date
September 8, 2008


Streaming Service(s)

Kurt Sutter , Chris Collins

Kurt Sutter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *