The Sopranos: Season 1 (1999)

SEASON:

Season 1
The Sopranos

Critics Consensus

The Sopranos smartly runs an emotional gamut, offering detailed character work and riveting suspense while displaying a flair for both comedy and drama.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Critic Ratings: 26

97%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 703

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Episodes

Air date: Jan 10, 1999

In the pilot episode of this HBO television series from executive producer David Chase, a New Jersey mob boss named Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) suffers a series of anxiety attacks. Convinced by his physician that he needs to seek therapy, Tony consults psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), who begins exploring her patient's attachment to a family of ducks that have been living in his pool, but have recently departed. As signs of weakness and disclosures made to a "shrink" could have violent repercussions in Tony's secretive world of organized crime, he keeps his visits with Melfi a secret. Those in the dark at first include his wife Carmela (Edie Falco), his manipulative mother Livia (Nancy Marchand), and his scheming uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese), a member of the same crime family. In the meantime, Carmela's relationship with her and Tony's high-school age daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) is becoming strained, and their son Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler) is clueless about his dad's real profession. Tony's stress increases when he learns that the restaurant of his best friend, Artie Bucco (John Ventimiglia), is to be the site of a mob murder on the orders of Junior, and that his cousin Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), one of Tony's soldiers, is making waves with his heavy-handed tactics. Tony orders Artie's restaurant blown up to trump Junior's plans, assuming that insurance will build his friend a new establishment. A hit with audiences and television critics alike, The Sopranos was the creation of executive producer Chase, whose resumé includes stints on such lauded television programs as The Rockford Files (1974-1980), I'll Fly Away (1991-1993), and Northern Exposure (1990-1995). The Sopranos' pilot episode aired on January 10, 1999.

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Air date: Jan 17, 1999

In the sophomore episode of the HBO series, mob boss Jackie Aprile (Michael Rispoli) is dying of cancer, which can only lead to a power struggle between his two top capos, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and Tony's own uncle, Junior (Dominic Chianese). Tony persuades his mother, Livia (Nancy Marchand) to move into a retirement community against her wishes. When a car is stolen from a teacher at the school of Tony's son, Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler), Tony sends his two top lieutenants, "Big Pussy" Bompensiero (Vincent Pastore) and Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) to get the vehicle back. The incident leads to Anthony Jr.'s first suspicions about his dad's true occupation. Junior is having his own problems with the headstrong Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), his nephew, and a lieutenant of Tony's who has hijacked some merchandise from one of his trucks. Peace is made when Christopher agrees to pay Junior tribute, but his dimwitted associate Brendan Filone (Anthony de Sando) again holds up one of Junior's trucks, this time accidentally killing the driver. Tony learns that his friend Artie Bucco (John Ventimiglia) did not have his restaurant insured, and that an explosion Tony secretly arranged has destroyed his friend financially. "46 Long" originally aired January 17, 1999.

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Air date: Jan 24, 1999

In the series' third episode, a crime family confronts the possibility of a future power struggle. Meadow Soprano (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), the daughter of New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), takes crystal methamphetamines with a friend in order to help them study for the SATs. Tony visits his dying Mafia superior, Jackie Aprile (Michael Rispoli), in the hospital and presents him with a gift: a hooker dressed as a nurse. Mikey Palmice (Al Sapienza), the top lieutenant of Tony's rival and uncle, Junior (Dominic Chianese), is convinced that Tony will make a grab for top boss after Jackie's death, and he begins to convince Junior that his nephew should be whacked. Tony, his henchman Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico), and another Soprano lieutenant, Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt), deal with a Hasidic family of motel owners who refuse to pay protection money. After hiring family friends Artie Bucco (John Ventimiglia) and his wife Charmaine (Kathrine Narducci) to cater a party, Tony's wife, Carmela (Edie Falco), learns that her husband slept with Charmaine in high school. Soprano associate Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) tries to make a botched truck hijacking right by returning stolen goods to Junior, but the mob capo still orders Christopher's pal, Brendan Filone (Anthony de Sando), murdered and Christopher to be threatened. Airing on January 24, 1999, "Denial, Anger, Acceptance" was directed by independent feature filmmaker Nick Gomez (New Jersey Drive, Illtown).

