- "We don't know who we are until we're connected to someone else. We're just better human beings when we're with the person we're supposed to be with. I wasn't supposed to leave. I belong here."
- ―Tara, to Jax
Tara Grace Knowles-Teller (June 21, 1980-2013) was a doctor at St. Thomas Hospital, and the primary deuteragonist, on the FX original series Sons of Anarchy. Played by American actress Maggie Siff, Tara makes her debut in the series' premiere episode, "Pilot", in the series' first season. Based out of Charming, California, Tara was the wife of Jax Teller and the mother of Abel Teller and Thomas Teller II. She is one of the main characters of the series' first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth seasons, Tara meets her demise in the Season 6 episode "A Mother's Work".
Tara was a native of Charming, California and wife to Jax Teller. Tara's mother died when she was nine years old. According to ATF Agent June Stahl, she had a "drunk daddy," and Tara has described him as a "bit of a packrat." She was Jax's high-school girlfriend, and during this era she got a crow tattoo on her lower back representing her connection to SAMCRO. Tara was arrested in Jax's company at least three times in 1996, namely for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and possession of stolen property. Tara left town when Jax was 19, trying to get away from small-town life and the heavy-handed influence of the club. According to Gemma this all but broke Jax's heart.
After leaving Charming she moved in with a cousin of her father's who lived in San Diego, studied at University of California, San Diego where she graduated with honors, attended medical school in Chicago (Feinberg Medical School at Northwestern University according to her file in "Fun Town" but "Loyola Med" according to Agent Stahl in "Better Half,") where she was at the top of her class, and then went on to her internship in Chicago Presbyterian. While in Chicago she dated ATF agent Josh Kohn, and got pregnant by him, but had an abortion at six weeks.
Kohn became intimidating at a certain point in their relationship so she took out a restraining order against him. She told Hale that she had to go to three precincts before successfully getting a restraining order. She doubted law enforcement's ability to protect her. After an eleven year absence, Tara returned to Charming, "the only place [she] ever felt safe." She thought if law enforcement failed to protect her, SAMCRO could.
She worked as a pediatric resident, specializing in neo-natal and prenatal care, at the local hospital, St. Thomas. A capable physician, she often tended to Jax's gravely ill infant son Abel Teller during the infant's hospitalization, assisting the surgeon during Abel's operations.
She lived in her childhood home, which her father left to her by her when he died. (She also drives a Cutlass her father had parked in the garage under "two tons of old newspapers.")
Upon her return to Charming, Tara's relationship with Jax was largely tentative, based primarily on their mutual concern for gravely ill Abel, until ATF Agent Kohn came to town looking to continue their relationship on the pretext of investigating the Sons of Anarchy. Afraid for her life, she sought Jax's help in driving off Kohn. Jax stabbed Kohn's car on her behalf, beat him bloody in an altercation at Floyd's barber shop, and then escorted him out of town. After Kohn returned in the dead of night and attacked Tara in her own home, she shot Kohn in the gut, and then called Jax for help.
The couple discussed the matter and, against the backdrop of Kohn's continued abuse and haranguing, Jax decided the best course of action was to shoot Kohn in the head, thereby putting a permanent end to his intimidation tactics and bullying. Tara and Jax then fell into each others arms and made love while an iPod played the Andy Williams song "Can't Get Used to Losing You" on repeat.
Following Kohn's killing, Jax and Tara seemed to settle into a largely healthy and positive romantic relationship. Tara spent more time with Jax at the clubhouse, played nice with Gemma and worked to heal wounded club associate Cameron Hayes. The Jax-Tara relationship was seen to disintegrate after his ex-wife Wendy Case returned from rehab.
In the penultimate season-one episode "The Sleep of Babies," Tara is seen sleeping alone while Jax and Wendy make love. In the final episode of the first season, "The Revelator," Tara tells Jax that she has arranged to return to Chicago as she doesn't believe she is cut out for life in Charming. This makes Jax angry and he storms off. At the end of the episode Tara is seen to have changed her mind, as she turns up at Donna Winston's funeral, and Jax and Tara share a kiss.
Season 2 shows Tara officially becoming Jax's "old lady," and becoming integrated into the club's world. After Gemma was raped, she turned to Tara for medical help. Tara encouraged Gemma to seek out counseling to deal with the psychological repercussions of the attack, but Gemma was reluctant. However, Tara's help with Gemma, along with her help raising Abel, seemed to help heal the rift between Tara and Gemma. Tara's connection with Jax and SAMCRO, on the other hand, causes problems for her at work. Gemma accidentally broke Tara's nose after Tara startled her. However, one of the hospital administrators, Margaret Murphy, believed that Jax was responsible for the injury and warned Tara about the problems her association with Jax could cause her. Later, Margaret files a "hostile work environment" complaint against Tara after Gemma confronts the administrator about the hospital's desire to move Chibs to another facility because his insurance situation. Chibs later complains of head pain and is able to stay at the hospital. Margaret accused Tara of coaching Chibs with his symptoms and had Tara's privileges suspended. When Jax decided that he wanted to go nomad, Tara was upset that he made this decision without talking to her, but unlike just about everyone else connected to the club, she felt like it might be the right decision, given the tension between Jax and Clay. Gemma lets Tara know that as Jax's "old lady", Tara has considerable prestige and respect in the club after other women in the club defer to her, and that she shouldn't "take any shit" from anyone.
Later, Tara confronts Margaret after a verbal exchange that gets ugly, with Tara choking her and punching her in the face. Tara tells Margaret "I know where you live, I know where your kids go to school" and informs her that the cops are on SAMCRO's payroll and that the club runs Charming. Tara advises Margaret to keep her mouth shut and retract her complaint. Margaret, face bloody, quickly agrees. In the season two finale, Tara attempted to convince Gemma to not get revenge but was unsuccessful. She was present at Jax's home when Cameron Hayes appeared, killed Half-sack and then tied her to Abel's cot before kidnapping Abel Teller. She was seen being consoled by Chief David Hale.
Tara is still saddened by the kidnapping of Abel. As time goes by, Jax is constantly pushing her away. While visiting Gemma when she was on the run, Tara helped Gemma kill her father's caregiver and Tig helped them cover it up. She later reveals to Gemma in the hospital that she is six weeks pregnant with Jax's child. After Jax breaks up with Tara, she catches him with Cara Cara porn star, Ima. Later in the day Tara is at Jax's house packing. He apologizes for what she saw earlier, but she feels he wanted her to see it, because he wants her gone and he knew it was the one thing that would drive her away. She expresses that she thinks he is doing because he hates her for what happened to Abel, but he continues to say that it is to protect her and she still doesn't believe him.
When Tara leaves Jax's house it is shown that recently ousted Calaveras MC leader, Hector Salazar has been secretly stalking her and Jax. The way Tara starts feeling and her anxiousness to keep the baby a secret from Jax permanently indicates she might be thinking about getting an abortion. Gemma convinces Tara to wait until Jax gets back and look into Abel's eyes before she does anything. Gemma wants Tara to try to mend the relationship because Jax hasn't been thinking clearly since Abel's abduction.
She ultimately helps Gemma escape custody so that she can accompany Clay and Jax to Belfast. Recently Tara was asked by Lyla if she knew of any clinics that did abortions. After she goes with Lyla to have the procedure done they have a conversation about why Lyla is doing it and as it turns out Lyla is having the same problem with Opie that Tara is having with Jax; he won't open up to her in fear of what might happen. After the conversation Tara sets an appointment for herself to have an abortion as well.
Later, Tara reveals to Margaret Murphy that she is going to have an abortion and Murphy offers to drive her to the clinic. During a staged car accident, the two women are taken hostage by Hector Salazar and his girlfriend Louisa. Salazar found Tara's location through information from Jacob Hale, Jr., the corrupt businessman who is trying to become the mayor of Charming. While Tara and Margaret were being held by Salazar, Margaret was crying and panicking Tara was calm and cool about the situation. She even tells Margaret to try and get some sleep. When Tara gets a chance to go to the bathroom she looks for something to use as a weapon. She breaks off a peace of the mirror and Salazar's girlfriend breaks into the bathroom.
Tara cuts her neck and is close to escaping with Margaret until Salazar arrives. After a stand off Tara tells him that his girlfriend is in the bathroom bleeding badly. She says that she will keep his girlfriend alive if he lets Margaret go. After they leave the house Salazar's girlfriend dies in the car and Salazar grabs Tara, throws her on the car and puts a gun to her head. Salazar takes Tara to Jacob Hale's office, where he takes Hale hostage as well. When he makes his demands one of them is for Jax to come in.
Tara sees him pull out a knife and he tells her that he plans to kill her and make Jax watch and then kill Jax. When Jax comes in, Salazar is about to kill Tara, but is stabbed by Jacob Hale. Jax wrestles the gun from Salazar and gives it to Tara and tells her to kill anyone who is not a cop. When the whole ordeal is over with Jax and Tara go to doctor for an ultrasound to make sure the baby is healthy. Jax and Tara go to Gemma's house where she sees Abel and happily holds him and welcomes him back home. In the season finale Tara has become more involved in the club.
She drives Jimmy O back to the garage with him in the trunk after SAMCRO buys him off the Russians, Jax makes sure that she wears a bulletproof vest to insure her safety in case something goes wrong. When Stahl tells the club about the deal Jax made with her, which was actually a trap by the club to kill Stahl and Jimmy, she hugs him goodbye for fear that the club will kill him in prison. In the closing minute of the season 3 finale, Tara reads letters from John Teller to his mistress Maureen Ashby implying that Gemma and Clay would be responsible for his death should it happen.
Between Seasons 3 and 4
Bridge between end of Season 3 and beginning of Season 4: By the end of season 3 when Jax and the other Samcro members were hauled off to prison, Tara is a little over 8 weeks pregnant. However, in a special feature "appisode" (titled: Tara and Piney)- that took place day 85 of Jax's incarceration; a pregnant Tara is shown about 5 months along. In this appisode, Tara goes to Piney for information on John Teller's death but is rebuked and told not to investigate further and that the past was "dead and buried". In another special "appisode" (titled: Second Son) - which bridges the gap between seasons; Tara and Gemma visit Jax in prison. Tara has just given birth to baby Thomas, and she brings the baby to meet Jax for the first time. Jax is overjoyed. He apologizes for missing the delivery and promises he wouldn't miss anything important ever again.
At the beginning of Season 4 Tara is waiting to greet Jax on his return home. When Jax arrives he and Tara spend a little time with Abel and Thomas before Jax has to go inside the clubhouse for a meeting. When Tara and Jax meet at their house later, they waste no more time and begin making love. Jax then proposes to Tara by putting a ring on their son Thomas's finger. Before Tara can fully accept they have a serious talk about the future of their family. Jax explains that he is done with SAMCRO, but he has to stay until Clay steps down as president because he and Gemma won't let Jax walk away without conflict.
He does assure her that as soon as Clay retires and once he has saved enough money to avoid living off his wife he will leave SAMCRO and they will start fresh as a normal family. Later, at Opie and Lyla's wedding, Jax is the best man and Tara is the maid of honor. The next day Tara and Jax are having breakfast with their sons when they see on the news a story about four dead bodies found at the construction site of Charming Heights. She asks Jax to tell her all he knows about it. He tells her it was retaliation for him getting stabbed in prison. Later on she encounters Gemma in her office who asks why Tara is not wearing her engagement ring. Tara simply tells Gemma that she and Jax are just waiting for the right time to tell everyone. Later at the clubhouse a distraught Tara is reunited with Jax after he is rescued from the Russians. There she discovers, along with Jax, that the clubhouse had been trashed by Sheriff Roosevelt.
To lighten up the mood she decides to announce her and Jax's engagement. During the season (and before) Tara has become more fearful of the consequence's of being involved with SAMCRO and increasingly begins to think about the effect it will have on her sons. This leads Tara to make the decision of leaving town with her sons until things settle down. Tara is also conflicted about the letters from Maureen Ashby. Gemma has found out she has them and tries most of the season to obtain them and destroy them. Piney also shows interest in them as a way to blackmail Clay, but Tara keeps them protected. Clay finds out about the letters and he is so fearful of them getting out, that he takes out a hit on her life from Romeo.
Eventually after confronting Gemma about the letters, Tara admits that she is not capable of showing the letters to Jax, feeling that if he knew who his father truly was, Jax would get deeper into the club out of guilt, therefore getting him further from her. Tara eventually heads to a medical conference in Oregon and takes Abel and Thomas with her, most likely for an indefinite stay. Jax accompanies her and on the way there the assassins hired by Clay try to kill her.
Tara survives thanks to Jax, but during the fight her right hand gets smashed in a van door. However it is later revealed she was never in fact in any real danger since her kidnappers were FBI agents staging the 'kidnapping' but planning to debrief her once safely away from the club. Her hand is repaired, but the nerves are terribly damaged. Her doctor affirms it is unknown if it is permanent but she feels otherwise and believes her career to be over. Jax, extremely upset himself, tries to comfort her, but Tara has become distant and asks him to leave her alone. She feels that now their future is set and they will never get out of Charming. She's later encouraged by Jax that everything will go as they had planned, which Tara barely believes.
During the day she's visited by Jax's ex-wife Wendy, who makes it clear that she wants to know Abel better, as she gave up custody but not the right to know him. This unnerves Tara who feels she should be Abel's true mother and becomes fearful that Wendy will take him away from her. Wendy leaves her number and Tara smashes her hand into vase of flowers, wailing in anger. She's later put under psych watch and restrained to her bed. Jax begins to feel at a loss as how to take care of and comfort her.
Later Gemma comes to see her and confesses that it was Clay who wanted her dead because of the letters, which she gives to Gemma. She reveals later to Gemma that she was full aware of her plan to have Clay killed by Jax and hide the letters that involve her and Unser, to prompt Jax to stay as President. Tara gives Jax a blood thinner to inject into Clay, who is recuperating at St. Thomas. She demands that Jax, in front of Gemma, that he will kill Clay and come get her and the boys, so they can leave Charming forever.
This plan fails as Jax is forced to stay due to the influence of Romero Parada and Luis Torres who are undercover CIA agents. They need SAMCRO to provide weapons and transport drugs or they will crush the club. Understanding that Jax has to become President, Tara decides to remain with him. With Gemma watching, Tara stands behind a notably unresponsive Jax at the head of the table, one arm draped around him, mirroring a photo of Gemma and John Teller at the season's finale.
The season begins with Tara's hand in a cast unable to perform surgeries. Despite losing ability to operate, she supports Jax as President of SAMCRO. The couple lacks certainty of "where it all goes," but Jax is clear that "no matter what happens, I want you to be my wife." Tara mocks the romanticism of a spontaneous wedding at Diosa to which Jax jokes, "I killed a Fed for you ... nothing says true love like capital murder." A judge marries them in a quick ceremony with wedding rings that belonged to Gemma and JT. Tension rises between Tara and Gemma over controlling the family. Tara places Abel and Thomas in hospital daycare with Jax's support. Tara gains power by shutting out Gemma, who is not on visitor list at first. Gemma tries to hurt Tara by using Wendy to threaten a custody suit. Tara stands firm by warning Gemma not to hurt her or her family or Jax "might kill you." Tara strategically plans squashing RICO case with Lowen, Bobby and Jax. She volunteers at Stockton State Prison and asks Otto to recant his RICO statement.
Tara extends an olive branch to Gemma by placing her on daycare visitor's list and allowing her to watch the boys. Gemma is stoned when she wrecks her car with Abel and Thomas in the backseat. Tara punches Gemma when she confesses to being high while driving with the boys. Tara's fears intensify over the increasing threats to her family; she starts to defend and protect them in Gemma-like ways. Tara cuts her out of the family, but agrees to let Gemma back in if she helps Jax with getting intel from Clay on plot to undermine his leadership. Tara receives good prognosis for her hand and gets recruited for a surgical job in Oregon. Meanwhile, Otto agrees to Tara's plea on RICO if she will bring him Luann's crucifix.
Tara's career is on the line when she is investigated as an accessory to Otto's brutal murder of a prison nurse that was killed with Luann's crucifix. Jax assures Tara that they will get through the investigation just like they get through everything else to which she quips, "that's what scares me." She becomes guarded when Jax doesn't walk away after meeting his goal to save the MC with RICO shutdown. She is pressed to reply to the offer and internally struggles with moving on as it is the "last chance" for her and Jax to get out of Charming. While meeting to prepare Tara's defense, Lowen prompts Tara to think about legal custody of sons if anything was to happen to her. Tara agrees to Providence job offer before telling Jax.
Wendy confronts Tara with reality of risk associated with MC and shows her the shoulder bruise from the force of Jax jamming a speedball needle into it. Tara gasps with shock realizing that Jax is losing his way. The prison nurse's brother, Lee Toric, confronts Tara at the hospital and threatens to avenge her death. More than ever, Tara needs someone trustworthy to name as guardian of her sons in case of imprisonment or death. Tara has no permanent nerve damage and will be able to operate again. Tara requests clarity from Jax who does not come clean about intimidating Wendy.
Gemma confronts Tara about Providence offer and threatens Tara "I'm done with your power push." Gemma threatens to tell investigators that Tara planned kill of innocent nurse to reverse RICO. Tara enlists Wendy as guardian and is now more determined to pull her sons out of Charming's "cesspool." Jax disapproves of Wendy as Guardian, but Tara insists it is her 'job as an old lady to be strong ... when and where [he] can't be." She tells him she accepted job offer in Oregon to spare them from becoming like Gemma and Clay, which will force the boys to relive their mistakes.
The season ends with Tara's arrest for conspiracy to commit Pamela Toric's murder.
After a number of failed attempts to get herself and her sons out of Charming (including a false pregnancy and subsequently faked miscarriage to bar Gemma Teller-Morrow from gaining custody of Abel and Thomas, should Tara go to prison), and after Tara and Jax's relationship was tested (Tara and Jax are having problems with her being behind bars for her involvement in the death of a nurse. Jax is seen at the end of episode 1 cheating on Tara with Colette Jane, an escort handler) Tara finds herself at odds with everyone she was supposed to be able to trust and chooses to use the bullet she pulled from Bobby Munson's shoulder as evidence necessary to grant her witness protection, in turn making her a rat and a liability to the MC and to Jax himself.
In a last-minute plot twist, Jax finds Tara at a park in Lodi. They talk for several minutes and then the scene cuts to the motel room Tara had been hiding in. The two come to an understanding and Jax surrenders himself to the mercy of DA Tyne Patterson in exchange for Tara's immunity for all the crimes she committed on behalf the MC, specifically that of the murder of Pamela Toric, for which she was accused in season 5 but did not have anything to do with. The DA agrees to what Jax offers her after a few moments of reluctance to believe that he will come through. With that, Jax has let Tara know that he truly loves her and their sons more than anything. They cry and make love. Tara and Jax agree to meet the DA at the Teller home at 6pm after he spends his last hours as a free man with his sons. He tells Chibs and Bobby he will most likely be sentenced to 25 years, with parole in 10, 7 if he's lucky. Tara gets home earlier than expected and the house is empty, save for Eli, the sheriff, who entered the house with her so they could talk in private and he could help her bring her suitcases into the house, as she decided not to run away and do what Jax asked of her; raise their sons.
When Eli leaves, stating he'll be outside, Tara calls for Wayne, assuming his truck outside meant he was in the house. Caught off guard, Gemma comes out of the laundry room and lunges for Tara, who cannot escape in time. Gemma hits her with an iron but doesn't knock her out. Tara struggles against Gemma's beating and her head is badly smashed on the sink, where Gemma then attempts to drown her. In one of the show's most gruesome moments, Tara struggles for several seconds before Gemma grabs a barbecue fork and stabs Tara multiple times in the back of the head and her neck. Blood gushing out of the back of her head, Tara collapses and dies.
Lt. Roosevelt walks in on the scene and discovers Gemma sitting on the floor next to Tara's body, in obvious shock. Gemma is mumbling incoherently about how it had to be done because she was going to rat out the MC. Roosevelt tells her she didn't rat out the MC, and that Jax is giving himself up to protect her. Immediately after this, Juice walks in, sees the scene, shoots Lt. Roosevelt twice in the back and then comforts Gemma. After this he begins cleaning up the murder scene.
Jax returns home to say goodbye, only to find her lifeless along with Eli. Jax breaks down in tears, cradling her body as Patterson arrives and observes the carnage.
Tara's death has a deep impact, particularly to Jax and Abel who both become depressed and withdrawn. Gemma and Juice conspire to pin Tara's murder on the Chinese (who, at the time, had a beef with SAMCRO) causing Jax to torture a man pointed out by Gemma at his housewarming party in Stockton and killing him in the same manner Tara was killed. Unser and the new San Joaquin Lieutenant Althea Jarry investigate her death and eventually discover that the man blamed for the murder was in Las Vegas at the time of Tara's death.
In "Suits of Woe", Juice finally admits the truth to Jax, who is shocked and stunned at the revelation. Despite Nero's attempts to talk Jax down out of the possibility of murdering Gemma, Jax finally avenges Tara's death by shooting Gemma in the head, who refuses to fight back and has calmly accepted her fate. In the series finale, Jax places his wedding ring on her tombstone and kisses it before departing. Jax finally completes what Tara had died trying to do by sending Abel and Thomas out of Charming to stay at the farm with Wendy and Nero, and even selling the house and all of his possessions to help pay for the financing.
|Mr. Teller||Mrs. Teller||Unknown Father||Unknown Mother|
|Mr. Madock||Mrs. Madock||Mr. Knowles †||Mrs. Knowles †|
|Mr. Ashby||Mrs. Ashby||Nate Madock||Rose Madock †|
|Mr. Morrow||Mrs. Morrow|
|Kellan Ashby †||Maureen Ashby||John Teller †||Gemma Teller |
|Clay Morrow †||Nathaniel Madock †|
|Unknown Mother||Unknown Father||Mr. Case||Mrs. Case|
|Michael McKeavey||Trinity Ashby||Thomas Teller †||Wendy Case||Jax Teller †||Tara Knowles †|
|Cameron Hayes||Unknown Mother|
|Abel Teller||Thomas Teller II|
- When Tara is called in to remove a bullet from Cameron's thigh, he asks her if she's Irish. She replies that she is half-Irish.
- Tara is the fifth main character to die in the series.
- Tara is the first female main character to die. Gemma was the second.
- Although Tara was married to Jax at the time of her death, her grave doesn't have "Teller" inscribed on it.
- Kurt Sutter has said Jax and Tara's relationship was the "Romeo and Juliet" from the show.
- Maggie Siff has described Tara as "the place people go to see their dreams die".
- Tara bears similarities with Hamlet's Ophelia.
- At the time of her death in the season six finale, she was one of only three characters to appear in every episode, the others being Jax Teller and Gemma Teller Morrow.
- Tara was buried close to Opie and Donna Winston as seen on Black Widower.
- Tara was not present on Season 7, but all of its episodes mentioned her and/or had a Gemma's conversation.
- On the last scene of the pilot, Tara was meant to be around Jax, Gemma and Clay.
- When Jax looks at Tara's pregnancy test results, her address is listed as "10709 Grant Street" in Charming, California.
|Season 1 appearances|
|"Pilot"||"Seeds"||"Fun Town"||"Patch Over"||"Giving Back"|
|"AK-51"||"Old Bones"||"The Pull"||"Hell Followed"||"Better Half"|
|"Capybara"||"The Sleep of Babies"||"The Revelator"|
|Season 2 appearances|
|"Falx Cerebri"||"Gilead"||"Potlatch"||"Fa Guan"||"Balm"|
|"Service"||"The Culling"||"Na Trioblóidí"|
|Season 3 appearances|
|"SO"||"Oiled"||"Caregiver"||"Home"||"Turning and Turning"|
|"The Push"||"Widening Gyre"||"Lochán Mór"||"Turas"||"Fírinne"|
|Season 4 appearances|
|"With An X"||"Fruit For The Crows"||"Family Recipe"||"Kiss"||"Hands"|
|"Call of Duty"||"Burnt and Purged Away"||"To Be, Act 1"||"To Be, Act 2"|
|Season 5 appearances|
|"Sovereign"||"Authority Vested"||"Laying Pipe"||"Stolen Huffy"||"Orca Shrugged"|
|"Small World"||"Toad's Wild Ride"||"Ablation"||"Andare Pescare"||"Crucifixed"|
|"To Thine Own Self"||"Darthy"||"J'ai Obtenu Cette"|
|Season 6 appearances|
|"Straw"||"One One Six"||"Poenitentia"||"Wolfsangel"||"The Mad King"|
|"Salvage"||"Sweet and Vaded"||"Los Fantasmas"||"John 8:32"||"Huang Wu"|
|"Aon Rud Persanta"||"You Are My Sunshine"||"A Mother's Work"|