Sopranos Cast's Plea to David Chase to Save Fan Favorite in Season 2

Exploring the high-stakes drama behind "The Sopranos" scenes.

by Nouman Rasool
Sopranos Cast's Plea to David Chase to Save Fan Favorite in Season 2
© Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Before the advent of what's now hailed as the "golden era of television," "The Sopranos" was already charting the course for future TV masterpieces. This iconic series demonstrated a then-novel idea: television could deliver narratives as engaging, stories as intricately woven, and productions as high-quality as those found in cinema.

In the realm of TV dramas, "The Sopranos" established benchmarks that remain formidable to this day. However, the creative decisions of the show's writers didn't always receive universal acclaim. Despite its groundbreaking contributions, "The Sopranos" is also remembered for its polarizing conclusion.

The series finale's abrupt fade-to-black ending left a section of its audience feeling unfulfilled, craving closure from a show that never hesitated to depict the grim realities of mob life. The unpredictable demise of key characters became a hallmark of the series, showcasing the writers' and creator David Chase's penchant for abruptly removing beloved figures from the narrative.

Sopranos' Lethal Legacy

Throughout its six seasons and 86 episodes, "The Sopranos" depicted the elimination of nearly 100 individuals by Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini) and his associates. These weren't mere peripheral characters; the series saw the end of significant figures like Tony Blundetto, Ralph Cifaretto, and the particularly poignant loss of Tony's nephew Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli).

The Soprano family's head and his inner circle were depicted as ruthlessly efficient in their lethal endeavors. This relentless approach to character exits occasionally led to pleas from the cast and crew to spare certain characters, especially following a notable departure in season 2 that cemented the show's reputation for its fearless narrative choices.

An in-depth discussion in Empire magazine's latest issue, featuring insights from David Chase and various cast and crew members, revisits the ease with which characters were dispatched. Chase humorously contrasted the show's body count with real-world mob statistics, highlighting the dramatized nature of their storytelling.

Despite this, the plea to save Salvatore Bonpensiero (Vincent Pastore), also known as "Big Pussy," from the narrative axe was significant. Lorraine Bracco, portraying psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi, underscored the cast's efforts to keep the character, eventually compromised by allowing his return in flashbacks and dream sequences after his season 2 demise as an FBI informant—a death that sent a clear message about the show's unpredictability.

"Big Pussy's" fate underscored a relentless theme within "The Sopranos": no one was beyond reach. This narrative decision had a profound impact, reinforcing the show's bold storytelling ethos. Yet, the character's legacy lived on, both in subsequent "Sopranos" narratives and in the prequel film "The Many Saints of Newark," where Samson Moeakiola took on the role.

This balance of ruthlessness and reverence for its characters helped solidify "The Sopranos" as a seminal work in television history, one that continues to influence and captivate audiences and creators alike.