- "This life... It ain't romantic or free. There's no path to anything that makes any sense. It's just dirty and sad and we both know it's only gonna get worse."
- ―Unser, to Gemma
Chief Wayne Unser (1946-2014) was the former Chief of the Charming Police Department on the FX original series Sons of Anarchy. Played by Scottish actor Dayton Callie, Chief Unser makes his debut on the episode "Seeds" in the series' first season. A corrupt cop who sees the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club as a benefit to the town due to them successfully keeping drugs and violence out of Charming, California, the club helps protect the population from many other unwanted things, like ruthless developers, such as Deputy Hale's older brother Jacob Hale Jr.. Unser retired from the Police Department before it was shut down, and his ties to SAMCRO increased. He was often seen helping however he could with the Teller family, and by helping do some of the club's dirty work. Wayne eventually rejoined law enforcement as an investigator for Althea Jarry, investigating the murder of Tara Knowles, and, playing a recurring role through the series' first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh seasons, was killed while trying to arrest Gemma Teller Morrow to prevent her from being killed by her son Jax Teller. He met his demise in the Season 7 episode "Red Rose", and appears once more in the series' finale episode, "Papa's Goods", in the series' seventh, and final, season.
The most dominant trait of Unser's personality is his love for Charming, and he would do anything to protect it, even allying himself with the Sons of Anarchy for more than 30 years. While he was the Chief of Police, Unser was torn apart, thinking that he, like the other members of the Charming PD, is a joke, because of his relationship with SAMCRO, and because of this, he hoped that Hale would maintain his clean cop mentality until the very end. After he left Charming PD, his life took a downward spiral, losing his wife who divorced him and having little to no contact with his children. Unser then became even closer with the club, moving to TM with his trailer and taking care of Tara's children. He is affectionately nicknamed "Uncle Touchy" by the members of SAMCRO, a name he believes makes him look like a child molester.
Unser is a native of the small Northern Californian town of Charming and is 62 years old in Season 1. He was in a United States Marine Corps and served during the Vietnam War. When he returned, he joined the police force became Chief of the Charming Police Department. He also owns Unser Shipping, a trucking company. He is "married to a dark-skinned woman" named Della Unser, and they have two daughters. He is also suffering from cancer, and uses marijuana for pain relief. He is somewhat corrupt and an ally of the Sons of Anarchy, a local motorcycle gang. However, most of the illegal activity he partakes in is beneficial for the town, as he greatly cares for its residents.
Wayne Unser has always got on well with the Sons of Anarchy during his time in charge, and even employed them as muscle at times. However, he is retiring at the end of the month because of the cancer and handing power over to his Deputy, David Hale, who is overtly suspicious of the SOA and will almost definitely begin an investigation into the club. Unser hired the SOA to protect one of his company's shipments on its way to Mexico. They hijacked it, however, in order to send Unser a warning. Clay, their leader, threatened him to stay on for a short time longer and keep Hale off of their case. If not, they would hijack any of his trucks that tried to leave town. He then decided to stay on for another six months.
In response to a number of recent gang killings, Unser arrested Clay Morrow, Ernest Darby and Marcus Alvarez. He helped Clay Morrow arrange a meeting between Clay and Marcus Alvarez, founding member of the Mayan Motorcycle Club in the Charming Police Station cell in an effort to maintain peace between the rival clubs. Unser is obviously angry at ATF for their actions of putting the investigation above the safety of the town residents. Unser also talks Hale into revealing that Opie is innocent and that June Stahl is setting him up to be killed just because she is angry. However the info comes too late to help Donna Winston, Opie's wife who is killed in his stead. His sympathies towards the Sons comes to a head when he allows Jax and Opie Winston into the police station cells to break free a woman, Half-Sack's "old lady" Cherry, arrested by the ATF.
In Season Two we see the more heroic side of Unser. He is the one to find Gemma after her brutal rape. Initially, He and Tara are the only people Gemma had trusted with this info. He covered for her by making Gemma's injuries appear to come from a car wreck with the help of Tara. Unser showed his deep fatherly type of affection for Gemma whom he has known since she was twelve. Unser seemed to be shocked and saddened when he learned that Hale may have been working with the Aryans. He personally delivered a message to Ethan Zobelle: 'Charming is a special place. It chooses its occupants. That the people that are wrong for the town disappear.' When Ethan asks if that is a threat Unser doesn't answer. He eventually told Deputy Hale about Gemma's secret to convince Hale to not side with the L.O.A.N. and Zobelle. He also confessed to Gemma that his wife left him. He continued to smoke medical marijuana and take medication for his cancer.
