With shows like Better Call Saul and Peaker Blinder‘s captivating audiences recently, the history of the television antihero arguably starts with Tony Soprano. Tony Soprano is one of the most notorious lead characters in the history of television and is famous for his quick temper and lack of patience. These qualities seemed to be more exaggerated as The Sopranos goes on and Tony becomes more stressed.
The viewer has the same fatalistic feeling about Tony throughout the whole show. The argument can be made that the whole show is the story of Tony’s downfall in the mob. These are the characters that contributed the most to Tony’s collapse.
The argument can be made that Tony’s downfall started earlier in the show’s timeline than when the show started. Willie Overall was Tony’s first hit when he was only a soldier in the DiMeo crime family.
Willie is not a major character in the show’s plot as he only appears in one episode in a flashback sequence, but marks the point in Tony’s life when he officially entered a life of crime. When the house Willie is buried under is dug up, Tony has to relive this crucial and life-changing moment.
Jackie Aprile Sr.
Jackie Aprile Sr. is a very crucial character at the beginning of the story. He is only in four episodes before he passes away from stomach cancer.
Jackie’s effect on Tony’s downfall was not on purpose. Everything was peaceful with Jackie as the boss and he had a good relationship with Tony. With Jackie dying, there now had to be a new boss named. Jackie, and others, wanted to name Tony the new boss, but Tony’s Uncle Junior wanted to be in charge. This sparked the power struggle between Tony and his Uncle Junior which really took a toll on him.
Corrado “Junior” Soprano
Corrado, or Junior, Soprano is Tony’s father’s brother. Junior was one of the best characters in The Sopranos. The power struggle between him and Tony was a big storyline over the first few seasons.
Junior thought he should be the new boss after Jackie, even though everyone else wanted it to be Tony. Tony let Junior be the boss, but Tony ran the family like he was in charge. Their conflicting opinions on how to run the family made their relationship uneasy. This all came to a head when Junior shot Tony in a dementia-induced episode, causing Tony to enter a coma and his health was always a question from there on out.
Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero
Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero was part of Tony’s crew and was a soldier for the family. He contributed to Tony’s downfall by being an informant to the police.
Sal “Big Pussy was a loved Sopranos character with many memorable quotes. He turned his back on the crime family to protect his blood family as he was busted by the FBI for dealing heroin. He agreed to be an informant in order to not serve 30 years in prison. He gave the police some information but was hesitant to cooperate fully in fear of what Tony would do if he found out. He eventually did find out and killed Big Pussy in a heartwrenching scene. This took a toll on Tony both psychologically and in his business. The feds now knew some information that Pussy gave them and the killing of Pussy revisits Tony multiple times throughout the show.
Adriana La Cerva
Adriana was Christopher’s partner and always wanted him to get out of the crime business. She went against Tony and the whole crime family when she also became an informant.
When her new friend turned out to be an FBI informant, she realized that she was in trouble. She also got busted for trying to cover up a murder at her nightclub, so she was forced to cooperate or go to prison. She was killed after telling Christopher about the FBI in the Sopranos episode “Long Term Parking.” This, in turn, resulted in Tony’s right-hand man, Christopher, becoming unreliable.
Richie Aprile is the older brother of former boss Jackie Aprile Sr. When he returned from prison after 10 years, he came to a very different organization, as Tony is now the boss of the family.
Richie contributed to Tony’s downfall by being disobedient to the new boss. Richie grew up with Tony and could not see him as someone to take orders from. He wanted everything that was due to him after returning from prison, but Tony said he would have to work for it. This came to a head when Richie paralyzed an associate of the family. He also convinced two other associates to try to weaken Tony’s captains by trying to kill Christopher, but ultimately, they failed.
Matthew Bevilaqua was one of Richie’s apprentices who tried to kill Christopher. The other one was killed in the shootout but Matthew was able to escape and hide out for a while.
Tony, along with Bonpensiero, eventually finds Matthew and shoots him. After the police find his body, a witness told the police that it was Tony, unknowingly accusing a mob boss. Tony does luckily get away after the witness retracts his statement. Killing Matthew also had a psychological effect on Tony. His death replays in his head many times like when he hears a young child cry out for his mother, much like Matthew did before he was shot.
Gloria Trillo was one of Tony’s many mistresses. She had a large effect on the mob boss even though they were together for a short period of time.
The two of them met in Dr. Melfi’s office, insulting that she was dealing with problems similar to Tony. She had two sides to her, a sweet, caring side and a violent, rageful side. After seeing her bad side, Tony calls the relationship off, much to Gloria’s dismay as she resorts to begging Tony to stay and telling him she will tell Carmela. Tony threatens her many times to stay away from his family. Tony finds out through Carmela that she took her own life. This haunted Tony for the rest of the series, as he saw her in many dreams, which contributed to his panic attacks.
Tony Blundetto is cousins with Tony Soprano. Blundetto went to prison for 17 years and returned in early season 5.
Blundetto appears to be done with the crime family, but he is offered a contract to kill someone close to Phil Leotardo and he accepts. This causes a series of killings, ending with Blundetto killing Phil Leotardo’s brother, causing Phil to force Tony to bring his cousin to him. Tony now had to make the tough decision to go kill his cousin himself. This hurts Tony’s mental state even further, as Tony sees Blundetto while he is in the coma. Dream Blundetto urges Tony to leave the life of crime, but he refuses.
Phil Leotardo was the boss of the Lupertazzi crime family for the show’s last two seasons. He had constant spites with Tony towards the end of the show.
Phil and Tony always seemed to not get along, but never acted upon it. This is until in season six when Tony beats up one of Phil’s men for harassing Meadow. This caused Phil to declare war on Tony’s family, so he put hits out for Tony, Sil, and Bobby. Both Sil and Bobby are killed, weakening Tony’s family greatly. This marked a crucial point of no return for Tony, as he put out a hit on Phil.