''The Sopranos'': What to expect from the new season
SPOILER ALERT! ''The Sopranos'': Here's a look at what's in store for nine major characters during the shocking new season
Somebody’s dead. This explains why the cast of The Sopranos have congregated outside the Irvine Cozzarelli Memorial Home in Belleville, N.J., on this sunny mid-May morning. It’s 10:30 a.m., and already James Gandolfini is channeling Tony Soprano — he’s sitting in a Teamsters T-shirt as he scarfs down a calzone. Frankie Valli (also known as Mob captain Rusty Millio) mingles and poses for pictures with the crew while Tony Sirico (who plays the one and only Paulie Walnuts) waves to a group of well-wishers honking their horns as they cruise down Washington Avenue. After a ridiculously long 21-month layoff, the gang is back to shoot the first episode of season 6 (the first 12 installments return March 12 on HBO; the last eight episodes begin airing in early 2007), and while smiles and backslaps are abundant, information about the upcoming season is not. This cast is on logline lockdown, but we’ll still go for broke and dig for a spoiler or two. Soooo, guys? ”I really can’t give you anything,” says Sirico, shooting a vintage Walnuts glare, ”because I’m not a rat.” Michael Imperioli (a.k.a. Christopher Moltisanti) doesn’t offer much more: ”What can I tell you? This is our sixth season. Somebody is dead. And it’s not me!”
Here’s what we do know: Season 6 begins with both of Tony’s families — biological and financial — closely monitoring New York crime boss Johnny Sack, who remains in jail and faces trial on several RICO indictments. Guest stars this go-round include Julianna Margulies as a real estate agent, Hal Holbrook as a scientist, and Ben Kingsley as…Ben Kingsley. Oh, and the last three minutes of episode 1 offer a Sopranos shocker for the ages. See the character bios on the following pages for more teasers.
Image credit: James Gandolfini: Barry Wetcher
Reunited with Carmela. Avoided a war by killing freelancing cousin Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi). Last seen fleeing New York boss Johnny Sack’s house as it was raided by the feds.
”Tony is very prosperous,” says Sopranos creator David Chase. ”It is a relative period of calm.” (But don’t expect things to stay that way.) And he’s still seeing Dr. Melfi ”because of concerns about AJ.”
Image credit: Edie Falco: Barry Wetcher
After becoming intimate with AJ’s school counselor, took Tony back on two conditions: he’d stop cheating and give her $600,000 to build a spec house.
”Carmela is nervous,” says Chase. ”She used to cry on a moral level about what they did to make their income. Now she’s concerned about where this will all end. And once in a while, she asks herself about Adriana.”
Image credit: Robert Iler: Barry Wetcher
Struggled with school, his parents, and keeping his eyebrows on his face. Pondered a career as a party planner.
AJ is in college, but ”not a very good college,” says Chase. ”His view of party planning is quite different from his parents’. He wants to go into the club business, and there’s no better way to do that than going to clubs and drinking.”
Image credit: Jamie-Lynn Sigler: Craig Blankenhorn
Got engaged to her boyfriend, Finn, and was preparing for her last year of college.
”Meadow has graduated, is taking a year off, and is interested in either law or medicine,” says Chase, which explains why she’s after a law-firm internship. As for Finn, he’s back in California at dental school. And we all know how well long-distance relationships work.
Image credit: Dominic Chianese: Barry Wetcher
The good news: His retrial was delayed. The bad news: Several small strokes left him in a partial state of dementia.
”Junior’s retrial is still pending,” says Chase, ”and the federal government has to figure out the jury-tampering thing before they can bring him back to trial. But his condition has continued deteriorating, so the question is whether he is even competent.”
Image credit: Michael Imperioli: Barry Wetcher
Relapsed into occasional drinking and drugging. Considered going to the feds with fiancée Adriana before signing her death certificate by telling Tony about her deception.
”Christopher is sober,” says Chase. ”And he has been promoted to captain.” Without Adriana, expect Christopher to move along romantically as well.
Image credit: Aida Turturro: Craig Blankenhorn
Got her marriage — and temper — under control after attending anger management classes.
She and hubby Bobby Baccalieri have a baby girl, Dominica, which ”changes everything,” hints Chase. ”Janice also thinks Junior should be in a retirement community, which Tony opposes.” And you don’t want to oppose Tony.
Image credit: Vincent Curatola: Barry Wetcher
Johnny ”Sack” Sacramoni
Finally became an NYC boss after Carmine died and he won a power struggle with Little Carmine. And then? Promptly arrested on a gazillion RICO counts.
”Johnny is in prison and mounting his defense,” says Chase. ”He’s under pressure to support his family and to keep his crime family together.” Who said it’s fun being No. 1?
Image credit: Frank Vincent: Craig Blankenhorn
Released from jail after 20 years and demanded revenge when his bro was offed by Tony B.
With Johnny in prison, Phil is the NYC family’s acting boss, and he’s ”not as amenable to working with Tony as Johnny was,” says Chase. ”Those guys have a toxic relationship. But Phil is an old-school guy and tries to put business ahead of his personal feelings.”