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It’s hard to imagine Kurt Sutter doing a drama series that’s more violent than Sons of Anarchy, but the premise for his new FX pilot suggests a world of bloody possibilities. Sutter is developing a pilot called The Bastard Executioner, which is set to be a period drama, which — as you may have surmised by the title — centers on an executioner.
Per EW, The Bastard Executioner is set in the age of King Edward III and centers on a warrior knight.
He’s described as a man “who is broken by the ravages of war” and despite a vow to lay down his sword soon finds himself picking up “the bloodiest sword of all.”
Is it a thirst for blood he craves? Or is there some other back-story that explains how this man “finds himself” picking up an executioner’s weapon and taking on those duties? That’s something we may find out, assuming this project goes to series. EW says production is slated for 2014. Kurt Sutter is the creator and will executive produce, while Brian Grazer and Fancie Calfo are also on board to executive produce. Grazer commented on finding the executioner to be an “incredibly fascinating and provocative character,” and that it’s “about as morally complex a profession as you can imagine.”
Grazer’s not wrong when you consider that the job of an executioner is to openly — and in some cases, publicly — kill a person, presumably to exact justice for whatever misdeed(s) they committed. The job falls into that weird gray area where morals and the law don’t necessarily overlap. What kind of toll does a job like that take on a man? Is it easier or harder for a warrior to accept such a responsibility, given his own presumed history with violent situations? It's certainly an interesting topic, and if we think of all of the TV shows and movies that feature executions, how often do we know much (if anything) about the masked man dropping the axe?
With Sutter’s current FX drama winding down, fans are likely hopeful that he’ll have a new series lined up to follow Sons of Anarchy. Putting this pilot into development now certainly bodes well in that sense, assuming things go well for it and FX orders it to series. Sons of Anarchy just wrapped up its sixth season, and will return next fall for Season 7, which will be the biker drama’s last. A period drama would certainly be a shift for Sutter, though not entirely for FX, if we consider The Americans and (sometimes) American Horror Story. But it would be new territory for the network, when factoring in just how far back this setting goes. As for the violent content, after last Tuesday night’s Season 6 finale of Sons of Anarchy, it doesn’t seem like there’s all that much that’s out of bounds for FX, which is probably a good thing, assuming bloody executions are on the menu… and whatever other mayhem might ensure. Sutter does like the mayhem. Or as he put it, “I love the network. I love the world. I love the blood.”