Anthony John "Tony" Soprano is a fictional character and the
protagonist in the
HBO television drama series The Sopranos
(1999–2007), portrayed by James Gandolfini. The Italian-American
character was conceived by Sopranos creator and show runner David
Chase, who was also largely responsible for the character's story arc
throughout the show's six seasons. The character is loosely based on
New Jersey mobster Vincent "Vinny Ocean" Palermo, a former
caporegime (capo) and de facto boss of the DeCavalcante crime family
of New Jersey. Bobby Boriello portrayed Soprano as a child in one
episode, and Danny Petrillo played the character as a teenager in
In the first season, Tony is a capo in the DiMeo crime family. Between
the first and second seasons, he is promoted to street boss, a
position he retains until the sixth season; his uncle Corrado "Junior"
Soprano is the official boss up until early in the sixth season, but
has little or no actual power. Throughout the series, Tony struggles
to balance the conflicting needs of his actual family— wife Carmela,
daughter Meadow, son A. J., and mother Livia—with those of the Mafia
family he controls. He often displays behavior traits characteristic
of a violent sociopath, but also struggles with depression and is
prone to panic attacks. He seeks treatment from
Dr. Jennifer Melfi
Dr. Jennifer Melfi in
the first episode and remains in therapy on and off up until the
penultimate episode of the series.
Gandolfini garnered enormous praise for his portrayal of the
character, winning three Emmy Awards for Best Lead Actor in a Drama
Series, three Screen Actors Guild Awards for Best Male Actor in a
Drama Series and a
Golden Globe Award
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television
Series Drama as well as two additional SAG Awards for Best Performance
by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
Fictional character biography
1.1 Early life
1.2 Narrated killings committed by Tony Soprano
1.3 As a father
1.4 Interests and hobbies
1.6 Extramarital affairs
3 See also
5 External links
Fictional character biography
Tony Soprano was born in 1959, to Livia and Johnny Soprano. His father
was a capo in the DiMeo crime family. He grew up living with his
parents and two sisters, Janice and Barbara, in the Ironbound
neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey. Tony's paternal grandfather,
Corrado Soprano Sr., was an Italian immigrant and master stonemason
who helped to build a church in Tony's old neighborhood.
In adulthood, Tony recalls how Johnny used Janice as a cover for
attending meetings with criminal associates at a children's amusement
park, leading him to assume she was his father's favorite child. In
therapy, when asked to remember happy childhood memories about his
mother, Tony struggles to come up with any; he later describes his
mother as a cruel, joyless woman who wore his father down "to a little
nub". Tony has a troubled relationship with Janice, because she is
always asking him for money and once tried to sell Livia's house by
herself. Tony is also forced to dispose of the body of Janice's
re-acquainted boyfriend, Richie Aprile, after she killed him.
In high school, Tony met his future bride Carmela DeAngelis, and
became friends with
Artie Bucco and Davey Scatino. He was also close
to his cousin Tony "Tony B" Blundetto, and their mutual relatives
called them Tony-Uncle-Al and Tony-Uncle-Johnny (after their fathers)
to tell them apart. The two Tonys spent summers at the farm of their
uncle Pat Blundetto, a DiMeo soldato (soldier). Tony B was arrested
for his part in a hijacking when the two Tonys were young men. Tony
was supposed to join Tony B on the job, but failed to appear because
of a panic attack after an argument with his mother. At the time, he
told people he had been attacked and injured by black gangsters. He
Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University for a semester and a half before
dropping out to pursue a life of crime.
Tony was part of an unofficial crew of young criminals consisting of
Silvio Dante, Ralph Cifaretto, and
Jackie Aprile, Sr.
Jackie Aprile, Sr. He and Jackie
gained notoriety in the DiMeo family by robbing a card game run by
Feech La Manna. He committed his first murder in 1982 at the age of
22, killing a small-time bookie named Willie Overall. In season one,
Tony states that he knew real-life Mafia boss
John Gotti in the 1980s.
(this was a joke played on his golf companions who were mystified by
Tony's mafia ties, it is unclear if Tony knew Gotti or not)
Johnny shepherded Tony through his ascendancy until his death in 1986
from emphysema. When he died, Johnny had risen to the level of capo of
his own crew, as had his older brother, Junior. Junior took over as
Tony's mentor and parental figure Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero
and Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri passed their loyalty to Tony upon
Johnny's death, while Silvio joined the crew. Tony became acting capo
of his father's old crew, a position which eventually became
Jackie Aprile, Sr.
