Pilot (Sons of Anarchy)

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Sons of Anarchy episode
Jax and Gemma after the premature birth of Abel.
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Directed by Alan Coulter
Michael Dinner
Written by Kurt Sutter
Production code 1WAB79
Original air date September 3, 2008 (2008-09-03)
Running time 56 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"Pilot" is the first episode of the FX television series Sons of Anarchy, the pilot episode of the series. It was written by series creator Kurt Sutter, and directed by Alan Coulter and Michael Dinner. It originally aired in the United States on September 3, 2008.


Members of the Mayans, a Mexican-American motorcycle gang, break into a warehouse and begin stealing the hundreds of guns inside. The leader of the gang, Marcus Alvarez, tells one of his men to torch the place. Unknown to them, two women are hiding beneath the building. At a nearby convenience store, Jax Teller, the Vice-President of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, purchases condoms and a pack of cigarettes. When he isn't looking, the salesgirl slips into his bag a children's book that he was looking at. He spots the book, but is distracted by the fire coming from the nearby warehouse.

Members of the Sons of Anarchy MC then arrive at the warehouse, after driving past a road sign reading "Welcome to Charming". Charming, a small town in Northern California, is watched over by the outlaw motorcycle club calling themselves the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original Chapter (aka SAMCRO or "Sam Crow"), who are also involved in gun running. Finding that the police are already there, Clay Morrow, the club President, speaks to Sheriff Vic Trammel about the blaze. He claims that propane tanks inside the building exploded, but suspects arson due to the bootprints around the area. He then shows SAMCRO the charred corpses in the basement, and Clay tells him to dispose of them. They were Mexican illegal immigrants being housed in the building by Tig Trager, SAMCRO's Sergeant-At-Arms, in exchange for sexual favours. After Jax gives him money in order to alert the fire department about the incident, Trammel asks what he's "supposed to tell the boys up in East Bay", referring to the One-Niners, a street gang who buy weapons from SAMCRO. Clay responds by telling him to set up a meeting.

At the Teller-Morrow Automotive Repair, an auto shop owned and operated by SAMCRO, new member Half-Sack Epps has joined the club as a Prospect. He explains how he got his nickname after losing a testicle while fighting in Iraq. Jax has recently moved back in with his mother Gemma Teller Morrow and stepfather Clay after splitting up with his wife Wendy Case due to her methamphetamine addiction. She is also pregnant with their child. Gemma calls Jax for dinner, and tells him to bring Half-Sack. However, she then tells him not to when she discovers that Epps is a vegetarian. Meanwhile, Wendy tears apart her home looking for a spoon, before preparing to inject a needle into her hand. But, being heavily pregnant, she then decides against it.

Clay meets with Laroy Wayne, the One-Niners leader, in the East Bay and tells him what happened to the guns and the warehouse. Laroy is upset as he needed the guns, which he planned to sell to the Mayans. After an argument, Laroy gives Clay more time to get some more guns.

Jax begins looking through boxes of old belongings in his parents' garage, finding old photographs of his late father John, who founded the club after returning from service in Vietnam. He also finds a journal entitled The Life and Death of Sam Crow: How the Sons of Anarchy Lost Their Way, written by him for his sons Jax and Tommy (who died in 1990). When he is called away to a club meeting, Jax hides the journal. At the clubhouse, all charter members have gathered in the "Chapel", the club's meeting room. Intelligence officer Juice Ortiz has located the guns stolen from the warehouse, now being stored by the Mayans in San Leandro. Clay wants to find the guns, steal them back, and torch the place where they were found. However, Bobby Munson, the club Secretary, cannot attend as he is performing an Elvis impersonation in Lake Tahoe that night.

When Gemma goes to visit Wendy at her home, she finds her collapsed and unconscious on the floor. She takes her to the hospital and calls Jax, who then also shows up at the hospital. Dr. Tara Knowles, Jax's high school sweetheart, tells him that track marks were found on Wendy's hands and feet, and that an emergency C-section had to be performed on her, leaving the baby boy born ten weeks premature. Because of this, the baby has a heart defect and a tear in his abdomen. The latter is from Wendy's drug abuse, but the former problem is likely a genetic defect. Together, both defects are near-fatal, leaving him with just a 20% chance of survival. Jax decides not to visit his baby, named Abel, and instead flees the hospital. He brings Bobby with him to a sleazy bar where he beats Wendy's dealer repeatedly with a pool cue. He later visits his best friend and lapsed club member Opie Winston and convinces him to come along on the approaching raid on the Mayans' warehouse. Opie, an explosives expert, is uncertain, however, as he was recently released from a five-year prison sentence which he served for the club after being caught during a similar raid.

