Sons of Anarchy is the story of a motorcycle club involved in gun-running and other deals with rival gangs, and the authorities. The story revolves around the Vice-President and future president of the club, Jackson “Jax” Teller and his dealings. They run several businesses, which may include illegal and legal works. Along with gun-running, they also operate a garage under their name. There are a couple different aspects to the show, one of them is related to the family life of Jackson. In this aspect, a lot of emphasis is put on Jackson, his wife and his kids. It is a constant battle between spending time with them and running errands for the club. For each of the members, their families get put on the back burner as they consider their work at the club a huge priority. The second aspect of the show would be club business. Their business mostly involves the exportation of guns at a large scale. It also focuses on their rivalries with other gangs in the area, politicians and authorities. The final and third aspect of the show is the role of the authorities. The officers in this show are shown as very corrupt and deceiving. Throughout the series, either they could go against the law and cooperate with SAMCRO, or they could fight against them and create havoc in the whole community. They were always torn between laws and peace.
They lived in a town named Charming, which was a contradiction to the realities of that town. There usually was a lot of bloodshed on and off due to the rival gangs retaliating to SAMCRO’s every step. The club consisted of several members along with a support system of some of their family members and friends. There is a President and Vice- President, all decisions must go through them, however, every decision must also get the opinion of every single member of the club. In order for them to be successful in their business, they always needed backup from their police department. The Chief of the Police, Wayne Unser, was a corrupted chief due to his dealings with the club. He would pass on highly sensitive information based on his own knowledge. This kept their business deal afloat. Unser understood that the deal with the club would keep outside violence and drugs out of Charming. In several instances, even the constables and jail guards would conspire with the club for the greater good. The constables were always in a turmoil, they were stuck between legal work and peace. It was a known fact that SAMCRO was a dangerous group of bikers who would go to any lengths if they felt threatened by anyone. Considering this at all times, some of the members of the Charming Police Department would make a deal with the club to avoid havoc. They could go against the club, however, they knew that would only result in more bloodshed.
After Unser’s retirement, we were introduced to another police officer named David Hale. His ultimate goal was to drive out SAMCRO from Charming. However, just like every other police officer in the show, Hale noticed that a deal with the club members would eventually be of some help to the department. He also began to work with some of the members in the club because he knew some of the rivals would destroy their town.
On of the officers, Eli Roosevelt, was known for his incorruptible reputation. He was given the responsibility to observe the club and stop the gun-trade. Initially, he implanted several rules that would create restrictions for the club members when they were out and about. By the end of one of the seasons, he had formed a special bond with one of the members named Juice. Occasionally he would seal a deal with Jax Teller and work towards a common goal, however, he was known for his honesty and he maintained it.
The last police officer that we saw on the show was Althea Jarry. Just like the rest of them she came off as a cop who was ready to take down the club. It all started with hatred towards the club and eventually understanding the reason for their cooperation. Jarry became romantically involved with one of the club members, Chibs. She tried to force information out of him as an honesty agreement in their relationship, but Chibs would never give up his club.
Furthermore, the way the media and shows present police officers is highly dependent on what the audience is expecting. It is always more entertaining for the audience when there is more drama, therefore, portraying police officers as negative may fulfill that demand. We know for a fact that a show which portrays the actual duties of a police officer would never succeed. People are not interested in the paper work and daily reports that they have to allocate their time on. This gives us a general perception of what is expected of television shows these days. Furthermore, any major wrongdoing committed by an officer is highlighted in every newspaper, yet they fail to broadcast the positive and commendable actions. Moreover, there is a major gap between what we see and what actually happens. Television shows are not broadcasted as realistic depictions of the manner with which they function. It is usually an exaggeration to grasp the attention of their audience. In this show, Sons of Anarchy, similar to every other show the actions of police department are shown way out of proportion. Chasing criminals at fast speeds, shooting at every chance they find, and solving all of the crimes does not represent reality. Police officers have to take action based on reasonable grounds and not suspicious, moreover, they also have to be aware of all the bystanders who could possibly be injured in the action.
At one stage in life, when we cannot tell the right from wrong, what we see on television is the truth for us. Things we may see on TV may jeopardize our thinking as we grow older. However, It would also be false to state that all the facts observed in shows are wrong. That is not the case. If were to look at how the Head of Police and the others acted out during a shooting or other chaos, we may see some similarities between fiction and reality. In the show, we saw that some of the members of the club were involved with certain police officers which they would use both ways. They both fed off the knowledge they had, to attain one goal, peace in their communities.
In 2013, Montreal Police Force’s leading expert on biker gangs, Benoit Roberge, was arrested due to allegations of him conspiring with one of the gang members he was observing. He was accused of sharing sensitive information about a police investigation regarding that gang. He had just recently been assigned to a specialized unit, which was formed using different police forces that focused on biker gang activities (Canadian Press, 2013). Another case such as this was revealed in Chicago, where a former veteran police officer was arrested for making a deal with a local gang to rob their rivals of their treasures. (Meisner, 2013)
As for the themes and messages that are received from these shows include the emphasis on police wrongdoing. All cases of wrongdoing are highlighted and broadcasted in every show to attract attention. An individual who took an oath to protect and serve the community doing the opposite grasps the attention of many. Concepts that we see in these are not necessarily reality, yet, they are not all false either. We see a mixture of reality and fiction and we get to decide how we wish to interpret it.
Biker gang expert accused of conspiring with the criminals he was watc. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from http://www.advocatedaily.com/2013/10/biker-gang-expert-accused-of-conspiring-with-the-criminals-he-was- watching/
Former Chicago cop gets 12 years for working with gang. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-23/news/chi-former-chicago-cop-gets-12-years-for-working-with-gang-20130523_1_12-years-former-chicago-cop-latin-kings
Nat. (n.d.). Police and Criminal Portrayals Through the Media: Portrayal of police in television dramas. Retrieved from http://natalicrim2027.blogspot.ca/2010/10/portrayal-of-police-in-television.html
Wayne Unser. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from http://sonsofanarchy.wikia.com/wiki/Wayne_Unser