List of The Sopranos characters
- 1 Main characters
- 2 Recurring characters
- 3 Secondary character biographies
- 3.1 Rosalie Aprile
- 3.2 Artie Bucco
- 3.3 Charmaine Bucco
- 3.4 Albie Cianflone
- 3.5 Ralph Cifaretto
- 3.6 Butch DeConcini
- 3.7 Benny Fazio
- 3.8 Brendan Filone
- 3.9 Little Paulie Germani
- 3.10 Carlo Gervasi
- 3.11 Furio Giunta
- 3.12 Phil Leotardo
- 3.13 Little Carmine Lupertazzi
- 3.14 Patsy Parisi
- 3.15 Eugene Pontecorvo
- 3.16 Hesh Rabkin
- 3.17 Johnny Sack
- 3.18 Vito Spatafore
- 4 Minor characters
- 5 Subpages
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The following is a list of characters that are, or at one time were, a recurring guest on the series; they are listed in the order that they first appeared on the show. Many characters have had storylines that have spanned multiple seasons, while the others are restricted to arcs that occurred during a single season of the show.
|Jerry Adler||Herman "Hesh" Rabkin||Recurring|
|Paul Schulze||Father Phil Intintola||Recurring||Guest||Recurring|
|John Heard||Vin Makazian||Recurring||Guest|
|Joe Lisi||DIck Barone||Guest||Recurring|
|Maureen Van Zandt||Gabriella Dante||Recurring|
|Tom Aldredge||Hugh DeAngelis||Recurring|
|Peter Bogdanovich||Dr. Elliot Kupferberg||Recurring|
|Suzanne Shepherd||Mary DeAngelis||Recurring||Guest||Recurring|
|Jason Cerbone||Jackie Aprile, Jr.||Guest||Recurring|
|Max Casella||Benny Fazio||Recurring|
|Annabella Sciorra||Gloria Trillo||Recurring||Guest|
|Carl Capotorto||"Little" Paulie Germani||Guest||Recurring|
|Tony Lip||Carmine Lupertazzi, Sr.||Guest||Recurring||Guest|
|Robert Loggia||Feech La Mana||Recurring|
|Cara Buono||Kelli Lombardo Moltisanti||Recurring|
Secondary character biographies
Rosalie "Ro" Aprile, played by Sharon Angela, is the widow of Jackie Aprile, Sr, and the mother of Jackie, Jr. and Kelli. She is good friends with mob wives Carmela Soprano and Gabriella Dante, to whom she offers characteristically frank advice.
Rosalie was always frank with her friends that she knew her husband, Jackie, had affairs, but seemed to have made her peace with his infidelity. During her marriage to Jackie, Ro had an affair with a man named Steve from her gym, which remained a source of guilt.
One year after Jackie Sr.'s death, she started a relationship with Ralph Cifaretto. Ralph had been a friend of Jackie's growing up and later a soldier in Jackie's crew before he moved to Miami. Their relationship became romantic after Ralph returned from Miami in 2000, following the deaths of both Jackie Sr. and Rosalie's brother-in-law, Richie Aprile. Ralph encouraged Jackie Jr. as he became more and more involved in the family business, providing him with a gun, accepting payments from him, involving him in making collections, and offering advice. Jackie Jr. tried to make a name for himself by robbing a card game (inspired by Ralph's telling the story of how Jackie Sr. made a name for himself by robbing a card game with Tony Soprano), but the heist went awry and a contract was put out on him. Unbeknownst to Rosalie, it was Ralph who ordered her son's death. Jackie Jr.'s cousin, Vito Spatafore, executed the hit, and the official story (as told to Rosalie, the rest of her family, and family friends) was that Jackie Jr. was killed by black drug dealers.
Following her son's death, Rosalie sunk into a prolonged period of mourning. Ralph began an affair with Janice Soprano. Rosalie's friend Karen Baccalieri died soon after Jackie Jr., and Ro's depression worsened. Ralph chose this opportunity to break up with Rosalie, claiming he was tired of her constant grief. Rosalie, angered by his selfishness, ordered him out of her home. (He left and attempted to move in with Janice.) She eventually forgave him, though, and visited him when his son was in the hospital.
Rosalie has always been a loyal friend to Carmela, and her advice to her friend is generally loving but blunt. Of particular note was their discussion of A.J. after he dropped out of college in season six. Rosalie told Carmela to be firm with A.J., because she didn't want Carmela to make the same mistakes she had, and end up burying her son. Rosalie also advised Carmela throughout the latter's flirtation with decorator Vic Musto — warning her of the dangers of infidelity and the guilt from her own experience but was supportive about the difficulties of living with the double standards inherent in a mafia marriage. Rosalie is considered an aunt by Carmela's children.
Rosalie had severed her relationship with Angie Bonpensiero following Big Pussy's disappearance (he was believed by the wives to have entered the witness protection program), but they ultimately reconciled and Angie discussed her increasing business involvement with the Soprano/DiMeo crime family with Rosalie. Rosalie belongs to the same church as Carmela and is a friend of Father Phil Intintola — she thinks of him as a sweet man. After Carmela pulls back from her relationship with Father Phil he seems to replace her with Rosalie. Rosalie was also friends with Adriana La Cerva (to whom she was related by marriage through Jackie Aprile) and attended her wedding shower.
Rosalie accompanied Carmela on a trip to Paris in the Season 6 episode "Cold Stones". They visited many of the city's sights and Ro lit candles for her late husband and son in a church. While there, she pursued a brief relationship with a much younger Frenchman named Michel. Carmela upset Rosalie by asking about her grief over her son and husband while they were supposed to be enjoying their trip, but Rosalie was quick to forgive her friend. She also comforted Carmela through some difficult moments while they were away. Rosalie attended Bobby's wake in the series finale, "Made in America".
Artie is a longtime childhood friend of Tony Soprano; they went to elementary and high school together. He works as the co-owner and head chef of Nuovo Vesuvio, a local, upscale, Italian restaurant. He sometimes wishes he could be involved in Tony's seemingly glamorous criminal activities, but lacks the "image" and know-how. His wife, Charmaine Bucco is the mother of his children Chiara Bucco, Melissa Bucco and Arthur "Art" Bucco III. She is frequently concerned about his attraction to Tony's "business", often warning him about his occasional attempts at involvement, or even when he hints that he may wish to get involved.
Despite Artie and Tony's close friendship, their relationship has seen several low-points. At the end of Season One, Artie learns from Tony's mother, Livia, that Tony was responsible for burning down his original restaurant, Vesuvio. Tony's Uncle Junior had been planning to stage a hit at Vesuvio on "Little Pussy" Malanga (not to be confused with Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero) and, despite Tony's repeated requests, refused to move the hit to some other venue because the target felt comfortable there. Tony, knowing that the restaurant's patrons would be permanently chased away if a hit occurred there, devised arson as the win-win solution to this problem (i.e., no hit at Vesuvio, and Artie could rebuild it with the pay-out from his insurance policy). Artie builds a bigger and even more prosperous restaurant, the Nuovo Vesuvio. However, Artie had a strong emotional attachment to the old restaurant (which he inherited from his father), and goes on an angry rampage when he finds out that his best friend destroyed it (confronting Tony with a hunting rifle in the parking lot of Satriale's). Eventually, Artie believes Tony's repeated denials of having been the arsonist (only technically true, since Silvio actually firebombed the place on Tony's orders), and he destroys his rifle before driving off erratically. There is a brief tension between the two, but by the end of the Season One finale, they have made up. Artie even keeps his kitchen open past closing time to prepare a special meal for the Sopranos when they seek refuge at Nuovo Vesuvio during a fierce thunderstorm. Tensions over Tony's arson briefly resurface after the death of Tony's mother in Season Three. At a gathering at the Soprano household after Livia's funeral, Artie, who was catering the affair, turns over Tony's garbage cans and tells Tony that he guesses that their "secret" died with Livia.
In Season Four, Artie approaches Ralph Cifaretto for a $50,000 loan. This money would let him act as a moneylender to Jean-Philippe, the brother of the new French hostess at Vesuvio, who needed $50,000 short-term to fund a business venture. Ralph denies Artie's request on the grounds that if Artie couldn't pay him back, he wouldn't be able to hurt Artie in revenge because of his close relationship with Tony. Tony finds out, and is hurt that Artie didn't come to him first for the loan. Tony agrees to lend Artie the money on relatively generous terms (3% interest) and Artie, in turn, lends the money to the Frenchman on more strict terms (15% interest). Jean-Philippe defaults (as he was scamming Artie the whole time), and Artie, seeking to force payment, visits him to rough him up—only to get beaten up himself. Despondent and unable to repay Tony's loan, Artie attempts suicide by overdosing on pills and alcohol, calling Tony before he loses consciousness, sobbing, "I love you and I'm sorry I let you down." Tony had been in a fragile emotional state to begin with because he had just learned that his ex-comáre, Gloria Trillo, had committed suicide—which he blamed himself for. Tony calls 911 but is angry when he shows up at the hospital because of Artie's lack of consideration for those around him in attempting suicide, asking him, "Suppose I come over to your house and find you dead? How am I supposed to feel?" Tony tells Artie that he'll assume the Frenchman's debt (including the interest), and collect it himself, if Artie agrees to cancel Tony's $6,000 tab at the restaurant. Artie agrees, but suggests that Tony knew how the whole thing would play out from the beginning (Artie would get suckered and fail; Tony would benefit twice by taking collecting on Jean-Philippe's debt, and get his restaurant tab erased). Tony becomes irately indignant over this suggestion and storms out, telling Artie not to tell anyone about either their arrangement or the suicide attempt. The two don't speak to each other for the rest of Season Four, and into Season Five; although, Tony still frequents Vesuvio during this timeframe.
In the third episode of Season Five, Tony learns that Artie has been living in a Motel 6 since his wife (Charmaine Bucco) got the house in their separation. Tony offers to let Artie stay in his mother's old house, where Tony has been living since his separation from Carmela. Artie accepts, and the old friends reconcile.
By Season Six, Artie and Charmaine have reconciled. There is a growing sense of dissatisfaction amongst Nuovo Vesuvio's diners, culminating in the episode "Luxury Lounge". Artie has hired another young hostess that he lusts after—Martina, an undocumented Albanian immigrant that he has been helping through the U.S. government's immigration process. Soprano crew associate Benny Fazio is a regular fixture at the restaurant's bar, flirting with Martina (to Artie's chagrin, ostensibly because Benny has a wife who is expecting their first baby soon). The restaurant is losing many customers to a new rival restaurant (Da Giovanni's). Also, Artie spends increasingly less time cooking the food, delegating his Italian family recipes to non-Italian, illegal immigrant, line cooks. Charmaine worries that Artie's constant presence on the floor, chatting to customers, is also hurting business. Carmela sums up the restaurant's problems as a depressing atmosphere, stale menu, and aging decor. Tony suggests to Artie that promotional discount offers might help; Artie responds with hostility to any advice given. He accuses Tony of disloyalty for dining at Da Giovanni's, and again references his involvement in the arson of the first Vesuvio. The restaurant's finances worsen when American Express won't let its customers use its cards there, because several account numbers have already been stolen there and fraudulently misused to run-up charges elsewhere. Artie calls a staff meeting to ask the perpetrator to come forward, or to at least halt his/her activities. However, his insecurities once again get the better of him, and he becomes irate and accuses one, then all, of the employees of stealing from him. The coat-check girl, Sandy, tells Artie after the meeting that she has noticed immigrant Martina wearing new, $600 shoes. Artie confronts Martina and she instantly breaks, tearfully admitting to stealing, then passing, the charge card numbers to Benny; but, she instantly accuses Artie of changing his attitude toward her (from helping, to harassing) once he realized that she was sexually attracted to Benny, not him. Artie is enraged and storms to Benny's house in the middle of the night. The undersized Benny tries to deny his involvement, but Artie is undeterred. Artie starts a brawl, and surprisingly, beats Benny unconscious on his own front porch. He seems particularly angry that Benny saw him as an easy target, because he is not a wiseguy.
