Christopher (The Sopranos)

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For the character of the same name, see Christopher Moltisanti.
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep403.jpg
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 3
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Story by
Teleplay by Michael Imperioli
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 403
Original air date September 29, 2002
Running time 54 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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Episode chronology

"Christopher" is the 42nd episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the third episode of the show's fourth season. Its teleplay was written by Michael Imperioli, from a story idea by Imperioli and Maria Laurino. It was directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on September 29, 2002.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Silvio, intensely proud of his Italian heritage, wants to take action against protests for the Columbus Day Parade by Native Americans, believing the protests are insulting to Italian-Americans. Without Tony's approval, Silvio, Patsy, and Artie, along with a few others, attempt to break up the demonstration, where Columbus is to be burned in effigy. Silvio threatens the protesters and sends Patsy to take the effigy down. As they leave after being warned by the police, Little Paulie Germani has a glass bottle thrown at him, and several other members of his party are injured. Tony learns about this and blames Silvio for intervening. Ralph, meanwhile, tries to threaten the protest leader, associate professor of anthropology Del Redclay, to reconsider, threatening to publicize the fact that Iron Eyes Cody—a popular Native American figure—is actually an Italian-American (which is true). Tony tries to pacify the situation by first asking Assemblyman Ron Zellman for his aid and later talking to an Indian chief to convince Redclay not to protest during the parade. Although this fails, the chief invites Tony and his crew to his casino to gamble. Both the parade and protest occur without mob intervention, which upsets Silvio. Tony tries to calm him down by telling him how proud he should be for what he has achieved in his life and not just his heritage.

Meanwhile, at a luncheon meant to instill Italian pride in women, the "mob wives" feel singled out when the speaker discusses stereotypes associated with Italians America. After the luncheon, Gabriella lectures Father Phil about how much the mob wives, especially Carmela, have given to the parish, and says he had no right to bring in a guest speaker who intended to shame them about how they make a living.

In addition to Uncle Junior's RICO trial's beginning, Paulie begins to create tension between the two mob families when he tells Johnny Sack about the joke Ralph told regarding Johnny's wife's weight and how Tony sold Uncle Junior's warehouse on Frelinghuysen Avenue near the Riverfront Esplanade. Johnny contacts Tony and demands a share of the profit, since both crime families share Zellman and the Esplanade and therefore, it would be only fair if they also shared the Frelinghuysen Avenue profit. Johnny is also conspicuously rude and stand-offish toward Ralph, going so far as to tell Tony to keep Ralph away from him. It is clear to Tony and Silvio that Johnny is angry with Ralph, but they are mystified as to why.

While stuck in traffic, Bobby Baccalieri receives a phone call from his son, who relays a message from Bobby's wife Karen asking him to buy some food on the way home. Bobby is annoyed about being asked to run the errand. He later feels great remorse after discovering his wife has died in the car accident that was causing the very traffic problems he had complained about.

At the wake, a devastated Bobby kneels in front of Karen's casket and loudly sobs. The mob wives feel sympathy for Bobby and quietly discuss his having never taken a comare. Janice continues to sleep with Ralph (who, it is also revealed, enjoys kinky, BDSM-style sex) who splits with the grieving Rosalie Aprile in order to move in with Janice. However, after spending time with the widowed Bobby while on "ziti patrol" (bringing food to his home), Janice is touched by his sincere grief for his lost wife. After discussing her relationship problems with her psychotherapist, who recommends that Janice not choose partners who are similar to her brother or father, Janice hastily breaks up with Ralph just as he is moving the last of his things into her house. They argue about him taking off his shoes at the door, and she pushes him, causing him to lose his balance and fall down half a flight of stairs. Ralph injures his back in the fall and threatens to kill her, causing her to run into her bedroom and lock the door, as Ralph gingerly hobbles back to his car, bags in hand.

First appearances[edit]

  • Dan Castleman: the prosecutor in Junior's trial
  • Pie-O-My: The race horse that Ralph Cifaretto buys and Tony admires
  • Marty Schwartz: an associate of Hesh Rabkin's who organizes the meeting between Tony Soprano and Chief Doug Smith


Title reference[edit]

  • The title refers to the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, the first European in several centuries to land in the Americas, in 1492. The controversy surrounding Christopher Columbus and the Columbus Day parade protests are referenced repeatedly in the episode.


  • The judge presiding at Uncle Junior's trial, first appearing in this episode, is played by Randy Barbee, who also serves as an assistant director on the series.
  • Dan Castleman, who plays a prosecutor with the same name on the series, first appearing in this episode, also acts as a consultant for the show's writers, giving them expert advice on their questions about legal matters dealing with the Mafia. In his real-life career, Castleman spent 30 years in the Manhattan District Attorney's office as chief of the Rackets Bureau and then of Investigations.[1] Castleman would be credited for his contributions and given the title of a technical adviser starting with the second part of Season Six.

References to past episodes[edit]

  • Tony, in a rant chastising Silvio's vendetta against the Native Americans' opposition to Columbus Day, talks about Gary Cooper, who epitomizes "the strong, silent type", and predicts if Cooper were alive today he'd probably be a part of some victims' group. Tony went on a similar rant, directed at Dr. Melfi, in the pilot episode.
  • During a therapy session, Janice's therapist tells her she should stop dating her brother's (Tony Soprano) employees, citing the last time Janice did, her fiancé ran out on her to enter the witness protection program. This is in reference to Janice's former fiancé Richie Aprile whom Janice killed in the episode "White Satin Armor".


The episode created a controversy when cast members of The Sopranos (specifically Dominic Chianese and Lorraine Bracco) were banned from marching in the Columbus Day Parade in New York City, despite having received an invitation to participate in the event from New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.[2][3]



  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). ""Got Myself a Gun": Theft, Murder, and Other Assorted Violent Tendencies". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-933821-18-4. 
  2. ^ "The Sopranos out of tune with parade". The Age. Melbourne. October 15, 2002. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  3. ^ "'Sopranos' Banned From Parade". Retrieved 2008-02-08. 

External links[edit]