Jackie Aprile, Sr. became acting boss after Ercole "Eckley"
DiMeo was sent to prison. The DiMeo family was prosperous under
Jackie's rule until 1998, when he was diagnosed with intestinal
cancer. With Jackie in and out of the hospital, a power struggle
develops between Tony and Junior. With Jackie's death in mid-1999, a
succession crisis reaches a point where a war within the family
appears imminent. However, Tony brings a quick end to the conflict by
making Junior the official boss of the family. Junior would
unknowingly act as the lightning rod for the Feds, while Tony would
run the family from behind the scenes as a de facto boss starting in
Narrated killings committed by Tony Soprano
Tony has personally committed eight murders in the show. Furthermore,
as a Boss, he is responsible for the deaths of others killed on his
orders. The eight known murders, all explicitly presented onscreen,
Willie Overall, shot and killed by Tony to "make his bones" (become a
made man) (1982, in "Remember When").
Fabian "Febby" Petrulio, strangled by Tony for ratting out members of
Paulie and Pussy's crew and joining the witness protection program
(1999, in "College").
Chucky Signore, shot and killed by Tony for conspiring to kill him
with Junior (1999, in "I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano").
Matthew Bevilaqua, killed by Tony and
Big Pussy for attempting to kill
Christopher Moltisanti (Tony's protégé and cousin in-law) (2000, in
"From Where to Eternity").
Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, executed by Tony, Silvio, and
Paulie on a yacht, after they discovered that he was an
(2000, in "Funhouse").
Ralph Cifaretto, choked/bludgeoned to death in a fight over Ralph's
supposedly killing their prize-winning race horse "Pie-O-My" for
insurance money. (2002, in "Whoever Did This").
Tony Blundetto, shot and killed by Tony with a shotgun for the
unauthorized killings of Joe Peeps and Billy Leotardo, in order to
spare him from being the subject of torture from
Phil Leotardo in
revenge for his brother's death, as well as spare his own crew from
the threat of retaliation (2004, in "All Due Respect").
Christopher Moltisanti, suffocated by Tony, following a major car
accident with Christopher as the driver and Tony as the passenger,
Christopher revealed that he was still using drugs and was worried
about going to the hospital (2007, in "Kennedy and Heidi").
It is made clear that some of these murders leave Tony perplexed as to
how to cope with the situation; most notably, after murdering
Christopher Moltisanti, he feels a rush of relief for finally being
rid of an associate whom he feels he can no longer trust. He has to
"show the sad face" while the rest of the family grieves, but Tony
reassures himself that Moltisanti's murder was necessary, despite the
hurt caused to the family.
The murder of Fabian "Febby" Petrulio in "College" is out of
retaliation for Febby getting members of Tony's crew killed in prison
when he ratted them out to get immunity. Tony does this out of a
feeling of justice since he has contempt for Febby getting away with
The murder of "Big Pussy" in "Funhouse" weighs heavily on Tony. He is
at first tempted to spare his old friend, and even seems to be in
denial for quite a long time, but in the end realizes his priorities.
In the years to follow, Tony—along with Silvio and Paulie—have
haunting dreams of the murder of their friend.
Ralph Cifaretto after their horse, Pie-O-My, dies amid
suspicious circumstances in "Whoever Did This". Tony tries to confront
Ralph about the situation but, after some heated words, Tony loses
control and murders Ralph following a violent fight. Though no solid
proof was found that the fire killing
Pie-O-My was arson, Tony is
convinced Ralph did it. It is also implied that this burst of rage
could have been fueled by delayed revenge for Ralph's brutal murder of
stripper Tracee, considering Tony uttered "She was a beautiful,
innocent creature. What'd she ever do to you? You fucking killed
her!", which could apply to both the female horse and the young woman.
The murder of
Matthew Bevilaqua is vengeance, an act that had to be
carried out since the fact that Christopher was shot was a direct
affront to him as Boss. Tony takes satisfaction in it, as it is
revenge for an attempt on the life of one of his relatives. He is
however still uneasy about the murder due to Bevilaqua's young age.
The murder of his cousin,
Tony Blundetto (in "All Due Respect"), is
solely to save him from a far worse death if he were to fall into
Phil's hands, and so that Tony does not lose his reputation as a Boss
(as well as sparing the other members of his own crew from Phil's
threats of retaliation, thus preserving their loyalty).
The murder of his nephew,
Christopher Moltisanti (in "Kennedy and
Heidi") is not done out of mob-related necessity. Christopher had been
addicted to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol for many years and had not
conquered his addiction in rehab. While Moltisanti presents a threat
to Tony's life and the
New Jersey Mob, it is ultimately an emotional
reaction. Tony is about to call 911 following a motor vehicle
accident. Christopher, who obviously needs urgent medical attention,
tells him that he would "never pass the drug test" and would therefore
lose his driver's license. He asks Tony to call for a taxi. Tony looks
at the baby seat on the backseat of the SUV which had been destroyed
by a tree branch, closes his phone, and suffocates Christopher by
holding his nose shut so that he chokes to death on his own blood.