Tony invites Artie and his wife out on his boat, then lectures Artie about his behavior. He tells him Benny is baying for blood. Artie again refuses to accept advice, bemoaning the lack of fruit for his years of labor. Tony insists that Benny dine with his family at Vesuvio to celebrate his parents' anniversary—not the ultra-popular Da Giovanni's, as Benny had planned to. The occasion falls at the same time as the restaurant's first "twofers night" — an occasion that disgusts Artie (who has always regarded his restaurant as being above such promotions). Artie makes a veiled reference to the affair between Benny and Martina while chatting-up the family at their table; this prompts a humiliated Benny to storm into Vesuvio's kitchen, and plunge Artie's right hand into a scalding pot of tomato sauce. Tony visits Vesuvio with his wife and mother-in-law, and privately suggests that Artie go see Dr. Melfi for help, as he has been "going about his life in pity for himself". Artie insults Tony by telling him to go to Giovanni's, instead (rhetorically questioning whether they would serve him customized food, bland enough for his damaged pancreas, as Artie did him after his shooting). Tony responds by telling Artie a hard truth: no one likes his excessive chatter on the restaurant floor, and he should spend more time in the kitchen.
In 2007, the indication is that Artie has dealt with his personal issues, and worked to restore his business—Nuovo Vesuvio even plays host to then-New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini (in a cameo appearance). Artie had also catered Christopher Moltisanti's belated bachelor party at Nuovo Vesuvio, and without coming into confrontation with Benny.
Artie's father (also Arthur Bucco) was a chef and was married to Dorothy "Dot" D'Auria Bucco; they were both born in Newark, New Jersey. His paternal grandparents, Angelo Bucco and Concetta Palagonia Bucco, emigrated from Baiano, Avellino, Italy in 1913 and opened the family's first restaurant in 1926. This was Bucco's Vesuvio in the Italian First Ward of Newark, New Jersey. The second Bucco's Vesuvio opened in Bloomfield, New Jersey in the early 1950s. Artie's parents helped finance his attendance at the Cooks Culinary Academy in London, England. Soon after he graduated, his parents retired to New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Artie and Charmaine took over Vesuvio as equal partners.
Charmaine is an old friend of Carmela Soprano's, and married Artie Bucco—a friend of Tony Soprano's ever since grade school. She also dated Tony Soprano in high school, and several allusions to their high school sex life are spread throughout the series—especially one scene in the episode, The Test Dream. Artie and Charmaine co-own an upscale Italian restaurant, Vesuvio (inherited from Artie's father); Charmaine runs the front-of-the-house, and Artie is the head chef. Charmaine's education is referenced periodically in the series: for instance, in The Test Dream, Tony reveals that Charmaine is a licensed notary public. Also, in the Season Four episode Everybody Hurts, when Charmaine raises concerns over losing control of Vesuvio, in relation to Artie's excitement over Tony's offer to become an "investor" in Vesuvio (which would fund Artie's dreams of transforming the restaurant into an ultra-high-end, extension of his own ego), Artie sarcastically retorts that this business idea would never pass Charmaine's "incredibly high Wharton School of Business standards".
Artie and Charmaine have three children together, one son, and two daughters. One of their daughters played with Meadow on the high school soccer team.
In Season One (1999), Charmaine and Carmela have drifted apart. Charmaine resents that Carmela enjoys an affluent lifestyle that is only made possible by her husband's criminal activities. She discourages Artie from associating with Tony because of those mafia connections, and talks Artie out of accepting suspiciously generous gifts from Tony. Charmaine and Carmela's friendship reaches a crisis point when Carmela hires the Buccos to cater a silent auction fundraiser at the Soprano home. Carmela treats Charmaine like a servant, prompting Charmaine to exact revenge by revealing that she slept with and dated Tony at the same time he was beginning to date Carmela (who was on a trip with her parents at the time).
Charmaine often appears shrewish and irritable, and she rarely masks her growing annoyance at her husband's deepening association with members of the Soprano crime family. However, she could also be considered one of the series's few moral anchors. She never compromises her moral and ethical decency; as a result, she's one of the few recurring characters who is never corrupted by Tony Soprano's influence.
Following a series of escalating arguments, Artie and Charmaine finally separate. Artie sees Tony as the person who can help him realize his dreams of fame and fortune. Charmaine sees Tony as a cancer-like threat to their family's chances to achieve The American Dream. She also feels that the more Artie pursues Tony's influence and approval, the less Artie likes and listens to her. She leaves, telling him, "You're not getting the kids". Since the split, Charmaine considerably improved her personal appearance, while defiantly continuing to work at Nuovo Vesuvio (which the Buccos opened to replace Vesuvio, which burned down in Season 1, episode 1).
Charmaine ultimately reconciles with Artie. During their restaurant's financial difficulties in 2006, Charmaine remains level-headed and actually supportive of her husband.
Albie is a former soldier in the Leotardo crew, and has reputedly worked for Phil Leotardo since the 1980s. After Johnny Sack was arrested and indicted on various charges, Phil was promoted to Acting boss, and Albie was made new consigliere. Albie helped mediate the Barone Sanitation dispute with the Soprano crime family. He also attended Allegra Sacrimoni's wedding, and sat at Phil's left hand at the meal to celebrate Gerry Torciano getting his "button" at the Vesuvio. Albie accompanied Phil to New Jersey for the Feast of St. Elzear, and helped organize the distribution of stolen vitamins that Tony offered them from a truck hijacking. Once Johnny Sack allocuted in federal court, Albie expressed relief, saying, "Could have been worse. He could've flipped." Phil expressed outrage at this statement, feeling that Johnny should have stood trial instead of admitting the existence of "this thing of ours." Alongside newly made Underboss Butch DeConcini, Albie was one of Phil's most trusted advisors and confidants, often seen talking either only to Butch or Phil himself. After Phil hatches the plot to kill the entire regime of the Soprano crime family, Albie first protests in shock that taking out an entire family is impossible, however, he later agrees with Phil's decision. Along with Butch, Albie plans the executions of Tony Soprano, Silvio Dante and Bobby Baccalieri. In the final episode, "Made in America", Albie meets with Tony, Paulie Gualtieri, Little Carmine, Butch DeConcini, and George Paglieri, in New York, where the Lupertazzis agree to end their war with the Sopranos.
Murders ordered by Cianflone
- Faustino "Doc" Santoro: Killed during the New York power struggle.
Ralph "Ralphie" Cifaretto, played by Joe Pantoliano, is not present in Season 1 or 2, as he spends a prolonged period of time in Miami. Ralph first appears as a soldier in the Aprile Crew in the second episode of season 3, "Proshai, Livushka". He is characterized as an excellent earner but also unstable and prone to violence.
Ralph was born in the late-1950s and grew up in New Jersey along with associates Tony, Silvio, and Jackie Aprile Sr. He did not move up in the ranks nearly as fast as his peers; he credits this to not going along with the robbing of Feech La Manna's card game, which led to Tony, Silvio, and Jackie, Sr. getting made and respected. At one point, Ralph mentions he wanted to be an architect, but had to drop out of the eleventh grade after his mother's death to raise his brothers and sisters. Ralph was sent down to Florida to watch over the family's interests in Miami, where he developed an addiction to cocaine, which he would later blame for his violent outbursts.
He returned to New Jersey in mid-2000, following the disappearance of Richie Aprile. As a high-ranking soldier, he tried to take over the crew despite Tony's reluctance to make him captain, and often referred to it as "my crew". Upon his return from Miami, he (as Junior says) "really whipped the Aprile Crew into shape." Tony viewed Ralph as obnoxious and insubordinate, so he passed Ralph over for promotion and made Gigi Cestone captain. After Cestone dies of a heart attack, Tony reluctantly installs Ralph as captain of the Aprile Crew.
In the episode "University", Ralph is involved with a 20-year-old stripper named Tracee, who becomes pregnant. At the Bing, Tracee insults Ralph in front of his friends. He follows her outside, where they argue, she spits at him, and he beats her to death. Tony sees Ralph is lying and strikes him repeatedly. Ralph defends himself by shouting, "I'm a made guy!" Tony justifies his actions by saying that Ralph "disrespected the Bing".
Ralph purchases a race horse from Hesh Rabkin named Pie-O-My. The horse is a winner and makes Ralph and Tony a lot of money. While Ralph only cares about the horse as a means to make money, Tony becomes emotionally attached, even paying for a veterinarian and staying with her when she gets sick.
When his son Justin is accidentally shot in the chest with an arrow, Ralph is devastated and turns to Father Intintola for guidance. After Pie-O-My dies in a stable fire, Tony confronts Ralph over the suspicious timing of the fire with the $200,000 insurance pay out which was also his son's required medical expenses. Ralph denies the accusation and rebukes Tony for being emotionally attached to the horse. A fight ensues in which Tony beats and chokes Ralph to death. Tony and Chris dismember Ralph's body, bury some pieces at a farm and sink the rest in a flooded quarry.
Later on in the series, Tony has three dreams which include Ralph:
- In the season 4 episode "Calling All Cars", the first dream involves Carmela driving Tony's father's old Cadillac with Ralph in the passenger seat. A caterpillar appears on Ralph's bald head and then turns into a butterfly. When Tony discusses this dream with Dr. Melfi, she points out the transition of the caterpillar to butterfly signifies a change.
- The second dream of the episode involves Tony following Ralph into an old house where Tony sees a silhouette of a woman at the top of the stairs.
- In the episode "The Test Dream", Tony rides in a car with Ralph, Pussy, Mikey Palmice and several other deceased characters. When Tony asks, "Where we going?", Ralphie replies, "We're driving you to the job."
Butch is initially a capo but later becomes the underboss of the Lupertazzi crime family under Phil Leotardo. He attended Little Carmine Lupertazzi's "meeting of minds" to try to resolve a dispute with the Soprano crime family in 2006 after Tony responded to the murder of Vito Spatafore by blowing up a wire room in Sheepshead Bay that was owned by Phil Leotardo. After the effort failed, DeConcini was vocal in his desire to move against Tony Soprano. DeConcini was critical of Albie Cianfalone's assertion that the attack showed that Tony had balls, saying he felt his bombing of one of Phil's properties was similar to the 9/11 attacks and should be met with an effort to eradicate the perpetrators. When Phil refused to consider killing a boss, it was Butch who suggested they move on someone else in Tony's family. Phil soon suffered a heart attack and Butch kept watch at the hospital with others—he was confrontational when Tony visited Phil. When Phil ordered a hit on Doc Santoro to take over the Lupertazzi family once and for all, it was Butch who oversaw the assassination behind the wheel of one of the getaway cars. Upon Phil's permanent elevation to boss, Butch was made underboss of the family. Alongside Albie Cianflone, Butch is one of Phil's primary confidants and advisors. While Butch may have an old grudge against the Soprano family, he puts business first when it becomes clear that Phil's attempt to wipe out the Soprano family leadership has failed, and he notices Phil's threatening tone regarding his future due to the failure to find and murder Tony. During a sit-down with Tony Soprano and Paulie Gualtieri, he, along with Albie Cianflone and Little Carmine Lupertazzi, agree to end the war against the Soprano family. While Butch will not give up Phil's whereabouts (it is earlier established that Phil won't tell Butch where he is), he gives consent on behalf of the Lupertazzi family for Tony to hunt down and murder Phil. Butch would seem to be the likely choice to become Boss of the Lupertazzi family.
Murders ordered by DeConcini
- Faustino "Doc" Santoro: Multiple gunshot wounds to various parts of the abdomen and face. Killed during the New York power struggle. (2007)
Benito "Benny" Fazio, Jr., played by Max Casella, is a soldier of Christopher Moltisanti, who began working for the DiMeo crime family with Chris under Capo Paulie Gualtieri and continued to work for Chris after his elevation to Caporegime.
Benny debuted in the third episode of Season 3, with his release from county jail and renewed association with Christopher. Benny belongs to the crew run by Paulie and later Moltisanti. He began working for Christopher just after Christopher became a made man in 2001 (Season 3). Benny's star began to rise due to his association with Christopher, as well as the fact that he is the godson of Soprano capo Larry Barese.
In 2001, Benny and Chris often hung out at the Ooh-Fa Pizzeria, which brought them into contact with Jackie Aprile, Jr. Jackie informed them of an opportunity to rob a Jewel concert at Rutgers University. Benny and Chris committed the robbery and made a clean escape with Jackie driving.
