Tara Knowles

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Tara Knowles-Teller
TaraKnowles.jpg
First appearance "Pilot" (episode 1.01)
Last appearance "A Mother's Work" (episode 6.13)
Created by Kurt Sutter
Portrayed by Maggie Siff
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Attending Surgeon at St. Thomas Hospital
Pediatric Surgery
Neonatal Surgery
Trauma Surgery
Title M.D.
F.A.C.S.
Spouse(s) Jax Teller
Children Abel Teller (stepson)
Thomas Teller

Dr. Tara Grace Knowles-Teller is a fictional character on the FX drama Sons of Anarchy, played by Maggie Siff.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Tara is a native of Charming, California. (She said her heritage was half-Irish.) Tara's mother died when she was nine years old. According to ATF Agent Stahl, she had a "drunk daddy", whom Tara described as a "bit of a packrat." She was Jax Teller's high-school girlfriend, and during this era she had a crow tattooed on her lower back representing her connection to SAMCRO. Tara was arrested in Jax's company at least three times in 1996. Tara left town when Jax was 19, trying to get away from small-town life and the influence of the club. According to his mother Gemma, this all but broke Jax's heart.

After leaving Charming, Tara moved in with a cousin of her father's who lived in San Diego, studied at UC San Diego where she graduated with honors, attended medical school in Chicago (Feinberg Medical School at Northwestern University according to her file in "Fun Town" but "Loyola Med" according to Agent Stahl in "Better Half") where she was at the top of her class, and then went on to her internship in Chicago Presbyterian.

While in Chicago, Tara dated ATF agent Joshua Kohn, and got pregnant by him, but had an abortion at six weeks. Kohn became intimidating, violent and obsessive, so she took out a restraining order against him several months before she returned to Charming, after an absence of 11 years.

Season One[edit]

Tara works as a pediatric resident at the local hospital, St. Thomas. A capable physician, she often tends to Jax's gravely ill infant son Abel during the infant's hospitalization.

Tara lives in her childhood home, which was left to her by her father when he died. She also drives a Cutlass her father had parked in the garage under "two tons of old newspapers."

Tara's relationship with Jax upon her return to Charming is largely tentative, based primarily on their mutual concern for gravely ill Abel, until the psychotic ATF Agent Kohn comes to town. He is looking to continue his relationship with Tara on the pretext of investigating the Sons of Anarchy. Afraid for her life, Tara seeks Jax's help in driving off Kohn. Jax stabs Kohn's car on her behalf, beats him bloody in an altercation at Floyd's barber shop, and then escorts him out of town. When Kohn returns in the dead of night and attacks Tara in her home, she shoots Kohn in the gut and calls Jax for help.

The couple discuss the matter, Jax, angered by Kohn's abuse of Tara, shoots Kohn in the head, thereby putting a permanent end to his intimidation tactics and bullying. Tara and Jax then fall into each other's arms and make love while Kohn's iPod plays the Andy Williams song "Can't Get Used to Losing You" on repeat.

Following the killing of Kohn, Jax and Tara seem to settle into a largely healthy and positive romantic relationship. Tara spends more time with Jax at the clubhouse, plays nice with Gemma, and works to heal wounded club associate Cameron Hayes.

The Jax-Tara relationship soon seems to disintegrate after his ex-wife Wendy returns from rehab. In the penultimate season-one episode "The Sleep of Babies", Tara is seen sleeping alone while Jax and Wendy make love. In the final episode of the first season, "The Revelator", Tara tells Jax that she has arranged to return to Chicago as she does not believe she is cut out for life in Charming. This angers Jax and he storms off. At the end of the episode Tara is seen to have changed her mind, and she turns up at Donna's funeral where Jax and Tara share a kiss.