Back at the clubhouse, Jax suggests to the club that they look into other ways of earning money instead of dealing weapons, especially with so many rival groups on their back. Clay says they should first deal with regaining their weapons. Later, Clay tells Jax that he can't be "getting cold feet" about the club, especially with an expensive baby in the world. He tells him that he and Jax's father served time, lost brothers and spilled a lot of blood to get the club to where it is today.

Jax then visits Wendy in hospital. She promises that she'll get clean, and says that the doctors told her Abel is getting stronger, but she herself is facing a charge of fetal abuse as a stash of drugs were found at her home. She asks him to get rid of the stash before she faces time in jail. When he arrives at her home, he finds his mother feverishly cleaning it. He tells Gemma that Abel will die, which angers her; she slaps him and tells him that he's the only one his son has got. She goes on to tell him about the strength of the Teller men, and Jax asks her about his father's original vision of the club. She responds that it was to create a brotherhood, a family. Jax tells her about the writings he found, and how his father wanted a social rebellion, not an outlaw club. Jax then encourages Gemma to finish cleaning tomorrow, and she leaves. He finds Wendy's drugs and a handgun in a drawer. He flushes the stash down the toilet and takes the gun.

That night, Gemma and Clay prepare for bed and talk about Jax's questioning of the gun running, and his idea for not rebuilding the gun factory. Gemma tells Clay to stop Jax's new found mode of thinking, and nail him down. She doesn't want "the ghost of John Teller" poisoning Jax and destroying everything they've built together.

The next day, the club members discuss the recent parole of Ernest Darby who leads the Nordics, a White supremacist gang of meth dealers. Clay, Jax and Bobby later meet up with Darby at a diner, and warn him to keep his drug dealing out of Charming.

At the hospital, Tara recommends that Abel's heart surgery happen today, and asks to privately talk to Gemma. She asks her to talk to Wendy and let her know that she has somebody, but Gemma says she would only give her vitriol. Tara asks if she has a problem with her being involved with the case, to which Gemma replies that as long as she's a good doctor, she couldn't care less. The two argue, with Tara claiming she's a different person to how she was 10 years ago. Gemma lifts up the back of her shirt, briefly exposing a biker tattoo. Tara claims that she has kept it to remind her that her past is behind her. Gemma exits, calling her a bitch as she leaves.

That night, Jax goes to Opie's house to bring him along on the raid and finds that his wife Donna is angered because Opie is again involved with the club. Jax tells Opie to stay with his family, and makes an excuse to Clay that one of his children had an accident that needed his attention.

Meanwhile, when Bobby arrives in Tahoe with Half-Sack, he is informed by the owner of the club where he is performing that there has been a double booking and that he will have to make a booking for another time. The other act that night is also an Elvis impersonator but is Asian and there are a number of Korean tourists going to see him, which means that he is favoured over Bobby. Half-Sack goes to the Asian's dressing room and beats him up so that he can't perform and Bobby can.

In San Leandro, Clay, Jax, Tig and Chibs Telford have rode into town and they soon find the Mayans' stash of guns and heroin. However, after they break into the warehouse, a group of guards show up and Clay and Chibs shoot and kill the first few (wearing Mayans vests), leaving one that Clay forces Jax to kill. This man is White and has a Swastika tattoo, implying that he is a Nord (and that the Mayans and Nords now have an alliance). Jax is hesitant to kill the man, implying that he truly is getting cold feet about the club, and Clay eventually does it when the Nord reaches for a gun. The group then use explosives to blow up the stash, and the corpses in the process, before riding back to Charming with the guns.

Tara performs successful surgery on Abel and Gemma visits Wendy, ridiculing her and telling her that the District Attorney is dropping any charges against her. Wendy says that she will get clean, now that she has her baby. Gemma threatens her, saying that if she tries to get custody of the child, she will kill her. Gemma then gives back the Bible Wendy was reading, now containing a needle, hinting that Gemma will discreetly allow Wendy to commit suicide via overdose. Jax also returns to the hospital, and reunites and embraces with Tara. She notices the blood on his clothes, and tells him to clean himself up. Wendy has an overdose in her hospital bed, as the doctors desperately try and save her. Jax finally visits his son.


  • Whistler: A Nord, shot along with three unnamed Mayans.


Originally, Scott Glenn was cast in the role of Clay Morrow and an entire pilot episode was filmed with him. However, series creator Kurt Sutter decided to go in a different direction with the character and re-cast Ron Perlman in the role, and Clay's scenes were re-shot.[1] Additionally, Emilio Rivera was originally cast as a Sons of Anarchy club member named "Hawk," who eventually evolved into the character of Tig Trager.[2] Also, the One-Niners street gang who buy weapons from SAMCRO first appeared in The Shield, which Sutter produced.


External links[edit]


  1. ^ Hunnam, Glenn and Sagal in FX's Anarchy
  2. ^ Emilio Rivera Talks SONS OF ANARCHY, a Guest Spot on THE MENTALIST, and Feature Projects