Tony does not plan to murder Christopher but sees the opportunity
after the car accident. Tony is never suspected of this murder.
As a father
Tony has two children:
Meadow Soprano and Anthony (A.J.) Soprano. He
also treats Christopher Moltisanti, his wife's first cousin once
removed, as a son in many ways.
Tony is often portrayed as a loving father—he attends his children's
sporting events on a regular basis and does all he can to ensure they
have luxuries and opportunities. He hopes that both his children will
escape the life of crime he has led. Tony takes great pride in
Meadow's achievements. In Season 1, he is moved to tears by her
performance at a choir recital. He often tells people about her
aspiration to become a pediatrician.
He also sometimes alienates his children with his behavior. He has
always tried to conceal his criminal life from them—something that
Meadow saw through early on and A.J. also realizes with guidance from
Tony's over-protectiveness of Meadow leads to feuds between them on
several occasions. For example, her first boyfriend at college is of
Jewish ancestry, and Tony's racism leads him to try to drive
him away. Meadow learns of her father's actions and does not speak to
him for several months, eventually reconciling at Christmas in 2001.
Meadow's next boyfriend is Jackie Aprile Jr., the son of Tony's old
friend, the late
Jackie Aprile Sr.
Jackie Aprile Sr. Tony had promised Jackie Jr.'s
father that he would keep his son out of the Mafia life. Tony is
initially pleased with the relationship, believing Jackie to be a
hard-working pre-med student from a good family. However, since
Jackie's uncle Richie Aprile's release from prison and subsequent
death, Tony realizes that Jackie had become more involved in the Mafia
when he sees him at strip clubs and a casino. He eventually beats
Jackie up to warn him about abusing his daughter's feelings and
confiscates his gun. Tony begins seeing much of himself and his
treatment of Carmela in Jackie's relationship with Meadow. Jackie is
killed by Vito for his involvement in a robbery at Christopher's and
Furio's executive card game, and for shooting a made man, Furio. This
drives Meadow to drinking and depression, although they'd broken up
shortly before his death.
After Jackie's death, Tony accepts Meadow's college friends and gets
along well with her fiancé, Finn, before the two separate under
When Meadow is out for dinner with her "mystery" boyfriend Patrick
Parisi, New York mob member Coco walks up to the table and makes drunk
remarks about her looks and how "Tony must love tucking you in at
night". After taking advice from her mother, Meadow tells Tony, who
hides his rage and says Coco is "harmless" and "an idiot". Tony then
tracks down Coco and
Butch DeConcini at John's Restaurant on East 12th
Street in Manhattan. Tony viciously pistol-whips Coco several times
with a snubnose revolver and warns Butch at gunpoint to shut up and
remain seated at his table. After breaking off some of Coco's teeth
with a curb stomp, Tony leaves the restaurant.
Tony's feelings toward his son are mixed; he worries about his future.
From the beginning, Tony has doubts that his son could succeed in the
Dr. Melfi "he'd never make it". His fears are confirmed
as A.J. consistently demonstrates throughout the series that he lacks
his father's cunning and dominating persona. Tony tells A.J. numerous
times that he is proud that his son is gentle and kind. Tony is
especially proud of A.J.'s prowess on the football field, even amid
his failing grades in high school, but is frustrated with A.J.'s lack
of focus after graduation.
After flunking out of Ramapo State, A.J. loafs around the house,
parties, and for a time holds a job at Blockbuster, until his father
gets him a job working construction. There, A.J. meets Blanca, and in
Tony's opinion, A.J. does well until he and Blanca break up. Tony
worries about A.J.'s depression, the "rotten putrid Soprano gene" that
Tony believes he passed down to his son.
Hoping to get A.J. back on track, Tony rekindles A.J.'s friendship
with "the Jasons", sons of two of his associates, and A.J. seems to be
doing better. With the help of a therapist and medication, A.J. is
finally getting back to college, this time at Rutgers University, to
take classes and party with girls as Tony believes every college kid
should. This later turns sour after A.J. sees his new friends attack a
Somalian student on a bike and he regresses into depression. A.J.
tries to drown himself in a swimming pool, but decides he wants to
live; he is unable to escape the pool, however. Tony hears his cries
for help and rescues him. After A.J. is released from a mental health
ward, Tony and Carmela dissuade him from joining the Army, and
convince him instead to become involved in a film bankrolled by
Carmine Lupertazzi Jr., with the possibility of opening his own club.
