That’s good news for the series’ audience, which has grown steadily season by season, currently averaging 6.6 million viewers weekly.
‘‘There’s a pulp quality to my show that allows me to push the boundary and tell some bigger-than-life stories,’’ Sutter says. ‘‘But what grounds the story is that we see the ramifications of the bad things the characters do. That creates a sense of karmic responsibility for what we’re putting out there. It doesn’t feel so much like, ‘Oh, there’s just violence for violence’s sake, or sex for sex’s sake.’ Viewers understand how it fits into the bigger picture.’’
Part of the bigger picture is that, however engaging these ruffians may be — you just can’t help rooting for Jax and his confederates, no matter how brutish their behavior — there’s no glamourizing the lives they lead.
‘‘The irony of this outlaw culture is that it’s supposed to be all about breaking the rules and being free,’’ says Sutter — yet the Sons are stricken by their own code of conduct. They remain trapped, on high alert and under constant threat. ‘‘It’s not a life I would want to live,’’ Sutter says with a laugh.
But it’s a life that’s fascinating to watch. For violence this raw and bracing, yet full of dramatic consequences, I've got just one thing to say about ‘‘Sons of Anarchy’’ every week: Hit me again!
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier