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Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
|First appearance||"Pilot" (episode 1.01)|
|Last appearance||"Kennedy and Heidi" (episode 6.18)|
|Created by||David Chase|
|Portrayed by||Michael Imperioli|
|Alias||Chris Maccaviti (episode 2.05)|
Chris Montevani (episode 5.11)
|Title||Associate (seasons 1–2)|
Soldier (seasons 3–5)
Acting Capo (season 4)
Capo (Season 6)
|Occupation||Union safety official|
Stock market Chief Compliance Officer
|Family||Joanne Moltisanti (mother)|
Richard "Dickie" Moltisanti (father)
Carmela Soprano (cousin once removed)
Tony Blundetto (cousin)
Gregory Moltisanti (cousin)
Constance Blundetto (cousin)
Jason Moltisanti (cousin)
|Spouse||Kelli Lombardo Moltisanti (wife)|
Adriana La Cerva (late fiancee)
Amy Safir (brief fling)
Julianna Skiff (mistress)
|Children||Caitlyn Lombardo Moltisanti (daughter)|
|Relatives||Tony Soprano (cousin-in-law)|
Janice Soprano (cousin)
Barbara Soprano Giglione (cousin)
Al Blundetto (uncle)
Pat Blundetto (uncle)
Meadow Soprano (second cousin)
A. J. Soprano (second cousin)
Hugh DeAngelis (great uncle)
Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. He is Tony Soprano's protégé and a member of the DiMeo crime family, rising from associate to caporegime over the course of the series. When Imperioli auditioned for the role of Christopher, he thought that series creator David Chase was unimpressed with his audition and was surprised when he was offered the part.
Tony Soprano has been a father figure to Christopher since the death of his father, Dickie Moltisanti. Tony affectionately refers to Christopher as his "nephew", but he is actually a cousin once removed of Tony's wife Carmela. Christopher is a volatile, narcissistic and impulsive young man, frustrated by his perceived lack of progress in the business. Christopher oversteps his authority when he hijacks trucks under the protection of family boss Junior Soprano. To teach him a lesson, Junior orders his mock execution. In the second season Chris is shot by his subordinates Matthew Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte but survives. Tony trusts Christopher with sensitive tasks, such as disposing of the bodies of murdered capos Richie Aprile and Ralph Cifaretto, and arranging the assassination of New York boss Carmine Lupertazzi. In the third season Chris finally becomes a made man. This leads to friction with his new capo Paulie Gualtieri, culminating in the Pine Barrens incident and although they make an uneasy truce, they clash again on several occasions. By the sixth season he is promoted to capo, and Tony tells Christopher that he will lead the family into the 21st century.
Christopher has a tumultuous and abusive relationship with his long-term girlfriend Adriana La Cerva. He comes close to death when, enraged about rumors that his fiancée Adriana and Tony are having an affair, he pulls a gun on Tony, who is ready to kill him for the insult. He is spared only after Tony Blundetto intercedes for him. In the fifth season Chris learns that Adriana has been working as an informant for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and that she wants them to go into the Witness Protection Program. Valuing loyalty over love, Christopher reports Adriana's actions to Tony, who has Silvio Dante kill her. Christopher then marries his new girlfriend Kelli Lombardo and they have a daughter, Caitlyn, but his interest in his new wife soon wanes. He grows disillusioned with Tony and frustrated with his progress in the family, and distances himself from the business by making a film and trying to become a Hollywood screenwriter.
Christopher struggles throughout the series with major drug and alcohol addictions and repeatedly spends time at AA and drug rehabilitation centers. Despite wanting Christopher to succeed, Tony doubts his nephew's loyalty and suitability to be his successor, and he fears that Christopher's immaturity and frequent drug problems make him a ripe target to turn state's evidence. Christopher's efforts to stay clean of drugs and alcohol cause him to spend less time at their regular haunts further arousing Tony's suspicions. Christopher causes a car crash as he is driving Tony home while high. After seeing that Caitlyn's baby seat has been completely destroyed in the accident, Tony suffocates the injured Chris and is finally rid of his troublesome nephew.
Christopher Moltisanti is born in 1969 to Richard "Dickie" Moltisanti, a soldier in the DiMeo crime family, and Joanne Blundetto. In the episode "Cold Cuts" it is revealed that Chris grew up in Rochelle Park, New Jersey section of Paramus, New Jersey next to the Westfield Garden State Plaza. When talking about his childhood with his cousin Tony Blundetto he describes himself as an urban youth, something Blundetto disagrees with. When discussing making a biographical movie of Joe Gallo with Jon Favreau, Moltisanti mentions that he vaguely remembered Gallo being murdered in 1972, as he was only a kid (3 years old). Dickie is killed when Chris is very young. Tony Soprano affectionately considers Christopher a "nephew", and looks out for him over the years. Moltisanti dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. He is a fan of the television show Cops. Moltisanti is a roommate of Brendan Filone before his murder and engaged to Adriana La Cerva before her murder. Chris is a cousin once removed of Tony's wife Carmela.