Season Two[edit]

Season two shows Tara officially becoming Jax's "old lady" and becoming integrated into the club's world. After Gemma is raped, she turns to Tara for medical help. Tara encourages Gemma to seek out counseling to deal with the psychological repercussions of the attack but Gemma is reluctant. However, Tara's help with Gemma along with her help raising Abel seems to help heal the rift between Tara and Gemma. Tara's connection with Jax and SAMCRO, on the other hand, causes problems for her at work. Gemma accidentally breaks Tara's nose after Tara startled her. One of the hospital administrators, Margaret Murphy, believes that Jax was responsible for the injury and warns Tara about the problems her association with Jax could cause her. Later, Margaret files a "hostile work environment" complaint against Tara after Gemma confronts the administrator about the hospital's desire to move Chibs to another facility because of his insurance situation. Chibs later falsely complains of head pain and is able to stay at the hospital. Margaret accuses Tara of coaching Chibs with his symptoms and has Tara's privileges suspended.

When Jax decides that he wanted to go nomad, Tara is upset that he made the decision without talking to her. However, unlike just about everyone else connected to the club, she feels like it might be the right decision given the tension between Jax and Clay.

Gemma lets Tara know that as Jax's "old lady", Tara has considerable prestige and respect in the club after other women in the club defer to her, and that she shouldn't "take any shit" from anyone. Later, Tara confronts Margaret after a verbal exchange and it gets ugly, with Tara choking her and punching her in the face. Tara tells Margaret, "I know where you live, I know where your kids go to school." and informs her that the cops are on SAMCRO's payroll and that the club runs Charming. Tara advises Margaret to keep her mouth shut and retract her complaint. Margaret, face bloody, quickly agrees.

In the season two finale, Tara attempts to convince Gemma to not get revenge on those that raped her but is unsuccessful. She is present at Jax's home when Cameron Hayes appears and is tied to a chair by him before he kidnaps Abel Teller. Tara is untied by Jax and is able to tell him what has happened to his son. Jax and the rest of the club unsuccessfully try to save Abel while Tara is later seen being consoled by Deputy David Hale.

Season Three[edit]

Tara is still saddened by the loss of Abel. As time goes by, Jax continues to push her away with increasing force. She feels Jax is pushing her away because he blames her for not stopping the kidnapping of baby Abel. While visiting Gemma when she was on the run, Tara helped Gemma kill her father's caregiver and Tig helped them cover it up. She later reveals to Gemma in the hospital that she is six weeks pregnant with Jax's child.

After Jax leaves Tara, she catches him with Cara Cara porn star, Ima. Later in the day Tara is at Jax's house packing. He apologizes for what she saw earlier, but she feels he wanted her to see it, because he wants her gone and he knew it was the one thing that would drive her away. She expresses that she thinks he is doing all this because he hates her for what happened to Abel. He says that it is to protect her and she still doesn't believe him as he is not very convincing. Jax starts to go after her, but she is already quickly pulling out of the driveway. When Tara leaves Jax's house it is shown that recently ousted Calaveras MC leader, Hector Salazar has been secretly stalking her and Jax.

The way Tara starts feeling and her anxiousness to keep the baby a secret from Jax permanently indicates she might be thinking about getting an abortion. She believes that he is not ready for another child. Gemma tries to convince Tara to wait until Jax gets back and look into Abel's eyes before she does anything. Gemma wants Tara to try to mend the relationship because Jax hasn't been thinking clearly since Abel's abduction. Tara ultimately helps Gemma escape custody so that she can accompany Clay and Jax to Belfast.

Lyla asks Tara if she knows of any clinics that conduct abortions. After she goes with Lyla to have the procedure, they have a conversation about why Lyla is having the abortion. It turns out Lyla is having the same problem with Opie that Tara is having with Jax. He won't open up to her in fear of what might happen. The baby is also an inconvenience to Lyla, because she doesn't want another baby, so that she can continue working as a porn star. After the conversation, Tara sets an appointment for herself to have an abortion as well. Later, Tara reveals to Margaret Murphy that she is going to have an abortion and Margaret agrees it is a good idea and offers to drive her to the clinic. On her way to get an abortion, there is a staged car accident where the two women are taken hostage by Hector Salazar and his girlfriend Louisa. Salazar found Tara's location through information from Jacob Hale, Jr., the corrupt businessman who is trying to become the mayor of Charming.