In 2002 (Season 4), Benny was awarded one of the "no-work" carpenter jobs at the esplanade construction site and was often found there following this. He was assigned the important task of killing two would-be assassins contracted by Tony to whack New York boss Carmine Lupertazzi after the hit was called off. Benny and Petey LaRosa ambushed and killed the hitmen - two black heroin dealers - who were set up by Christopher Moltisanti.
Over time, Benny became a trusted associate and came to be known by boss Tony Soprano, acting both as a driver and as a guard of his house during his separation with Carmela. Benny also worked with Christopher as part of Tony's scheme to get Feech La Manna sent back to prison — they pretended to mention a truck of stolen electronics only in passing, but knew Feech would want to get involved. He did, and stored them in his garage, but his parole officer had been tipped off and came to investigate.
However, in late 2004, Benny was seriously beaten by New York capo Phil Leotardo. The crisis brought on by Tony Blundetto was reaching a head and Phil severely beat Benny to send a message to Tony. Phil knew of Benny's friendship with Chris and position as driver to Tony; Phil and Benny had been present together at meetings between Tony and Johnny Sack. Tony, feeling guilty about Benny's fractured skull, offered to give Benny his button when he recovers, as a consolation, meaning he will become a made man.
By 2006 Benny appeared to have recovered from the attack fully. His responsibilities included driving acting boss Silvio Dante while Tony was in the ICU, guarding Tony's ICU room and chasing down Vito Spatafore to his comare's beach house following the revelation that he was homosexual. Benny was partnered with Patsy Parisi in a business relationship with Angie Bonpensiero and was responsible for assisting her auto body shop business and handling money she invests in loan sharking.
It was revealed that Benny is married to Jen Fazio with a son on the way. However, Benny began an affair with Martina, the newest hostess at Nuovo Vesuvio's, much to the irritation of owner and head chef Artie Bucco who had his eyes on her.
Benny was involved in Chris' credit card fraud scheme with Ahmed and Muhammad, using his relationship with Martina to get account numbers used at Nuovo Vesuvio and selling them on through Soprano crew associate James "Murmur" Zancone. Benny was also responsible for paying Chris' tribute to Tony while Chris visited L.A. Tony had Benny deliver the money straight to Artie to cover his tab at Artie's restaurant, ironically paying Artie back with money drained from his own business.
American Express investigated Vesuvios restaurant's role in the credit card fraud and pulls the restaurant's authority to accept American Express cards, prompting Artie to figure out Martina as the criminal in his staff, meaning it was Benny's scam. Artie then angrily drives to Benny's home to confront him; the ensuing fight sent seriously injured Benny to the hospital. To make peace at Tony's insistence Benny's parents have their anniversary dinner at Nuovo Vesuvio, which has now indeed started offering "two-for-one" special meal promotions and advertising them in newspapers. Artie makes a table-side visit during their meal.
In front of Benny's pregnant wife Jen Fazio, Artie makes a thinly veiled reference Benny's extramarital affair with Artie's former hostess Martina by asking Benny if he wants a "Martina," saying it is an Albanian martini, adding that "Well apparently they go down real easy. Right, Ben." Enraged, Benny follows Artie to the kitchen and holds his arm in a pot of boiling tomato sauce, burning him very badly, and also rams his head into the large metal counter. Benny later attended Chris' belated bachelor party, also at Nuovo Vesuvio which was hosted by Artie, but the two refrained from initiating further violence.
Benny was also able to exact some revenge for his beating by Phil Leotardo. Tony assigned Benny the task of watching Phil's wire room in Sheepshead Bay when the Soprano crew bombed it. Benny was pleased to report to Tony that Phil and his girlfriend arrived just before the explosion and was knocked down (but relatively unharmed) by the blast. By 2007, Benny was a made man making his own collections, with a rank of "Soldier".
Benny is present at a card game where Little Paulie Germani is thrown out of a window by Christopher Moltisanti. Benny, shocked by what Chris has done, calls an ambulance. He has also accompanied Paulie Gualtieri and Silvio to the Bada Bing and was in Atlantic City with Tony and crew while Tony gambled away a lot of money. Following Moltisanti's death, Benny is saddened, as the two were close, but consoled himself with the thought that Chris had persevered to battle his drug problem. After Chris's death in the episode "Kennedy and Heidi" Benny remarked he was out making his collections when he heard of Chris's death.
Benny also helped guard Tony while he was on the lam from Phil Leotardo. Benny and several of Tony's other crew members were checking gas stations to find Phil Leotardo after some intel from Agent Harris. Benny is last seen acting as the getaway driver when Walden Belfiore shot Phil Leotardo to death at a Raceway Gas Station. In season 5, he drives a Chevrolet Camaro which he crashes into the side of a building while trying to escape from Phil Leotardo. In season 6, he is shown to be driving a Chrysler 300.
Murders committed by Fazio
Brendan Filone was Christopher Moltisanti's friend and partner in crime and an associate of Tony Soprano. Brendan was addicted to crystal meth, and often used it with Christopher. In the episode "46 Long", Brendan and Christopher hijacked a Comley Trucking truck and stole a number of DVD players. Comley Trucking was under the protection of Junior Soprano, who demanded restitution. At a sit down, Junior tells Tony to keep Brendan and Christopher's "loose cannon" behavior under control. In a nightclub, Brendan tries his best to convince Chris to neglect Tony and Uncle Junior since they were both being denied a rise. Early the next morning, Brendan urges Chris to get ready for the next heist, a truckload of high-end Italian suits. Christopher tells him that he has decided to go along with the rules instead.
Always high on crystal meth and unable to comply with orders, Brendan, this time without Christopher, hijacks another Comley truck with two cohorts. In the process, the driver of this second truck is accidentally shot and killed by a ricochet bullet when one of Brendan's cohorts drops his gun. Once Tony learns about this mishap, Brendan and Christopher receive a lecture about leadership and are ordered to return the truck to Comley. However, Uncle Junior isn't satisfied. Mikey Palmice and Livia Soprano both give Uncle Junior advice on the matter. Because of this, Junior orders that Christopher has a mock execution — and Brendan is shot clean through the eye while in his bathtub by Uncle Junior's trigger man, Mikey Palmice whilst Junior stands by. This scene is inter-cut with Meadow's rendition of the lullaby All Through the Night.
In the aftermath, Christopher and Adriana find Brendan's body in his bathtub and Christopher calls for harsh retaliation against Palmice. Tony decides to confront his uncle and Mikey for their punishing methods by beating Mikey to the ground and stapling him with some tickets. He then goes to have a sit-down with Uncle Junior for his orders.
Anthony DeSando's last onscreen appearance as Brendan Filone was in the first season episode "The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti." He is one of the main concentrations on television when Jeffrey Wernick is interviewed about the murder charges. Wernick reveals that Filone was a loyal soldier and associate and his murder was as yet unsolved from the eyes of a federal agent. The amount of attention and coverage Brendan receives after his demise makes Christopher annoyed and jealous. Even Georgie says that he is amazed to have known Brendan.
Later, when Jimmy Altieri attends a funeral, he notifies Uncle Junior of how sad Brendan Filone's mother was at his funeral. Junior reciprocates by telling Mikey and Chuckie about Jimmy's remark, noting that this is the kind of things they are talking about behind his back, namely the "Brendan Filone hit."
Later, in retaliation for the attempted hit on Tony, Mikey Palmice is killed after Chris and Paulie Gualtieri chase him down while he is jogging. Mikey tries to blame all the recent events on Junior, even Brendan's death, but Chris replies, "My friend Brendan, you shot him in his bathtub naked, no chance to run." Paulie and Chris then execute Mikey, leave him dead in the woods.
In season two, after Christopher is shot by Sean Gismonte and Matthew Bevilaqua, he has a near-death experience in the hospital where he goes to "hell" and explains that he saw Brendan Filone and Mikey Palmice playing cards with a bunch of Roman soldiers and Irish men. Chris also mentions that Brendan and Mikey are friends in hell although they were enemies when alive. Paulie assumes that Chris went to purgatory and tries to reassure him that it isn't as bad as hell, although Paulie becomes obsessed with his own fears of ghosts. With the exception of Paulie's concern, most of the other Soprano crew chalk up Christopher's experience as a hallucination.
Murders connected to Filone
- Hector Anthony - Shot during a botched truck hijacking planned by Filone. (1999)
Little Paulie Germani
Paul "Little Paulie" Germani, played by Carl Capotorto, is thought to be the nephew (later revealed to actually be a first cousin once removed) and right-hand of Soprano family Underboss Paulie Gualtieri. Germani is an associate and later soldier in the Moltisanti crew. Germani regularly hangs out with Christopher and accompanies him on debt collections visits. Germani is known for poor attempts at humor and has also been beaten up several times in the series, notably at a Columbus Day rally and after taking a joke too far with Eugene Pontecorvo at the Esplanade construction site.
In Season 4, Germani was tasked with vandalizing Carmine Lupertazzi's restaurant when Tony and Carmine got into a dispute over the HUD scam. He was also responsible for intimidating Alan Sapinsly after Tony's separation caused him to withdraw from a contract to buy property from Sapinsly. Paulie and Benny used Tony's home entertainment system speakers on his boat to blast Dean Martin recordings at the Sapinsly home at all hours. In season 5, Little Paulie holds a "no work" job at the Esplanade construction site and accompanied Chris when collecting a loan from writer J. T. Dolan.
In season 6, Germani has been seen enjoying the private room at the Bada Bing with Benny and Chris. Paulie also attended Chris's belated bachelor party. Germani helped his uncle organize the 2006 Feast of Saint Elzear and when his corner-cutting caused a ride to malfunction, Little Paulie was left to deal with the police. In the Season 6, part II episode "Walk like a Man", Little Paulie is badly hurt again after being pushed out of a second story window by Christopher during a feud with Paulie. He suffers six broken vertebrae. He helps in the war with the Lupertazzi crime family, disguising himself as a police officer while searching for Phil Leotardo.
Gervasi was promoted to caporegime of Jimmy Altieri's crew after Jimmy was murdered on suspicion of being an FBI informant. He was in charge of obtaining grey-market goods from container ships docking at the Newark ports. These procurements included everything from Vespa scooters to provolone cheese. Carlo also accompanied Tony, Ralph, and Hesh to the stables to purchase the racing horse Pie-O-My. In Season 6, Carlo attended two celebration dinners at Nuovo Vesuvio, first when his cousin Burt Gervasi became a made man and a second for Christopher Moltisanti's belated bachelor party. When Bobby Baccalieri was injured, Gervasi visited him in the hospital and passed his collections up to an indifferent Tony Soprano. He shares the same last name as reputed Montreal, Canada mobsters Paolo Gervasi, and his son Salvatore Gervasi. The Italian surname Gervasi, along with the French name Gervais, is in honor of the Catholic martyr Saint Gervasius. Carlo's surname is somewhat ironic, in that Saint Gervasius is said to have been beheaded, and Carlo himself beheads the body of Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello after stabbing him to death. It is unknown whether or not this was an intentional reference by the show's creators.
Very little is known about Carlo's character. For all of his time on the screen, the audience knows virtually nothing about him. He shares this distinction with Patsy Parisi, another member of the group who has very little backstory and few lines relative to his frequent visual presence. He first appears in a meeting of Tony's crew in the first episode of Season 4, but there was no explanation as to where he came from and how he became part of the gang's inner circle. Carlo is not even directly referenced by name until the sixth season.
His personal life is also shrouded in mystery. Though Carlo has two sons, Jason (who is seen on the show) and James (who is not), Carlo's wife (if he has one) is never seen by the audience, or even mentioned, nor is Carlo ever seen with a comare or mistress. This is in stark contrast to the rest of Tony's crew, all of whom but Paulie have significant others or families who are regularly shown. Carlo rarely speaks, compared to the rest of the crew. The most detail of his life outside of his mob activities that the audience ever sees is shown in the episode "Kaisha", where his house and garage are shown for the only time in the series as he retrieves Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello's head from his refrigerator in order to dispose of it. A Jet Ski is seen in his garage; outside of this, nothing is known of his hobbies or interests.
