Dozens of street soldiers aka enforcers are featured in the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Sopranos. Though these “made guys” fall near the bottom of the hierarchy, they are crucial pawns since they do all the heavy lifting and they are generally involved in extortion, bribery, murder, robbery, blackmail, and interrogation.
Among the show’s huge street soldier population, a few manage to be bigger stars than the rest, due to them being given juicier story arcs or having better character development. And among the star enforcers, some are exemplary, while others either make questionable decisions or are too annoying as a character.
Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero
A member of Tony’s inner circle, Big Pussy has been a mobster for decades, having started as a cat burglar. But despite his experience, he has never been promoted.
Big Pussy is undoubtedly one of the best FBI informants in The Sopranos, but as a street soldier, he is surpassed by many. No boss he has ever worked under has considered him a potential leader. His being a traitor makes him appear as the bad guy in a world where almost everyone enjoys perpetrating evil deeds. He keeps making unnecessary decisions too, such as venturing into risky business, even when Jackie Aprille Sr. has offered to solve his money problems and despite the fact that killing everyone he suspects will expose him.
Tony Soprano’s cousin, Tony Blundetto, aka Tony B, pops up in season 3 as a member of “Class of 04,” a term the media uses to refer to a group of influential mobsters that get paroled in 2004. He tries to focus on a legitimate career as a massage therapist but finds himself back in the world of crime.
Tony B is said to have an IQ of 158, but this isn’t reflected in his choices. When he comes across $12,000 that a paranoid drug dealer dropped while being chased by police, he gambles it all, yet the better option would have been to invest it in his massage business. It’s Tony B who decides to whack Phil Leotardo’s kid brother, Bill, which causes the deadly war between New York and New Jersey. This war leaves several fan-favorite characters in The Sopranos dead or severely injured, including Bobby and Silvio.
Burt spends most of his time with Christopher Motlisanti, who assigns him extortion tasks. When Christopher dies, the reserved mobster switches to New York. He tries to convince Silvio to switch families too but the consigliere kills him.
Up until the time he switches sides, Burt is a good soldier, capable of performing his tasks diligently. He doesn’t get injured or killed, proving how cautious he is. However, an experienced mobster like him ought to know better than to jump ship and not expect consequences. Trying to turn Silvio is even more stupid, as the consigliere has always distinguished himself as the most trustworthy mafioso in Tony’s team.
Salvatore “Coco” Cogliano
At the height of the “New York Vs New Jersey” mob war, Coco, a soldier in the Lupertazzi Crime Family, approaches Tony’s daughter Meadow while she’s on a date and sexually harasses her. When Tony hears about it, he brutally beats up Coco, causing tensions to worsen.
Apart from being one of the worst fighters in The Sopranos, as seen in his confrontation with Tony, Coco has no single good quality. His hot-headedness knows no limits, causing him to assault innocent people on the regular. Fans can thus be forgiven for approving Tony enacts his revenge, removing a few of Coco’s teeth. Even better is when Tony later shows up to one of Coco’s therapy sessions with his tooth stuck in his shoe.
Furio is poached by Tony from Naples, where is working for one of the most intelligent mob bosses in The Sopranos, Annalisa Zucca. Though he is friendly, he is extremely brutal towards anyone that crosses the family. Courage is an important trait for any street soldier traversing the underworld and Furio radiates it. He not only tries to catch a bullet for Don Vittorio in Naples but also begins flirting with Tony’s wife, Carmela, when he settles in New Jersey.
While the latter shows he has guts, it’s also an unwise decision that earns him a lower ranking on this list. Loyalty is key in the mob, but Furio even considers killing Tony at one point in order to be with Carmela. His unregulated feelings eventually make him lose his important job in the family and become a “wanted man” in the streets.
Ralph “Ralphie” Cifaretto
He only lasts for two seasons, but Ralph has plenty of memorable moments. The unhinged mobster is also the family’s highest earner due to him having been in charge of important revenue-generating projects, such as the mob’s Miami real estate investments and the labor union dealings.
Ideally, Ralph’s fiscal prowess should make him the family’s golden goose, but he is highly frowned upon because of his temper and general unreasonableness. Despite him being qualified, Tony hesitates to promote Ralph to capo, forcing the bloodthirsty mafiosos to beg for the position. However, there’s no denying that Ralph makes a formidable villain.
During the “Tony Vs Junior” war in season 1, Patsy shifts allegiance to Tony, where he continues working as a street soldier. He is also given the additional task of being the accountant at the Bada Bing.
As intimidating as Patsy is, he doesn’t kill anyone the entire series. He has a heart of gold and the best thing it leads him to do is forgive Tony for ordering a hit on his twin brother, Phillip “Philly Spoons” Parisi. And when Tony promotes Christopher to Capo ahead of Patsy, the street soldier doesn’t protest. Patsy is more disciplined compared to his fellow mobsters too. He is never seen partying or engaging in any form of debauchery.
Walden plays a key role in the final season when he provides security to several senior mobsters. When Tony hides in a safe house following a string of hits sanctioned by Phil, Walden provides security.
Walden ranks high on the list because he has the biggest achievement out of all the street soldiers. He can also include on his resume that he is the man who whacked one of Tony Soprano’s biggest and most dangerous enemies, Phil Leotardo. The Lupertazzi Crime Family boss proves elusive for a while, but Walden and Benny track him down at a gas station and shoot him in front of his family. The high-profile tasks he is given also say a lot about his effectiveness.
Known as the “nicest mobster in New Jersey,” Bobby starts out as Junior’s soldier, helping him run his loan-sharking business. When Junior’s health begins to decline, Bobby joins Tony’s crew.
Bobby holds the honor of being the only man who ever defeats Tony in a fight. And the boss sure does have a lot of excuses when that happens. Bobby is ever calm, even when provoked or made the recipient of inappropriate jokes. Most importantly, Bobby doesn’t have a dishonest bone in his body, and that’s why he rises quickly to become the DiMeo Crime Family’s Underboss.
Benito “Benny” Fazio Jr. is first seen when he is released from County Jail. Initially a member of Paulie’s crew, he begins working for Christopher when the young mobster becomes a “made guy.”
As a street soldier, Benny is able to conduct heists with ease, evident in how he fends off security guards when he and Christopher rob the Rutgers University charity jewel concert. Trust is important in the Cosa Nostra too and Benny is able to make others bank on him at all times. He is trusted to conduct high-profile hits such as those of Carmine Lupertazzi’s would-be-assassins. Tony and Silvio also trust him to not only protect them but drive them around.