A Hit Is a Hit
|"A Hit Is a Hit"|
|The Sopranos episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Matthew Penn|
|Written by||Joe Bosso|
|Cinematography by||Phil Abraham|
|Original air date||March 14, 1999|
|Running time||53 minutes|
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr. *
- Vincent Pastore as Pussy Bonpensiero
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano, Jr. *
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- and Nancy Marchand as Livia Soprano *
* = credit only
Also guest Starring
- Oksana Lada as Irina Peltsin
- Bryan Hicks as Orange J
- Nick Fowler as Richie Santini
- Gregg Wattenberg as Vito
- Chris Gibson as Bass Player
- Ned Stroh as Drummer
- Bray Poor as Squid
- Robert LuPone as Dr. Bruce Cusamano
- Jim Demarse as Jack Krim
- James Weston as Randy Wagner
- Phil Coccioletti as Eric
- Terumi Matthews as Rita
- Dan Morse as Mullethead
- Alexandra Neil as Wendy Krim
- Ken Prymus as Manager
- Saundra Santiago as Jean Cusamano
- Jessy Terrero as Gallegos
- Elizabeth Ann Townsend as Barb Wagner
- Cedric Turner as Police Officer
Paulie, Chris, and Pussy kill a drug dealer as a warning to his organization to stay away from the ports in Newark, which is DiMeo family territory. They steal cash from the scene, a big score that Tony states should be used legitimately, such as an investment in an IPO. Tony gives Dr. Bruce Cusamano, his neighbor and family physician, a box of Cuban cigars as a gift for his referral to Dr. Melfi. Cusamano invites Tony to play golf with him at his country club, to which Tony hesitantly agrees. Later, at a barbecue with Cusamano and his friends, Tony looks for stock tips. Carmela receives one from one of the wives, and invests in the company. The stock soon splits 3-for-1 and Carmela is pleased.
However, Tony comes to regret the trip when Cusamano's friends pester him for stories about life in the Mafia. He tells them a made-up story about John Gotti's fondness for a certain kind of ice cream truck, which they are enthralled by. Later, Tony discusses the incident in therapy with Melfi, saying he felt used for the amusement of others. He recalls bullying a high school classmate, Jimmy Smash, who had a speech impediment due to a cleft palate and later turned to a life of crime. Taking a cue from The Godfather Part II, Tony fills a parcel with sand and asks Cusamano to hold on to it, letting him fearfully assume it contains drugs or weapons.
During a night out with Adriana in New York, Chris' racist comments draw the attention of rapper Massive Genius. When it appears there might be violence, a cop tells Massive's friend, Orange J, that Chris is an associate of the Soprano crew. Massive dispatches Orange J to invite Chris and Adriana to a party at his mansion in Englewood Cliffs. There, Chris and Massive talk business. After the encounter, Adriana proposes that she should pursue a career as a music producer. Chris agrees to finance a demo for the band Visiting Day, whose singer, Richie Santini, is Adriana's ex-boyfriend.
The demo recording progresses slowly as Adriana and Richie argue, eventually leading Chris to beat Richie with his own guitar. Chris takes the demo to Hesh, who has a history in the music business and feels that the song has no potential. Massive claims to be impressed, but he seems more interested in Adriana than in the music. When Chris angrily notes this to Adriana, she accuses him of trying to hold her back and storms out. Later, during a sit-down with Hesh, Chris claims that Massive is a relative of a deceased artist with whom Hesh once worked and claims Hesh owes $400,000 in royalties to the artist's mother. When Hesh refuses to pay, Massive threatens to sue. Hesh then threatens a counter-suit over the unauthorized sampling by Massive's record label of a song that Hesh's label still controls, leaving them at loggerheads. As Massive fumes over the impasse, Tony and his crew comment on the irony of modern-day celebrities like Massive being idolized as "gangsters."
- Dr. Bruce Cusamano: Soprano family physician and next door neighbor
- Jean Cusamano: Wife of Dr. Cusamano and friend of the Soprano family
- The title refers to the slang term for a mafia-ordered murder, or a "hit". The episode opens with a hit on a Colombian drug dealer, and while hosting Tony in a golf game at his country club, Bruce Cusamano refers to mobster Carmine Galante's assassination as a "beautiful hit".
- Giving the title a double-meaning, "Hesh" Rabkin mentions to Christopher that he knows a hit song when he hears one, saying "a hit is a hit" and that the band Visiting Day's song is not a hit, and they are not particularly talented.
Other cultural references
- A jealous Christopher complains to Adriana that Massive Genius lives in The Hamptons where he is visited by Alec Baldwin and Whitney Houston.
- Christopher names what he considers to be "great Italian singers:" Frankie Valli, Dion, and The Rascals. Adriana then puts on a Bon Jovi song as "Paisan pride."
- When Adriana asks what "experts" Christopher discussed the Visiting Day demo with, he names Hesh and also Silvio, who he says used to own "rock clubs in Asbury". Steven Van Zandt is a Springsteen side-man and a key figure in the Asbury music scene.
- The song played when Tony, Christopher and Paulie celebrate their big score at a hotel with their goomahs is "A Dreamer's Holiday" by Ray Anthony.
- The song played when Christopher and Adriana come to a party at Massive Genius' mansion is "DJ Keep Playin' (Get Your Music On)" by Yvette Michele.
- Earlier in the episode, while Christopher and Adriana talk about their tastes in music, she plays "You Give Love a Bad Name" by Bon Jovi.
- When Christopher and Adriana hatch their music management plan over dinner, the background song is "Decara a la pased" from Lhasa De Sela's album "La Llorona".
- The song played when Christopher and Adriana take Massive Genius to a club to watch Visiting Day perform. Also later, when Visiting Day try to cut their record; and later still, when Adriana plays the song for Massive Genius, and Christopher plays the song for Hesh is "Erase Myself" by the fictional band Visiting Day.
- The song played when Hesh looks over his mementos from his days running a record label is "Fools Follow Angels" by Little Jimmy Willis.
- The background song when Adriana is modeling her black dress for Christopher near the end of the episode is "Why" by Annie Lennox.
- The song played in one of the closing scenes, which Hesh hears and then says to Christopher, "Now that is a hit", is "Nobody Loves Me But You" by Dori Hartley.
- The songs performed by the episode's fictional band, Visiting Day/Defiler, were created and performed bespoke by Gregg Wattenberg and Nick Fowler, and "Defiler" is played over the end credits.