It is only in Season Six that Carlo begins to emerge from the background and become a more important character. Gervasi was given all of Vito Spatafore's construction business in addition to the ports, after the revelation of Vito's sexual orientation and his subsequent downfall, but has suffered recent work stoppages. Gervasi was also outspoken about his disapproval of Spatafore's homosexuality, suggesting to Soprano that his cousin, Tommy, knew a detective who might be useful in tracking down Spatafore. His notorious hatred of homosexuals surprised even the other mobsters, wishing that Spatafore be "dragged behind his car." When Soprano decided that Spatafore had to be killed to appease acting New York boss Phil Leotardo, and Silvio Dante asked if the hit should be assigned to anyone in particular, Soprano suggested Gervasi for the job because of his strong views. Tony compares him to Roy Bean. However, Spatafore was beaten to death by Phil Leotardo's men Gerry Torciano and Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello before Gervasi could act. Gervasi expressed admiration for Leotardo's commitment to his views, despite the killing of a made man being performed without Tony's permission. Silvio comments that he is as talkative about the subject as Jimmy Olsen. Carlo later avenged his family's honor by stabbing Fat Dom four times with a gigantic chef's knife for making jokes about Spatafore's murder and implying that Gervasi was also homosexual. The killing occurred in the back room of Satriale's pork store and Silvio also took part; Tony Soprano later discovered them waiting to dispose of the body and was angry because of the murder's possible repercussions. Gervasi took charge of disposing of Gamiello's body and drove to Connecticut to deposit his head in a storm drain, phoning Silvio to confirm that the last part was safely away and to ask about Tony's plans to blow up Leotardo's wire room.
Soprano later placed Gervasi in charge of Spatafore's construction business, but he was disappointed with Gervasi's earning capacity in this new role. Gervasi's son Jason attends Rutgers University and is involved in gambling and loansharking there.
Gervasi is later seen participating in the production of Cleaver with Christopher Moltisanti and Little Carmine. He appears to be acting as a consultant, suggesting that more graphic violence may bolster the film's success.
Gervasi's cousin, Burt switched sides during the Lupertazzi/Soprano war and was killed for his disloyalty by Silvio Dante. Carlo wasn't seen to react to the murder of his cousin, but it may have influenced his decision to cooperate with law enforcement. Gervasi accompanied Tony to a safe house to help protect him from Phil Leotardo's hitmen.
In the series finale, Gervasi's son was picked up by the FBI for drug dealing. Gervasi failed to show up for a meeting with Paulie Gualtieri, which worried Tony Soprano that he may have been cutting a deal. Soprano's attorney confirmed that someone was, in fact testifying before a grand jury and that indictments were forthcoming. In the final scene, Tony told Carmela that Carlo was testifying, thus confirming that he turned informant, likely to keep his son out of jail.
Murders committed by Gervasi
- Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello: Stabbed in the stomach multiple times after deriding Vito's murder and also implying Gervasi was a homosexual.
Furio was one of two members of the DiMeo crime family born in Italy (the other being Michele "Feech" La Manna). Tony bargained with the Neapolitan Camorra mob boss Annalisa Zucca for Furio to come to New Jersey to work for him as part of an international car theft operation. This impulse to integrate Furio into his association emerged once he saw Furio beat a young boy for playing with firecrackers and consequently imitating the sound of gunshots. Tony Soprano saw that Furio had absolutely no inhibitions and a merciless wrath embedded by a sincere loyalty to his boss Don Vittorio (Furio shields Don Vittorio with his own body when the firecrackers are first heard). In order to get Furio a visa, Tony got him a job as a mozzarella maker in the Nuovo Vesuvio Restaurant, enticing Artie Bucco with the idea that Tony will pay Furio's salary and he does not have to be on Vesuvio's payroll. Furio did not particularly excel at honest work, mainly because Artie imposed tougher standards on his kitchen workers than restaurants in Italy, such as hair nets and no smoking on duty. Upon his arrival in New Jersey, Furio became one of Tony's most feared enforcers, intimidating and beating up multiple people who owed Tony money as well as acting as Tony's driver and bodyguard, to the initial resentment of long time senior Soprano soldier Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero.
Furio was an extremely loyal and dedicated soldier for his boss Tony, but he does not appear to have been a violent individual outside of that context. On the contrary, his personality was rather passive and sometimes even childlike, and he generally behaved in a very calm and polite manner. He spoke respectfully at all times and was not known to lose his temper, nor did he ever become entangled in rivalries within the Soprano crew. He also displayed a great deal of sentimentality and nostalgia when talking of his native land of Naples and his former employment working in the olive garden of a rich man. Before his employment with the Italian mafia, he presumably worked as a master cheese maker. Furio was also known for his long hair, which he usually wore in a ponytail, and his penchant for elaborate, flashy silk shirts.
Furio's first assignment was to extract payment from a massage parlor owner whose wife had convinced him to withhold payment. In an earlier visit, Chris had acted in an intimidating manner and shoved a paintbrush dipped in paint into his nostril. Furio was less restrained - he fearlessly smashed up the place, and showed no hesitation about hitting the guests or the owner's wife. He then broke the owner's arm with a baseball bat and shot him in the kneecap - all of which made a positive impression on Tony. Furio was also one of the few people to know that Richie Aprile had been killed, as Tony tasked Furio and Christopher for assistance with dismembering Richie's body at Satriale's. Furio made collections from low-level associates Matthew Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte and was not above taking a cut of his own. Furio's grabbiness with Matt and Sean would cause problems later, as they are convinced they are being used by Tony, and then attempt to murder Christopher by shooting him.
Furio's role in the overall plot of season 3 is minor. Most notably, in "Amour Fou", Furio is shot in the leg by Jackie Aprile, Jr. while Jackie and his friends Dino Zerilli and Carlo Renzi were robbing Ralph Cifaretto's card game in an attempt to gain some recognition amongst the crime family and possibly get made. Because of his injury, Furio walks with a cane for the next episode (the finale of season 3), but is fine several months later when season 4 begins. In that episode, Furio accompanies Vito Spatafore when Vito hunts Jackie down and executes him.
In the season 4 episode "Everybody Hurts", a sly Frenchman named Jean-Pierre Colbert cons Artie Bucco into temporarily lending him $50,000 for a business investment back in France. Artie borrows the money from Tony Soprano but when Artie goes to Jean Pierre's apartment to collect the money, he claims he doesn't have it and doesn't know when he's going to "get it." Artie and Jean-Pierre scuffle briefly, but Artie leaves bruised and bloodied. Furio is later tasked with reclaiming Tony's assumed debt from Jean-Pierre Colbert, which he does.
Furio eventually began to fall in love with Tony's wife, Carmela, who also saw him as a dashing, sensitive man — Tony's polar opposite — but the two never truly became romantically entwined. Carmela tried to deflect her attraction by arranging dates for Furio. For a time, however, there was significant sexual tension between them. Carmela found excuses to visit Furio including assisting him in buying and decorating a house, and planning a house-warming party, but made sure she was never alone with him. At the house-warming they shared a sexually charged dance, Furio later claims he forgot his sunglasses at the Soprano house, just as a ploy to talk with Carmela.
When Furio's father died, he returned to Italy for the funeral. He sought the advice of his uncle, another Mafia member, telling him that Italy no longer felt like home and that he was in love with his boss's wife, feeling that they could truly communicate. His uncle made it clear he had to move on or kill his boss. Upon his return, Furio withdrew from Carmela, presenting gifts to her children but not her. In the season 4 penultimate episode "Eloise", Furio witnesses Tony's infidelity first hand on a night out at a casino when Tony was dancing and being excessively flirtatious with a stripper. This enrages Furio to no end, as he thinks Carmela deserves better. A helicopter had been arranged to take them home and while Tony was urinating on the tarmac, Furio suddenly grabs him by his jacket and contemplates pushing Tony into the back rotor blades of the helicopter. "What the fuck you doin'?!" exclaimed Tony in a very inebriated voice. Furio then pulls him away and plays if off by telling Tony "You were standing too close..." Fortunately, Tony was so intoxicated he only seemed slightly fazed and didn't seem to recall the incident the following day. Faced with the possibility of being killed by a vengeful Tony — and with ongoing thoughts of killing Tony himself — Furio packed up, moved back to Italy and disappeared. Carmela later went by Furio's house and stared in awe at the fact it was empty and for sale. Carmela was devastated, and eventually revealed her feelings for him in an argument with Tony, to which Tony replies "If certain men see him, he's a dead man". (This is one of the only times in the show that Tony explicitly concedes to Carmela that murder is part of his business). In Season 5, it is said that Tony has men looking for him in Italy. However, it is never stated whether Furio was found, as this is the last time anyone spoke of him on the show. Furio's fate ultimately remains unknown.
Philip "Phil" Leotardo, played by actor Frank Vincent, was originally a captain in the Lupertazzi Crime Family, but following the death of the original Boss, Carmine Lupertazzi, the imprisonment and death of his successor Johnny Sacrimoni, commonly known as Johnny Sack, and a brief power struggle with would-be boss Faustino "Doc" Santoro, Phil became the Boss of the Family. Phil was married to Patty Leotardo and was a second cousin of Marie Spatafore. Phil bears a resemblance to the last Shah of Iran, leading to Tony Soprano and the DiMeo crime family often referring to him as "The Shah".
A prominent member and longtime captain of the Lupertazzi crime family, Phil Leotardo was one of the wiseguys who were sent to prison during the "Mafia Crackdown of the 1980s" and, after serving 20 years, was released as part of the "Class of '04" at the beginning of season 5. Phil was always good at his job; he had an alleged 27 hits to his credit. He quickly rejoined the Lupertazzi crime family, of Brooklyn, New York, once he was released from prison.
Phil had a percentage in a midget car racetrack, which was co-owned by Johnny Soprano and Hesh Rabkin. When Tony Soprano found out that Hesh had been keeping Johnny's share for himself instead of giving it to Johnny's mistress Fran Felstein, he demanded a sit-down with Johnny Sack who ruled in Tony's favor and said that Phil should pay 25% of his share which Phil said was around $40,000. Phil enraged Tony by saying that he "has some balls, kid", as Feech La Manna also viewed him as a kid. Although Johnny Sack and Silvio tried to calm the situation, Tony angrily replied to Phil that "it is not the 1970s and he is not a kid", demanded payment within five days and stormed out. Johnny Sack chastised Phil for disrespecting Tony and reminded Phil that "Tony is a boss". Phil indicated that he, like Carmine Lupertazzi, did not see the DiMeo family as a Mafia crime family and therefore their leader was not a boss. Phil tried to avoid Tony but he was forced off the road and crashed into a parked truck and injured his neck. He had to wear a neck brace for the next few weeks. Tony later compensated Phil for this by repairing Phil's car at the Bonpensiero Brothers' Body Shop. Phil took full advantage of this and tried to wring as much work as possible out of the deal at no charge.
Following Carmine Sr.'s death, a power struggle between two factions ensued. One side was led by Carmine's underboss, Johnny Sack, while the other was ostensibly led by Carmine's only son and Miami Capo "Little Carmine" Lupertazzi, although it is likely that Consigliere Angelo Garepe and Capo Rusty Millio were the real power behind this faction, and Little Carmine would be used as a "puppet" of sorts.
Phil became Johnny's right-hand man during the war, and carried out murders in order to weaken Little Carmine's resolve. Phil performed a mock execution of Lorraine Calluzzo, while she was tightly taped and gagged, shooting at her while holding a phone book in the path of the bullet, to persuade her to redirect her payments from Little Carmine to Johnny Sack. When she failed to comply Phil returned with his younger brother, Billy Leotardo, and Joe Peeps who killed Lorraine. When Peeps was later killed, Phil and Billy murdered Angelo Garepe in response. Phil coldly ignored Angelo's pleas to spare him because they knew each other. Acting only as Johnny's field marshal until that point, Phil became personally involved in the war when his brother Billy was murdered by Tony Blundetto, as revenge for the hit the Leotardo brothers carried out on Angelo, who was Blundetto's close friend.
Tony Soprano initially protected Blundetto against Phil. Phil stalked New Jersey looking for Blundetto hounding Christopher Moltisanti to his mother Joanne's home and badly beating Soprano associate Benny Fazio. When it became clear that Tony's men would not allow themselves to be imperiled for no good reason, Tony was forced to act. Tony ultimately murdered his own cousin to save his family and give Blundetto a quick and painless death. Soprano did this because at an earlier meeting, Johnny Sack had made it clear that Phil would torture Blundetto if he got his hands on him.
