‘Sons of Anarchy’: Why Katey Sagal Thought Fans Would Hate Her Character

by Leanne Stahulak

After Gemma Teller Morrow’s actions in the Season 6 finale of “Sons of Anarchy,” star Katy Sagal believed that fans would hate her character.

In Season 6 Episode 13 of “Sons of Anarchy,” Gemma murdered Tara, her daughter-in-law. She soon regretted the action but took steps to cover up the murder and hide it from her son, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam). But that wasn’t enough to save Gemma, because once Jax found out, he killed his own mother.

Jax killed Gemma in the second-to-last episode of the hit FX TV show, which ended in December 2014. Soon after the episode aired, Sagal sat down with PEOPLE to talk about the shocking death right before the series finale.

At one point, Sagal brought up how surprised she was about fans’ feelings toward Gemma throughout “Sons of Anarchy” Season 7.

“The whole thing has just been amazing. I really loved Gemma, even in all her heinous doings,” Sagal began. “It’s interesting how many people have remained loyal to her. She’s just a badass. In her own way, she speaks her truth. She’s about loyalty. She’s about good things.”

The “Sons of Anarchy” star added, “I don’t really think about what the audience thinks. When I first realized that Gemma was going to kill Tara, I had a moment like, oh s—, man, nobody’s going to wanna see Gemma again. She’s killing beloved Tara! But the very next day, I went to do an autograph session and people were showing up with forks for me to sign. Like the way I killed Tara. And I thought, oh, okay.”

Gruesome, but clearly fans felt that Gemma was at least slightly justified in Tara’s killing. Or they appreciated the rip-roaring entertainment of the scene.

‘Sons of Anarchy’ Star Katey Sagal Revealed That Gemma Really Did Love Tara

While “Sons of Anarchy” star Katey Sagal was surprised about the fans’ reaction to Gemma murdering Tara, she was less surprised about Jax’s reaction. Season 7 really seemed to build up to the moment when Jax found out the truth, and when Gemma paid for her crime. But if you ask Sagal, Gemma had no hard feelings towards Jax’s wife and did not plan on killing her.

“She adored Tara. That was not a premeditated killing that happened, though Gemma is not beyond premeditation,” Sagal told PEOPLE. “It was really an act of rage. It was out of a perfect storm moment where she thought that her son was being taken down, the club was being taken down, her boyfriend broke up with her and she was super high. I think that in her right frame of mind, she wouldn’t have killed Tara.”

Especially once Gemma found out that Tara was innocent and didn’t turn anyone in.

“I think she absolutely adored Tara and continued to. That’s why she was talking to her [ghost] this season, making sure she knew the kids were okay,” Sagal explained. “It was kind of a crazy Gemma thing, but she also felt very bonded to Tara.”