Interests and hobbies
Tony is an avid animal lover, and enjoys feeding the ducks which visit
his pool. He has a sentimental attachment towards animals, as he had
been traumatized by the loss of his childhood dog (as revealed in the
episode "In Camelot"), whose name was "Tippy". When he goes to
confront Angie Bonpensiero as she's walking her poodle, the dog greets
Tony in a friendly manner, which Tony reciprocates. During Christopher
Moltisanti's intervention, when Tony hears Christopher accidentally
suffocated Adrianna's dog, he is furious, saying, "I oughta suffocate
you, you little prick!" He becomes involved in horse racing through
his friend Hesh Rabkin, who owns a stable, and invests in a racehorse
named Pie-O-My. When his horse is killed in a fire – possibly set by
Ralph Cifaretto – Tony is deeply upset and saddened and kills
Cifaretto, yelling: "She was a beautiful innocent creature. What did
she ever do to you?" He repeats "You fucking killed her!", while
banging Cifaretto's head against the floor. When informed by Carmela
that a black bear has been foraging in his home's backyard while they
were separated, during Season 5, he reacts with interest, rather than
fear. During his stay in the hospital after his
shooting, he can be seen reading a book about dinosaurs, given by
Carmela. In the series finale, Tony finds a stray cat at his safehouse
during the war with New York and takes a liking to it. He brings it
back to Satriale's, where it stares at the deceased Chris Moltisanti's
photo (much to Paulie's dismay).
Tony is seen many times over the course of the show engaging in both
freshwater and saltwater angling. His son Anthony Jr. sometimes
accompanies him on fishing outings. During the second season he
presents his son with a Fenwick rod and a Penn International reel,
both extremely high quality products. In the sixth season, while in
Florida with Paulie, he rents a sport fishing boat. He is sometimes
haunted by visions of Pussy Bonpensiero incarnated in the form of a
fish – presumably a reference to the disposal of his body in the
Big Mouth Billy Bass novelty singing fish, brought into the
Bada Bing by Georgie and another later presented to him as a Christmas
present by his daughter Meadow, recall his nightmare and disturb him
Throughout the series, Tony is shown to be a frequent cigar smoker, as
well as an occasional cigarette smoker. He can be seen smoking a cigar
during important events, such as shortly before being told of his
mother's death and when disposing of Ralph Cifaretto's corpse. in the
Season 1 episode "A Hit Is a Hit", he gives his doctor and
next-door-neighbor Bruce Cusamano a box of Cuban cigars as a thank-you
present for referring him to Dr. Melfi.
He is also a gun enthusiast and is shown to have an arsenal in his
home. He gives guns as birthday gifts to his father-in-law Hugh
DeAngelis (in "Marco Polo") and receives one from Bobby Baccialieri on
his own birthday (in "Soprano Home Movies").
Tony enjoys sports, particularly baseball, football, basketball, golf,
and horse racing. He played baseball and football at West Essex High
School, and is a fan of the
New York Yankees
New York Yankees and New York Jets. He has
taken A.J. to
New Jersey Nets and
New Jersey Devils games occasionally
throughout the series. Some objects and posters in A.J.'s room confirm
this. He plays golf with
John Sacrimoni at Upper Montclair Country
Club. A large portion of his income is derived from illegal sports
Tony is an amateur yachtsman and has owned two motor yachts over the
course of the show: Stugots and Stugots II. The name comes from the
Southern Italian phrase stu cazz meaning "This dick",
or in paraphrase, "Fuck it".
Tony maintains an avid interest in history, particularly World War II.
Throughout seasons 4 and 5, Tony is seen watching Vietnam War
documentaries. He is a big fan of President John F.
Kennedy and owns one of his captain sailor hats, which he won at an
auction. He is often shown watching programs on the History Channel
about great leaders such as George S. Patton, Erwin Rommel, and
Winston Churchill. He reads
The Art of War
The Art of War by Sun Tzu, which is quoted
by several other characters on the show, particularly Paulie
Tony is often seen watching classic mob films. For example, he is
The Public Enemy
The Public Enemy (1931) throughout the episode
"Proshai, Livushka", which addresses his mother's death. He also
shares a love for
The Godfather series (wondering what went wrong in
the third installment).
Tony listens to classic rock and pop music, particularly of the 1960s
and 70s. Over the course of the show he is seen to enjoy AC/DC, Deep
Purple, Eagles, Eric Clapton, Jefferson Airplane, Jethro Tull,
Journey, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Rush, Steely Dan, The Clash, The
Chi-Lites, The Lost Boys, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and Van
Like most of the mobsters in the series, Tony is shown to be partial
Cadillac and Lincoln vehicles. When discussing with
Dr. Melfi a
bizarre dream in which his penis falls off, he mentions that he went
to the guy who used to "work on my Lincoln, when I drove Lincolns".
For the first four seasons, Tony drives a burgundy 1999 Chevrolet
Suburban LT 4x4, but in season 5, this has been replaced with a black
Cadillac Escalade ESV. This black Escalade is totaled in an accident,
and quickly replaced with a white Escalade ESV. Tony has this Escalade
until the end of the series.
