Sunday, June 10, 2007

Six Pack of Mob Hits on The Sopranos

Friends of ours: Soprano Crime Family

The characters who inhabit the modern mob world of The Sopranos endure a precarious existence. Death lurks around every corner - taunting even the most firmly established players. And when these sad saps eventually meet their makers, we find it incredibly hard to turn away. So in honor of the HBO show's finale (9 p.m. Sunday), we're paying tribute to the whackings that kept us buzzing around the water cooler. Here's a chronological list of the hits that were especially hard to forget.

1. Richie Aprile (Season 2): Janice Soprano may have fallen prey to some bad men in her life, but she's nobody's punching bag. So when former fiance Aprile administered a few blows before dinner one night, Janice retaliated by calmly firing two shots into his chest. Little brother Tony helped clean up the mess, sending Aprile to the chopping block at Satriale's and loose cannon Janice back to Seattle.

2. Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero (Season 2): Talk about a fateful trip. When Tony learned that his most beloved crew member had turned FBI informant, he invited him on a boat ride into the abyss. But hand it to Pussy for facing death like a man. After failing to talk his way out of the situation, he asked his executioners for one saving grace: to avoid shooting him in the face. Tony and his captains riddled his body with bullets instead and cast him overboard, dooming him to spend eternity swimming with the fishes.

3. Ralph Cifaretto (Season 4): A victim of one of the longest, most gruesome, most deserved beatings of the series, a drawn-out, drag-out brawl that ended with Cifaretto's head being stuffed into a bowling bag. And the worst part? The secretly bald (and apparently vain) Cifaretto (who drew Tony's wrath for allegedly killing the racehorse Pie-O-My) was buried without his wig.

4. Adriana La Cerva (Season 5): Poor, naive Ade. Believing love could conquer all, the show's hottest Mafia girlfriend turned mole confessed to her beloved Christufuh, hoping the made man would agree to life in the witness protection program. Instead, he ratted her out to his one true love. The last we saw of her, Adriana was crying and crawling away from a gun-wielding Silvio Dante in the middle of the woods, shots filling the air as her desperate face faded from the screen.

5. Tony Blundetto (Season 5): Call it a mercy killing. Blundetto was doomed the minute he rubbed out Phil Leotardo's brother, Billy. Though he initially rebuked Phil's call for retribution, Tony eventually did the deed himself, saving his cousin from a far more brutal death. Blundetto's demise came quickly, after Tony surprised him at a farmhouse hideout with a shot in the face.

6. Christopher Moltisanti (Season 6): In the end, Tony turned on his most loyal soldier, sure that his nephew had become his biggest liability. When Christopher, high on heroin, crashed his car on a deserted road, Tony decided to solve his problem, suffocating the severely injured Moltisanti and never shedding a tear.

Thanks to Erika Gonzalez

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