The Bastard Executioner

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The Bastard Executioner
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)
Original network FX
Original release September 15 (2015-09-15) – November 17, 2015
External links

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

  • Brían F. O'Byrne as Baron Erik Ventris,[5] lord of the fictional Barony of Ventrishire.
  • Matthew Rhys as Gruffudd y Blaidd, known as "The Wolf". He is the leader of a growing rebellion against corruption and an ally to Wilkin and his friends. He is also a half-brother of the Baroness.[4]

Recurring/guest stars


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date U.S. viewers
1 "Pilot (2-Hour Episode)" Paris Barclay Kurt Sutter September 15, 2015 (2015-09-15) 2.11[7]
2 "Effigy / Ddelw" Paris Barclay Kurt Sutter & Charles Murray & Nichole Beattie September 22, 2015 (2015-09-22) 1.09[8]
3 "A Hunger / Newyn" Ciaran Donnelly Curtis Gwinn September 29, 2015 (2015-09-29) 1.26[9]
4 "Piss Profit / Proffidwyr Troeth" Kari Skogland Roberto Patino October 6, 2015 (2015-10-06) 1.12[10]
5 "Thorns / Drain" Billy Gierhart John Barcheski & Kurt Sutter October 13, 2015 (2015-10-13) 0.94[11]
6 "Behold the Lamb / Gweled yr Oen" Ashley Way Carly Wray & Kurt Sutter October 20, 2015 (2015-10-20) 0.83[12]
7 "Broken Things / Pethau Toredig" Ciaran Donnelly Ryan Scott & Kurt Sutter November 3, 2015 (2015-11-03) 1.08[13]
8 "The Bernadette Maneuver / Cynllwyn Bernadette" Paris Barclay Robert Patino & Curtis Gwinn & Kurt Sutter November 10, 2015 (2015-11-10) 0.82[14]
9 "Blood and Quiescence / Crau a Chwsg" Ashley Way Kurt Sutter November 17, 2015 (2015-11-17) 0.87[15]


The Bastard Executioner, the first pilot for Imagine TV with FX Network, stems 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 are 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 started 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 serve as executive producer. Charles Murray, a writer/co-executive producer of the last two seasons of Sons of Anarchy, is a writer/co-executive producer on the series.[19] Nichole Beattie is another Sons of Anarchy alumna joining the staff of writers. She has also written extensively for AMC's The Walking Dead and Rubicon.[20]

The series films in Wales, United Kingdom, and features 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][better source needed] During mid-January Sutter and Barclay visited several possible shooting locations in Wales, including Caerphilly Castle[25][26] and Fforest Fawr.[27][28]

Filming started March 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] This project is 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 along with Sutter announced that Sutter had cancelled his own series.[34]


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."[35] Out of 37 reviews in Metacritic, twelve were positive, twenty-three were mixed, and two were negative, for a rating of 55.[36]


  1. Wagmeister, Elizabeth (August 7, 2015). "FX Renews The Strain, Sets Premiere Dates for AHS: Hotel and More". Variety. Retrieved 11 August 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Ausiello, Michael (November 18, 2015). "Bastard Executioner Cancelled at FX". TVLine. Retrieved November 18, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Goldberg, Lesley (February 24, 2015). "FX's 'The Bastard Executioner' Cast Includes Kurt Sutter, Katey Sagal, Stephen Moyer". The Hollywood Reporter.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Introducing Baron Ventris". The Bastard Executioner.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Metcalf, Mitch (October 14, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update:10.13.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved October 14, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Metcalf, Mitch (October 21, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update:10.20.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved October 21, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Metcalf, Mitch (November 4, 2015). "SHOWBUZZDAILY's Top 100 Tuesday Cable Originals & Network Update: 11.3.2015". Showbuzzdaily. Retrieved November 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  17.[dead link]
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  29.[dead link]
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External links