Both in real life and fictional media portrayals, organized crime families are split up into dozens of crews consisting of hundreds of street soldiers. Each of the crews is headed by a captain, aka capo, who reports to the boss. The capos receive weekly earnings from street soldiers then pump up part of that amount to the boss.
In The Sopranos, the spotlight mostly stays on the DiMeo crime family, headed by Tony Soprano. Several capos work for him at various stages of the series. While others are only mentioned or appear in cameo roles, many play a key part in the plot of the series. Some are likable while others are downright despicable.
Ralph is undoubtedly the most unhinged mobster to appear in the series. Tony is aware of this and so he is reluctant to promote him to capo. When Gigi Cestone dies of a heart attack, Tony is left with no choice but to install Ralph as the new head of the Aprile Crew. In a way, Ralph deserves to be a capo because he is the highest-earning member of the family. However, his personality keeps everyone worried.
There’s the time he kills his pregnant girlfriend outside the Bada Bing. He also makes fun of Gini Sack’s weight and this almost causes a war between New York and New Jersey. He also causes Bada Bing manager George to lose an eye after hitting him with a chain. And nobody can forget how Ralph influences Jackie Aprille Jr. to be a gangster against his father’s wishes. Ralph might be a great antagonist but he’s impossible to like.
Like Ralph, Richie is impulsively violent. When he is first introduced, Richie is far from happy when he steps out of prison and finds out that the much younger Tony is the new boss. One of the worst things Richie does is paralyze DiMeo associate Beansie Gaeta by ramming him with his car then refusing to pay his hospital bills despite being ordered to do so by Tony.
Richie feels he is entitled to earnings he hasn’t worked for just because he spent years behind bars. He is has a completely problematic mindset, too, as he is bothered by the fact that his son is a ballet dancer. After being influenced by his fiancée Janice, he considers overthrowing Tony but that dream ends when Janice shoots him dead out of revenge for punching her.
Feech La Manna
Feech, aka “the King of Breadsticks,” is part of the original Cosa Nostra. It’s revealed that he became a made guy in Sicily. After spending 20 years behind bars, he gets back in the game but goes on to step on everyone’s toes. He steals cars from Ira Fried’s daughter’s wedding even though Tony clearly informed him that Ira was a friend.
Feech also butts heads with Paulie over a landscaping business, insisting that the territory belonged to him before he went to jail. Feech exhibits total disrespect towards Tony since he still sees him as a kid. His attitude eventually costs him as Tony organizes with Christopher to have Feech busted for stolen electronics and sent back to prison.
Jimmy gets flipped by the FBI after being arrested during an executive card game. Unlike other informants, he is discovered too quickly and that’s partly his own fault. He pesters Tony with too many questions, causing the DiMeo street boss to suspect him. When Tony is informed that Big Pussy might be an informant, he believes someone confused him with Altieri since they look alike from afar.
Jimmy continues to act suspiciously, so Junior Soprano orders a hit on him. The hit is carried out by Paulie and Christopher in a hotel room. They even mock him by telling him to call for help from the feds using the wire he is wearing. Jimmy never conducts any serious business during his brief stint as a capo either.
There’s plenty not to like about the boss of the Altieri crew. He is one of the people who roots for Vito to get whacked after it’s revealed that he’s gay. Carlo’s homophobia surprises even his fellow mobsters as he suggests grisly, horrific measures for how Vito should die.
Carlo isn’t business savvy, either. Tony once laments about Carlo being a poor earner. Towards the end of the series, Carlo turns against his colleagues and becomes an informant. This happens after his son gets arrested on drug-related charges. To prevent his son from getting a lengthy sentence, Carlo agrees to flip.
Vito gets promoted to capo in the Aprille Crew after Ralph’s death. Sadly, most of the things he does a mobster aren’t admirable. When Tony gets shot by Junior, Vito begins seeking support from other capos so that he can be the next boss, yet no one is sure whether Tony will die.
Vito kills a civilian after ramming into his car so that he won’t call the police. When he goes on the run after being seen in a gay bar by members of the Lupertazzi Crime Family, he finds love with a man named Jim. Instead of staying with Jim, he abandons him without a goodbye and goes back to New Jersey. This eventually gets him killed.
Lawrence “Larry Boy” Barese
Larry is laidback. He never loses his temper or harms anyone. He enjoys making jokes too, with his sense of humor being more palatable and less offensive than that exhibited by Ralph.
Later in the series, it’s revealed that Larry is an informant. He assists the FBI in locating the body of one of Tony’s murder victims. Lucky for Larry, he never gets exposed.
It’s hard to notice how ruthless Paulie is because he is ever so charming. The capo has the highest kill count in the series. He and Junior are the only DiMeo Crime Family members to remain unmarried. As a capo, Paulie is keen on collections. He is seen milking Christopher of every penny he has made.
Unlike his colleagues, Paulie is careful to avoid any physical harm. He never gets shot or killed. The worst that happens to him is a brief stint in jail. Though he feuds with mobsters such as Christopher, Feech, and Ralph, things never really get out of hand.
For most of the series, Christopher is the Don’s pet. Tony really likes him, despite his numerous misdemeanors. He sees Christopher as a future boss. Christopher also has an abundance of captivating storylines, thus making him one of the best characters to keep up with.
His romance with Adriana is full of fights and reconciliations. His working relationship with Paulie follows a similar pattern. Christopher clearly has a bright future but things fall apart due to his substance use. Months after leaving rehab, he relapses. When he crashes a car while high, a paranoid Tony believes he has no choice but to kill him.
Bobby is big-hearted and shy, traits rarely seen in his fellow mobsters. He has the lowest kill count as he only takes the life of one person the entire series. Despite coming off as kind, Bobby is a skilled fighter. When the boss insults Janice in Season 6, Bobby loses his temper. The two engage in a fight, with Bobby emerging the clear victor.
That incident aside, Tony and Bobby get along very well, This is proven when Tony promotes him to underboss towards the end of the series. Bobby is rarely seen feuding with his fellow mobsters either. Christopher and Paulie also have him to thank for being rescued during the “Pine Barrens” incident.