As season two progressed, Unser became more involved with SAMCRO, wanting to get rid of the L.O.A.N. just as much as the bikers did. He provided a lot of vital information to Clay, which allowed the Sons to plan ambushes and surveillance on the Aryans. In the episode "The Culling," Unser officially made David Hale the acting police chief and began minimizing his own duties. In the season finale he provided SAMCRO with vital details about Zobelle's release and even allowed the bikers to use one of his trucks to ambush Zobelle's convoy. After Gemma was framed for the murder of Edmond Hayes, she called Wayne for help. The two are last seen fleeing Charming in Unser's police cruiser, their destination unknown.
After the death of David Hale, Unser begins to question his loyalty to SAMCRO, as their promise to keep the town safe from violence is not being fulfilled. He notices that the town shares his concerns and no longer view the MC favorably. When going for a haircut at Floyd's shop, Piney stops by to also get a haircut. The other customers leave as soon as they realize he is a member of the MC.
He is also influenced by Jacob Hale Jr., who uses the death of his brother to further convince him that SAMCRO is no longer good for Charming. Driven by motives of vengeance, Jacob is not satisfied with the assistance that Unser provides, commenting how he must be prepared to hurt the MC. Later on, Unser is put in a position where he is forced to continue assisting Jacob after he reveals the City Council's intent to review and consider Charming Police Department to be absorbed into the San Joaquin County Sheriff Department. Jacob assures only he would be able to convince them to vote otherwise.
The City Council unanimously votes in absorbing Charming Police into the San Joaquin County Police Department, leaving Unser to be out of job and realizing Jacob had just used him as an asset. He also grows suspicious of Jacob's involvement in the beating of shop owner Lumpy Feldstein, after finding out Lumpy's gym was one of many small businesses in the same area that were closed down. This leads him to shift his loyalty back to SAMCRO, participating in the setup in the season finale "NS". He stops Agent Stahl's escort of Jimmy O'Phelan, claiming he received a tip that Jimmy's men were waiting to hijack them down the road. This causes Stahl's backup to go check it out, leaving Stahl and Jimmy vulnerable for Chibs and Opie to execute.
In the beginning of Season Four he is down on his luck after his wife divorced him and he sold his trucking business. He is seen living in a trailer on the outskirts of town, mulling over his former life and drinking heavily. He is later shown attending Opie's wedding. He is later contacted by both Clay and Gemma separately telling him that Tara has letters from John Teller, and each one ask for his help to get them without involving the other part, while Gemma is successful in peeking at few of them with some of Unser's help, she does not read the whole content. After this Unser himself manages to steal copies Tara made, and read them. This greatly angered Unser as he was shocked about the truth Clay hid even from him, not knowing that in fact John Teller wanted the club to go legal ways instead of gun-business. When Gemma visited him later, he lied to her regarding the letters, implying neither of them did at the time know of what truly happened. Knowing that Clay would be looking for the letters and by extension Tara, he decided to report to Roosevelt an anonymous threat to Tara, which he didn't go into detail. To make things real, he wrote a death threat letter and left it in Tara's car, thus putting her into constant surveillance by the club, possibly as a way to make sure Clay could not kill her, as when Clay got notice of the letter he was displeased and angered with what he had done telling him to not "get in his way". Unser later reported to Margaret and had Tara removed from the Hospital. Eventually Unser is called by Gemma after she finds Piney's dead body, Unser knowing that Clay is out of control, wants to report Clay but is convinced to put the blame on Sonora, which he helps in doing. However after Gemma is badly beaten by Clay he has a change of mind and confronts both Clay about this and tells a devastated Opie the truth, encouraging him to kill Clay.
Unser is seen at the beginning of the season watching over Gemma and her house in the immediate aftermath of her and Clay's separation. At the end of the premiere episode, he is ambushed and beaten by three disguised men, who break in and burglarise the house. He later meets again with Roosevelt stating that he didn't think the break-ins in Charming were black retaliation, as the beating didn't "feel black" but like inexperienced white. He states he will be doing his own personal investigation of the break-ins and is later seen questioning the victims. He is seen again apologizing for the death of Roosevelt's wife Rita and gets angry at Gemma for only using people when she needs them and states she has no friends. In "Toad's Wild Ride" he is visited by Jax and Bobby. It's revealed he lost his land and is parked on the premises of Unser Trucking in exchange for working security. He shows them all the evidence he has collected and the three conclude the three Nomads recently patched into SAMCRO: Gogo, Greg, and Frankie are responsible for the break-ins and Rita's death, and Clay most likely put them up to it. Unser visits Gogo and Greg and notices the long scratches on Gogo's neck. He is later visited by Clay and the two discuss their relationship and the ties between them, when Gogo and Greg break down the door. Unser shoots Gogo with a double-barreled shotgun and Clay kills Greg with a shot to the head from his pistol. He covers the killings up to hide Clay's involvement and is visited by the police and Gemma, who he makes amends with. Later he is shown to have been kicked off the premises of Unser Trucking as "double murder is bad for business" and resorts to parking his Airstream on Teller Morrow grounds. He is later asked by Jax to research a former U.S. Marshal investigating Tara.
