The Sopranos is an American television drama series created by David Chase that revolves around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and the difficulties he faces as he tries to balance the conflicting requirements of his home life and the criminal organization he heads. The series also features Tony’s family members and Mafia associates in prominent roles and storylines, most notably his wife Carmela (Edie Falco) and cousin and protégé Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli). A central theme is his professional relationship with his psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco).
The series premiered on the premium cable network HBO in the United States on January 10, 1999, and ended its original run of six seasons and 86 episodes on June 10, 2007. The series then went through syndication and has been broadcast on A&E in the United States and internationally. The Sopranos was produced by HBO, Chase Films and Brad Grey Television. It was primarily filmed at Silvercup Studios, New York City and on location in New Jersey. The executive producers throughout the show’s run were Chase, Brad Grey, Robin Green, Mitchell Burgess, Ilene S. Landress, Terence Winter, and Matthew Weiner. Chase also served as showrunner and head writer.
The Sopranos, in its time was considered the most financially successful series in the history of cable television, and has been called the greatest television series of all time.
The series is noted for its high level of quality in every aspect of production and is particularly recognized for its writing, its cinematic style, and the performances of its lead actors. The show is credited with bringing a greater level of artistry to the television medium and paving the way for many successful drama series that followed. It also won a multitude of awards, including twenty-one Emmys and five Golden Globes.
A staple of 2000s American popular culture, the series has been the subject of much critical analysis, controversy, and parody, and has spawned books, a video game, high-charting soundtrack albums, and a large amount of assorted merchandise.
Several members of the show’s cast and crew who were previously largely unknown to the public have had successful careers after The Sopranos.
PLOT SUMMARY (Season 5)
In the fifth season, a string of brand new characters are introduced to the show, including Tony’s cousin Tony Blundetto, who along with other mafiosos are released from prison simultaneously. Among the others released are former DiMeo Crime Family capo Michele “Feech” La Manna, Lupertazzi family capo Phil Leotardo, and semi-retired Lupertazzi consigliere Angelo Garepe. Tony offers Tony B. a job, but he respectfully declines, as he is determined to lead a straight life. He initially begins to take courses to earn a degree in massage therapy and aspires to open up his own massage parlor. After Carmine Lupertazzi dies of a stroke, his death leaves a vacancy for boss of the Lupertazzi Family, which will soon be fought over by underboss Johnny Sack and Carmine’s son Carmine Lupertazzi, Jr.. After Feech proves to be an insubordinate presence, Tony arranges for him to be sent back to prison by setting him up with stolen property, violating his parole.
The war between Johnny Sack and Carmine, Jr. begins when Johnny has Phil kill “lady shylock” Lorraine Calluzzo. Tony B.’s attempt to stay straight comes to a head when he gets into a brawl with his employer Sungyon Kim. Tony informs Tony B. that “it’s hard working with strangers.” Angelo, who was a good friend to Tony B. in prison, and Lupertazzi capo Rusty Millio offer Tony B. the job of taking out Joey Peeps in retaliation for Lorraine’s death. Tony B. initially declines but, desperate to earn, accepts the job. He catches Joey outside a bordello, shoots him, and quickly flees the scene. Johnny believes Tony B. is involved, and retaliates by having Phil and his brother Billy Leotardo kill Angelo. Tony B. finds the Leotardo brothers and opens fire, killing Billy and wounding Phil.
Still separated from Carmela, Tony is living at his parents’ house. Carmela, now the sole authority figure in the home, becomes frustrated as her rules lead A.J. to resent her; eventually she allows him to live with his father. She has a brief relationship with Robert Wegler, A.J.’s guidance counselor; he breaks it off abruptly when he suspects that she is manipulating him to improve A.J.’s grades. Tony and Carmela reconcile; Tony promises to be more loyal and agrees to pay for a piece of real estate Carmela wishes to develop.
Tony gets Meadow’s boyfriend Finn De Trolio a summer job at a construction site, which is run by Aprile Crew capo Vito Spatafore. Finn comes in early one morning and catches Vito performing fellatio on a security guard. Vito tries to buddy up to Finn so that he does not say anything to anybody else. He even asks Finn to a Yankees game, which Finn does not attend. Finn soon quits the job out of fear.
After covering up a murder that occurred at The Crazy Horse, Adriana is arrested and pressured by the F.B.I. to wear a wire to avoid being charged as an accomplice. She refuses to wear a wire and informs the F.B.I. that she may be able to persuade her fiancé Christopher to co-operate and become an informant against Tony. She confesses to Christopher that she has been informing and that the F.B.I. would give them new identities if they would testify. Christopher is grief-stricken and nearly kills her. He leaves the apartment, saying he needs time to think. Tony has Silvio pick up Adriana under the pretense of taking her to see Christopher, but instead drives her out to the woods and executes her. Adriana’s betrayal and subsequent execution is too much for Christopher to handle and he briefly returns to drug abuse to deal with the pain.
Phil Leotardo and his henchmen beat Benny Fazio while trying to acquire the whereabouts of Tony B.; Phil also threatens to have Christopher taken out if Tony B.’s whereabouts are not disclosed soon. To avoid any more of his guys getting hurt and to pacify New York, Tony tracks Tony B. to their Uncle Pat’s farm and shoots him. Phil, however, is furious that he did not get the opportunity to do it himself. Tony and Johnny meet at Johnny’s house in a reconciliatory manner, but Johnny is arrested by Federal agents, while Tony escapes.
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