Phil was, according to Johnny Sack, 'beside himself' that his opportunity for vengeance was stolen. However, at a meeting between the two bosses, Johnny and Tony made peace, but the moment was interrupted by Johnny's arrest by the FBI, while Tony escaped. With Johnny in Federal custody, Phil became acting boss of the Lupertazzi family, and on the surface was faithful in continuing the work of Johnny Sack. Even Tony Soprano commended his leadership skills.
Phil worked closely with Tony and Vito Spatafore, the husband of his cousin, on the two family's joint construction efforts. Phil mediated the dispute over the sale of Barone sanitation passing messages back and forth between Tony and Johnny Sack. Phil also resolved a dispute over the beating of Hesh Rabkin's son-in-law Eli by offering generous compensation.
However, due to Phil's "old-school" mentality, he developed contempt for formerly close friends who have displayed what he sees as "effeminate" qualities: particularly for Vito when his homosexuality was revealed, and even his own boss Johnny Sack for sobbing when forced to leave his daughter's wedding. At the wedding, Phil also watched as Tony collapsed when asked to remove his shoes. Phil's homophobia is portrayed as obsessive even by Mafia standards.
Distracted with all the duties of an acting boss Phil made elderly Lupertazzi mobster Albie Cianfalone his consigliere. Phil also placed Gerry Torciano in charge of his old Brooklyn, NY territory. Gerry received his button soon after being given his new responsibilities and Phil gave a speech at a celebratory dinner held at Nuovo Vesuvio. Phil used the opportunity to expound on his feelings about Vito's homosexuality.
Phil visited Marie to try to find out if she knew where Vito was, when she pleaded for mercy for her husband he told her they just wanted to get Vito help. Phil also harassed Tony about his efforts to find Vito.
Phil visited Tony at the Feast of St. Elzear and they planned a last minute hijacking together - Phil suggested they cut Johnny out of a share in the profits and Tony agreed. When Johnny was planning to give in to asset seizures to reduce his sentence he avoided using Phil to conduct any of his business. Once Johnny's allocution at his trial became public, Phil again expressed his disappointment in the boss in front of his crew.
In the episode "Cold Stones", Phil played in the background for the majority of the episode, busy sorting out Johnny Sack's turning. Vito, who was back in New Jersey, met Tony and offered to buy his way back into the family. Tony refused, but didn't attempt to harm Vito. Phil and his associates later showed up to ask Tony Soprano about Vito Spatafore's whereabouts. Tony lied, delaying the inevitable.
Tony had arranged for Carlo Gervasi to execute Vito at the mall early in the morning on the pretense that Vito was supposedly meeting up with Tony, to straighten out the messy situation. The night before Vito was supposed to meet up with Tony, Vito returned to his hotel where Phil's soldiers Gerry Torciano and Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamielleo ambushed Vito with pool sticks when he walked in the door. Phil emerged from the closet, slowly walked up to Vito who was being held by Gerry and Fat Dom and sits down on the bed. He looks Vito in the eye and says, "You're a fucking disgrace." And with that, Fat Dom and Gerry Torciano proceed to beat Vito to death with the pool sticks as Phil watches. After murdering him, they subsequently stick a pool stick up his rectum to signify their extreme disdain for homosexuality. Subsequently with having made his cousin Marie a widow, Phil balks when Tony tries to reach out to him for restitution for Marie and refuses.
Phil soon returned to routine business, apparently not expecting a response from New Jersey. Yet not long after the murder, Fat Dom was murdered by an enraged Carlo during a visit to Satriale's when he made one too many jokes at Vito's expense, and the body quietly disposed of. Next, Leotardo himself received a shock from Tony Soprano's official response; while on a date with his Ukrainian housemaid, Leotardo approached one of his Brooklyn businesses, only to be blown off of his feet by a bomb planted in the wire room the building had housed.
After an unsuccessful attempt by Little Carmine Lupertazzi to broker peace between the families, Leotardo and his crew plotted revenge. Although Phil balked at the idea of killing Tony himself, captain Butch DeConcini seemingly persuaded him to target someone important to the DiMeo family. However, their planning was cut short when Phil suffered a late-night heart attack and was hospitalized during Christmas 2006. There, Tony paid him a visit, relating the fear and regret Tony had felt during his own near-death experience, and asking for peace in the interests of business. Tony's words seemed effective, even moving Phil to tears. As of 2007, a healed Phil expressed a wish to spend more time at home with his (blood) family, in keeping with the sentiment offered to him by Tony. He had decided to step down as boss and leave the Lupertazzi crime family with his protégé Gerry Torciano in charge. Yet Phil did not strongly back Torciano as successor, and Lupertazzi underboss Doc Santoro soon made his own bid for power by having Torciano murdered.
After deciding to get back in the game, Phil waited, working under Doc Santoro until the old man's arrogance got too much to handle. As Phil sat down to dinner with Doc to acknowledge him as boss, Doc humiliated Phil by literally taking food from his plate. Knowing that he had broad support, including Tony's, Phil ordered a hit on Santoro. Driven by Butch DeConcini, Phil's crew murdered Santoro and an associate outside a massage parlor, leaving him dead on the sidewalk. After the assassination, Phil was permanently elevated to Boss of the Lupertazzi Family, with Cianfalone cemented as Consigliere and DeConcini as Underboss.
Phil rejects Tony's offer of compromise on an asbestos removal project. After Tony viciously beats one of Phil's men, Coco, for threatening his daughter, Phil refuses to meet with Tony and then launches a war against the DiMeo family, ordering that New York is to "decapitate" New Jersey and do business with what's left, instructing that hits be made on Tony, Bobby, and Silvio Dante. Bobby is killed and Silvio is wounded so badly that he falls into a coma.
In the Sopranos series finale, "Made in America", Butch DeConcini and Albie Cianfalone arrange a sit down with Tony and Paulie, where they express their dissatisfaction with Phil's leadership and agree to a ceasefire of the war. Butchie says he will not reveal the location of Phil, but then says "You do what you got to do." This following a recent phone conversation with Butchie and Phil, where Phil implies a threat to Butchie over his inability to find Tony Soprano. Shortly thereafter, Leotardo is shown talking to his wife through a car window at a Raceway gas station when he is suddenly shot in the head by Walden Belfiore, a soldier in the Gervasi crew of the DiMeo crime family. Leaving the grandchildren in her Ford Expedition, Leotardo's wife rushes to Phil's side in a panic. Unattended and still in drive with the engine running, the large SUV idles forward and a wheel rolls over and crushes Phil's skull. Leotardo's murder was the 92nd and final murder on the series.
Murders committed or ordered by Leotardo
- Angelo Garepe: Killed by Phil in retaliation for the murder of Joe Peeps, he was ambushed by Phil and his brother Billy, and shot to death in the trunk of Phil's Lincoln Town Car.
- Lorraine Caluzzo : Phil was the lookout at her killing when she was shot and killed by Phil's brother Billy in the early power struggle between New York's families in Season 5 (they also killed Lorraine's boyfriend, Jason Evanina, though this wasn't necessarily planned or ordered).
- Vito Spatafore: Ordered his death through Gerry Torciano and Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello, beating Vito to death in his motel room with pool sticks as Phil sat on the end of Vito's bed and silently watched.
- Bobby Baccalieri : Ordered hits on the three top members of the DiMeo (Soprano) Crime Family, Bobby Baccalieri, Silvio Dante, and Tony Soprano, during the War of 2007. Two assailants shot Bobby multiple times in the head, chest, and torso in a hobby shop.
Little Carmine Lupertazzi
Little Carmine is introduced in 2002 when Tony Soprano visits him in Miami to seek his counsel in regard to settling a dispute with Carmine Sr. While Little Carmine is initially viewed as a pompous blowhard whose constant malapropisms convey his poor intellect, he later becomes a thorn in the side of Carmine's underboss, Johnny Sack, and ultimately, instrumental to Tony Soprano in his taking down of Phil Leotardo.
In 2004, Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. has a massive stroke and dies a few days later. Little Carmine immediately comes up to New York from Florida for the funeral, and quickly becomes embroiled in a power struggle with Johnny Sack. Since Little Carmine is the son of the former boss, he has some claim, albeit tenuous, to the throne, and this angers Johnny. Even Tony has no faith in Little Carmine's capacity to run New York, jokingly referring to him as "Brainless the Second." Despite his inexperience (Johnny describes Little Carmine as an "idiot" who spends his time "fixing wet t-shirt contests" in Miami.) Little Carmine finds backers in Carmine Sr.'s recently paroled former consigliere, Angelo Garepe, and long-time Lupertazzi Capo Rusty Millio. Angelo and Rusty, along with Rusty's right-hand man Eddie Pietro, pull most of the strings during the war between Johnny and Little Carmine.
However, after a cycle of bloodshed that escalates into war, Little Carmine ultimately finds it difficult to stomach the continuing violence, and abdicates. His decision was heavily influenced by the murder of Angelo Garepe, one of the kingmakers who backed him. After Little Carmine's capitulation, Johnny Sack finally becomes the boss of the Lupertazzi Crime Family. He was arrested soon after by the FBI who were acting on information given to them by Johnny's trusted ally and Carmine's long-time consigliere Jimmy Petrille. With Johnny in federal custody during his federal racketeering trial, Phil Leotardo has become the acting boss in New York. In 2006, Little Carmine is brought in as an investor to a movie project that Christopher Moltisanti has come up with. Little Carmine was instrumental in organizing a meeting with Sir Ben Kingsley in Los Angeles to court his interest in the project but he eventually passed on the lead role.
Little Carmine is not shown with other Lupertazzi crime family members and appears to be keeping a low profile within the family. His other backer Rusty Millio was murdered because Johnny feared Rusty would back someone else to take over as boss while he was in prison - Johnny no longer seemed to consider Little Carmine a threat after that.
Johnny Sack, soon after being convicted of racketeering, develops lung cancer and dies in a prison hospital. After this, Tony Soprano approaches Little Carmine about taking control of the family. Little Carmine wryly remarks '"You never thought you'd mutter those words.'" Little Carmine appears to have realized people generally do not consider him to be as clever or respected in the family business as his father. Carmine then proceeds to tell Tony about a dream he had after his father died. In the dream, Carmine Lupertazzi was disappointed in Little Carmine. While Tony took this as a sign that Carmine wanted Little Carmine to succeed him as boss of the family, Little Carmine told Tony that the dream meant that Little Carmine did not have a full life. He also said that he had a near panic attack one day and his wife told him she wanted him to live a long and healthy life and not leave her a rich widow. In expressing this, he told Tony that he did not want to succeed Johnny Sack as the boss of the Lupertazzi Crime Family, that his interests and what made him happy, as well as wealthy, were outside of the organization. This seems to make Tony envious of Little Carmine's situation.
Little Carmine and Tony both turned to a neutral party, George Paglieri, to broker a secret negotiation between Tony and Butch DeConcini, the acting/street boss for Phil Leotardo while he was in hiding. Tony, attending with Paulie Gualtieri, and Butch, with Albie Cianfalone, came to a decision that ended Phil's war between New Jersey and New York. Phil, though his specific location was not betrayed, was abandoned to Tony's revenge by the Lupertazzi administration, and restitution was offered to the Sopranos for the hit on Bobby Baccalieri.
Patrick "Patsy" Parisi, played by Dan Grimaldi, is the accountant for Tony Soprano's crew, and is often seen calculating the group's finances in the Bada Bing or Satriale's offices. He also acts as a soldier, performing various enforcement tasks for the family. In addition to that, he also procures fine Italian suits for his friends and associates. Patsy is something of a "dark horse" character; he has very little back-story compared to the other members of the crew, and relatively few lines, but visually he is very frequently present on screen. He shares this characteristic with Carlo Gervasi, another high-up member of Tony's crew who is frequently seen but about whom little is known to the audience. Patsy has the distinction of being the only mobster in Tony's group with eyeglasses, giving him a scholarly appearance. He is also never seen smoking cigarettes or cigars, and appears to be in better physical shape for his age than most of the crew — in the episode "Christopher", he single-handedly climbs up a metal utility pole to take down an effigy of Christopher Columbus during a Native American protest. He and Burt Gervasi run the North Ward Emergency Merchants Protective Cooperative: an extortion racket hitting storeowners.
