Last night’s Sons of Anarchy season premiere was chaotic: Sodomy, nude heroin use, torture porn, shootouts, prison fights, drowning a man in a tub of urine, adultery, and a child gunning down his classmates with a semi-automatic? Kim Coates warned us about the insanity that would ensue in season six, but we turned a deaf ear and tuned-in anyway. Welcome back to Charming, y’all.
Before Kim Coates was scooped up by show creator Kurt Sutter to play Tig, he had never been a regular on TV. Small guest-stints on Entourage, Prison Break, CSI: Miami, and Smallville were more within his wheelhouse, and Sutter had to convince him to join the Sons of Anarchy cast. A lifelong biker, Coates dove in to motorcycle club folklore and began immersing himself in the mentalities surrounding brotherhood.
Tig Trager is a complex character. He’s impulsively violent, but his loyalty, sentimental nature, and sense of humor make you forgive his sociopathic tendencies. “He does so many things wrong, and he does so many things right,” Coates told me of the character he’s nurtured along this six-season journey when we spoke over the phone last week. “I think the fan base has come to closely appreciate him and love that about him.”
Since Tig’s been put through a number of disturbing situations on the show, Coates has prepared for the role by doing extensive work with his friend and licensed physiologist Dr. Sam Alibrando. “I’ve spent many a session with him, talking about human behavior, and talking about human emotions. How in the world could you ever prepare for watching your own daughter burn in a pit in front of you, and you’re chained with handcuffs like an animal?” Good question. And after going so deeply into the human consciousness, Coates admits to having to shuffle those dark feelings aside until the season five finale when Tig was finally able to get revenge and off his daughter’s killer Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau). “It’s one of my favorite episodes.”
As last night’s season six opener continued to demonstrate, Kurt Sutter’s world of Charming is twisted and overflowing with bad guys. But as Coates pointed out during our conversation, “there always seems to be badder forces out there than us.”