While Tara and Margaret were being held by Salazar,he becomes upset that his hostage demands aren't met, that he threatens to kill Margaret. Tara tries to persuade him not to and when he doesn't listen to her, she causes a distraction. She pulls Salazar's girlfriend and tries to get away. However, Salazar kicks her hard in the stomach and tries to do so again; stopped only because she exclaims that she is pregnant. After being assaulted, she continues to lie on the ground with a hand on her stomach.

When Tara gets a chance to go to the bathroom, she looks for something to use as a weapon. She breaks off a piece of a mirror. As Salazar's girlfriend breaks into the bathroom, Tara cuts her neck and almost escapes with Margaret just as Salazar arrives. After a stand off, Tara tells him that is girlfriend is in the bathroom bleeding badly. She says that she will keep his girlfriend alive if he lets Margaret go. After they leave the house Salazar's girlfriend dies in the car and Salazar grabs Tara, throws her on the car, and puts a gun to her head.

Salazar takes Tara to Jacob Hale's office, where he takes Hale hostage as well. When he gives his list of demands, one of them is for Jax to come to Hale's office. Tara sees Salazar pull out a knife and he tells her that he plans to kill her while Jax watches and then kill Jax. As Jax enters the office, Salazar is about to kill Tara, but is stabbed by Jacob Hale. Jax wrestles the gun from Salazar and gives it to Tara and tells her to kill anyone who is not a cop. When the whole ordeal is over with Jax and Tara go to doctor for an ultrasound to make sure the baby was not harmed during Tara's abduction and captivity. The baby is healthy and Jax and Tara hear the heartbeat and see the baby on the ultrasound. Jax and Tara then go to Gemma's house where Gemma hugs her for her safe return from Salazar. When Tara sees Abel, she happily holds him and welcomes him back home. In the season finale, Tara has become more involved in the club. She drives Jimmy O. back to the garage with him in the trunk after SAMCRO buys him off the Russians. Jax makes sure that she wears a bulletproof vest to insure her safety in case something goes wrong. When Stahl tells the club about the deal Jax made with her, which was actually a trap by the club to kill Stahl and Jimmy, she runs and hugs him distraught and fearing that the club will kill him in prison. In the closing minute of the season 3 finale, Tara reads letters from John Teller to his mistress Maureen Ashby implying that Gemma and Clay would be responsible for his death should it happen. The close up shot of Tara's face transitions to Jax's face and that is the end of season 3.

Between Season 3 and Season 4[edit]

Bridge between end of Season 3 and beginning of Season 4: By the end of season 3 when Jax and the other Samcro members were hauled off to prison, Tara was a little over 8 weeks pregnant. However, in a special feature "appisode" (titled: Tara and Piney)- that took place day 85 of Jax's incarceration; a pregnant Tara is shown about 5 months along. In this appisode, Tara goes to Piney for information on John Teller's death but was rebuked and told not to investigate further and that the past was "dead and buried" . In another special "appisode" (titled: Second Son) - that bridges the gap between seasons; Tara and Gemma are visiting Jax in prison. Tara had just given birth to the newborn baby Thomas and he was brought to visitation so Jax could meet his son. Jax was beaming with pride and love for his son and Tara. He apologized for missing the delivery and promised he wouldn't miss anything important again.