Patsy had an identical twin brother, Phillip "Philly Spoons" Parisi (whom Dan Grimaldi also played), who had a hit taken out on him by Tony and was killed by Soprano soldier Gigi Cestone. He was born eleven minutes after his brother Pasquale. He is described by Patsy after his death as a "sweet" and "gentle man" who was never "heavy" (violent) with anyone. He is fluent in English and Italian. At the time, Philly was acting capo of Junior Soprano's crew and Patsy was a member. He is from Bloomfield, New Jersey. Patsy never had concrete evidence about his brother's murder but it occurred soon after a brief and bloody war between Junior and Tony, and Philly was known to be talking about Tony's actions. It was this killing that prompted Tony to move Patsy to keep an eye on him. Patsy took the killing very hard, which brought on a problem with alcoholism and considering killing Tony — in March 2001 a drunken Patsy was observed by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents outside the Soprano family home leveling a gun at Tony through his window on his birthday. He reconsidered though, and only urinated in the Sopranos' pool. Patsy also openly vented his feelings of loss to the Soprano crew in front of the men responsible for his brother's death, Gigi and Tony, at a dinner in the back of Satriale's. However, he eventually put his grief behind him.
Patsy still has questionable loyalties. When Patsy's then capo Paulie Gualtieri was in prison in 2001, Tony promoted Christopher Moltisanti to acting captain over Patsy (who had seniority). Patsy didn't take this well, eventually getting into a fight with Christopher. When Paulie was released and promoted to underboss, Christopher was made capo permanently. Patsy eventually seemed comfortable working with him.
In the penultimate episode "The Blue Comet", Patsy is nearly killed by two men sent to murder Silvio Dante. Patsy manages to hold them off, but Silvio is badly wounded and put into a coma, and Patsy runs into the woods fleeing for his life. He survives and later celebrates his son's engagement to Meadow Soprano with Tony and his family, seeing a great opportunity to get closer to Tony.
As a soldier
Throughout his time with the crew, Patsy has never been seen to commit murder. However, he showed a certain skill for intimidation when warning off Tony's ex-comàre, Gloria Trillo.
Early in the series, Patsy was involved in a smuggling run of luxury clothing, supplying Carmela with a fur coat and Tony's cousin Brian with Italian suits. Patsy and Benny Fazio work with Angie Bonpensiero, handling her money on the street and providing stolen car parts for her auto body repair shop. Patsy helped Paulie intimidate Jason Barone when he was considering selling Barone sanitation following his father's death. He was present when Tony won the respect of the crew by beating up Perry Annunziata at Satriale's. With the revelation that Vito Spatafore was homosexual, Patsy was one of the few crew members not to bay for blood — he laughed at Christopher's jokes and his statement "I could care less" earned derision from Paulie Gualtieri.
Despite not being considered one of Tony's "inner circle," Patsy is viewed as a reliable and trustworthy soldier by Tony. When Christopher Moltisanti is forced to go into rehabilitation for his heroin addiction, Patsy is entrusted with watching him to ensure he does not try to escape. It was implied Tony authorized Patsy to eliminate Christopher should he have escaped, however in Whitecaps, Patsy reports to Tony that Christopher graduated drug rehab, making murder unnecessary.
Patsy makes collections in the North Ward neighborhood. He has been having problems in the area with franchised businesses that refuse to pay him, and the selling of Caputo's poultry (a longtime local store) by Tony annoyed Patsy. Patsy was accompanied on his rounds by newly made man Burt Gervasi. Patsy helped Paulie organize the Feast of St. Elzear in co-ordination with the local church. Patsy genuflected upon entering the church for a meeting with the priest—he takes his Catholicism seriously despite his lifestyle.
Patsy is married to Donna Parisi but has been shown with other women while the crew are out with their girlfriends. There is some suggestion that at one point in time Pasquale and Ralph Cifaretto shared a mistress. He has two sons— Patrick in the legal field and Jason who attends college and is involved with sports betting. In the episode Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood, Tony mentions a daughter of Patsy's, but she is never referenced again. In Season Six, Patsy seems pleased that Patrick is dating Meadow Soprano and tells Tony that "wedding bells are in the air" and that they are not too young to be grandfathers. He also previously expressed his pride in Jason's computer and gambling skills. It is also interesting to note that while his eldest son Patrick appears to be an upstanding citizen, pursuing a career in law and dating Meadow Soprano, a like-minded individual, his younger son Jason appears to be a complete sociopath. He is sadistically violent and as he is already involved in sports betting at a young age looks like he is an ideal recruit for the next generation of the DiMeo crime family.
Patsy Parisi is the show's only minor character to appear in more than half the episodes.
Eugene Pontecorvo, played by Robert Funaro, was a made man in the Soprano crew, whose jobs included running a low stakes poker game, a sports betting agency, and a "no work" job at the Esplanade construction site.
Eugene Pontecorvo was introduced on the show as an associate in the Soprano crime family in the episode "Proshai, Livushka". Eugene subsequently becomes a made man in the following episode "Fortunate Son" along with Christopher Moltisanti. Like Vito Spatafore and Benny Fazio, he is initially introduced as a small character, whose role slowly increases throughout the series. His first act on the show is seen in "Proshai, Livushka" when he and Bobby Zanone assault a garbage sanitation man for threatening to rat out Ralph Cifaretto. Eugene Pontecorvo also appears in a flashback to 1995 in the episode "...To Save Us All From Satan's Power" as a bodyguard of Junior Soprano's, along with Gigi Cestone. He, along with Vito Spatafore and Donny K., found Gigi Cestone dead on the toilet in the Aprile Crew hangout after suffering a constipation-induced heart attack. His father died of a heart attack at fifty-two and since he is nearing the age his mortality is starting to scare him.
Eugene reveals his mean streak once again in the episode "Eloise" when he and another associate are sent to intimidate a juror who is on Junior Soprano's trial. He pays for the man's candy and drink at a check out counter in the store, intimidating him by expressing "I know you'll do the right thing", implicating he knows he will be a deadlock juror and thereby hinder Junior's conviction.
Although mild-mannered, Eugene has a tendency to lose his temper, similar to Ralph Cifaretto. In the episode Unidentified Black Males, while he and Little Paulie Germani are engaging in what initially began as a harmless banter at the Esplanade construction site, Little Paulie goes too far in Eugene's mind when he conveys through an innuendo that Eugene is a homosexual. Eugene responds by smashing a glass Snapple bottle over Little Paulie's head, causing a severe gash over his eye, and kicks him repeatedly in the head. Vito instructs an overwrought Eugene to take the rest of the day off. When Eugene asks "what about him (Little Paulie)?", Vito responds with "What? I thought I saw a couple of niggers running that way." It's also a reference to the episode's title, "Unidentified Black Males".
In Season Six's premiere episode "Members Only", Eugene inherited 2 million dollars from his deceased aunt Edie who was married to the show business agent that represented Victor Borge. He begins developing serious stress with his home life due to his wife pushing him to talk Tony into their retiring to Florida with the money and also his son's incessant drug-use. He states to his friends that, "The only thing I ever found in the street was my first wife," showing that he has already had at least one failed marriage. Eugene has a talk with Tony about him and his family moving to Florida permanently. Tony says he'll consider it, but he states Eugene took an oath indicating it is highly unlikely he'll approve. Christopher Moltisanti assigns Eugene the task of taking out a guy named Teddy Spirodakis in Boston who owed Christopher money and failed to pay him. Eugene is reluctant, but has to follow Christopher's order due to his rank of capo. Chris assures Eugene he will put in a good word for him to Tony as a favor for doing the hit. Eugene drives to Boston and finds Teddy eating dinner at a fast food restaurant and shoots him repeatedly in the head. Eugene then walks out calmly.
It is revealed Eugene has been an informant for the F.B.I., though it is unclear for how long. After Raymond Curto dies of a massive stroke while giving potentially damaging information to Agent Robyn Sanseverino about Tony discussing a murder, the F.B.I. informs Eugene they also refuse his notion to move to Florida, as they need him in Jersey to help build a case against Tony in the wake of Curto's death.
Silvio informs Gene that Tony denied his request to move. With Tony and the Feds both hindering Eugene's chance to escape the mafia life and his stress caused by his unstable home life, Eugene sees no way out and hangs himself in his basement.
Murders committed by Pontecorvo
- Teddy Spirodakis: Killed at a diner by Eugene on orders from Christopher Moltisanti for failing to pay his debts. (2006)
The character Hesh Rabkin may be a composite character inspired by music mogul Morris "Mo" Levy, founder of Roulette Records, who had connections to the Mafia and owned a string of racehorses, Hy Weiss (an associate of Levy's) and Gaetano "Corky" Vastola who was a member of the Mafia in New Jersey and worked with Roulette Records.
Hesh is a Jewish loan shark and an advisor to Tony (the same role he performed for Tony's father, mob captain "Johnny Boy" Soprano). Despite Hesh's long-standing closeness to the Sopranos, as a non-Italian, he is not and never can be a made man. Nevertheless, Tony frequently seeks out Hesh's advice on a number of issues. When Tony was estranged from his therapist he sought out Hesh as a sympathetic ear but found his listening skills not quite up to his standards, and often Tony gets annoyed in several scenes because Hesh keeps talking. Hesh has the lowest profile out of anyone in the crime family. He is frequently seen in the back room of Satriale's Pork Store and the Bada Bing nightclub, playing cards with Tony's crew or eating with them.
Hesh is an intelligent and shrewd businessman, having made his fortune in the recording industry by founding "F-Note Records" during the 1950s and 1960s by bringing many young black musicians to prominence, getting royalties by having his name added as a co-writer on many songs. Apart from an unabashed greedy streak, Hesh is largely cool-headed and good-natured. He is also unique among Tony's inner circle in that he is well educated. Outside of business, Hesh's passions include his stable of horses and a penchant for statuesque black women. Hesh has a son-in-law named Eli who is also involved in his loan-shark business. Hesh has an encyclopedic knowledge of Soprano criminal activities. The character's music business activities are at least partly modeled on those of mob-connected Roulette Records owner Morris Levy.
Hesh first appeared in the pilot working with Tony on setting up a scam to defraud HMO medical insurance companies through their debtor Alex Mahaffey. Hesh accompanied Big Pussy to a waterfall to intimidate Mahaffey into participating, although both did it in a non-threatening way, and Mahaffey knew that non-cooperation would end his life, making threats unnecessary. Later, Hesh advised Tony against getting involved with the Teitlemanns, a family of Hasidic Jews, in a dispute over ownership of their hotel. Hesh's predictions of their obstinacy proved correct. Hesh was able to help Tony end a particularly arduous "negotiation" with a novel torture threat.
In "A Hit Is a Hit" Hesh helped Tony's nephew Christopher Moltisanti to realize that his partner and girlfriend Adriana La Cerva had little aptitude for work in the music business. Chris also made contact with Hesh on behalf of Massive Genius—a rapper who claimed Hesh owed compensation to the widow of a black musician he allegedly defrauded. When Hesh refused to pay, Massive threatened litigation; Hesh shrewdly threatened a countersuit of his own, alleging that the samples used in Massive's music infringed on his copyrights. It is revealed in this episode that Johnny Soprano was a silent partner in Hesh's record company "F-Note Records".
In "Christopher" Hesh helped Silvio in his Columbus Day dispute by putting him in touch with a sympathetic Native American casino owner through his friend Marty Schwartz. Hesh also sold Ralph Cifaretto the ill-fated racehorse Pie-O-My.
In the Season Five episode "In Camelot" Tony discovered that his father, Hesh and Phil Leotardo had been co-owners of a racetrack and that his father had promised a share to his comare Fran Felstein. Tony arranged a sitdown with Phil and Hesh to secure the share which they reluctantly gave up.