Christopher begins the series as Tony's driver and enforcer, and is eager to rise through the ranks in the Mafia. He "makes his bones" by killing Emil Kolar in order to settle a dispute with the DiMeo crime family over the Triborough Towers garbage routes. He initially plans to place the body in a Kolar Bros. dumpster to send a warning, but Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero convinces him to put it elsewhere as it would bring less heat to the crew. The murder haunts Chris' dreams, and he twice has to dig up and move Kolar's corpse.
Chris aids Brendan in hijacking Comley trucks, which are under Junior Soprano's protection. The two are ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution to Junior and leave the trucks alone. Chris and Brendan plan another heist while high on methamphetamine, but Chris backs down at the last minute out of loyalty to Tony. Brendan and two others go through with the heist, which ends in the accidental death of the driver. Chris is reprimanded by Tony for not using his leadership to stop Brendan. Junior, angered that his authority was flouted, stages a mock execution for Chris in the New Jersey Meadowlands. Brendan is shot in the eye by Mikey Palmice. Christopher later avenges Brendan's death when he and Paulie ambush and murder Mikey out in the woods.
Chris is put in charge of the family's pump and dump scam, with Matthew Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte serving as his subordinates. Eventually, Bevilaqua and Gismonte decide to murder him to gain favor with Richie Aprile. The pair ambush Chris outside a diner and badly wound him, but he manages to kill Gismonte as Bevilaqua flees the scene. When Chris recovers from a coma, his spleen is removed and goes through a traumatic recovery process, having been clinically dead for about a minute. Bevilaqua is eventually tracked down and shot to death by Tony and Big Pussy. Chris tells the crew that during his coma, he had seen himself in either hell or purgatory and warned them that Brendan and Mikey told him that three o'clock would be a significant time in their future.
Shortly before the shooting, Chris and Adriana had gotten into a fight and she moved in with her mother, but Chris gets her back by proposing to her, against her mother's advice. Despite this, the two do not get married.
Following Aprile's death, Tony calls Chris and Furio Giunta to dispose of his body; they use Satriale's bandsaw and processing room to dismember the corpse. At Meadow Soprano's graduation, Tony proposes to let Chris be made.
During Chris' initiation ceremony, in "Fortunate Son", he notices a raven on the windowsill and takes this as a bad omen. As the family's newest member, he inherits a betting shop from his capo, Paulie Gualtieri and is charged with paying minimum weekly dues to him. There is friction when Chris has difficulty making payments to Paulie, who subsequently humiliates him. However, after the Pine Barrens incident, they agreed to bury the hatchet. Elsewhere, Chris opens the Crazy Horse Nightclub in Long Branch with Furio Giunta as a partner and Adriana as front operator.
Chris is present when Jackie Aprile, Jr. and his friends try to rob a card game run by Eugene Pontecorvo. Chris and acting capo Albert Barese kill Aprile's friend Dino Zerilli as he tries to escape. Chris, jealous and resentful of Jackie as a rival for Tony's favor, expresses his intent to kill Jackie, saying if he finds him he'll kill him tonight, which Tony denies. This causes Chris to question Tony's leadership, calling him a hypocrite for not enforcing established rules of the mob protecting made men, which enrages Tony. Eventually, Vito Spatafore carries out a contract killing on Jackie in the Boonton Projects, shooting Aprile in the back of the head, on the orders of Ralph Cifaretto and Tony Soprano. At Jackie's funeral, Chris is arrested on a gambling charge along with Patsy Parisi and Silvio Dante.
To protect himself from prosecution, Tony makes Chris the main contact in criminal dealings. He then bonds his nephew to him by having him murder Lieutenant Detective Barry Haydu, after telling Chris that Haydu had murdered his father. Christopher confronts Haydu at his home and he denies having heard of Dickie Moltisanti and claimed that someone was "obviously" setting him up; however, he inadvertently admitted knowing Dickie Moltisanti by stating "Look, whoever told you I had anything to do with his death is lying!", before Christopher ever mentioned Dickie's death, whom Haydu supposedly did not even know. Haydu's last words before he is killed by Christopher are "I'm sorry!" indicating that he was likely indeed responsible. Chris is later made acting capo when Paulie is imprisoned on a gun charge and is awarded a no-show job at the Esplanade construction site. His promotion irks Patsy, who has seniority. The two come to blows over Patsy's continued theft from the construction site, despite orders from Tony. Silvio was actually the guiding force behind Patsy's actions, as he was also jealous of Chris' promotion.