Throughout the series Tony is shown to be a serial adulterer. He
typically has mistresses whom he consistently sees for long periods of
time, though he also has a number of brief one-night stands with
strippers from the Bada Bing.
His wife Carmela is tacitly aware of his infidelity and usually views
it as a form of masturbation, though sometimes the bottled-up tensions
explode in domestic arguments. At the end of Season 4, Irina
telephones Carmela in a jealous rage at Tony's cheating on her with
her cousin Svetlana, which causes Carmela to finally snap. Carmela
throws Tony out of the house and begins divorce proceedings.
Tony has a strong preference for women of European, particularly
Italian descent, with dark hair and eyes and exotic features. His
mistresses have been, in chronological order, of Russian (Irina and
later Svetlana), Italian (Gloria Trillo), Italian/Cuban (Valentina La
Jewish descent (Julianna Skiff). He favors dark features but
also has a few brief flings with blonde American European women,
including a stewardess from Icelandic Airways and a medical assistant.
He has one very short encounter with an
Asian-American escort during
"The Test Dream".
Irina Peltsin – a young Russian woman whom he sees consistently
throughout the first two seasons. She is a severe alcoholic and
frequently calls Tony's house when drunk, and when Carmela hints that
she knows that he is seeing her, he breaks off the relationship. After
her failed suicide attempt, Tony sends Silvio to give her a money
compensation of $75,000 and try to reason her into moving on with her
Gloria Trillo – an
Mercedes-Benz saleswoman with
stylish tastes. Tony dates her throughout Season 3 after meeting her
at Dr. Melfi's office (
Dr. Melfi repeatedly expresses her disapproval
of their relationship, knowing it will likely turn out a disaster). He
eventually stops seeing her when she begins stalking him and calling
his house, while exhibiting manipulative behaviours reminding him of
his own mother (which is foreshadowed very early on when she teases
him by saying "poor you", jokingly at first). He also understands
through Dr. Melfi's hints that Gloria is trying to use him as a means
to commit suicide (akin to the suicide by cop phenomenon). Tony asks
Patsy Parisi to threaten her (Parisi tells her that, if she tries
again to harass Tony, the last face she'll see will be his, not
Tony's, and that "it won't be cinematic"). It turns out that it throws
her over the edge as she commits suicide soon afterwards, hanging
herself. This greatly upsets Tony, who blames it on himself as well as
Valentina La Paz – a beautiful art dealer of Italian and Cuban
descent, initially the mistress of Ralph Cifaretto. Tony dates her
throughout Season 4. They share a love of horses, and she visits
Pie-O-My at the stable with Tony. She accidentally sets her robe on
fire in Season 5 while cooking eggs for Tony. Shortly thereafter he
decides to get back together with Carmela, and he breaks up with
Valentina while she is in the hospital recovering from second degree
burns to her head, face, and arm. Tony offers to take care of any cost
related to her treatment, but their relationship ends on bad terms.
Svetlana Kirilenko – the maternal cousin of Tony's ex-comàre Irina
and the manager of a home care nursing business. During her childhood,
Svetlana developed an osteosarcoma in her leg which was amputated soon
afterwards. Tony comments that she looks like the actress Greta Garbo.
She was first hired as Livia Soprano's nurse since Janice had left
town. Svetlana resurfaces as Uncle Junior's nurse after he suffers a
fall at the courthouse. One afternoon while Uncle Junior is asleep,
Tony has sex with Svetlana on Junior's sofa but they are caught by
Junior's nurse, Branca. Irina soon finds out about this and informs
Carmela about the affair, prompting Carmela's violent confrontation of
Tony and their ultimate separation. Svetlana later tells Tony that
Branca told Irina about their affair after an argument over Svetlana's
Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax
Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax and other taxes
from her paycheck. Tony admires Svetlana for her toughness of spirit
and her refusal to allow her disability and misfortune to get in the
way of her ambitions. Arguably, Svetlana is the most psychologically
balanced of all Tony's extramarital affairs.
Julianna Skiff – a real estate developer of
Jewish descent. She
meets Tony in Season 6 when offering to buy a building that he owns,
to be converted into a Jamba Juice. They later begin an affair, along
with a business relationship, but never consummate their relationship
sexually; Tony backs off and decides to be faithful to Carmela, who
stuck with him after the shooting and seems re-devoted to him.
Julianna eventually dates
Christopher Moltisanti and the two begin a
very destructive, co-dependent drug habit; she is last seen attending
Christopher's funeral service, where she mentions that they had split
Tony has suffered from panic attacks that sometimes cause him to lose
consciousness since his childhood. He has his first on-screen panic
attack while cooking sausages at his son's birthday party—this
occurs in a flashback in the pilot episode. Tony loses consciousness
and causes a small explosion when he drops a bottle of lighter fluid
onto the coals. Tony describes the experience of the panic attack as
feeling like he had "ginger ale in his skull". This prompts him to
seek help for the attacks. After extensive testing that includes an
MRI scan and blood work, no physical cause can be found, so Dr.