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Air date: Jan 31, 1999

Revelations mark this fourth episode of the series, involving a schoolyard fight brewing between Anthony Soprano Jr. (Robert Iler) and a bully who unexpectedly backs down. Anthony Jr. fails to understand the boy's fear, so his sister Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) explains that their father, Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), is not really a "waste management consultant" but a New Jersey mob kingpin. After he begins having erotic dreams about his psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), Tony hires a crooked cop, Vin Makazian (John Heard) to investigate Melfi's background, and the detective accidentally ruins her romance with a lawyer. Frantic after the mock execution he suffered, Soprano soldier Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) believes that his cousin and boss, Tony, ordered the incident because he gave Tony's daughter, Meadow, some crystal methamphetamines; however, after Christopher and his girlfriend, Adriana (Drea de Matteo), discover the corpse of his murdered friend, Brendan Filone (Anthony de Sando), he realizes that his uncle, Junior (Dominic Chianese), ordered the slaying in retaliation for a botched truck hijacking. Exacerbated by Junior's bloodthirsty soldier, Mikey (Al Sapienza), tensions rise between Tony and Junior when their boss and head of the family, Jackie Aprile (Michael Rispoli), passes away from cancer. Tony is left to decide whether he will make a play for the top job in the family or concede control to his uncle. "Meadowlands" first aired on January 31, 1999.

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Air date: Feb 7, 1999

Painful truths are revealed in the popular HBO series' standout fifth episode. New Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) escorts his daughter, Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler), on visits to several colleges in New England. As Tony and Meadow travel, he discusses his occupation with her openly for the first time. Although he's reluctant to do so, it has become obvious that Meadow and her younger brother, Anthony Jr. (Robert Iler), are aware of their father's criminal career. Stopping in a small Maine town, Tony spots a one-time snitch against the family named Fabian Petrulio, who long ago disappeared into the federal witness protection program. Between Meadow's appointments at various schools, Tony resolves to murder Fabian. Although Tony has confessed, to the delight of his wife Carmela (Edie Falco), that he is in therapy, she is unaware that his doctor is an attractive Italian-American woman, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), to whom Tony has become drawn sexually. Home with the flu, Carmela becomes furious when she receives a call from Melfi about a scheduling conflict. Confiding her marital frustrations to her movie-loving friend Father Phil, Carmela's relationship with the priest threatens to become romantic when Phil decides to spend the night on the couch. Back in Maine, Tony learns that Petrulio now goes by the name "Fred Peters." Convinced he's got the right man, Tony plots his revenge on Petrulio. "College" first aired on February 7, 1999.

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Air date: Feb 14, 1999

The sixth episode of the HBO mob series finds New Jersey crime boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) deciding to do the noble thing and cede control of the family to his rival and uncle, Junior (Dominic Chianese), much to everyone's surprise and dismay. In reality, Tony is maintaining control of the family. With the agreement of the other families in the tri-state area, Junior is being set up as a frontman without his knowledge. Immediately, however, Junior causes trouble by ordering tribute to be paid by Tony's top lieutenants, including a long-time family advisor, Hesh Rabkin (Jerry Adler). Tony shocks his psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), by declaring that he's falling in love with her during a session, and then kisses her. Junior learns that his tailor's grandson committed suicide because of a crippling drug addiction and orders two of his men to throw the drug dealer off a bridge in retaliation. Tony's medication is causing his sex drive to become nonexistent, much to the chagrin of both his wife Carmela (Edie Falco) and his mistress. At a dinner celebration, the FBI conducts surveillance on the Sopranos, aware that Tony is still the real power behind the criminal organization. "Pax Soprana" first aired on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1999.

