The Bastard Executioner

The Bastard Executioner
Series title against a castle wall
Genre Historical fiction
Created by Kurt Sutter
Theme music composer
Composer(s) Bob Thiele Jr.
Country of origin
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Chris Thompson
  • Paul Fontaine
  • Rick Tuber
  • Tamara Luciano
Running time 55–60 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor 20th Television
Original network FX
Original release September 15 (2015-09-15) – November 17, 2015 (2015-11-17)

The Bastard Executioner is an American historical fiction drama television series, created by Kurt Sutter and aired on FX from September 15, 2015 to November 17, 2015.[1] On November 18, 2015, Sutter announced that FX had cancelled the series after one season.[2]


Set in early 14th century Wales, Wilkin Brattle, a Welsh knight in the army of King Edward I of England is betrayed by an Englishman who has a lust for power and who leaves him for dead. When he is near death, a child apparition implores Brattle to lay down his sword and follow the path of a different man. Later in life, Wilkin lives as a married peasant farmer, awaiting the birth of a child. His new life of peace is shattered by the unbearable taxes assessed on the peasants by none other than "Baron" Erik Ventris, the man who had betrayed Wilkin. Pressured by his fellow villagers, Wilkin leads a raid on the Baron's tax collector, which leads Ventris to the revenge killing and burning of all the women and children in Brattle's village. Brattle's raiders seek battle with the Baron ending in the death of Ventris and the massacre of the Baron's troops. Revenge, however, is not complete, as the raiders want all the soldiers who slaughtered their kin to die by the sword. Brattle assumes the identity of a journeyman punisher (executioner), injected into the plot just moments before the Baron's death. Brattle, aka Gawain Maddox, enters Castle Ventris with the intent of identifying the remaining murderers so his fellow raiders can exact revenge. Castle intrigue traps Brattle in his new alias and disdainful profession. Brattle must lead this double life while trying to determine whether this new path is the one the apparition has chosen for him, or if he has been led astray. The plot partially involves the fallout from the Madog ap Llywelyn Welsh rebellion.[3]


Main cast

Special guest stars

Recurring/guest stars


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
"Pilot"Paris BarclayKurt SutterSeptember 15, 2015 (2015-09-15)2.11[7]
3"Effigy / Ddelw"Paris BarclayKurt Sutter & Charles Murray & Nichole BeattieSeptember 22, 2015 (2015-09-22)1.09[8]
4"A Hunger / Newyn"Ciaran DonnellyCurtis GwinnSeptember 29, 2015 (2015-09-29)1.26[9]
5"Piss Profit / Proffidwyr Troeth"Kari SkoglandRoberto PatinoOctober 6, 2015 (2015-10-06)1.12[10]
6"Thorns / Drain"Billy GierhartJohn Barcheski & Kurt SutterOctober 13, 2015 (2015-10-13)0.94[11]
7"Behold the Lamb / Gweled yr Oen"Ashley WayCarly Wray & Kurt SutterOctober 20, 2015 (2015-10-20)0.83[12]
8"Broken Things / Pethau Toredig"Ciaran DonnellyRyan Scott & Kurt SutterNovember 3, 2015 (2015-11-03)1.08[13]
9"The Bernadette Maneuver / Cynllwyn Bernadette"Paris BarclayRobert Patino & Curtis Gwinn & Kurt SutterNovember 10, 2015 (2015-11-10)0.82[14]
10"Blood and Quiescence / Crau a Chwsg"Ashley WayKurt SutterNovember 17, 2015 (2015-11-17)0.87[15]


The Bastard Executioner, the first pilot for Imagine TV with FX Network, stemmed from an idea by Grazer: "I find the executioner to be an incredibly fascinating and provocative character", he said. "He deals with the highest order and the lowest order in the culture. It's about as morally complex a profession as you can imagine". Grazer pitched the idea to 20th Television chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. The two, along with Fox21 president Bert Salke, suggested Sutter as writer. After meeting with Grazer and taking some time to contemplate the idea, Sutter built a whole world around it, and the pitch was taken to FX.[16]

Sutter explained the writing process and obstacles for the show on his vlog: "It's sort of fun of jumping into completely different world, completely different time, completely different vernacular, it's a toughest thing for me right now with the pilot is the story is all broken on my board here but you know trying to find different rhythms of speech and vernacular". Sutter held his fans hostage who were eagerly waiting for his new project. "I'm not writing it on period speech just because there's no actual recording of what that vernacular sounded like with intonation and everything."[17]

The series was announced in December 2013. Sutter began writing the scripts once the last episode of Sons of Anarchy had wrapped up in late 2014.[16] Katey Sagal is "definitely...involved" in the series.[18]

Paris Barclay, who directed 15 episodes of Sons of Anarchy, directed the pilot and was executive producer. Charles Murray, a writer/co-executive producer of the last two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, was a writer/co-executive producer on the series.[19] Nichole Beattie was another Sons of Anarchy alumna on the staff of writers. She has also written extensively for AMC's The Walking Dead and Rubicon.[20]

The series was filmed in Wales, United Kingdom, and featured a mostly British cast.[21]