Cusamano refers Tony to psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi.
Tony's therapy allows a discussion of his thoughts and feelings away
from both aspects of his life—this forum for reaching into the
character's thoughts has been described as a Greek chorus, and as a
key for viewers to understand the character.
Tony is initially very resistant to the idea that there was a
psychiatric cause for his symptoms. He resents being in therapy, and
refuses to accept the diagnosis of panic attacks given him by the
neurologists who had investigated his illness. Tony begins to open up
Dr. Melfi explains the doctor-patient confidentiality rules. He
tells her about the stress of his business life—he has a feeling
that he has come in at the end of something, and describes a reverence
for the glorified "old days" of the Mafia. Tony leaves out the
violence associated with his criminal career. Tony tells
Dr. Melfi a
story about ducks landing in his pool. He describes his mother Livia,
a cold, mean-spirited woman with whom he has an openly hostile
relationship. By the end of the first session Tony has admitted that
he feels depressed, but storms out when
Dr. Melfi presses him further
about the relationship between his symptoms and the ducks.
When the family visits Green Grove, a
Nursing Home where Tony is
trying to place his mother, Livia's derisive outburst prompts a second
panic attack. Melfi prescribes
Prozac as an anti-depressant, telling
him that no one needs to suffer from depression with the wonders of
modern pharmacology. Tony fails to attend their next scheduled
At their next session, Tony is still reluctant to face his own
psychological weaknesses. Tony is quick to credit the medication for
his improved mood, but
Dr. Melfi tells him it cannot be that, as it
takes six weeks to work—she credits their therapy sessions. Tony
describes a dream where a bird steals his penis. Melfi extrapolates
that Tony has projected his love for his family onto the family of
ducks living in his pool. This brings him to tears, to his
consternation. She tells him that their flight from the pool sparked
his panic attack through the overwhelming fear of somehow losing his
In the episode "46 Long", they continue discussing Tony's mother and
her difficulties living alone. Tony admits that he feels guilty
because his mother could not be allowed to live with his family. We
learn that he has been left to care for his mother alone by his
Dr. Melfi asks him to remember good experiences from his
childhood, he has difficulty. He blames Carmela for preventing his
mother from living with them. Later they discuss Livia's car accident,
and Melfi suggests depression may have contributed to the accident –
Tony misunderstands her and becomes angry. Tony has a panic attack
while visiting his mother's home after she moves to Green Grove. In a
Dr. Melfi pushes Tony to admit he has feelings of anger
towards his mother, and he again storms out. During this episode Tony
introduces the concept of him acting like the sad clown – happy on
the outside but sad on the inside.
In "Denial, Anger, Acceptance", Tony discusses Jackie's cancer with
Dr. Melfi. She tries to use it as an example of Tony's negative
thinking contributing to his depression. Tony becomes angry and storms
out. He feels she is trying to trick him and manipulate his thoughts
using the pictures that decorate her office. After Jackie worsens and
Tony is called a
Frankenstein by a business associate, he returns to
therapy to discuss these things with Dr. Melfi. She asks him if he
feels like a monster.
In "Fortunate Son", Tony discusses a childhood memory of an early
panic attack. He saw his father and uncle mutilate Mr. Satriale, the
local butcher, and later fainted at a family dinner made with free
meat from Satriale's shop.
Dr. Melfi makes a connection between meat
and Tony's panic attacks. She explores his mother's attitude to the
fruits of his father's labor.
Dr. Melfi tries prescribing
Lithium as a mood stabilizer. In the
episode "Isabella", Tony sinks into a severe depressive episode and
experiences hallucinations—he sees a beautiful Italian woman named
Isabella in his neighbor's garden. Tony sees Isabella several times
during the episode, and later learns that she never existed. Melfi
theorizes that Isabella was an idealized maternal figure that Tony's
subconscious produced because he was deeply upset about his own
mother's actions at the time.
In "I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano", Tony abruptly ends his therapy and
Dr. Melfi to go into hiding when he discovers that Uncle
Junior has found out about their sessions.
The relationship between Tony and
Dr. Melfi is up-and-down, with Tony
reaching a level of comfort with
Dr. Melfi that he has never
experienced with anyone else before, not even his wife. This closeness
leads Tony to have something of a "crush" on Dr. Melfi, something that
is unattainable. However, the "prying" from
Dr. Melfi is uncomfortable
for Tony and he often turns sarcastic and antagonistic towards her,
leading to an ongoing strain in their relationship. In the episode
when Tony's sister, Janice, goes back to Seattle, it is revealed
during a rushed conversation between Janice and Tony that their mother
suffers from narcissistic personality disorder.