Season 4[edit]

At the beginning of Season 4 Tara is waiting to greet Jax on his return home. When Jax arrives he and Tara spend a little time with Abel and Thomas before Jax has to go inside the clubhouse for a meeting. When Tara and Jax meet at their house later, they waste no more time and begin making love. Jax then proposes to Tara by putting a ring on their son Thomas's finger. Before Tara can fully accept they have a serious talk about the future of their family. Jax explains that he is done with SAMCRO, but he has to stay until Clay steps down as president because he and Gemma won't let Jax walk away without conflict. He does assure her that as soon as Clay retires and once he has saved enough money to avoid living off his wife he will leave SAMCRO and they will start fresh as a normal family.

Later, at Opie and Lyla's wedding, Jax is the best man and Tara is the maid of honor. The next day Tara and Jax are having breakfast with their sons when they see on the news a story about four dead bodies found at the construction site of Charming Heights. She asks Jax to tell her all he knows about it. He tells her it was retaliation for him getting stabbed in prison. Later on she encounters Gemma in her office who asks why Tara is not wearing her engagement ring. Tara simply tells Gemma that she and Jax are just waiting for the right time to tell everyone. Later at the clubhouse a distraught Tara is reunited with Jax after he is rescued from the Russians. There she discovers, along with Jax, that the clubhouse had been trashed by Sheriff Roosevelt. To lighten up the mood she decides to announce the engagement.

During the season (and before) Tara has become more fearful of the consequences of being involved with SAMCRO and increasingly begins to think about the effect it will have on her son. This leads Tara to make the decision of leaving town with her son until things settle down. Tara is also conflicted about the letters from Maureen Ashby. Gemma has found out she has them and tries most of the season to obtain them and destroy them. Piney also shows interest in them as a way to blackmail Clay, but Tara keeps them protected. Clay finds out about the letters and he is so fearful of them getting out, that he takes out a hit on her life from Romeo. Eventually after confronting Gemma about the letters, Tara admits that she is not capable of showing the letters to Jax, feeling that if he knew who his father truly was, Jax would get deeper into the club out of guilt, therefore getting him further from her.

Tara eventually heads to a medical conference in Oregon and takes Abel and Thomas with her, most likely for an indefinite stay. Jax accompanies her and on the way there the assassins hired by Clay try to kill her. Tara survives thanks to Jax, however during the fight her right hand gets smashed in a van door. Her hand is repaired, but the nerves are terribly damaged. Her doctor affirms it is unknown if it is permanent but she feels otherwise and believes her career to be over. Jax, extremely upset himself, tries to comfort her, but Tara has become distant and asks him to leave her alone. She feels that now their future is set and they will never get out of Charming. She's later encouraged by Jax that everything will go as they had planned, which Tara barely believes.

During the day she's visited by Jax's ex-wife Wendy, who makes it clear that she wants to know Abel better, as she gave up custody but not the right to know him. This unnerves Tara who feels she is Abel's true mother and becomes fearful that Wendy will take him away from her. Wendy leaves her number and Tara smashes the vase of flowers, screaming in anger. She's later put under psych watch and restrained to her bed. Jax begins to feel at a loss as how to take care of and comfort her.

Later Gemma comes to see her and confesses that it was Clay who wanted her dead because of the letters, which she gives to Gemma. She reveals later to Gemma that she was fully aware of her plan to have Clay killed by Jax and hide the letters that involve her and Unser, to prompt Jax to stay as President. Tara gives Jax a blood thinner to inject into Clay, who is recuperating at St. Thomas. She then tells Jax, in front of Gemma, that he will kill Clay and come get her and the boys, so they can leave Charming forever. This plan fails as Jax is forced to stay due to the influence of Romeo Parada and Luis Torres who are undercover CIA agents. They need SAMCRO to provide weapons and transport drugs or they will crush the club. Understanding that Jax has to become President, Tara decides to remain with him. In the season finale, with Gemma watching Tara stands behind Jax at the head of the table, one arm draped around him, mirroring a photo of Gemma and John Teller.