Unser is once again attacked, this time by Neo-Nazi's in retaliation for Clay murdering their leader in prison. He is found with his hands bound to a lift in the garage of Teller-Morrow with a swastika carved into his stomach. Unser is taken care of by Tara and is brought in on her plan with Wendy to gain full custody of her children, so that she can leave Charming once and for all (even though Unser is not given full details). In the season finale, Unser tells a stoned Gemma that Jax is going to be arrested and that Tara made a deal, not telling her that the deal was for Jax to turn himself in as the provider of the KG-9 so that Tara can leave Charming with the boys. He heads to the new clubhouse telling Jax to fill his mother in. However, Gemma (under the impression Unser meant that Tara ratted on the club) steals his truck and breaks into Tara and Jax's house, brutally murdering her.
DA Tyne Patterson tries to make a deal with him, offering him the chance to be a consultant for the new San Joaquin Sheriff Althea Jarry. While picking Wendy up at her apartment, he takes notice of all of the groceries in her house and finds a duffel bag in the closet, raising his suspicions. Unser sneaks back into Wendy's apartment and opens the duffel bag to find a SAMCRO kutte inside as Juice appears behind him, holding him at gunpoint and telling him to get up. He is then gagged with his hands bound in the bathroom as Juice contemplates what to do next. ("Black Widower")Juice frees him and tells him Gemma has been helping him hide. Unser attempts to help him get in touch with SAMCRO. When this fails, Wayne, Gemma and Wendy attempt to smuggle Juice down south though he takes off after Gemma attempts to kill him. When a deal goes wrong between SAMCRO and the Aryan Brotherhood, one of Unser's former officers, Candy Eglee, is seriously injured by gunshot wounds. Unser visits Eglee everyday at the hospital. He later kills an AB member named Leland in Eglee's hospital room who was sent to finish her off in order to keep her silent. Later in the season, Unser tells Jax the Chinese man Gemma fingered for Tara's murder wasn't even in the state at the time.
Jax asks him to help get the truth by getting him a visit with Juice, inside Stockton and he can listen to the tape of their conversation. He agrees, but warns Jax he will lose his loyalty if he burns him on this. He is later told by Jarry that Lin was killed in Stockton that day and there is no tape as the room was bought. When Jax then asks him to help find Gemma, who has gone MIA, he repeats that he is done helping the club. He even goes as far to speak his opinion to Jax on Tara's death, telling Jax "if you really give a shit about Tara, you would spend less time being a thug and more time being a dad." This prompts Jax to punch him in the face. Unser then has Jarry put out an APB on Jax for assault to make sure no one else gets hurt before he finds out about Tara's death. Eventually, Jax catches up to Unser and reveals to him that he found out it wasn't the Chinese who killed Tara; it was Gemma. When Unser learns from Nero she is at her dad's house, he drives to there to arrest her to save her from Jax. Unfortunately Jax arrives shortly after Wayne and tells him to leave. Unser pulls out his gun, prompting Jax to do the same. When Jax asks him again to go, Unser explains he can't as "this is all I got left", meaning his love for Gemma. Jax then sadly shoots Unser in the chest, killing him instantly.
Gemma Teller Morrow
Unser knew Gemma from a young age. He once refers to Gemma as "leaving Charming when she was sixteen and showing up 10 years later with a baby and a biker gang". There is obviously a relationship between Unser and Gemma that runs deeper than the typical small community familiarity. In the season two finale Unser, after picking Gemma up from a crime scene, was seen holding Gemma's hand and asks "where are we going?" Gemma replied: "I don't know". The two drove off out of the Charming borders in a Police Cruiser. In the sixth season, he confesses to Gemma that he is in love with her. In the end, his devotion and love to Gemma caused his death at the hands of Jax Teller, while trying to fend him off and arrest Gemma peacefully and safely.
- GoGo - Shot in the chest. ("Toad's Wild Ride")
- Leland Gruen - Shot multiple times. ("Faith and Despondency")
- Unser appeared in almost every episode of the show, except for the Pilot, two episodes in Season 2, one episode in Season 4 and three episodes in Season 5. Following his promotion to main cast in season three, he appeared in every single episode to the finale, Papa's Goods. However, his appearance in the finale was a very short one, due to the fact that he was a corpse.
- Unser has appeared in 86 episodes of the series.
- Unser is the eighth main character to die in the series, being the second of three to die in Red Rose.
- Unser is the only main character introduced in Season 1 that did not appear in the Pilot.
- Unser, along with Gemma, Opie, Piney, and Luanne are the only main characters to appear as a corpse in an episode after they are killed off. Tara also appeared in crime scene photos.
- In German, "unser" means "our", which may be a reference to Wayne's loyalty to the club.
- Suffering from terminal cancer since Season 1, Unser ironically survives throughout all the show to finally be killed by Jax in the second to the last episode.
|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"|