Down Neck

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"Down Neck"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep107.jpg
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 7
Directed by Lorraine Senna Ferrara
Written by Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 107
Original air date February 21, 1999
Running time 51 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Pax Soprana"
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Episode chronology

"Down Neck" is the seventh episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and directed by Lorraine Senna Ferrara. This episode is the only one in the entire series directed by a woman, aired on February 21, 1999.[1]


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

  • Paul Albe as Contractor
  • Shirl Bernheim as Pearl
  • Madeline Blue as Janice
  • Bobby Boriello as Young Tony
  • Scott Owen Cumberbatch as Rideland Kid #2
  • Anthony Fusco as Father Hagy
  • Rob Grippa as Byron Barber
  • Jason Hauser as Rideland Cop
  • Michael B. Jordan as Rideland Kid
  • Greg Perrelli as Jared
  • Nick Raio as Wiseguy
  • Tim Realbuto as Jimmy
  • Steve Santosusso as Guy
  • Tim Williams as Mr. Meskimmin

Episode recap[edit]

A.J. and his friends steal sacramental wine and turn up drunk and giggling at gym class. Tony and Carmela are called in to see the principal of A.J.'s school, Verbum Dei. The principal is accompanied by the school psychologist who tells them that A.J. may have ADD. The school is lenient in disciplining A.J. because of this, but are considering placing him in a special education class.

This incident prompts Tony to recall his own childhood when he first learned about his family's involvement in the Mafia. In therapy he discusses this with Dr. Melfi. Included in Tony's memory is the time his father wanted to move the family to Reno, Nevada, to manage a supper club for Rocco Alatore. Tony's mother refused and said she would rather suffocate the children than move. Tony, visiting his mother in the nursing home, asks her how Rocco is doing and she responds that Rocco is now a billionaire. Tony reminds her of the request to move and she denies that they were seriously considering moving or that she was involved in the decision to stay.

A.J. is punished by his parents and forbidden to watch TV, use the Internet or play Nintendo. He also has to visit his grandmother, Livia, at Green Grove. During one visit, A.J. discusses his encounter with a school therapist. When Livia reacts negatively, A.J. informs her that Tony is seeing a psychiatrist, something A.J. learned after eavesdropping on a conversation between his parents. Livia is furious. Later, Livia is poised to pass on this information to Junior but Tony unknowingly walks in before she can say anything about it.

First appearances[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • "Down Neck" refers to the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey where Tony grew up.

Cultural references[edit]


  • Although the flashbacks are set in 1967, some anachronistic modern-day motor vehicles and people wearing modern clothing are visible in the background in some of the scenes.
  • The Rideland scene was filmed on Sand Lane, at South Beach Amusement Park in Staten Island, New York.[citation needed]

References to past episodes[edit]

  • When Carmela mentions Meadow's suspicions on Tony's true occupation, flashbacks from "College" appear briefly which includes Meadow asking him if he's in the Mafia and killing Febby.


  • The song played on the television during Tony's flashback to 1967 was a live performance of "(I've Been) Lonely Too Long" by The Rascals on The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • The song played while Tony takes his Prozac and remembers his childhood is "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane. It is also played when he makes ice-cream sundaes with A.J. and into the end credits.
  • The song played when young Tony misses the bus and sees Johnny and Junior beating up a man is "Don't Bring Me Down" by The Animals.
  • The song played when young Tony plays catch with Junior while Janice leaves with Johnny for the carnival is "Carrie Anne" by The Hollies.
  • The song played when young Tony hides in the trunk of Johnny's car and follows him and Janice to the carnival is "Mystic Eyes" by Them.
  • The song played when young Tony sees Junior, Johnny and friends arrested at the carnival is "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss II.

See also[edit]

  • Host desecration, with regard to A.J.'s theft and misuse of the sacramental wine


Todd VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club retrospectively praised "Down Neck" as "an unusually focused episode. It rarely deviates from its central thesis about fathers and mothers and their sons." He considered the flashbacks to be "nicely constructed and handily paralleled with Tony's fears that his kids will find out what he does for a living."[2] Alan Sepinwall praised Gandolfini's acting and also stated, in reference to the scene where AJ tells Livia of Tony's therapy sessions, that the episode's two plots "make a great comic combination because AJ is so oblivious [...] that he not only doesn't realize what he's telling Livia, but is invulnerable to her usual emotional manipulations. Once Livia decides that Tony goes to a psychiatrist to complain about her, she starts up the waterworks and loud self-pity, and AJ couldn't possibly be less interested in, or even aware of, this display. It's priceless."[3]


  1. ^ Wallace, Marc. "The Sopranos (TV Series) Down Neck (1999) Trivia"., Inc. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  2. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (June 23, 2010). "The Sopranos: "Pax Soprana"/"Down Neck"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 
  3. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (July 15, 2015). "'The Sopranos' Rewind: Season 1, Episode 7: 'Down Neck'". Uproxx. Retrieved April 17, 2017. 

External links[edit]

External links[edit]