The old conventional wisdom held that there were no substantive, red-meat roles for actresses of a certain age. Try telling that to Katey Sagal, 54, one of the many tough, gorgeous and, yes, older women holding the television airwaves in their manicured grips.
In FX's "Sons of Anarchy," Sagal plays Gemma Morrow, the treacherous matriarch of a California biker gang. Gemma just became a grandmother, but don't be fooled by the title. In her most memorable scene, she picks up hormone treatment for her menopause and, on her way out, runs into the tart who's been making time with her old man. She gives the girl a free rhinoplasty ... with a skateboard. Then, poignantly, she sits on the curb, remorseful and defeated.
The scene is played with a grace and subtlety I wouldn't have expected from Sagal, who's best known for playing sitcom housewives both agreeable (Cate on "8 Simple Rules") and considerably less so (Peg on "Married With Children"). In Gemma, Sagal has at last found a character that makes the most of her gifts. More proof that for television's leading ladies, things can get a little brighter with each birthday candle.