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Air date: Feb 21, 1999

In this domestic episode of the hit HBO series, Anthony Soprano Jr. (Robert Iler), the son of a powerful New Jersey crime boss, gets suspended from school for stealing sacramental wine from the chapel. The school psychologist summons the boy's parents, mob capo Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) and his wife, Carmela (Edie Falco), for a meeting at which Anthony Jr. is diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Tony is troubled by his son's actions and reflects on his own childhood with his cruelly controlling mother, Livia (Nancy Marchand), and his mobster father. Although Tony expresses concern to his psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco), that his son may end up living the same life of crime he does, he and Carmela refuse to accept the judgment of their son's school that the boy might need special education. Forced to visit Livia in her retirement home everyday, Anthony Jr. tells his grandmother about the incident and, also, accidentally reveals that his father is consulting a psychiatrist, spilling a very dangerous family secret to the shrewd and manipulative Livia. Down Neck aired on February 21, 1999.

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Air date: Feb 28, 1999

Legal troubles come to a boil in the eighth episode of the hit HBO series. Mob soldier Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) is enraged that he's not receiving the same publicity that other Mafia soldiers are enjoying due to the current round of federal indictments that are being handed down and covered extensively in the press. On edge and ready to explode, Christopher gets into an altercation with a bakery employee and shoots the man's toe off. In the meantime, psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi (Lorraine Bracco) confesses to her son and ex-husband that she is counseling a stressed-out mobster, New Jersey crime kingpin Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), and they become concerned about her safety. At a wedding, the Soprano family members learn that they are about to be indicted by the FBI, which has become interested in their activities again since the death of the organization's one-time godfather. Tony and his wife, Carmela (Edie Falco), hurry home to conceal evidence not a moment too soon, as federal agents soon arrive with warrants and begin searching the premises. When the story hits the news, Christopher is pleased and relieved to be mentioned as an important family associate. Episode 8 aired on February 28, 1999.

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Air date: Mar 7, 1999

An intimate sexual act triggers further tension between two crime bosses in this episode of the HBO series. New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) ridicules his uncle and fellow mobster Junior (Dominic Chianese) on the golf course. Tony has heard about Junior's oral sex skills with his girlfriend, Bobbi, who has been gabbing to her friends about Junior's prowess while the two were on a vacation in Boca Raton, FL. In retaliation, Junior smashes a lemon meringue pie in Bobbi's face, breaking their 16-year relationship. He also tells his vicious top soldier, Mikey (Al Sapienza), a secret he's been keeping that he recently learned from his sister-in-law, Livia (Nancy Marchand): her son, Tony, is compromising family security by seeing a psychiatrist. Meanwhile, Tony and his friends make plans to convince their daughters' talented soccer coach not to accept a lucrative college job, until they learn that the coach has been sleeping with one of his underage players, a friend of Tony's daughter, Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler). They take steps to teach the coach a lesson he'll never forget. "Boca" was first shown on March 7, 1999.

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Air date: Mar 14, 1999

A mob boss finds he can't escape his true identity, while his cousin learns that the music industry is as crooked as organized crime in the tenth episode of the HBO series. New Jersey Mafia chieftain Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) is delighted to receive an invitation to play golf with his well-to-do neighbor, Cusamano, at his exclusive country club. Happy to socialize with non-mobsters for once, Tony quickly realizes that Cusamano has extended the invitation simply to impress his buddies with his powerful crime boss pal. Tony's cousin and soldier Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) and his girlfriend Adriana (Drea de Matteo) meet Massive Genius, a rap star with a financial grudge against Soprano family advisor Hesh (Jerry Adler). Genius is immediately attracted to Adriana and makes a deal with Christopher: in exchange for Christopher setting up a meeting between Genius and Hesh, the musician agrees to consider signing a band that Adriana wants to represent, but it becomes clear that Genius is only interested in Adriana sexually. Meanwhile, Tony gets even with Cusamano by asking him to "hold on" to a package wrapped in plain brown paper, sending his neighbor into a panic over the possibly illegal narcotic contents. Episode 10 first aired March 14, 1999.

