Unidentified Black Males

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"Unidentified Black Males"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep509.jpg
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 9
Directed byTim Van Patten
Written byMatthew Weiner
Terence Winter
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code509
Original air dateMay 2, 2004
Running time59 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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The Sopranos (season 5)
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"Unidentified Black Males" is the 61st episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the ninth of the show's fifth season. Written by Matthew Weiner and Terence Winter, and directed by Tim Van Patten, it originally aired on May 2, 2004.


* = credit only

Guest starring[edit]

Episode recap[edit]

Tony notices Tony B's foot injury, which he blames on an attempted assault by several black men. The next day, Tony learns from Johnny that Joey's killer walked with a limp. He nearly passes out from a panic attack. When he is confronted by Tony outside the Bada Bing, Tony B calmly denies his involvement. Tony, noting his cousin's tough financial situation, decides to put Tony B in control of an illegal casino on Bloomfield Avenue and have him made. Christopher is angered by what he sees as Tony's favoritism towards his cousin. Adriana calls her FBI handler, Agent Sanseverino.

Little Carmine meets with his supporters to discuss their standing in the Lupertazzi family after Joey's murder. Angelo expresses doubts about how Joey was handled, but Little Carmine asserts that he is ready to take over the family. At Joey's funeral, Johnny realizes that Little Carmine engineered the hit as payback for Lorraine's murder. Johnny suspects Tony B's involvement because one of his informants had seen him near the scene of the crime. Upon being confronted by Johnny, Tony quickly makes up an alibi for Tony B. Johnny reluctantly accepts the story, but warns him of dire consequences if Tony is lying.

Faux pas cause tensions between Meadow's boyfriend, Finn DeTrolio, and the rest of the family. After they make amends, Tony gets Finn a job at a mob-run construction site, where several members of his crew have "no-work" jobs. Finn becomes uneasy at the sycophancy addressed at him over his association with Tony. This turns into fear after he witnesses a violent encounter between Eugene Pontecorvo and Little Paulie over homophobic jibes. The next morning, Finn accidentally catches Vito performing oral sex on a male security guard. Later, Vito coerces Finn into attending a New York Yankees game with him. Fearing for his life, Finn considers leaving New Jersey for the time being, prompting a heated argument with Meadow. When she accuses him of lacking commitment to her, Finn proposes to her.

In a traumatic session with Dr. Melfi, Tony's panic attacks are traced to his recent encounters with Tony B. He admits the truth about what he was doing the night Tony B was arrested: he had a panic attack after arguing with his mother Livia, and covered it up with a story of being beaten by black men. Tony realizes that he has not been making things right with his cousin, but rather assuaging his own guilt and shame. Meanwhile, Carmela decides to divorce Tony when he avoids her. Tony reacts very angrily to the news, and vows to deny her any of his illegal profits. After contacting several lawyers, Carmela realizes that Tony contacted them all to keep them from taking her case. She becomes tearful looking out the window seeing Tony floating peacefully in the swimming pool, as Meadow is on the phone talking about 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.
  • Vito tells Finn that he looks like Joe Perry, the lead guitarist for Aerosmith.
  • 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]