Chris' drug use spirals out of control following his temporary promotion. When Tony calls upon him to dispose of Ralph Cifaretto's body, he realizes that Chris is high on heroin. Although they successfully hide the body, Tony decides his nephew needs help. Later, Chris is carjacked by a Puerto Rican gang while trying to buy heroin. When Chris physically abuses Adriana, Tony organizes an intervention. However, the meeting ends badly when it is revealed that Chris had accidentally killed Adriana's dog by sitting on it when high. Tony, whose beloved race horse was killed in a fire set by Ralph, becomes very angry. He insists Chris go into rehab and assigns Patsy to guard him.
Following Chris' successful rehabilitation, Tony entrusts him with the planned hit on Carmine Lupertazzi; Chris contracts the job out to Credenzo Curtis and Stanley Johnson, Black gang members and drug dealers who he had known from his period of heroin abuse. When the job is called off and Tony urges him to make sure it can't be traced to them, Chris has Benny Fazio and Peter "Bissell" LaRosa shoot Curtis and Johnson to death while he waits in his car watching over the hit. Fazio and La Rosa steal back the money Chris had given Curtis and Johnson, which they believed was payment for the hit they were tasked with.
Chris and Paulie are put in charge of a cigarette smuggling operation. While Chris is traveling to North Carolina to pick up cigarettes, Tony and Adriana are involved in a car accident. Rumors begin to spread that the crash was caused by Adriana performing oral sex on Tony. Chris finds out, gets drunk, starts a fight with Vito, and pulls a gun on Tony in the Bada Bing. Tony is prepared to kill Chris, but their cousin Tony Blundetto steps in and saves his life. Tony B arranges a meeting with a doctor who treated Tony and Adriana, who explains that both passengers were upright and had their seat belts fastened when it occurred. Chris reconciles with Vito and Tony.
Chris later travels to his uncle Pat Blundetto's farm alongside Tony and Tony B. They help Pat move bodies hidden on the farm as Pat is planning to move away. While there, Chris recalls being bullied by the two Tonys, and they exhibit such behavior by ribbing him over his addiction problems.
Throughout this time, Chris maintains a turbulent and sometimes violent relationship with Adriana. He indulged her aspirations for a career in music by allowing her to produce a demo and later giving her a club to run. They became engaged before he is sent to rehab. However, after he learns that Adriana has reluctantly provided information to the FBI, he turns to Tony rather than accept her plea to join her in witness protection. Tony sends Silvio Dante to meet with Adriana, purportedly to drive to the hospital to visit Chris, but in reality he executes her in the woods. Chris relapses into heroin use and weeps to Tony out of grief for Adriana.
Chris is promoted to capo, in keeping with Tony's long term plan to raise his nephew through the ranks until he eventually is appointed boss. He uses Chris to organize a sensitive hit on Rusty Millio. Chris initially questions Tony's decision to contract the job out to their friends in Naples, but later decides it was a smart move. He uses his Italian-speaking associate Corky Caporale to communicate with hitmen and provide them with weapons and instructions, while paying him off with heroin. Chris' readiness for the responsibility of leading his own crew is unclear as he is distracted by a potential career in Hollywood, has relapsed into drug use, and displays unresolved feelings over his murdered fiancee.
Chris' crew get involved in a credit card fraud scam; his AA sponsor James "Murmur" Zancone and Benny Fazio take numbers from local businesses and sell them on to associates Ahmed and Muhammad. He wonders about whether these men have links to terrorism. The use of numbers from Nuovo Vesuvio[I] leads to a violent dispute between Benny and Tony's friend Artie Bucco. Tony blames Chris' trip to Los Angeles for the dispute not being settled quickly.
Chris marries Kelli Lombardo after learning that she is pregnant with his child. He has a belated bachelor party with the Soprano crime family at Nuovo Vesuvio, where "Larry Boy" Barese makes a toast to his future. However, when he later delivers Corky's final payment, including more heroin, he cannot resist when he watches his friend inject the drug. He spends the night at the Feast of St. Elzear festival with a stray dog.