During the episode "The Second Coming", aired in part II of season
six, Melfi's own therapist suggests to her that her work with Tony
could be considered enabling toward Tony's sociopathic tendencies.
Finally, in the penultimate episode of the series, "The Blue Comet",
Melfi severs her relationship with Tony after reading research
recommended by her own therapist that indicates sociopaths can use
talk therapy to improve their skills in manipulating others, and use
what is learned in therapy to become more capable criminals.
In the first season, Tony is attacked by William Johnson "Petite"
Clayborn and Rasheen Ray, two hitmen sent by
Donnie Paduana to execute
Tony. Tony sustains an injury to his ear, which is partially shot off,
and minor bruises and cuts from crashing his vehicle. One of the two
assailants, Clayborn, is shot dead by Ray in an attempt to kill Tony,
and Ray is left bruised, but runs off.
In the premiere of the sixth season, "Members Only", Junior Soprano,
suffering from dementia, believes Tony to be "Little Pussy" Malanga,
and shoots him in the abdomen. Tony dials 911 but loses consciousness
before being able to tell the operator what happened.
The second episode of the sixth season, "Join the Club", Tony is in a
medically induced coma in the hospital. In the second and third
episode the viewer sees Tony in a dream-like state, eventually
arriving at what could be purgatory, where he is greeted by a man who
takes the physical form of his late cousin Tony Blundetto. The shadowy
figure in the doorway of the house has the profile of his mother, who
is dead. The voice of a younger version of his daughter calls him
back. At the end of the third episode, he awakes from his coma in a
confused but stable state.
By the fourth episode, Tony is mobile and fully aware, and has
regained his voice. Tony's attitude to life is changed by his near
death experience. He has yet to discuss his experiences while
unconscious with anyone close to him. However, in the Season 6 episode
"Kaisha", he admits to
Phil Leotardo (who had just suffered a heart
attack), that while he was in a coma, he went to a place where he
never wants to go again. While talking philosophy with John Schwinn,
another patient at the hospital, he mentions that while in the coma he
had the experience of being drawn towards somewhere he did not want to
go and narrowly avoided it.
In the sixth episode of season 6, part 2, "Kennedy and Heidi", Tony
sustains minor injuries in a car accident that seriously injures his
nephew, Christopher Moltisanti. Tony suffocates Christopher after this
accident. Tony is on bed rest for a few days and quickly recovers.
Nonetheless, this gives his family quite a scare and a painful memory
of his nearly fatal shooting the previous year.
Tony sometimes has vivid dreams that are shown to the viewer. Episodes
with dream sequences include "Pax Soprana", "Isabella", "Funhouse",
"Everybody Hurts", "Calling All Cars", and "The Test Dream".
In the pilot, Tony tells
Dr. Melfi about a dream he had wherein a
screw in his belly button, when removed, causes his penis to fall off.
He tries to find a car mechanic (who had worked on his Lincoln when
Tony drove Lincolns) to put it back on, but a duck swoops down and
snatches it from his hand.
In "Meadowlands", Tony has a dream that several people in his life are
present in Dr. Melfi's office: Herman "Hesh" Rabkin scrolling by the
window, A. J. behind the door,
Silvio Dante having sex with a woman in
the waiting room, and
Paulie Walnuts and
Big Pussy reading Chinese
newspapers. This causes him to worry that people will find out he is
seeing a psychiatrist. The dream ends with Tony confronting Melfi,
Jackie Aprile, Sr.
Jackie Aprile, Sr. in his death bed smoking a cigarette, asking
Tony, "You smell that? That's rain," and only to find out that Melfi
is his mother, Livia.
In "Pax Soprana", Tony has several dreams and fantasies about Dr.
Melfi. He becomes convinced that he is in love with her, but she turns
him down when he makes advances towards her.
In "Isabella", Tony, suffering from depression after Big Pussy
disappears, acquaints himself with a dental student named Isabella who
is staying in the Cusamano home while they are on vacation. He later
discovers that he'd hallucinated Isabella due to taking too much
lithium, and that Isabella represented the mother he never had.
In "Funhouse", an extended dream sequence exposes many of Tony's
subconscious thoughts and feelings through symbolic and sometimes
bizarre events: he attempts suicide to preempt a doctor's diagnosis of
early death by dousing himself in gasoline and lighting himself on
fire; he witnesses himself shooting Paulie "Walnuts" Gaultieri to
death during a card game; he has an innuendo-laden conversation with
Dr. Melfi while sporting a prominent erection; and a
fish that speaks with the voice of Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero
confirms his suspicions that the longtime friend and soldier is a
In "Everybody Hurts", Tony dreams of his ex-comaré Gloria Trillo
shortly after learning of her suicide by hanging. He visits her
apartment and finds her in a black dress with a black scarf around her
neck. She is cooking dinner, and when she goes over to the oven the
scarf drapes across Tony. Plaster falls down in front of Tony and when
he looks up, he sees that the chandelier is almost pulled out of the
ceiling. Gloria is suddenly back at the table and offers Tony a choice
between seeing what she has under her dress or under her scarf. As she
begins to peel away the scarf, Tony wakes up and makes his way to the
bathroom for some medication.
