A blow-by-blow of the ''Sopranos'' body count. Whatever happened to Pussy? Why was Jackie Jr. killed? We killed for the truth
Vincent Pastore, The Sopranos
Credit: Sopranos Illustration by Robert Risko
James Gandolfini

”Woke up this morning…got yourself a gun,” drones ”The Sopranos”’ opening theme — and sure as shootin’, whenever push comes to shove in a Family grudge match, out come firearms to settle the score. Eulogizing nearly two dozen victims from the first three seasons — many of them peripheral riffraff (like double-dealing drug dealers and dumb wiseguy wannabes) — would be as tedious as a sermon by Father Phil. But here’s a blow-by-blow on the most flabbergasting major kills:

TARGET Michael Palmice (it rhymes with fleecy), a.k.a. Mikey ”Grab Bag” Palmice. WHO HE WAS Natty consigliere to Uncle Junior. WHY HE HAD TO GO He was Junior’s major accomplice targeting Tony. THE BLOODY END On an early-morning jog, Palmice sees Christopher and Paulie Walnuts drive up behind him. He bolts, they chase him into the woods, he trips in a stream, and blam blam blam — multiple shots to the chest. IRONIC POSTSCRIPT Right before his jog, Mikey barks at his wife, ”Go take a Midol.” But the tearful widow’s recollection to a TV reporter is ”He told me that he loved me and that he would be right back.”

TARGET Philly ”Spoons” Parisi, identical-twin brother of Patsy Parisi (the pool pisser in episode 27). WHO HE WAS Another Uncle Junior lieutenant. WHY HE HAD TO GO To cement Tony’s power grab from Junior. Plus he had a big mouth. THE BLOODY END Philly picks up Soprano foot soldier Gigi Cestone, just out of jail, at Newark Airport, unaware that Gigi has been hired by Tony to whack him. Philly pulls up to Gigi’s digs, having bad-mouthed Tony the whole ride, and declares, ”Here ya go, kid.” Gigi replies, ”There you go, you bigmouthed f—,” and blammo — shoots Philly in the temple. IRONIC POSTSCRIPT The hit haunts Tony in a fever dream (he sees Philly with a gaping head wound); meanwhile, in waking life, Tony brushes surviving bro Patsy’s grief aside with a cheery ”Hey, it was a f—in’ tragedy. Whaddya gonna do?”

TARGET Richie Aprile. WHO HE WAS Bad-seed brother of late Mob boss Jackie Aprile, and paramour of Tony’s sis Janice. WHY HE HAD TO GO Openly insubordinate. THE BLOODY END One night at dinner, Janice says it’d be okay if Richie’s son, a ballroom dancer whom Richie calls a disgrace, were gay. He punches her in the mouth at the suggestion, cooing ”You gonna cry now?” — so she plugs him, right there at the table, smack in the chest. IRONIC POSTSCRIPT On hearing that Janice’s fiance has been bumped off, Carmela says, ”That was not a marriage made in heaven.”

TARGET Salvatore ”Big Pussy” Bonpensiero. WHO HE WAS Longtime Soprano-family foot soldier. WHY HE HAD TO GO He wore a wire for the feds. THE BLOODY END Tony lures Puss onto a speedboat, claiming it’s something he wants to buy, with sidekicks Paulie and Silvio along. Confronted about his disloyalty, Puss insists he never gave up anything incriminating. ”I’m tellin’ ya, this disinformation s—, it’s an effective technique! It’s a frickin’ ace!” No soap. Puss, knowing he’ll be shot, asks: ”Not in the face, okay? Y’gimme that? Huh? Keep my eyes?” IRONIC POSTSCRIPT When Puss doesn’t show for Meadow’s high school graduation party, his wife grouses: ”Sal knew it was today. I told him over and over. He’s so self-centered!”

TARGET Giacomo Michael ”Jackie” Aprile. WHO HE WAS Son of late Mob boss Jackie Aprile Sr., nephew of Richie Aprile (see above). WHY HE HAD TO GO What, we gotta paint a picture? He two-timed Tony’s daughter, Meadow, and crashed a Mob card game high on crank, shooting several players. THE BLOODY END He calls Tony to plead for clemency, invoking his dead dad, but Tony says, ”The expiration date was last week on all your bulls— with that.” Jackie goes out for a stroll in the park, and blam — he’s shot point-blank in the head from behind by a gunman his sister later describes as ”some fat f— in see-through socks — take your pick, they all look alike.” IRONIC POSTSCRIPT At a post-funeral feast, Tony opines, ”Jack [Sr.] tried ta lay off all Jackie’s problems on a learnin’ disorder, but…well, stupidity would be a learnin’ disorder, wouldn’t it?”

James Gandolfini
The Sopranos
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