If you’re a fan of FX’s hit show Sons of Anarchy, then it’s a safe bet that you’re ignoring work today and impatiently surfing the internet absorbing as much information about the hotly-anticipated season 5 as you can get your hands on. There are definitely a lot of questions following last season’s stunning finale, but one of the bigger ones has to do with season 5’s “big bad,” drug-kingpin Damon Pope, portrayed by LOST alumnus Harold Perrineau.
You may remember Perrineau from his stint on Lost when he played Michael Dawson, a father who sank to the depths of amorality in order to save his son, Walt, from “the Others.” Portraying Damon Pope on Sons of Anarchy on its face doesn’t sound like such a great leap away from that type of character. Pope is depicted as an ex-drug kingpin who comes to Charming looking for revenge after his daughter was run down by Tig (Kim Coates) in an almost-throwaway scene from last season.
Perrineau isn’t exactly known for playing overtly sinister characters, so his casting in the role is an interesting choice that invites speculation. “I think I’m the last person you think could play this character,” he admits to The Hollywood Reporter.
“For me, it’s not that hard because it’s not that different from Lost because I’m playing a grieving father,” Perrineau says. “This is just a grieving father with means and a bit of a mean streak.”
As far as what to expect from the character, Perrineau says that series creator Kurt Sutter envisioned Pope as an SOA version of gangster Frank Lucas, portrayed by Denzel Washington in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster.
“There are a bunch of guys like that in New York – because that’s where I grew up – that I sort of take little bits and pieces from here and there,” adds Perrineau. “A lot of those old school gangland guys, those guys who end up not dying but retiring. I did a lot of work and research about those guys.”
Perrineau hinted that Pope’s arc would evolve over the course of the season as well. While he’d start off as a straight villain, “He’s not just going to go there, sort of waving a sword around, cutting off heads everywhere he goes,” he said. In fact, he will evolve into something of a mentor-figure to Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), the newly-crowned President of SAMCRO.
“What happens is, he ends up being more of a mentor to Jax,” Perrineau said. “It’s really odd in how that happens. In tragedy, sometimes you make odd connections.”
Sons of Anarchy premieres tonight, September 11, at 10pm (EST) on FX.