In FX’s crime drama series Sons of Anarchy, there was this beloved character named Harry Winston, also known as Opie, played by Ryan Hurst. While there was plenty of violence and death in Sons of Anarchy, some of the deaths shocked viewers during Opie’s exit. Why did Opie leave Sons of Anarchy?
Well, today, we’re going to explore exactly that. Among the very few characters in the FX series that actually escaped death’s embrace, Harry Winston’s death was dramatic. Opie was Pini’s son, one of the founding members of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, and had been Jax’s best bud since childhood.
Harry Winston OP Trajectory at Samcro
Opie was Jax’s best friend, but since the first season, that character’s story development has been marked by tragedy. At the end of the debut season, Opie’s wife Donna is killed by Tig in a drive-by that was arranged by another Sons of Anarchy motorcycle club member, Clay Morrow. But that death was a mistake because Morrow ordered Teague to clip OP, not his wife. Morrow thought the OP had snitched on the ATF.
The OP was offended; He never realized that his wife had died so horribly. And then, we see him having this affair with a grown-up film actress and eventually marrying her. Things were not smooth, Clay decided to kill Piney because he knew about other crimes like the hit on Donna and the murder of Jax’s father. With all the bad deeds on his shoulders, Clay finally meets his death.
OP finds out how Clay killed Donna and Jax’s dad and went to a dark place with another wife. He left the club for a while but decided to kill Clay in revenge before taking another leave of absence from the club.
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Why did Opie leave the Sons of Anarchy?
The character of Ryan Hurst was written out of the series in season five of Sons of Anarchy. He is captured by the ATF and sent to jail with Jax, Tig (his wife’s killer) and Chibs. We see how Colm’s life affects Opie, knowing he has to befriend Tig and deal with Damon Pope, a drug dealer who wants Jax to do something for him.
Pope learns that Tig killed Damon’s baby when he tried to hit on a Riva gang member. Yes, Tig tends to kill other people instead of chosen targets; What a poor hitman he is.
Regardless, Damon Pope wants to kill Jax Teague and exchange the lives of two of his Motor Club friends for the lives of another Samcro member. It’s a bit of gorilla math, that 2 for 2 things, but that’s how the hammer fell.
Jax didn’t want to give anyone up, and planned to take his own life, but Opie, emotionally drained, decided to sacrifice himself and was beaten to his last breath while Jax, Tig, and the others watched in shock from the window, unable to go to his aid. His death, a violent, brutal scene full of drama, was one of the most poignant moments of the Anarchy. With his death, came the redemption of Api’s character; The pain was gone, and he was finally free.
For Ryan Hearst, as he later recalled in many interviews, shooting that scene, planning it, and talking to the showrunners, producers, and screenwriters was a complicated matter. He loved playing that character and he also gave his best performance while shooting for it.
If you’ve ever watched Sons of Anarchy and watched the episode where OP finally leaves the series, you’ll realize that the character is written to a logical conclusion, and then everything else comes crashing down, since Sons of Anarchy is a life about motorcycles and bandits. Opie lived up to his full potential and Ryan Hurst’s performance was one of the best ever on the show.
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