Season 6[edit]

After a season of failed attempts to get herself and her sons out of Charming (including a false pregnancy and subsequently faked miscarriage to bar Gemma Teller-Morrow from gaining custody of Abel and Thomas, should Tara go to prison), and after Tara and Jax relationship being tested (Tara and Jax are having problems with her being behind bars for her involvement in the death of a nurse. Jax is seen at the end of episode 1 cheating on Tara with Colette Jane an escort handler) Tara finds herself at odds with everyone she was supposed to be able to trust and chooses to use the bullet she pulled from Bobby Munson's shoulder as evidence necessary to grant her witness protection, in turn making her a rat and a liability to the MC and to Jax himself. In a last minute plot twist, Jax finds Tara at a park in Lodi. They talk for several minutes and then the scene cuts to the motel room Tara had been hiding at. The two come to an understanding and Jax surrenders himself to the mercy of DA Tyne Patterson in exchange for Tara's immunity for all the crimes she committed on behalf the MC, specifically that of the murder of Pamela Toric, for which she was accused in season 5 but did not have anything to do with. The DA agrees to what Jax offers her after a few moments of reluctance to believe that he will come through. With that, Jax has let Tara know that he truly loves her and their sons more than anything. They cry and make love. Tara and Jax agree to meet the DA at the Teller home at 6pm after he spends his last hours as a free man with his sons. He tells Chibs and Bobby he will most likely be sentenced to 25 years, with parole in 10, 7 if he's lucky. Tara gets home earlier than expected and the house is empty, save for Eli, the sheriff, who entered the house with her so they could talk in private and he could help her bring her suitcases into the house, as she decided not to run away and do what Jax asked of her; raise their sons.

When Eli leaves, stating he'll be outside, Tara calls for Wayne, assuming his truck outside meant he was in the house. Caught off guard, Gemma comes out of the laundry room and lunges for Tara, who cannot escape in time. Gemma hits her with an iron but doesn't knock her out. Tara struggles against Gemma's beating and her head is badly smashed on the sink, where Gemma then attempts to drown her. Tara struggles for several seconds before Gemma grabs a barbecue fork and stabs Tara multiple times in the back of the head and her neck. Blood gushing out of the back of her head, Tara collapses and dies.

Lt. Roosevelt walks in on the scene and discovers Gemma sitting on the floor next to Tara's body, in obvious shock. Gemma is mumbling incoherently about how it had to be done because she was going to rat out the MC. Roosevelt tells her she didn't rat out the MC, and that Jax is giving himself up to protect her. Immediately after this, Juice walks in, sees the scene, shoots Lt. Roosevelt twice in the back and then comforts Gemma. After this he begins cleaning up the murder scene. Jax returns home later that evening. He sees Lt. Roosevelt's legs on the kitchen floor, draws his gun, and then enters the kitchen, where he finds both Eli and Tara dead on the floor. Stunned, he drops his gun at Eli's feet and cradles Tara in his arms. He does not stand up after this. Patterson walks in and sees the horror of what has happened. Her eyes move from Lt. Roosevelt to Jax's gun and then to Jax, who is still cradling his dead wife. The last shot of the season is Jax crying out in anguish as Patterson looks on. The camera takes in the bodies and the gun in a sequence that suggests Patterson is ready to pin everything on Jax.

Critical response[edit]

The New York Times' series-premiere review remarked on the "chemistry" between Jax and Tara, and described the character as "beautiful...refined and book-smart."[1]

TV Squad credited Siff with a "superior performance"[2] and the Chicago Tribune described her as "excellent."[3]

Related links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (2008-09-03). "Wild Bunch on Wheels, Playing by Its Rules". The New York Times (published 2008-03-02). Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  2. ^ Toomey, Jonathan. "Sons offers more than just Anarchy at second glance". TV Squad. Retrieved 2009-06-20. 
  3. ^ Ryan, Maureen (2008-09-02). "Biker gangs! Guns! Drugs! 'Sons of Anarchy' ups the cable ante - but to what end?". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 

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