Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
|First appearance||"Pilot" (episode 1.01)|
|Last appearance||"Made in America" (episode 6.21)|
|Created by||David Chase|
|Portrayed by||Edie Falco|
|Aliases||Carmela De Angelis (née), "Carm", "Mel", and her FBI Code Name is Mrs. Bing|
|Occupation||Housewife, real estate investor|
|Family||Hugh De Angelis (father)
Mary De Angelis (mother)
Livia Soprano (mother-in-law)
Johnny Soprano (father-in-law)
Janice Soprano (sister-in-law)
Barbara Giglione (sister-in-law)
Christopher Moltisanti (cousin)
Brian Cammarata (cousin)
|Spouse(s)||Tony Soprano (husband)|
|Children||Anthony Soprano, Jr. (son)
Meadow Soprano (daughter)
Carmela Soprano (née DeAngelis), played by Edie Falco, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. She is the wife of Mafia boss Tony Soprano and the program's most prominent female character along with Tony's psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi.
Edie Falco's performance as Carmela was universally lauded, winning her Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series three times in 1999, 2001 and 2003, and received six nominations overall. Falco has also won two Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the character Carmela itself has since become an iconic character.
Carmela was Tony Soprano's high school sweetheart. The couple married at a young age. Carmela attended Montclair State University for an unspecified period of time before dropping out. Carmela plays a homemaker for the Soprano household, and works to create a semblance of legitimacy for her family even though she is well aware their wealth is built on blood money. Tony trusts Carmela enough to confide in her, to a degree, about some of his Mafia dealings (notably the failed attempt on his life and the death of Richie Aprile). Tony's work and constant infidelity have put a serious strain on the marriage and cause a period of separation. Carmela is an observant Roman Catholic and has difficulty rationalizing her husband's profession and the flaws in their marriage.
Carmela has sometimes sacrificed her children's security for the luxuries Tony's career could provide, while defending her children when they did something wrong. She has shown herself willing to use her mob-wife status to intimidate others, as she did in "Full Leather Jacket", where she not-too-subtly manipulated her neighbor's Georgetown-alumna sister into writing a letter of recommendation for Meadow Soprano to Georgetown, so that Meadow would not go to UC Berkeley but rather stay closer to home. Also, she discarded a letter from Berkeley to Meadow requesting transcripts, but later retrieved it from the trash in a moment of guilt. While she is very proud of Meadow's accomplishments and ambition, she also envies and resents her for achieving the independence she always wanted. She constantly frets over A.J.'s troubles and inactivity, yet tends to coddle him and is unwilling to impose any real restrictions on him. She has trouble with her husband's profession, considering him more a Robin Hood-like character and just another "crook" rather than a brutal murderer.
Carmela's resentment of her husband's infidelity has often driven her to the brink of breaking her marriage vows during some sexually charged moments with her priest, Father Phil Intintola (in "College"), and painter-decorator Vic Musto. During the fourth season, Carmela had a mutual romantic infatuation with Furio Giunta, one of Tony's soldiers. Furio was an Italian national and member of the Neapolitan Mafia Family (although in Naples Mafia is called Camorra), deeply linked to the Soprano family and several other Jersey and New York crime families. Tony had sequestered Furio while on an inaugural trip to Naples, the Soprano family homeland, a trip that Carmela had wanted to be a part of as she had never been. Carmela had reached a low point with Tony's constant string of affairs and the two had a romantically-tense but "arms-length" relationship for a period. Each confided to separate friends that they were falling for each other but Furio, fearing for his life if he loved the boss' wife, sold his house and moved back to Italy. This sent Carmela into depression.
By the end of the fourth season, Tony and Carmela separated after she learned of his latest indiscretion, although Tony continued to provide for her and the children. Carmela even began dating A.J.'s guidance counselor, Robert Wegler, and pursuing divorce proceedings against Tony, but was drawn back to her husband by financial concerns and difficulties in rearing A.J., as well as a difficult breakup with Wegler, who accused Carmela of manipulating him into special treatment for her son. At the end of the fifth season, Carmela agreed to reunite with Tony after he agreed to purchase a $600,000 investment property in Montville, under Carmela's name, so she could build a spec house. Despite some initial awkwardness, the two were firmly reunited after Tony was shot by his uncle, Junior Soprano, both during his coma and after his hospital release. The crisis seems to have strengthened their bond.
Carmela's materialistic nature, however, is never far from the surface. After Tony surprised his delighted wife with a Porsche Cayenne Turbo, Carmela proceeded to flaunt her new car in front of Ginny Sacrimoni and Angie Bonpensiero, both of whom were reported to be having serious financial problems. Carmela was somewhat embarrassed when Angie admired Carmela's car and told her that she recently purchased a Corvette with her own money, showing that Angie had significantly turned her money problems around through inheriting her late husband's body shop and making it profitable.
Carmela's own efforts to become financially independent have been less successful, as Tony neglected to intervene for a long period when an inspector determined that materials used on her spec house were not up to code, thereby halting construction and straining her relationship with her father, who was building the house with her. Tony later recanted, however, and ordered Silvio Dante to lean on the inspector to change his mind. Around this time, Carmela was concerned for the whereabouts of Adriana La Cerva, who seemingly had disappeared. When she questions Tony about this, he tells her that Adriana had broken up with Christopher Moltisanti and ran off with another man. Carmela's concern intensified when she encountered Adriana's mother, Liz La Cerva, at the Feast of St. Elzear (Episode 74, "The Ride"). Liz, who has stopped taking care of herself, tells Carmela that in fact Adriana is dead and Christopher is responsible, going on to say the FBI told her so. The next day, Carmela confronts Tony, who dismisses her: "Let me school you on domestic violence," he says. "First and foremost, there is always a body."
Carmela was not aware that Adriana was a low-level informant for the FBI and that Christopher, who had learned this truth from Adriana herself, informed Tony, who in turn had her executed by Silvio (in "Long Term Parking"). She is also unaware that Tony murdered Christopher after Chris had flipped off the highway the SUV in which both were traveling (in "Kennedy and Heidi"). Her grief for her cousin, however, is soon eclipsed by her concern for A.J. after he tries to commit suicide and is subsequently placed in the psychiatric ward at Mountainside Hospital. Carmela, along with Tony, encourages AJ to become part of the production team for a film written by Daniel Baldwin and financed by Little Carmine, rather than enlist in the Army. She is shown considering building plans for a beach house, and in the final scene of the series, she meets Tony at a diner for a family meal.