Barclay left for the UK on January 2 to work on casting and location matters. Sutter stayed in the US to finalize the script.[22] He joined Barclay a few days later in the United Kingdom.[23] The draft of the pilot script was sent to the studio executives at FX on the 7th of January.[24] During mid-January Sutter and Barclay visited several possible shooting locations in Wales, including Caerphilly Castle[25][26] and Fforest Fawr.[27][28]

Filming began on 23, 2015.[29] The show's producers spent 10 months considering locations in Wales with the help of the Welsh Government’s Wales Screen service, which encourages film and television productions to use locations, crews, and facilities throughout Wales.[30] The project was one of the first major productions to move into Pinewood Studios' new facility in Cardiff.[31]

The set for the series, in the form of a medieval village with a small castle, was constructed northwest of Cardiff at Dragon International Film Studios in Llanilid.[32]

On May 22, 2015,The Bastard Executioner was picked up for a 10-episode series for fall launch.[33]

On November 18, 2015, FX and Sutter announced that Sutter had cancelled the series.[2]


Reviews for The Bastard Executioner were polarized, with praise being directed toward the action sequences, writing and acting, and criticism toward the pacing, limited development, and excessive violence. It holds a rating of 49% (rotten) on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 53 critics. The website's consensus reads: "Kurt Sutter's The Bastard Executioner doesn't want for dark thrills, but it unfortunately has more enthusiasm for brutality and gore than necessary narrative focus."[34] Out of 37 reviews in Metacritic, the show holds a rating of 55.[35]


  1. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (August 7, 2015). "FX Renews The Strain, Sets Premiere Dates for AHS: Hotel and More". Variety. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 Ausiello, Michael (November 18, 2015). "Bastard Executioner Cancelled at FX". TVLine. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  3. Goldberg, Lesley (February 24, 2015). "FX's 'The Bastard Executioner' Cast Includes Kurt Sutter, Katey Sagal, Stephen Moyer". The Hollywood Reporter.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Wagmeister, Elizabeth (February 24, 2015). "Stephen Moyer to Co-Star With Katey Sagal in Kurt Sutter's 'Bastard Executioner' on FX". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  5. "Introducing Baron Ventris". The Bastard Executioner.
  6. Rose, Lacey (July 27, 2015). "Ed Sheeran to Recur on Kurt Sutter's The Bastard Executioner (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  7. Dixon, Dani (September 16, 2015). "Tuesday Cable Ratings: Series Premiere of 'The Bastard Executioner' & 'The Haves and the Have Nots' Tie For First, 'Ink Master' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 16, 2015.
  8. Metcalf, Mitch (September 23, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals(&Network Update):9.23.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  9. Dixon, Dani (September 30, 2015). "Tuesday Cable Ratings: 'Ink Master' Tops Night + 'If Loving You Is Wrong', 'Daily Show', 'Total Divas' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 30, 2015.
  10. Porter, Rick (October 7, 2015). "Tuesday cable ratings: AL wild-card game leads night, plus 'Bastard Executioner,' 'Tosh.0,' 'Storage Wars'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 11, 2015.
  11. Metcalf, Mitch (October 14, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update:10.13.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  12. Metcalf, Mitch (October 21, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update:10.20.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  13. Metcalf, Mitch (November 4, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update: 11.3.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  14. Metcalf, Mitch (November 11, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update: 11.10.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  15. Metcalf, Mitch (November 17, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update: 11.17.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  16. 1 2 Andreeva, Nellie (December 12, 2013). "FX Orders Executioner Pilot From Sons Of Anarchy Creator Kurt Sutter & Brian Grazer". Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  18. "Katey Sagal Set For Kurt Sutters New FX Drama Project The Bastard Executioner". November 17, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  19. "'Sons Of Anarchy' Writer-Producer Charles Murray Signs With Paradigm". Deadline. December 8, 2014.
  20. Kolb, Leigh (February 24, 2015). "Everything We Know About Kurt Sutter's New Show". Vulture.
  21. "New project from Sons of Anarchy creator to be filmed in Wales - Wales Online". Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  22. "'The Bastard Executioner' Update: Kurt Sutter Shares Progress Report On First Post-'SOA' Show". The Inquisitr News.
  23. "Instagram". Instagram.
  24. "First draft of The Bastard Executioner script ready". The Bastard Executioner.
  25. "Sons of Anarchy producer Kurt Sutter scopes out Caerphilly Castle for set of new show". Caerphilly Observer.
  26. "Sutter scouting for locations in Wales". The Bastard Executioner.
  27. Archived from the original on January 20, 2015. Retrieved January 20, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. "'The Bastard Executioner': Kurt Sutter location-hunting for 'Sons of Anarchy' follow-up".
  30. Sion Morgan (26 January 2015). "American drama Bastard Executioner to be filmed in Wales". walesonline.
  31. "Major Hollywood drama to film at Pinewood Wales".
  32. Kelly, Chris (3 September 2015). "American TV giant Fox provides huge boost for long-vacant Valleywood film studios". Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  33. Andreeva, Nellie (May 22, 2015). "Kurt Sutter Drama 'Bastard Executioner' Picked Up To Series At FX". Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  34. "The Bastard Executioner: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  35. "The Bastard Executioner". Metacritic. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
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