Johnny made great friends on “Sons of Anarchy,” and appreciated the quality of the writing and production, but as filming commenced on Season Two, however, he became more concerned about what he felt was the rising level of violence in the series. He became apprehensive about his own character, which he felt was not developing, and that the storylines and character arcs, instead of being fresh and unique, sought to appeal to the lowest attention grabbers: gratuitous violence, sadism, shock.
He told his Mom that this wasn’t what he wanted to communicate as an artist. He voiced his disappointment to Kurt Sutter and asked to be written off the series. Kurt responded:
i’ve given our chat a lot of thought over the past few days. i want to thank you for being honest. i respect your deep commitment to your creative process and honor your needs as an artist. i tried to look ahead to see what was in store for half-sack and i’m not sure i will be able to fulfill your creative needs. i’d hate to be having the same conversation with you at the end of season three.
so i believe it’s in everyone’s best creative interests to say goodbye to kip half-sack epps. As you requested, i’ve found a cool heroic way for him to go out in 213. he dies in the service of jax and the club, saving abel’s life. it’s a bloody and honorable death.
i ask that you keep this information to yourself as the script will not be available until thursday or friday.
it’s been a pleasure working with you. i look forward to future collaborations.
Then Johnny’s reply:
Thanks for letting me know in advance, I appreciate the heads-up, and will of course not mention it around until the script’s released. I really appreciate you understanding where I was coming from, it was a difficult thing to bring up and it means a lot to me that you were so great about it. It’s been a real pleasure playing this role and I’ll be sorry to see him go, but I respect the decision, and an honest look at the future is the most that I could’ve asked for. Going out in service to my family sounds tragic and beautiful and a perfect way for him to die.
Beyond that man, I’ve learned an awful lot from working with you. It’s been a crazy ride and I’m better for having done it.
Thanks for everything,
Thus ended Johnny’s run on “Sons of Anarchy.” At the rap party at the end of Season 2, he took some good-natured ribbing for missing out on the big money, as by this time the series had a devoted following and showed no signs of ending any time soon. But Johnny never regretted his decision.