Sutter was hired as a staff writer for the first season of Fox crime drama The Shield in 2002. He made his television writing debut with the episode "Blowback". He appeared in "Blowback" as Armenian mob hitman Margos Dezerian. He co-wrote the episodes "Dragonchasers" and "Two Days of Blood" with fellow staff writer Scott Rosenbaum. He was promoted to story editor for the second season in 2003. He wrote the episodes "Scar Tissue" and "Dead Soldiers". In 2004 he joined the production team in the junior role of co-producer for the third season. He continued to write episodes and scripted "Playing Tight" and "Mum" with series creator and executive producer Shawn Ryan, "Slipknot" solo and "Fire in the Hole" with consulting producer Charles H. Eglee. He reprised his role as Dezerian in the seasons final episodes "All In" and "On Tilt".
He was promoted to supervising producer for the fourth season in 2005. He wrote the episode "Grave" solo. He co-wrote the story for the episode "Judas Priest" with Eglee and also co-wrote the teleplay with Rosenbaum. He co-wrote the story for the season finale "Ain't That a Shame" with Ryan; Ryan co-wrote the teleplay for the episode with co-executive producer Glen Mazzara. Sutter became a co-executive producer for the fifth season in 2006. He wrote the episode "Extraction", co-wrote the episode "Trophy" with Renee Palya and Tony Soltis and co-wrote the season's penultimate episode "Fire in the Hole" with Eglee.
He became an executive producer for the sixth season in 2007. He directed a promotional mini-episode for the sixth season entitled "Wins and Losses". He wrote the sixth season premiere "On the Jones". He co-wrote the episode "Exiled" with Rosenbaum, also now an executive producer. Sutter returned as an executive producer and writer for the seventh and final season in 2008. He wrote the premiere "Coefficient of Drag" and co-wrote the episode "Parricide" with Gary Lennon. At the close of the season he was the series second most prolific writer (after Ryan) having written or co-written 18 episodes in total.
Also in autumn 2008 Sutter created and executive produced a new series for FX entitled Sons of Anarchy. The show centres on the titular motorcycle club in California. He was the series head writer and show runner. Along with the pilot episode he wrote the episodes "Seeds", "Funtown", "The Pull", "Capybara", "The Sleep of Babies" and the season finale "The Revelator". Sutter also directed "The Revelator". He also appeared in the show as incarcerated club member Otto Delaney. He cast his wife Katey Sagal in the starring role of the club's matriarch Gemma Teller. Sutter hired several crew members that he worked with on The Shield including unit production manager and producer Kevin G. Cremin, post production supervisor and producer Craig Yahata and directors Guy Ferland, Stephen Kay, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Paris Barclay, Terence O'Hara and Billy Gierhart. The first season also featured The Shield star Jay Karnes as a recurring special guest star playing ATF Agent Kohn.
He remained show runner and executive producer for the series second season in 2009. He wrote the series premiere "Albification". He co-wrote the episode "Eureka" with Brett Conrad, co-wrote the episode "Gilead" with co-producer Chris Collins, co-wrote the episode "Potlatch" with Misha Green, co-wrote the teleplay for the episode "Service" with co-executive producer Jack LoGiudice from a story by Brady Dahl and Cory Udica, co-wrote the episode "The Culling" with consulting producer Dave Erickson and wrote and directed the season finale "Na Trioblóidí". The second season featured The Shield star Kenny Johnson as a special guest star playing a club member named Kozik.
He returned as show runner and executive producer for the third season in 2010. He wrote the season premiere "SO". He co-wrote the episode "Oiled" with Erickson, now a co-executive producer. He co-wrote the episode "Home" with Liz Sagal, the sister of his wife and the series star Katey Sagal. He co-wrote the episode "Widening Gyre" with co-producer Regina Corrado. He co-wrote the episode "Lochan Mor" with Erickson and Liz Sagal. He wrote the story for the episode "Turas" the teleplay was co-written by Collins (now a producer) and Dahl. He co-wrote the episode "Firinne" with Vaunn Wilmott. He co-wrote the episode "Bainne" with Corrado and Erickson. He wrote the story for the episode "June Wedding"; Collins wrote the teleplay. He once again wrote and directed the season finale, this time entitled "NS" and co-written with Erickson. Sutter also reprised the role of Otto in the finale. Johnson returned as Kozik in the third season.
His future writing projects include Inland Saints, a film slated for director Joel Schumacher at Paramount Pictures. He also is set to make his feature film directing debut with Awaken the Dragon, a noir-style remake of Enter the Dragon.
On December 13, 2010, Deadline announced drama boxing film, Southpaw. Kurt Sutter will begin writing the script immediately, and he will complete a draft by February 2011, before Sutter and his SoA writers begin to plot the fourth season of his series.