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"Sons of Anarchy": The Prince, The Spy, and The Biker who Came in from the Cold

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Biker drama echoes both Shakespeare and John Le Carré



Spoiler alert. If you have not seen the final episode of  Sons of Anarchy , do not read further. The episode contains a major plot twist which is discussed in this Op- Ed.

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The season finale of Sons of Anarchy, the brash new biker-gangster drama, ended this week in the funeral of an innocent woman mistakenly gunned down in a blood feud. This is not just another crime story- Sons is even more ambitious than The Shield, The Wire or The Sopranos. Sons of Anarchy is one of the best counter-espionage stories in recent memory- worthy of John le Carré, even of Shakespeare.

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Sons borrows from the two best spy stories of all time- The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, and Hamlet. The Prince, the Spy and the Biker are all totally disillusioned anti-heroes, acutely aware of gross rottenness. Ghosts haunt all three. His dead father haunts hamlet the Prince.  Dead secret agents haunt Le Carré's British Spy. The ghost of his father and other demons haunts Jax the Biker.


The Prince, the Spy and the Biker all use expendable double agents and triple agents. Do Rosencrantz and Guildenstern even really know who they work for as they blunder into execution? Does the British Spy's girl have any idea why she is gunned down on the Berlin wall? 


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Anarchy explicitly rules all three stories. How can the body politic be cured of rank and rampant corruption? When Kings are criminals, no one is safe.


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James J. Murtagh, Jr. is a doctor of pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine, and the Medical Director of several sleep laboratories in Southern Ohio. Dr. Murtagh extensively writes on medical ethics. Dr. Murtagh is the founder of a new (more...)

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