Unidentified Black Males

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"Unidentified Black Males"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep509.jpg
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 9
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by Matthew Weiner
Terence Winter
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 509
Original air date May 2, 2004
Running time 59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"Marco Polo"
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"Cold Cuts"
Episode chronology

"Unidentified Black Males" is the sixty-first episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the ninth of the show's fifth season. It was written by Matthew Weiner and Terence Winter, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on May 2, 2004.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Tony Soprano notices that Tony Blundetto has a foot injury, which he blames on an attempted assault by several black males. The next day while playing golf with Johnny Sack, Tony learns that the man who killed "Joey Peeps" walked with a limp. This causes Tony to nearly pass out from one of his panic attacks. Tony confronts his cousin outside the Bada Bing, but Tony B calmly denies his involvement, adding that Tony would not want to know even if he was indeed the hitman; Tony then admits his cousin has a tough financial and familial situation and he could use a capable soldier as him, therefore he decides to put him in control of a casino on Bloomfield Avenue and even have him "made". This in turn causes Christopher Moltisanti to express frustration and jealousy in front of his fiancée Adriana La Cerva. Christopher is furious he has fallen out of Tony's favor ever since returning from rehab and that Tony B is moving up in the organization so quickly when he himself had to work hard for his position a long time. Adriana is then seen giving her FBI handler Agent Sanseverino a phone call.

Little Carmine has a meeting with his supporters to discuss their standing in the Lupertazzi family after the Joey Peeps murder. Angelo Garepe starts having doubts it was the right course of action, saying he would have preferred a diplomatic solution with Johnny Sack, but Carmine announces he is ready to take on the position of boss and that he would lead them even better than his late father did.

At "Joey Peeps"' funeral, the mood is tense, not least because the mobsters who provided the headstone accidentally used his nickname "Peeps" instead of his actual surname, Peparelli. Johnny Sack, extremely upset over the slaying of a member of his crew, realizes it was the work of Little Carmine as payback for the Calluzzo murder. Johnny suspects Tony B's, and, by extension, the Soprano family's, involvement because one of his informants witnessed Tony B a few blocks away from the scene of the homicide the night it happened. Tony and Johnny retreat to a limo for a private discussion, leaving their crews waiting outside, uninformed about the subject matter of their talk. Tony quickly makes up an alibi for Blundetto, saying he was with him the night in question, searching for Tony B's long-lost daughter, Kelli. Johnny accepts reluctantly after passionately warning him of dire consequences if he finds out Tony is lying.

Meadow and her boyfriend, Finn DeTrolio, are having difficulties choosing where to spend the summer, which causes tensions in their relationship. These tensions are strained further when Finn decides to pay for his meal with Meadow, Tony and A.J., causing Tony to get angry with him for disrespecting tradition and forcing him to take a reimbursement, although they later make amends. Tony subsequently gets Finn a job working at a mob-run construction site, where he meets several members of the Soprano crime family, who have all been added to the payroll, with "no work" jobs. He gets along with them at first, but becomes uneasy at the sycophancy addressed at him over his association with the Sopranos. This turns into downright fear after he witnesses a violent encounter between Eugene Pontecorvo and Little Paulie Germani over homophobic jibes. The next morning, Finn reports for work early and accidentally catches Vito Spatafore performing oral sex on a male security guard in a security vehicle. Later in the day, Vito corners Finn as he exits a portable toilet and invites Finn to a New York Yankees game, intimidating him into agreeing to attend. Unsure of Vito's intentions and worried he might be threatened or even killed, Finn considers leaving the New Jersey area for the time being. This triggers a long and heated argument with Meadow, who dismisses all his fears of violence and accuses him of lacking commitment to her. Exhausted, Finn proposes to her at four in the morning in their sweltering apartment.

In a traumatic session with Dr. Melfi, Tony reveals that his panic attacks are back, and she traces them all to recent encounters with his cousin, Tony B. He ends up admitting the truth about what he was doing the night Tony Blundetto got arrested. His story about being beaten up by black guys was a lie to cover up a panic attack he suffered after arguing with his mother, Livia. Tony also realizes that he has not been making things right with his cousin but rather assuaging his own guilt and shame.

Carmela seems inclined to get close to her estranged husband following their one-night stand, but he avoids her so she decides to pursue divorce instead. Tony reacts very angrily to the news, and vows to deny her any of his illegal cash earnings. After contacting several lawyers, Carmela realises that Tony has outmaneuvered her on the legal front, making contacts with them all so that they are ethically prevented from taking her case. She becomes tearful looking out the window of her home and seeing Tony floating peacefully in the swimming pool as Meadow is on the phone with her sharing the news of her engagement to Finn.

Title reference[edit]

Numerous misfortunes that members of the crime family have experienced, usually at one another's hands, are falsely blamed on black males. Four are mentioned in this episode - Tony's absence the night Tony B was arrested, the death of Jackie Aprile, Jr in "Army of One", Tony B's foot injury from the previous episode which he still suffers from in this episode, and the injuries Eugene causes to Little Paulie's head in this episode (Vito said, "What? I think I seen a couple of niggas runnin' that way!").

Connections to previous episodes[edit]

  • Finn was previously associated with an awkward discussion of homosexuality when he and Meadow defended a homo-erotic interpretation of Herman Melville's novel Billy Budd to Tony and Carmela at dinner in "Eloise."
  • Little Carmine dismisses suggestions to negotiate with Johnny Sack by saying: "This is not the U.N." In the episode "Where's Johnny?", Johnny Sack responded in a similar fashion to Tony's suggestion of a power-sharing arrangement: "What's this, the fuckin' U.N. now?!"
  • Christopher sang a few words of "If I Were a Carpenter" in the Season 4 episode "No Show", beginning the opening verse as "If I were a carpenter, and you were a douche bag..."

Other cultural references[edit]

  • When Tony tells his cousin there was a witness to the "Joey Peeps" murder who saw a man limping away, Tony B quips the murderer could have been Long John Silver.
  • Paulie refers to Finn as Shaggy, due to his resemblance to the Scooby-Doo character.
  • Eugene Pontecorvo asks Finn whether Mike Tyson or Muhammad Ali would win a boxing fight if both were in their prime, a question which Finn is afraid to answer for fear of angering Eugene and causing another of his violent outbursts.



External links[edit]