In the Season Six premiere "Members Only" Hesh and his son-in-law Eli were attacked by members of Phil Leotardo's crew - they had targeted Eli because they thought he was making collections on their turf without permission. The mobsters set fire to Eli's gas tank to get him and Hesh out of the car and then set about beating Eli. Eli was seriously hurt when he was the victim of a hit-and-run trying to escape the mobsters. Hesh was punched in the face. Hesh demanded and received restitution from Phil at a sit-down mediated by Tony. Hesh visited Tony in the hospital when he was recovering from his shooting.
In the final season Hesh gives Tony a $200,000 bridge loan to help Tony cover a string of gambling losses. Tony fails to repay the loan on time and starts berating Hesh about the vig on the loan which was $3,000 a week, leading to bad blood on both sides. When Hesh's girlfriend, Renata, dies of a stroke, Tony repays the loan out of loyalty but offers only brief and impersonal condolences to his once-close friend, suggesting that the financial dispute has strained their relationship. As of the end of the series, Hesh's fate remains unknown.
Operating out of his Construction Company or Social Club, Johnny Sack was a major player in the New York crime family formerly led by Carmine Lupertazzi. Johnny was Carmine's Underboss for many years, handling political payoffs and bid-rigging for the organization. He ultimately became boss after Carmine's death. Johnny was also a friend of Tony Soprano. Johnny Sack worked to maintain the peace with the other families, reasoning that peace between the families meant prosperity for all the families. He was not, however, above stirring up trouble in Iago-like fashion, sowing dissent and suspicion among the ranks of the Soprano crime family. In the last two seasons Sack showed his brutal side and shed much of his earlier pragmatism and aversion to violence, as he ruthlessly eliminated rivals and potential threats to his power.
But while Johnny Sack usually maintained his cool (he answered his phone by saying "speak"), he was very sensitive about his wife, Ginny, who was obese. Johnny became violently angry when any remarks were made about Ginny's weight. He once ordered a hit put on Ralph Cifaretto for making one such off-color joke, although he later cooled down and called it off. This saved Ralphie's life, and also, although unknown to Johnny, his own, since Tony had obtained approval from Carmine to hit Johnny in order to protect the highly valuable Esplanade project to which Ralphie's involvement was key.
Johnny cultivated a friendship with Paulie Gualtieri, making use of him as a source of information about Soprano family business. The relationship began when Paulie felt sidelined by Tony over the esplanade construction project and proved most fruitful when Paulie was imprisoned in 2002 — a time when he felt particularly neglected by his friends. Johnny lied to Paulie — telling him that Carmine held him in high regard and often asked about him. This encouraged Paulie to place more faith in his friendship with Johnny than in the loyalty of his friends in the Soprano crime family. Through Paulie, Johnny learned about Tony's Frelinghuysen Avenue property windfall and HUD scam — allowing the Lupertazzi crime family to demand a piece of the action because their mutual interests made both projects possible. It was also Paulie who told John about the insult that Ralphie made about his wife. However, after a chance meeting with Carmine, Paulie discovered that Carmine didn't even know who he was. Angered by John's deceit, Paulie became one of his biggest detractors.
Johnny Sack sometimes chafed under Carmine's leadership of the family, particularly over Carmine's apparent plans to name his hedonistic and catachresis-prone son Carmine Jr. (aka Little Carmine) as his successor. During the abortive war with the Soprano crew over Tony's Frelinghuysen Avenue operation, he authorized Tony to arrange to have Carmine assassinated. Much to Johnny's chagrin, Tony accepted Carmine's offer of settlement and canceled the hit.
Following the (natural) death of Carmine in 2004, Johnny's crew engaged in a bitter war over the family leadership with Carmine's son, Little Carmine. More violence was threatened upon Tony Soprano's New Jersey family following the unauthorized murder of two of Johnny's men by Tony's cousin, Tony Blundetto, on Little Carmine's behalf. After both New York factions suffered heavy casualties, the conflict was brought to an end with Little Carmine surrendering control of the family. This was followed by a tentative reconciliation with Tony, who had personally taken the life of Blundetto to bury the hatchet. However, the moment was cut short when Johnny was promptly arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation after the family's consigliere, Jimmy Petrille, turned state's evidence. Even while in jail awaiting trial he remained in control of the Lupertazzi family.
In the sixth season, Johnny entrusted Phil Leotardo with the role of acting boss while he was in jail. Johnny's brother-in-law Anthony Infante acted as a back channel for communications to reach him while he was imprisoned. His wife remained supportive, often visiting him in prison. Johnny was portrayed as becoming more selfish while imprisoned — he commonly disregards the problems of others stating that his "situation" should take precedence. He ordered Phil to maintain a good relationship with Tony and avoid starting a war over any business disputes, particularly the new office park construction project - another shared venture like the esplanade project.
After the death of Dick Barone, while Tony was recovering from a gunshot, Lupertazzi front organization Cinelli Sanitation tried to buy Barone Sanitation, a Soprano front, from its naive new owner Jason Barone. John mediated negotiations about Tony's compensation for this from prison, through Phil. Phil told Tony that Johnny was in a panic state over his finances while in prison. Phil agreed to a solution with Tony, perhaps better than he had been expecting because of Tony's new outlook. Johnny later asked Phil to reach out to Tony to organize a hit on Rusty Millio, but Tony refused, saying he needed to set some boundaries.
Johnny was granted a release from prison to attend his daughter Allegra's wedding. However, he had to cover the cost of U.S. Marshals and metal detectors for the wedding and would have 6 hours maximum. Johnny seemed to enjoy the wedding despite covering its huge cost personally. When the time came for Johnny to leave the wedding he was reluctant to go — he wanted to wait until his daughter and her new groom left. However, the marshals blocked her limousine and dragged Johnny away in handcuffs, causing him to break down in tears. Later, his crew discussed this show as a display of weakness. Tony was the only one to stand up for Johnny, saying that when it comes to daughters, "all bets are off."
While at the wedding John took the chance to talk business, personally asking Tony to perform the hit on Rusty Millio because he was worried Rusty would again act as a king maker, and try to replace him while he was away. John hinted that he was worried that Phil might be the one nominated by Rusty. Tony agreed to take on the job and he contracted it out to a two-man crew flown in from Naples, Italy, Italo and Salvatore, who executed Millio and quickly returned to Italy.
Johnny again reached out to Tony for help, this time with his financial situation. Johnny elected to use his brother-in-law Anthony as a go-between instead of Phil. Johnny knew he faced asset seizures and wanted to secure some capital for his family — he planned to sell his share as a silent partner in a heavy equipment lending firm in New Orleans. Johnny had received the share when one of the owners, Paul Calviac, got into thousands of dollars of gambling debt with him. The deal was not without difficulties. Calviac was embittered and unwilling to sell any of the company facing huge profits following Hurricane Katrina, Anthony had trouble communicating in code with Johnny and Tony wanted more than the 7% of the sale that Johnny had suggested. Johnny eventually let Tony's brother-in-law, Bobby Baccalieri, buy his home at half price in order to ensure that Tony would enforce the sale.
Johnny's efforts to maintain control of his family ultimately proved futile. His lawyer, Ron Perse, floated the possibility of cooperating with the FBI, but John was quick to dismiss this. However, as the trial neared, Ron arranged a deal with the government on Johnny's behalf. Facing a massive asset seizure that would have left both him and beloved wife destitute and a case he could not possibly beat, Johnny pleaded guilty to 47 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) predicates for a reduced sentence of 15 years and a fine of 4.2 million dollars — effectively ending his position as boss (but still leaving Ginny enough money to live comfortably). As part of the deal, he was also required to give an allocution admitting his involvement in organized crime (although he did not reveal the names of any associates). Members of both the Soprano and Lupertazzi families were angered by his allocution, believing that John should have stood trial before admitting anything regarding La Cosa Nostra. Johnny was now serving 15 years in federal prison, and was considered persona non grata among his former associates.
During his incarceration, Johnny developed a highly malignant form of lung cancer brought on by a 38-year smoking habit. He died at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri not long after receiving a grim prognosis from an oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Before his death, John asked his brother-in-law how he'd be remembered, to which he responded, "well-liked and respected" but added he was a bit of a hot-head. John simply shrugged, as he knew that no one really knows the stress involved in being a boss, possibly foreshadowing the mayhem to follow in New York after his death. When news spread to the Bada Bing and Tony's crew that Johnny had passed he was given a touching salute from his friends and fellow boss, showing that despite his guilty plea Johnny was still a respected mobster and Cosa Nostra associate. A picture of John at a healthier age was put up next to portraits of Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. and Billy Leotardo on the wall in John's social club, now owned by Phil, to commemorate the late Don of New York.
Unusual for a Mafioso, it was implied that Johnny Sack was always faithful to his wife, whom he loved deeply. If so, this would make him one of the only two married wiseguys in The Sopranos to stay monogamous, along with Bobby Baccalieri.
John was a walking paradox. His enigmatic expressions while in deliberation were contrasted by his decisive expression when giving out orders. He was in control of those around him. It can be noted that Johnny Sack would rarely visibly display his rage or irritation, except when his wife's reputation was involved. In most other cases, Johnny chose not to show his feelings, but rather acted behind the scenes to take his revenge or undermine people. This would mean he was invisibly pulling strings in certain situations to sabotage people or deals. Also, his loyalty, even in an organized crime context, can be seen as flexible. Depending on the opportunity, he was prepared to either help or at least not try to prevent hits on Junior Soprano, Tony and Carmine.
When disputes between the Soprano and Lupertazzi families occurred, John was publicly almost always the voice of moderation. When Tony and Carmine both declined to back off in their dispute on the Esplanade deal, Johnny tried to convince Carmine to still change his mind and not resort to violence. For Johnny, it was the profit of all involved (including his own) that mattered most in such cases, not honor and respect.
Vito Spatafore, Sr., played by Joseph R. Gannascoli, was a member of the DiMeo Crime Family and a subordinate of Tony Soprano. He was married to Marie Spatafore with two children, Francesca and Vito, Jr., and was a closeted homosexual. This was revealed in the show's fifth season and later became one of the more prominent subplots in the sixth season.
Although Vito Spatafore wasn't introduced on The Sopranos until the Season 2 episode "The Happy Wanderer" as a nephew to fellow mobster Richie Aprile and later a cousin to Adriana La Cerva and Jackie Aprile, Jr, the actor who plays his role, Joseph R. Gannascoli, appears in the Season 1 episode, "The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti" as pastry shop patron named "Gino". Vito is inducted into the Aprile crew upon Richie's release from prison and quickly rises through the ranks to Capo after the deaths of capos Richie Aprile, Gigi Cestone and Ralph Cifaretto. Vito's character is based on Vito Arena, a homosexual mob associate in the Gambino crime family.
Assault on his brother
In the season 3 episode "Another Toothpick", Vito's brother, Bryan Spatafore, is violently beaten with a golf club by a young hot-head known as Salvatore "Mustang Sally" Intile and put into a coma. Vito is vindictive and demands someone render Sal's comeuppance. Tony Soprano enlists in the help of Bobby Baccalieri's father, Bobby Baccalieri, Sr., to perform the hit on Mustang Sally.
Whacking Jackie Aprile, Jr.
In 2001, in the season 3 finale episode "Army of One", after Jackie Aprile, Jr. had gone into hiding after he and his friends hit Ralph Cifaretto's card game. This ended with Jackie, Jr. panicking and killing Ralph's dealer, Sunshine. Ralph Cifaretto was pressured by Tony to give Jackie Jr. "a pass". In spite of this, Ralph ordered the hit on Jackie Jr. and Vito performs his first on-screen murder by shooting Jackie, Jr. in the back of the head. Although the cover story for Jackie, Jr.'s death was being "killed by African-American drug dealers", his sister doesn't buy the story, given the fact they grew up in the Mafia world and stating, "He was killed by some fat fuck in see-through socks. Take your pick. They all look alike."
Rise to capo
In 2002, in the Season 4 episode "Whoever Did This", Tony Soprano brutally strangles and beats Ralph Cifaretto to death after it is believed by Tony that Ralph is responsible for the death of their prized racehorse Pie-O-My. Vito is subsequently promoted to capo of the Aprile Crew, as he was second-in-command.