In "Calling All Cars", Tony has two dreams featuring Ralph Cifaretto.
In the first, he is being driven by Carmela in the back of his
father's old car while Ralph sits in the passenger seat. There is a
caterpillar crawling on the back of Ralph's head. Tony's fellow
passenger in the back seat changes—
Gloria Trillo and Svetlana
Kirilenko are both seen. The caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Dr.
Melfi later tells him that the dream signifies a change for Ralphie
(recently killed by Tony) and Carmela being in control, which Tony
In the second dream, Tony follows Ralph to an old house, which Ralph
enters. Tony is dressed in trousers, suspenders, and an undershirt. He
knocks on the door and a female figure descends slowly in shadow; the
door creaks ominously. Tony says he is there for the stonemason job
but does not speak English well (Tony's grandfather was an immigrant
stonemason). Just as Tony is about to enter the house, he wakes up.
In "The Test Dream", Tony comes to terms with having to kill his
cousin Tony Blundetto. The episode reflects on his inner demons and
fears, including his children's future, his relationship with his
wife, his infidelities, deceased acquaintances—including some who
have died by his hand or by his orders—his fate, and his
relationship with his father. He is again shown in his father's old
car, accompanied by a range of past associates.
In "Join the Club", a comatose Tony finds himself in an alternate
universe where he is a law-abiding salesman on a business trip. Among
other differences, his accent has changed and his hotel's bartender
condescends to him (in sharp contrast to the bartender at The Bing,
who is a recurring punching bag for Tony). Tony has mistakenly taken
another man's briefcase – Kevin Finnerty's – along with all of his
identification and work. The episode follows his attempts to discern
his identity, recover his briefcase, and get back to his family.
In "Kennedy and Heidi", a stressed
Tony Soprano has a dream following
the death of Christopher Moltisanti. In this dream, he tells his
therapist that Christopher was a burden and that he is relieved that
he was dead. After that he also tells her that he murdered Big Pussy
and his cousin Tony Blundetto. Following the dream, he acts
differently to his friends and family, trying to see if they also feel
relieved now that Christopher is dead.
Following Gandolfini's death on June 19, 2013, Gandolfini's portrayal
of Soprano was praised for its influence on subsequent other TV
TV Guide columnist Matt Roush stated, "Without Tony,
Vic Mackey of The Shield, no
Al Swearengen of Deadwood, no
Don Draper of Mad Men" (whose creator, Matthew Weiner, honed his craft
as a writer on The Sopranos). Similar testimonials were included by
his co-stars and colleagues;
Bryan Cranston stated that his Breaking
Bad character, Walter White, would not have existed without Tony
Fictional characters portal
Television in the United States portal
^ "James Gandolfini". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-09-21.
^ William Bender, "The Last Aria of Tony Soprano", The New York Times,
February 26, 2006
^ Roush, Matt (July 1, 2013). "A Soprano's Swan Song". TV Guide. pp.
HBO Character Profile: Tony Soprano
"Denial, Anger, Acceptance"
"The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti"
"A Hit Is a Hit"
"Nobody Knows Anything"
"I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano"
"Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office..."
"Do Not Resuscitate"
"Big Girls Don't Cry"
"The Happy Wanderer"
"Full Leather Jacket"
"From Where to Eternity"
"The Knight in White Satin Armor"
"Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood"
"Employee of the Month"
"He Is Risen"
"The Telltale Moozadell"
"...To Save Us All from Satan's Power"
"Army of One"
"For All Debts Public and Private"
"Watching Too Much Television"
"Mergers and Acquisitions"
"Whoever Did This"
"The Strong, Silent Type"
"Calling All Cars"
"All Happy Families..."
"Irregular Around the Margins"
"The Test Dream"
"Long Term Parking"
"All Due Respect"
"Join the Club"
"The Fleshy Part of the Thigh"
"Mr. & Mrs.
John Sacrimoni Request..."
"Live Free or Die"
"Moe n' Joe"
"Soprano Home Movies"
"Walk Like a Man"
"Kennedy and Heidi"
"The Second Coming"
"The Blue Comet"
"Made in America"
Big Pussy Bonpensiero
Anthony Soprano, Jr.
Adriana La Cerva
Jackie Aprile Jr.
Soprano crime family
Lupertazzi crime family
Friends and family
Satriale's Pork Store
Awards and nominations
The Sopranos: Road to Respect