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The Sopranos: Season 1 Photos

Tv Season Info

Season one of this crime drama, The Sopranos, begins with New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano having a panic attack near his big pool, for which he reluctantly begins therapy with Dr. Jennifer Melfi. Throughout these sessions, we begin to find out more about Tony's past and upbringing. We see how Tony becomes comfortable with the doctor and reveals about his lifestyle. The season covers Tony's attempt in tracking down an old associate who is now a part of the Witness Protection Program. It also includes the Lupertazzi Crime Family going on the lam, a high school coach committing an unspeakable crime, and the Sopranos being investigated by the FBI.

Critic Reviews for The Sopranos Season 1

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (16)

You'll love its Byzantine plotting, psychological intricacies, the fine and committed acting, and the way creator David Chase took risks...

Mar 27, 2020 | Full Review…

Great series are often at their greatest in their first seasons -- "The Sopranos" is a perfect example... So complete and so perfectly realized was creator David Chase's vision over that 13-episode run.

Jun 19, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It shouldn't work, yet somehow it does... It's an absurdist comedy about criminal behavior and suburban life that gently mocks its targets while taking its characters and their emotions seriously.

Jul 1, 2014 | Full Review…

Talk about hitting a high note: The Sopranos, the mob comedy-drama series... is the first gotta-watch, gotta-love, Gotti-like TV series of 1999.

Jul 1, 2014 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Home Box Office has telecast several of the most scintillating series of this decade, notably The Larry Sanders Show, Oz, Arli$$, and Sex and the City. You can safely add The Sopranos to that glittering gallery.

Jul 1, 2014 | Full Review…

No, The Sopranos is not the equal of Scorsese's masterpiece, but it manages to bring a new spin to the words "dysfunctional" and "family," and it deserves its place alongside other HBO gems like The Larry Sanders Show and Sex and the City.

Jul 1, 2014 | Full Review…

There is no improvisation here. Pure story ingrained by a constant character development, both main and supporting. [Full review in Spanish]

Sep 3, 2020 | Rating: 9/10 | Full Review…

HBO's overpraised and overhyped series does an amazing job of presenting the futility of trying to live a completely self-pleasing life and expecting it to be peaceful.

Apr 16, 2020 | Full Review…

A look at a mistifing figure of a gangster in the contemporary times. A necessary look to ourselves. [full review in Spanish]

Nov 26, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The Sopranos is literary in its nuanced handling of relationships and motive and flux, but never highbrow. It's film, and it's good TV.

Jun 19, 2018 | Full Review…

Now, watching the show nearly 20 years after its original debut, it still stands up as one of the greatest dramas of all time.

Sep 12, 2017 | Full Review…

This 13-week HBO series offers more than laughs. It has intelligence and feeling and brutality. The Sopranos hits all the notes.

Jul 1, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Sopranos: Season 1

  • Jun 20, 2020
    Los personajes y las situaciones son interesantes, en particular, Tony. Es muy original que deba recurrir a una psicoanalista. Cada episodio es como una película.
  • Jun 11, 2020
    Even in 2020 this show is the benchmark for TV in any genre, Emotive, Funny, Action packed, intriguing and beautifully shot there is no better Anti-hero than Tony Soprano expertly played by Gandolfini his character still stands as the most complex and tragic character in all of TV. Put simply without The Sopranos TV would not have bridged the gap to film the way it has over the last few years
  • May 02, 2020
    Hands down one of my favorite shows of all time.
  • Apr 13, 2020
    A classic viewing for TV series junkies
  • Mar 28, 2020
    Best show ever created so far.
  • Mar 01, 2020
    I'm only going to rate season 1 and the series as a whole once. 5 stars and the grand daddy that paved the way to good drama.
  • Feb 22, 2020
    The show that demonstrated audiences were ready and waiting for complex characters and interesting narratives. It's no exaggeration that The Sopranos inspired a revolution in TV drama.
  • Dec 29, 2019
    The best that ever has come out of tv.
  • Oct 17, 2019
    Absolute classic! This season changed television forever!
  • Oct 06, 2019
    That was a great show.

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