Sons of Anarchy: The Hidden Meaning Behind Unser’s Name

Sons of Anarchy's Wayne Unser has a hidden meaning in his name that hints at his role throughout the whole series. Let's take a look.

Sons of Anarchy is packed with little details and foreshadowing moments that elevate the viewing experience, but there’s one that requires some extra research: the meaning behind Wayne Unser’s name. In 2008, Kurt Sutter took the audience into the world of motorcycle gangs in the crime drama TV series Sons of Anarchy. The series was very well-received from the beginning and got a lot of praise throughout its whole run, especially when it came to the themes it addressed and the performances of the main cast. Sons of Anarchy lived on for a total of seven seasons, coming to an end in 2014.

Sons of Anarchy tells the story of Jackson “Jax” Teller (Charlie Hunnam), VP of the motorcycle club Sons of Anarchy in Charming, California. The events of the series are kick-started when Jax finds a manifesto written by his late father, John Teller, one of the founding members of the MC. In it, JT shared his plans and vision for the club, which were very different from those of the current President and Jax’s stepfather, Clay Morrow (Ron Perlman). This and more send Jax on a personal journey that leads him to question his path, role in the club, relationships, family, and more. Through Jax’s story, viewers got to know all members of SAMCRO (Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club Redwood Original) pretty well as well as their most notable allies, such as Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie).

In order to be able to make all their not-so-honest businesses in and around Charming, the Sons of Anarchy club had to have some powerful allies, and one who stayed by their side through thick and thin for many reasons was Wayne Unser, Charming’s chief of police. Unser was the club’s most loyal ally, and he agreed to be on their side as he saw the club as a benefit to the town, as they kept drugs and violence (some of it, at least) out of Charming and protected the residents from external threats, like Ethan Zobelle and Jacob Hale Jr. Although there were some moments where Unser seemed to be about to cut his ties with SAMCRO, he kept helping them (and especially Gemma, Jax’s mother) until his final episode, and this loyalty is subtly hinted at in his name.

Fans of Sons of Anarchy have pointed out that “Unser” translates to “our” in German, serving as a subtle and clever hint at his position as a cop serving a double purpose. Throughout the first seasons of Sons of Anarchy, Unser mostly helped the club by covering their actions in order to avoid major repercussions, but as the series progressed, he got closer to the club and got involved in more personal issues and lent them a hand to commit different crimes, such as when he helped SAMCRO kill ATF Agent June Stahl and their nemesis Jimmy O’Phelan. Unser spent the whole series battling cancer, and when he retired, he ended up living in a trailer as he sold his house to continue paying for his treatment. He rejoined law enforcement as a consultant for San Joaquin Sheriff Althea Jarry and got closer and closer to Gemma, to the point where he was killed by Jax while trying to protect her.

Wayne Unser was meant to be close to SAMCRO from the very beginning, all thanks to the name Sutter chose for him, and when taking into account that he knew Gemma since she was 12, he definitely spent most of his life linked to the club in one way or another. As mentioned above, Sons of Anarchy has a lot of small details and moments of foreshadowing, of which some are noticeable after rewatching the series, and others require some more research and thought.

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