Though starring in a show like The Sopranos’ more-or-less automatically rules that as the highlight of an actor’s career, it is always nice to see an alum of the prestigious HBO drama still deliver the goods.
Whether it’s a film or popping up in a TV show – seeing a cast member from The Sopranos in a non-Sopranos outing is always a “can’t look away” moment for die-hard fans everywhere. These entries below are great examples of Sopranos actors still-in peak performance form.
Aida Turturro: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
As the sister of crime boss Jimmy “The Butcher” Figgis (Eric Roberts) in the Brooklyn Nine-Nine universe, Aida Turturro slipped back into familiar territory, as her most famous career turn came as the strong-armed and oft-volatile Janice, sister to another mob boss, Tony, in The Sopranos.
In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Turturro steals every scene as the menacing but played-to-laughs prisoner at the top of the intra-inmate hierarchy that Detective Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) attempts to extract information from while posing as an incarcerated criminal herself.
Steven Van Zant: Lilyhammer
Unfortunately, the canceled-after-three-seasons Norwegian/American show regarded as Netflix’s first original content did not result in a Newhart situation. Fans oft-theorized that Van Zant’s Sopranos and Lilyhammer mobster characters were one and the same – with the latter, Frank “The Fixer” Tagliano, being a purgatorial extension of the former.
Though this was not technically true, Lilyhammer works spiritually and aesthetically when viewed as “The Continuing Adventures of One Silvio Dante,” who, every time he thought he was out, was pulled back into the fray.
Tony Sirico: Family Guy
As one of the series’ many regular jokesters, Tony Sirico’s Paulie Walnuts was perhaps most defined by his signature voice, so much so that even in cartoon form, it’s instantly recognized.
Following the controversial aftermath of family dog Brian’s (ultimately but temporary) death in 2013, Sirico pulled into Quahog for a batch of episodes as Vinny – the Griffins’ new dog, both in the household and in the opening title sequence.
Drea De Matteo: Sons Of Anarchy
Initially as a special guest star, then as a recurring player, and finally as a principal castmember, de Matteo returned to hour-drama form as Wendy Case in FX’s Sons of Anarchy – following a brief layover in comedy on the forgotten Friends spinoff, Joey.
In The Sopranos, de Matteo tugged at fans’ heartstrings as Adriana, the girlfriend/fiancé of Tony’s protégé, Christopher.
Steve Schirripa: Blue Bloods
Recently, Bobby Bacala actor, Steve Schirripa, and fellow former Sopranos co-star, Michael Imperioli, have helped bring in a new generation of fans with their rewatch podcast, “Talking Sopranos.”
Schirripa has not struggled to find further acting work in the wake of The Sopranos conclusion, either. Most notably is his run on CBS’ New York cop-based crime procedural, Blue Bloods, as retired detective Anthony Abetemarco.
Michael Imperioli: Life On Mars
Staying busy with guest work or short-lived starring gigs on TV, Imperioli’s biggest post-Sopranos get was in a canceled-far-too-soon 2008 ABC show.
The actor who first burst onto the scene as The Sopranos‘ Christopher Moltisanti – a role for which he’d later earn two Golden Globe nominations – traded in “the life” for a badge in the time travel-themed, Wizard of Oz-loving serial, Life On Mars, where he plays Detective Ray Carling.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: Entourage
By design, the Entourage crew was bound to have routine run-ins with celebrities over the course of its run 2004 to 2011 run. But the most fondly-remembered cameos and guest stars were the ones who stuck around for more than a scene or two.
Exhibit A: Jamie Lynn Sigler, who – just after bidding farewell to her time as Meadow Soprano – admirably played a fictional version of herself that becomes Turtle’s girlfriend in seasons 5 and 6 of the fellow early aughts HBO staple.
Steve Buscemi: Boardwalk Empire
Buscemi’s brief-but-acclaimed arc as Tony Soprano’s cousin, “Tony B” Blundetto, demonstrated his dramatic chops beyond the repertory supporting work he’d completed in films from The Coen Brothers and Adam Sandler.
Enough to convince the right people that he, and nobody else was the man to play Nucky Thompson – the corrupt politician and Atlantic City-based crime boss running the show in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire (2009-2014).
Edie Falco: Nurse Jackie
Not long after The Sopranos‘ ended its run, Carmela Soprano actress, Edie Falco, found her next iconic role.
In the 2009-2014 Showtime medical drama Nurse Jackie, Falco stars as the eponymous Nurse Jackie Peyton – who juggles family, work, and an addiction that working in a hospital allows her to privately maintain.
James Gandolfini, Killing Them Softly
No castmember left out would protest Gandolfini owning the number 1 slot in this ranking, especially considering the quality of acting he brought for Andrew Dominik’s underrated 2012 crime caper, Killing Them Softly.
For the film, Gandolfini’s second-to-none acting collided with another dream role – a past-his-prime, but highly-respected contract killer who turns out to be only interested in the glamour and none of the dirty work any longer.