Over the past seven years, Sons of Anarchy has proven to become one of the most surprisingly addictive shows on television — and even more surprising is the show's commitment to diversity in front of and behind the camera. The show's resident director is Paris Barclay, a gay Black man who was brought in during the show's first season to navigate the racially-segregated, testosterone-charged world of motorcycle clubs.
We sat down with Barclay at the show's writers' office to talk all things Sons, plus get the Hollywood veteran (he has directed episodes of E.R., Glee, NYPD Blue and West Wing, just to name a few, and also happens to be president of the Director's Guild of America) to talk about racial stereotypes in films and television. "For as long as I've been with Sons, I don't think I've ever questioned a script perpetuating a racial stereotype," he says. "I have questioned whether or not we're going too far in reversing some stereotypes. Some of them are true!"
As the director of several shows that deal with citizens' complex relationship with law enforcement, the Chicago native also shares his views corruption in the police force, a timely topic given the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
"The underlying theme in Sons in terms of law enforcement is, 'we don't trust you as far as we can throw you.' Ironically, that has become the underlying theme in [the Black] community as well," he says. "I almost got to the point where I started to trust the police again, and then I [directed] NYPD Blue," he adds. "I met police officers and learned more about the way they worked, and I learned that they're very committed to get the people they believe are the bad guys in prison, and they'll do anything to achieve that."
For more of our sit-down with this television veteran — and a few details of what to expect in the Sons of Anarchy series finale next month — watch our interview below.
Sons of Anarchy airs on FX. Check your local listings for day and time.
(Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images)