Katey Sagal has played some memorable mothers on television. Peggy Bundy was the ultimate dysfunctional mother, and Cate Hennessy was the traditional loving sitcom mom. No one she's played has anything on Gemma Morrow in Sons of Anarchy.
Katey Sagal Plays Mother to Sons of Anarchy
"Gemma is a ferocious mother," said Sagal. "She will do anything for her son and for her family, her family being this motorcycle world that she's so a part of. So a lot of that's role modeled on me. I think I'm a little bit of a ferocious mother when it comes to my children. There's a little bit of that but at the same time, she's very different than I am in that she'd go to any lengths. When you see the show, you'll realize how far all of them will go in the name of loyalty to their unit. It's actually a lovely bond. They just have a very deep way of expressing it. She's a little bit of a rock chick. She's a hard ass with a heart of gold."
A return to series television gives Sagal a whole new role than her predominantly comedic background. "I never really left television. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do a more dramatic role. I wanted to do an ensemble drama and my husband [Kurt Sutter] wrote me a fantastic part. Luckily, FX said, 'Yes, we'd love her to come do it.' You didn't have to twist my arm. It's a great part."
Sons of Anarchy
Though Gemma is the matriarch of the motorcycle gang, Sagal does not actually have to drive a bike. "I can ride on the back and I hope I don't have to, but I might. Actually, Gemma drives a Cadillac. She's the queen bee. Can I just say that these guys made a real commitment when they signed on? They all ride now. I mean, everybody took classes and studied. I don't ride a bike but eventually I might. I think they're all doing great."
Even though they operate outside the law, there are still family values in Sons of Anarchy. "I mean, it's a dark world but they also have normal lives and it's a really interesting bond that they all have. It's its own little community. It comes out of a whole anarchist attitude actually. That's the title, Sons of Anarchy. They have rules. They have bylaws. There are standards. It's really fascinating. People feel safe in structure no matter what community they're in so they have their own structure that they follow. They have very rigid rules and regulations. They're kind of their own little deal. It's a really fascinating world actually."