Chris takes a road trip to Pennsylvania with Tony just before the feast. On their way home, they spot some bikers robbing a strip mall and take part of the haul for themselves. This leads to a firefight in which Chris shoots one of the bikers as Tony drives away. Later, the two get drunk on the wine they had stolen, and Chris recalls telling Tony of Adriana's treachery. The two express their love for and loyalty to each other, though when the two later try to recreate their camaraderie sober, it falls flat and ends in an awkward silence. Months later, Chris is back in AA meetings.
Chris premieres his film Cleaver at a private screening with other Soprano associates, looking to having it distributed nationwide. He also tries to distance himself from the criminal lifestyle and stays away from the Bada Bing. When Tony begins grooming Bobby Bacala for the position Chris once held, it is clear that their relationship has cooled. Given Chris' resentment towards Tony about Adriana's death, and his continued desire to enter the film business, the two continue to drift apart. When he relapses to drinking after yet another confrontation with Paulie, he becomes very angry with the crew and leaves. He later ends up at his "friend" J.T. Dolan's home, looking for someone to talk to. When J.T. foolishly makes explicit mention of Chris' membership in the Mafia, and refuses to let Chris talk out his problems that night, Chris shoots him in the head and leaves.
As Tony and Chris drive back from a meeting with Phil Leotardo and the New York crew, Chris – clearly impaired by drugs and alcohol – crashes his Cadillac Escalade. Tony is able to climb out of the SUV, but Chris is badly injured and coughing up blood. He pleads for Tony's help, mumbling that he wouldn't pass a drug test and could lose his license. Tony sees a tree branch impaling a car seat where Christopher's daughter could have been sitting. He pinches Chris' nostrils shut, causing him to choke to death on his own blood.
Throughout the episode's remainder, Tony displays the proper decorum for the family in mourning yet can barely restrain his relief that he is finally free of the burden Chris has placed upon him for so long – his insubordination, his substance abuse, his reckless behavior, and his complaints. He describes Chris as a "drag" on his emotions, and "a weak, lying drug addict". In a dream, Tony admits to Dr. Melfi that he murdered Chris, as well as other friends and associates, naming specifically his cousin Tony Blundetto and best friend Big Pussy. In the series' final episodes, Chris' picture is hung in the pork store in his honor; Paulie is disturbed that the resident cat spends its days staring at the picture.
Because of his close relationship with Tony Soprano, Christopher is the only one (besides Tony) who knows which bodies were buried at "Uncle Pat" Blundetto's farm and what really happened to Ralph Cifaretto. Chris is also one of the few (along with Furio Giunta) to know Richie Aprile was murdered by Janice Soprano, and (along with Silvio Dante) to know about Tony Soprano's murder of Fabian Petrulio, about the aborted plan to hit New York boss Carmine Lupertazzi, Sr. and about Silvio's murder of Christopher's fiancee, Adriana La Cerva.
Killings or possible killings committed or assisted by Christopher
- Emil Kolar: Shot in the head by Chris due to a dispute between Barone Sanitation (Tony's company) and Kolar Bros. Sanitation over waste management contracts, in the backroom of Satriale's Pork Store. (1999)
- Michael "Mikey Grab Bag" Palmice: Shot in the chest by Chris and Paulie for conspiring to kill Tony with Junior and for killing Brendan Filone, Christopher's friend. (1999)
- Sean Gismonte: Shot and killed by Chris in self-defense after he and associate Matthew Bevilaqua attempted to kill him. (2000)
- Carlo Renzi: Shot in the head and killed by Chris in self-defense during poker game robbery. (2001)
- Dino Zerilli: Shot and killed by Chris and Albert Barese after Zerilli and Jackie, Jr. shot and killed Sunshine and wounded Furio Giunta during a poker-game robbery. (2001)
- Detective Lieutenant Barry Haydu: Executed in his home by Chris after Tony informed Chris that Haydu was the man who was contracted by Jilly Rufalo many years ago to kill Chris' father. (2002)
- J.T. Dolan: Shot in the head by an inebriated Chris after Dolan persistently refused to listen to Christopher's personal problems and exclaimed, "Chris, you're in the Mafia!" (2007)
Christopher has helped dispose of several people murdered by other people throughout the series, mainly Tony.
