Sopranos Creator Says HBO Mafia Show Was Intentionally Inaccurate In 1 Key Way

Sopranos Creator Says HBO Mafia Show Was Intentionally Inaccurate In 1 Key Way

The Sopranos creator David Chase reveals that the iconic HBO Mafia TV show was intentionally inaccurate in this one very important way.
The Sopranos creator David Chase reveals that the HBO Mafia show was intentionally inaccurate in this one key way. It’s been 25 years since James Gandolfini debuted as New Jersey mob boss and suburban family man Tony Soprano, a character who would go on to become iconic. Gandolfini’s death in 2013 may have ended hopes of a Sopranos revival, but the original show continues winning new fans as younger generations discover the prestige TV classic thanks to streaming.


A few Sopranos cast members recently got together along with creator Chase to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary in a roundtable discussion, and during the chat Chase was prompted to address the show’s strikingly high body count, admitting that the real Mafia doesn’t do anywhere near as much killing as happened in the series, a deviation from reality that was entirely intentional. Check out his remarks below (via Empire):

Well, here’s the thing about all the killings on the show. If you look at the real Mob, I think there were a grand total of nine Mob homicides from ’99 to 2007 in the New York metropolitan area. We were doing nine a season. [Laughs] So yes, not everyone made it out alive…

The Sopranos’ Character Deaths Made For Great TV Drama
The Sopranos may have exaggerated the Mafia’s homicidal tendencies, but Chase had good reason to split from reality in this key way. When it comes to pulling off gripping drama, nothing beats a shocking character death, and The Sopranos scored more dramatic points from stunningly killing off characters than any other show.

Some Sopranos character deaths, like Big Pussy’s season 2 demise, felt like the inevitable culmination of a long, slow build-up. Other deaths, like Ralphie’s murder at the hands of Tony in season 4, happened abruptly and somewhat senselessly. The Sopranos was not shy about killing off fan-favorite characters like Adriana and Christopher, creating a sense that no one was ever safe. Of course, the show’s biggest possible death, the murder of Tony himself in the finale, has never fully been confirmed (though Chase has hinted that Tony did indeed die while eating onion rings with his family to the strains of Journey).
The prospect of sudden death raised the stakes for all Sopranos characters over the course of its six seasons on HBO, and when death arrived, the result was usually gripping drama (and sometimes black comedy). Given the payoff for the audience, it’s indeed good news that Chase was willing to bend reality and make The Sopranos much bloodier than real life.

Adriana’s Death Was The Sopranos’ Most Heart-Breaking (And Game-Changing)
Of all the many character deaths that played out on The Sopranos, none was more heartbreaking than the murder of Adriana at the hands of Silvio in season 5. Drea de Matteo’s character had been on a doomed trajectory since she began talking to the FBI, but the show seemed to suggest the possibility of escape for her and Christopher, hinting that they could go into witness protection. But Christopher ultimately stayed loyal to Tony, revealing that Adriana was squealing, and standing back while Tony and Sil took care of their “problem.”
Adriana’s death had massive ramifications for Christopher, who was tormented with guilt for the rest of the show, spiraling back into drug addiction, and dying as a direct result of his heroin use. Adriana’s death also hung over the Sopranos household, as Carmela would occasionally bring up Ade’s “mysterious” absence to Tony, forcing him to confront his actions. Some murdered characters on The Sopranos earned their just desserts, but Adriana was largely an innocent party who did not deserve her fate. The way her ending played out was heart-rending for viewers, and reverberated throughout the remainder of the show’s run

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