5+ Character Deaths In 'Sons Of Anarchy' That Hurt The Show (5+ That Saved It)

In any true tragedy, death is always a principal player. Being that Sons of Anarchy is basically just a leather-clad retelling of "Hamlet" with motorcycles, it stands to reason that the show follows a similar trajectory.

But although death is always mired in tragedy, sometimes it is also necessary. See what I mean and check out these 5+ character deaths in Sons of Anarchy that hurt the show (and 5+ that saved it!).

HURT: Wayne Unser


When we first met Wayne Unser, he was mere weeks away from his retirement. Because of the club, he lost everything.

Wayne didn't have to meet Mr. Mayhem, Jax could have just as easily knocked him unconscious. Few characters in this series deserve any kind of happy ending, but Wayne was one.

SAVED: August Marks


August Marks felt like a place-filler. He lacked the malice of Damon Pope and his hold of the MC felt confusing at times.

Plus, he put a bullet in Bobby Munson. For that, and so many other reasons, August needed to die.

HURT: Kip 'Half-Sack' Epps


Half-Sack was a martyr for the cause. Through his death, creator Kurt Sutter sent a clear message that no one was safe.

While he was by no means innocent, Half-Sack can still be seen as collateral damage. He was one of the most likable characters on the show.

SAVED: Damon Pope


Season 5 is really where things take a dramatic turn in Sons of Anarchy. The Death of Damon Pope's daughter sets him on a bloody warpath, the likes of which SAMCRO had never known.

Of all Damon's horrendous acts, signing Opie's death warrant tops the list.

HURT: David Hale


Sons of Anarchy isn't gentle when they say goodbye to cast members. They die quickly and brutally, often before the audience has even had time to process what they've just seen.

Hale's death is what inevitably brought in the San Joaquin Sherriffs. It also marked the departure of the last truly honest man in Charming.

SAVED: Agent June Stahl


Few characters in the history of SOA were as slippery and despicable as June Stahl. She was nothing more than a sociopath who played with people's lives as if they were puppets on strings.

Her death brought justice to Opie and helped heal the Club.

HURT: Eric Miles


Eric Miles was a relative newcomer to SAMCRO. He was murdered in cold blood after he caught Juice stealing heroin for Sheriff Eli Roosevelt.

Miles was labeled a traitor and buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the woods.

SAVED: Juan Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz


The actions of Juice caused the unnecessary deaths of so many people around him. He was one of the few characters from season 1 to make it all the way to the end.

When his time came, audiences everywhere were cheering.

HURT: Bobby Munson


Why did it have to be Bobby? August Marks had everything that he wanted, and then completely out of nowhere — he shoots Bobby in the face.

As he lay dying, you could literally feel the last ounce of goodness being sucked from Jax's soul.

SAVED: Clay Morrow

Gemma once likened Clay to a wild animal, caught in a trap. He's desperate, dangerous, and willing to gnaw off his own arm to free himself.

His selfish actions helped set in motion the inevitable demise of SAMCRO as we came to know it. He escaped the reaper so many times, his death was a relief.

HURT: Piermont 'Piney' Winston


As much as Clay was a father to Jax, Piney in many ways was always his dad. He was Jax's trusted confidant, one of the few people who understood JT and Jax's vision of what SAMCRO could become.

Once he went away, so did any hope for SAMCRO going legit.

SAVED: Gemma Teller-Morrow


We all knew that this one was coming. The skeletons in Gemma Teller's closet could fill a graveyard.

But after she brutally murdered her own daughter-in-law, audiences knew that it was only a matter of time before she felt the wrath of Jax's vengeance.

HURT: Harry 'Opie' Winston


Opie was the proverbial Angel on Jax's shoulder. One of the lone voices of reason and morality within the ranks of the MC.

With Opie gone, there was no one around to check Jax's ambition — which would ultimately become his demise.

SAVED: Jackson Teller


It wouldn't be much of a Shakespearean tragedy if Prince Charming himself didn't bite the bullet.

While the means that brought about Jax's demise are undoubtedly contentious, there's no arguing that he'd become all that he once claimed to hate.

HURT: Tara Knowles


Once Tara lost her life at the hands of Gemma Teller, the fate of the entire MC was sealed. Everyone knew that Jax would eventually come to learn the truth and that his rage could only produce one possible outcome.

When Tara died, SAMCRO died with her.