- James "Jimmy" Altieri: Lured by Christopher to his death, a bullet to the back of the head courtesy of Silvio Dante. Chrissy helped Silvio get rid of (or at least transport) the corpse, as he followed Silvio's orders to "get the piano dolly" to transport Jimmy's body. (1999)
- Richie Aprile: Bagged up, carried off, and cut up in the basement of Satriale's as requested by Tony after he was shot by Janice Soprano for hitting her. (2000)
- Tracee: Ralph Cifaretto beat the stripper to death; Tony and his crew were horrified at Ralphie's actions and Silvio told Christopher to "get a sheet" from inside the strip club to cover up her corpse. (2001)
- Valery: Possibly alive, he was shot in the head by Paulie in the woods when Chris and Paulie were chasing him. (2001)
- Ralph Cifaretto: Decapitation and removal of hands with a cleaver. Head and hands placed in a bowling bag by Christopher, who subsequently helped Tony dispose of the bag and Ralph's body. Ralph had been beaten and choked to death by Tony. (2002)
- Credenzo Curtis and Stanley Johnson: After being released from the Eleuthera drug recovery program, Tony gave Christopher the responsibility of hiring a couple of assassins to take out New York boss Carmine Lupertazzi, Sr. at the request of Johnny Sack. He chooses Curtis and Johnson, two African Americans from Irvington who he believes would be good at making it look like a carjacking. When Tony comes to an agreement with Carmine and calls off the hit, Christopher is given the new task of eliminating the two hired hands. He meets with the hitmen in a parking lot and gives them the money for the hit that never happened. Benny Fazio and Petey LaRosa surprise the two hitmen when they suddenly appear, and shoot and kill them in their car. (2002)
- Raoul: Christopher threw a brick at him and then Paulie shot him. (2004)
- "Black" Jack Massarone: Christopher volunteered to do the hit on Massarone after Tony suspected "Black Jack" of wearing a wire under his hat; it is unclear who murdered Massarone later in the episode, but there is strong evidence that Moltisanti was directly responsible for it. (2004)
- Adriana La Cerva: Once she confessed to Christopher that she had been an FBI informant, divulging important information about the DiMeo crime family Christopher's loyalty to Tony proved to be greater than his love for Adriana. While he did not directly participate in the hit (that distinction went to Silvio Dante. See Adriana La Cerva's related article), Christopher did park Adriana's car (after disposing of a suitcase that he had stuffed with her personal belongings and clothes) at an airport's "Long Term Parking" lot in an attempt to make it look like she had fled. (2004)
- Teddy Spirodakis: Chris asked Eugene Pontecorvo to do him the favor of going to whack Spirodakis in exchange for Chris' putting in a good word to Tony for Eugene's retirement from the Family. (2006)
- Rusty Millio: Organized the discreet hit on orders from Tony via Neapolitan Camorra hitmen as a favor to Johnny Sack. (2006)
References to Imperioli's career
- in the episode "46 Long", Christopher and Brendan Filone encounter Martin Scorsese (portrayed by a lookalike) outside of a club. Christopher yells "Marty! Kundun! I liked it!". Imperioli acted in Scorsese's gangster film Goodfellas in a minor role, "Spider".
- In Season 1 Moltisanti shoots a bakery clerk in the foot in retaliation for a perceived lack of respect and service — a nod to Imperioli's Goodfellas character Spider, shot in the foot for the same reason. When the bakery clerk was yelling in pain about his foot being shot, Christopher replies "It happens!"
- In reference to his Goodfellas character, Spider, being shot and killed by Joe Pesci's character, Tommy DeVito. In season 2 episode, "Big Girls Don't Cry", when Christopher gets his confidence up as a student actor, Adriana tells him "I like you as an actor." and Christopher replies "Joe Pesci or so.", he then does a Joe Pesci impression of him saying a line in Jimmy Hollywood.
- In the episode "Live Free or Die", after it is confirmed that Vito Spatafore is gay, Christopher states "I wanna kill the fat faggot myself, it'd be a fucking honor. Cut off his pisciatil' and feed it to him." This is a reference to Imperioli's character d'Ambrosio in the film Dead Presidents having exactly the same thing done to him by the North Vietnamese. Pisciatil' is slang connotation for penis.
TV Guide rated him #13 on their list of "TV's Top 100 Characters".
- Nuovo Vesuvio is a restaurant from The Sopranos: explained at multiple Wikipedia articles, including List of The Sopranos characters.
- "The Sopranos - Christopher Moltisanti". HBO.
- Biskind, Peter (April 2007). "An American Family". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2012-03-21.
- "Alessandro Nivola In Talks For Lead Role In 'Sopranos' Prequel Movie". deadline.com. November 20, 2018.
- Frazier Moore (May 14, 2007). "A big "Sopranos" death | The Seattle Times".
Despite suffering pain, loss and guilt from Christopher’s death, Tony also felt grateful relief from a burden he accurately described to his psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi, as “a weak, lying drug addict who fantasized about my downfall.”