In 2004, in the Season 5 episode "Unidentified Black Males", it is disclosed to viewers Vito is in fact homosexual after he is caught performing oral sex on a security guard early one morning at the Esplanade construction site by Meadow's boyfriend, Finn DeTrolio. Vito intimidates Finn into silence, conveying the impression that if Finn lets the word slip that the consequences could result in his own demise.
By the Season 6 premiere "Members Only" in 2006, Vito has lost over 160 pounds to appear for a weight loss commercial. After Tony was shot by Uncle Junior in the same episode, Tony was in a coma for two episodes. While Tony's recovery seemed uncertain, Vito hinted at the idea that he should take over as boss. At the time, Silvio Dante was acting boss, but Dante suffered an asthma attack from the stress of being boss. Vito informed DiMeo Family capo Larry Boy Barese that he was the best candidate for boss since he was the capo of the highest-earning crew in the family. While Tony was comatose, Vito also provided information to Paulie about the location of $1 million in drug money hidden by Colombian drug dealers. Paulie and an associate stole the money, although they were nearly killed by two Colombians guarding the stash. Paulie was seriously injured during the theft when one of the dealers kicked him in the groin, causing serious medical problems. Paulie demanded a higher cut because of his injury. Paulie and Vito also became angry when Silvio demanded a higher percentage of the cut go to Carmela in case Tony did not recover. Tony finally awoke from his coma, which made everyone ecstatic—except Vito who was hoping to step in and take Tony's place. His weight problems and attempts to lose weight resemble the health problems which were suffered by Colombo Crime Family capo Gerald Clemenza.
In the episode "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request", during the wedding of Johnny Sack's daughter, Allegra, Vito claimed he wasn't feeling well. He and his family left the wedding. But back at home, Vito informed his wife he was going to "make some collections". She found it odd that he would be making collections so late at night. Later, that evening while making a collection at a gay bar, two Lupertazzi Family associates, one named Sal Iaccuzzo, saw Vito dancing and kissing open mouthed with a gay man. Vito tried to play it off as a joke, although the two men were not fooled.
Time in hiding
Petrified of the consequences if his homosexuality were made public, Vito went into hiding. He stayed at a bed-and-breakfast in New Hampshire and tried to pursue a new life away from the Mafia. Under the alias "Vince," he took an interest in antiques and claimed to be writing a book on Italian boxers. He contacted his family only once during a brief phone call. He also began drinking heavily.
He started a relationship with Jim Witowski (aka 'Johnny Cakes'), a short-order cook who worked at the restaurant where Vito regularly stopped for breakfast. Vito was impressed when he found out Jim was a volunteer fireman. When Jim first tried to kiss him, Vito pushed him away, called him a fag, and the two scuffled briefly. Several days later, Vito went back to the restaurant and apologized, saying, "Sometimes you tell a lie so long, you don't know when to stop." The two men reconciled. They drove on their motorcycles to a secluded spot by a nearby lake, where they picnicked and made love. Vito moved in with Jim shortly thereafter.
Vito continued to spend time with Jim, but Jim eventually saw through his story about being a writer. Vito confessed to some of his past but continued to lie, claiming he was a divorced construction worker. Jim arranged for Vito to work as a handyman, but Vito soon tired of the tedium of a working life. Vito's drinking worsened. Finally, Vito decided to return to his former life in New Jersey. He cooked a dinner for Jim and left the next morning while Jim slept.
Return to New Jersey
Vito drank while driving back to New Jersey, and crashed his car into a parked vehicle. When he failed to convince the owner to keep the accident from the police, Vito shot and killed the man. Vito returned home and remained conflicted about whether or not to reinitiate contact with his old mafia family.
Vito eventually approached Tony Soprano at a mall, while Vito's brother, Bryan, kept watch. Vito claimed that his homosexual behavior had been caused by medication. Wanting to "buy himself back" into the business, he offered Tony $200,000 and said he would run the family's Atlantic City prostitution and drug businesses. Tony was tempted by the offer, but realized this would bring him into open war with the Lupertazzis. Lupertazzi crime family boss Phil Leotardo, who disliked homosexuals, a cousin of Vito's wife Marie, demanded Vito's death, so Tony quietly arranged for Carlo Gervasi to make a hit on Vito. Meanwhile, Vito reunited with his family. He explained his absence to his children by claiming that he was an undercover CIA agent hiding out in Afghanistan, and warned them not to tell anybody. He later ran into Terry Doria, whom he agreed to loan $20,000 for child support.
That night, Vito returned to his motel room and was ambushed by Phil Leotardo and two of his soldiers, Gerry Torciano and "Fat Dom" Gamiello. Torciano and Gamiello duct-taped Vito's mouth shut and beat him to death while Phil Leotardo watched. It was later revealed that Vito was found with a pool cue stick in his anus, a message that he was killed because of his homosexuality.
Phil's unsanctioned murder of Vito proved to be a serious point of contention in his working relationship with Tony. The relationship was further strained when Phil correctly suspected the New Jersey mob in the disappearance of Gamiello, who had been killed by Silvio and Carlo Gervasi after making repeated wisecracks, in the wake of Vito's death, about the sexual orientation of New Jersey mobsters.
Phil Leotardo later told Vito's wife, Marie, that her husband was probably killed by two homosexual transients Vito had picked up at a bar. He told Marie that he loved Vito "like a brother-in-law," and suggested that Vito's death was probably for the best because a bisexual man would have made a poor role model for the children. However, a newspaper reported Vito was killed by mobsters after requesting to live an openly gay lifestyle. Vito's children read the story, destroying the illusion of their father being a CIA agent.
A year later Vito's son, Vito Jr. began to go through a rebellious phase in reaction to his father's murder and cruelty from his peers in light of his father's sexual orientation, entering the Goth subculture and performing various acts of vandalism. His mother, Marie, asked Tony Soprano for money so she could relocate her family to Maine, where no one would know them or what happened to Vito. Tony asked Phil Leotardo to also intervene, because of his involvement in Vito's death. Both paid separate visits to Vito Jr. and told him to start acting more like an adult. But Vito Jr. continued to act out, and later flatulently defecated in a shower at school.
Tony decided to help Marie Spatafore move to Maine, but gambled away the money he had intended to give her. Instead, Tony told Marie he would only pay for Vito Jr. to attend a "tough love" camp in Idaho. The camp's counselors abducted Vito Jr. from his bed at night before taking him to the camp, much to Marie's despair. Vito's homosexuality may have been a contributing factor in Phil Leotardo declaring war on the DiMeo Crime Family, as Leotardo implies that others do not respect him any longer due to Vito's "disgrace."
Murders committed by Vito Spatafore
- Jackie Aprile, Jr.: Shot in the back of the head in retaliation for murdering Sunshine, shooting at Christopher Moltisanti, Albert Barese and wounding Furio Giunta.(2001)
- Unnamed male civilian: Shot in the back of the head for intending to call the police and refusing a bribe to keep silent after a drunken Vito crashed his automobile into the man's parked car. (2006)
- Jimmy Altieri
- Jerry Anastasia
- Perry Annunziata
- Hector Anthony
- Augustus "Little Auggie" Aprile
- Jackie Aprile, Sr.
- Kelli Aprile
- Aaron Arkaway
- Dr. Ba
- Domenica Baccalieri
- Robert "Bobby" Baccalieri, Sr.
- Karen Baccalieri
- Albert "Ally Boy" Barese
- Lawrence "Larry Boy" Barese
- Richard "Dick" Barone
- Jerry Basile
- Matthew Bevilaqua
- Jason Blundetto
- Justin Blundetto
- Kelly Blundetto
- Louise Blundetto
- Pat Blundetto
- Quintina Pollio Blundetto
- Edward "Duke" Bonpensiero
- Kevin Bonpensiero
- Matt Bonpensiero
- Nils Borglund
- Lorraine Calluzzo
- Brian Cammarata
- Corky Caporale
- Vic Caputo
- Gigi Cestone
- Albie Cianflone
- Justin Cifaretto
- Charles Cinelli
- John Clayborn
- Joseph "Joey" Cogo
- Frankie Cortese
- Chief Frank Cubitoso
- Credenzo Curtis
- Ray Curto
- Dr. Bruce Cusamano
- Jeannie Cusamano
- Heather Dante
- Eric DeBenedetto
- Butch DeConcini
- Hugh De Angelis
- Mary Pellegrino De Angelis
- Peter "Bissel" LaRosa aka "Petey"
- Finn DeTrolio
- Cary De Bartolo
- Dominic Ercoli "Eckley" DiMeo
- Rocco DiMeo
- Thomas "Tommy" Di Palma
- J.T. Dolan
- Terry Doria
- Warren Dupree
- Peter "Beansie" Gaeta
- Dominic "Fat Dom" Gamiello
- Angelo Garepe
- Burt Gervasi
- Carlo Gervasi
- Jason Gervasi
- Dov Ginsberg
- Tom Giglione
- Barbara Soprano Giglione
- Sean Gismonte
- Agent Ron Goddard
- Agent Ron Gosling
- Agent Frank Grasso
- Dante Greco
- Sammy Grigio
- Maria Nuccia Gualtieri
- Corky Ianucci
- George "Gus" Inzerillo
- Anthony Infante
- Salvatore "Mustang Sally" Intile
- Father Phil Intintola
- Rusty Irish
- Donny K
- Special K
- Dr. John Kennedy
- Svetlana Kirilenko
- Eli Kaplan
- Dr. Wendy Kobler
- Emil Kolar
- Dr. Krakower
- Liz La Cerva
- E Gary La Manna
- Jimmy La Manna
- Valentina La Paz
- Jason LaPenna
- Richard LaPenna
- Jimmy Lauria
- Billy Leotardo
- Richard Leech
- Patty Leotardo
- Agent Skip Lipari
- Nicole Lupertazzi
- Murf Lupo
- Kevan Lush
- Alex Mahaffey
- Vin Makazian
- "Little Pussy" Malanga
- Agent Joe Marquez
- Jack Massarone
- Massive Genius
- Jason Masucci
- Matush Gia
- Aida Melfi
- Joseph Melfi
- Harold Melvoin
- Gianna Millio
- Rusty Millio
- Neil Mink
- Jason Molinaro
- Joanne Moltisanti
- Richard "Dickie" Moltisanti
- Vic Musto
- Joey Marino
- Donnie Paduana
- JoJo Palmice
- Mikey Palmice
- Donna Parisi
- Phillip "Philly Spoons" Parisi
- Jason Parisi
- Timothy A. Feliciano
- David Pasquale
- Irina Peltsin
- Joe "Peeps" Peparelli
- Jimmy Petrille
- Fabian "Febby" Petrullio
- Eddie Pietro
- George Piocosta
- Jeremy Piocosta
- Devin Pillsbury
- Vinny "Pitts" Pittsadora
- Dr. Lior Plepler
- Ally Pontecorvo
- Deanna Pontecorvo
- Robby Pontecorvo
- Allegra Marie Sacrimoni
- Catherine Sacrimoni
- Ginny Sacrimoni
- Amy Safir
- Roberta "Bobbi" Sanfillipo
- Agent Robyn Sanseverino
- Faustino "Doc" Santoro
- Reuben "The Cuban" Santiago
- Richie Santini
- Joseph "Beppy" Sasso
- Hunter Scangarelo
- David Scatino
- Beppy Scerbo
- Dr. Douglas Schreck
- Marty Schwartz
- Blanca Selgado
- Dr. B Shah
- Charles "Chucky" Signore
- Julianna Skiff
- Chief Doug Smith
- Agent Smyj
- Corrado Soprano, Sr.
- Ercoli Soprano
- Harpo "Hal" Soprano
- John Francis "Johnny Boy" Soprano
- Bryan Spatafore
- Marie Spatafore
- Teddy Spirodakis
- Noah Tannenbaum
- Matt Testa
- Danny Taylor
- Hillel Teittleman
- Shlomo Teittleman
- Maurice Tiffen
- Gerry Torciano
- Tommy Mack
- Waldemar Wyzchuck
- Agent Deborah Ciccerone Waldrup
- Agent Mike Waldrup
- Robert Wegler
- Lilliana Wosilius
- List of characters from The Sopranos in the Soprano crime family
- List of characters from The Sopranos – friends and family
- FBI on The Sopranos
- List of characters from The Sopranos in the Lupertazzi crime family
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- Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Sts. Gervasius and Protasius". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
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