Katey Sagal by Timothy White/FX Katey Sagal by Timothy White/FX

Is Sons of Anarchy, premiering Wednesday at 10 pm/ET, too hot for even FX to handle? Revolving around a band of outlaw motorcyclists, the edgy fare would seem in line with the Vic Mackeys and Tommy Gavins of the world. But Katey Sagal's Gemma Teller - the mother of Sons' central character (played by Undeclared's Charlie Hunnam) and a matriarch figure to the rest - goes to immoral extremes that would make Patty Hewes blush.

"She's vicious... ferocious... a hard-ass," Sagal says of her character. "I look at her as a survivor. Whatever her history is, it has made her a fighter."

And one unafraid to pull any punches. "What we can expect," says the actress, "is that if she is at all threatened by any potential break-up of her family or harm to her son, she will go to any lengths to protect that."

Any lengths? This is where dog-killer Patty might take pause. Defending Gemma's hardcore actions, Sagal says, "People who do things that seem nefarious to other people sometimes don't really feel that they are [doing bad things]. They have reasoning and motive. So I think that she sees what she does as what she has to do."

Gemma and her dark side come courtesy of Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter - aka Sagal's real-life husband, who is said to have penned the role just for her. ( Hellboy's Ron Perlman plays her on-screen mate.) "When Kurt says that he tailor-made it for me, I'm not quite sure what he means by that!" she says with an wry laugh. "When he told me he had written me a part, he didn't actually say what it was. And once you see Gemma, you kind of think, 'Huh?' She is a fiercely loyal mother... and I'm a fiercely loyal mother, but I don't practice the same ways and means that she does."

And boy is that a relief.

Does Sagal then have any qualms about portraying such an ethically questionable queen bee? How does she reconcile Gemma's values set with her own? "I've faced that issue a lot with parts I've played," says the Married... with Children alumna, "asking, What are my values as opposed to my character's? But I don't get involved in that.

"My job is to interpret the writers' vision," she maintains. "My morality doesn't figure into it." - Matt Mitovich

Watch video:
" Sagal and Sutter preview Sons of Anarchy.
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