Kim Coates is one of a handful of core cast members to appear in all 92 episodes of the FX crime drama Sons of Anarchy. The actor plays Alexander "Tig" Trager, the one-time Sergeant-at-Arms turned Vice President of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, promoted by Filip "Chibs" Telford (Tommy Flanagan) by the series' end. The biggest surprise is his appearance in the spinoff sequel series Mayans M.C. in the season four finale "When the Breakdown Hit at Midnight" that aired in June reminiscing with Marcus Alvarez (Emilio Rivera) dredging up the past. While promoting his latest indie thriller Neon Lights, Coates spoke to Bleeding Cool about coming back for Mayans and what he gained most from his time on SOA.
"All I know is that Tommy Flanagan and myself, we were the only two leads in 'Sons' that were alive at the end. DL, David Labrava, amazing brother, he became quite a lead by the end of that show. [Happy Lowman] survived, Quinn [Rusty Coones], Montez [Jacob Vargas]," Coates said. "So I knew that there were a few of us still alive in that fictional world of 'Sons of Anarchy', but I never expected to be back. I never expected just to be asked to be back. I knew Tommy as 'Chibs' did one. When my phone call came from my agents, they said, 'You better be sitting down.' So I was sitting down was shooting a huge film [Southern Gothic] with Tom Schulman down in Georgia, and they said, 'Guess who wants you back?' And I went, 'I have no idea.' They said, 'The Mayans.' So they gave me an offer I couldn't refuse."
Coates wanted his return to be meaningful. "I got to tell you one more thing I said, 'Elgin James, the show's creator and showrunner, has to write for me, has to write for Tig. I have no interest in coming back to break up a fight or have a smoke. I got to have something to do,'" he said. "The two scenes that I had to do were so creepy, funny, tough, and weird. Then me and Emilio [Rivera], that seven minutes smoking, talking about the past, and the future. Two old warriors getting together down in the LA River… hair is flying everywhere. Helicopters, cop cars, me with my cut back on my bangles, and my bike…Come on! It was great. It was fantastic."
The one thing the actor retained from his time on the FX series that ran from 2008-2014 is the bonds he made throughout. "I don't really have a favorite memory, but I will say that it's amazing that we remain friends to this day, that that the cast of that show super tight to this day," Coates said. "I think that's a one-off. I don't think that happens very often. So to walk away after those seven years and to not even get killed, I think Tig Trager would have been pretty high up on the Vegas death board when that show started [laughs] and did not die. That whole thing was pretty remarkable. The seven years of friendships that we made, that's my favorite out of everything. When they wrote for Tig, I had it all: funny, weird, dark, psychotic, my daughter burning in front of me. I mean, forget it. There's also me and Gemma [Katey Sagal] up against the wall. Come on! It was a great character to inhabit. I was very lucky to play that and they were lucky to have me."
Neon Lights, which also stars Dana Abraham, Brenna Coates, Stephen Tracey, Rene Escobar, Jr., Erika Swayze, and Lauren Howe, will be available on-demand and digital on July 12.