Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood

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"Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep301.jpg
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 1
Directed by Allen Coulter
Written by David Chase
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code 302
Original air date March 4, 2001
Running time 49 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Proshai, Livushka"
Episode chronology

"Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood" is the 27th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the first of the show's third season. It was written by David Chase and directed by Allen Coulter, and originally aired on March 4, 2001.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Also guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

FBI agents listen to recorded conversations between Tony Soprano and deceased informant Big Pussy Bonpensiero regarding the murder of Matthew Bevilaqua. Agent Skip Lipari and his colleagues agree that Pussy is likely dead; without his testimony, some of their more promising cases against Tony cannot be tried. As they discuss the possibility of wiretapping Tony's conversations, Lipari recalls that Tony takes his associates down to his basement to discuss private matters that cannot be discussed away from home, using the noise of the 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) home's five central air conditioning units to mask any conversation. If the FBI were to obtain a search warrant and plant a listening device in the basement near where Tony's conversations take place, they would be able to maintain a high level of surveillance on the household. Chief Frank Cubitoso goes to obtain the court order, but is warned by the judge not to linger there for too long.

The FBI identify a one-hour-and-forty-five-minute period each Tuesday when nobody is home. When the Sopranos leave for their Tuesday errands and the maid is absent, agents break into the house and find an old reading lamp in the basement which could serve as a decoy for a hidden microphone. They take several pictures of the lamp and plan to create an exact replica with an embedded listening device, then return the following Tuesday to plant it. However, the FBI's plans are temporarily foiled when the house's 120-gallon water heater explodes and the basement is flooded. Tony and Carmela are called home and gather old keepsakes before they are destroyed by the water. Tony then calls on his plumber, Mr. Ruggerio, to fix the mess. The following week, after the basement is put back in order, the FBI plants the new lamp and leave before the maid returns from lunch.

Meadow adjusts to life at Columbia University, where she meets her energetic but homesick roommate, Caitlin Rucker. A.J. is cutting classes to smoke cigarettes with friends. Carmela begins taking Adriana La Cerva with her to tennis lessons. She is soon upset when she discovers her coach is moving away (and married) and has been replaced with a woman who has more of an interest in Adriana. Tony is concerned about a possible garbage war involving his sanitation company. He gathers his crew at Satriale's, where he finds a still-distraught Patsy Parisi mourning over his deceased twin brother Phillip on their birthday. Tony feigns ignorance, but Patsy suspects Tony had something to do with it. The following day, while the FBI watches, a drunken Patsy aims a gun at Tony from his pool patio. However, he lowers the gun and urinates in the pool instead, none of it seen by Tony. However, some days later, when Tony brings up Patsy's big earnings in the crew and asks whether he is still held back by his brother's death, Patsy pleads his allegiance to Tony.

First appearance[edit]

Title reference[edit]

  • Mr. Ruggerio is Tony's neighborhood plumber; one of the FBI agents says the Soprano house is in "Mister Ruggerio's Neighborhood."
  • Like Tony in this episode, real-life Mafioso Angelo Ruggiero had his house bugged by the FBI, yielding crucial evidence that led to the indictment of John Gotti.
  • The title is also a nod to the PBS' children TV series "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood". In Italian, Ruggerio and its variant Ruggero are the direct translation of the English name Roger.


  • Although this episode aired first in season three, "Proshai, Livushka" was the first to be shot.
  • The episode was part one of a two-hour season premiere when it originally aired in 2001.
  • Federico Castelluccio (Furio Giunta) is now billed in the opening credits as part of the main cast, but only in episodes in which he appears.
  • First episode in which Nancy Marchand (Livia Soprano) is not billed in the opening credits.
  • FBI Codenames for the Sopranos:
    • Tony - Papa Bing / Der Bingle
    • Carmela - Mrs. Bing
    • Meadow - Princess Bing
    • A.J. - Baby Bing
    • The Soprano residence - The Sausage Factory


  • The music playing when Tony walks down his drive-way in the first scene is the intro to "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlife"' by Alabama 3, who also perform the opening theme song.
  • The episode features the "Peter Gunn Theme" (by Henry Mancini) and "Every Breath You Take" (by The Police) mashed up by Kathryn Dayak from HBO. The music is played when the FBI are planting the bug in Tony's house.
  • While driving, Tony sings along with Steely Dan's "Dirty Work".
  • In the dormitory, when Caitlyn is telling Meadow about the man on the train, "Van Gogh" by Ras Kass is being played in the hallway.
  • When Anthony is being picked up for school by his friends, the song heard playing in the car is "Scud Missile" by Ganjah K.
  • Tony listens to "Hotel California" by Eagles while exercising at the end of the episode.
  • Elvis Costello's "High Fidelity" plays at the very end of the episode, as Tony and Carmela converse in front of the bugged lamp.

External links[edit]