There’s the boss, underboss, consigliere, capos, soldiers, and last but not least, known associates. This was the strict hierarchy of power we knew and loved on The Sopranos. The made men had it made (they were untouchable) in the criminal underworld, and orders were passed down through a chain of command so as to keep the boss insulated from law enforcement. (The reason that when the FBI would search the Soprano’s Jersey home, they’d always come up empty.)
Although anti-hero Tony may have called the shots in the organization, there are others with muscle, and those whose power is emotional, such as his love for “daddy’s girl” Meadow, as well as psychological, as with Dr. Melfi. Here are the show’s main characters, ranked by their power.
Dr. Jennifer Melfi
The psychiatrist was the only person before whom Tony was vulnerable. This is a powerful position to be in, although because of doctor/patient privilege she couldn’t reveal what she knew.
He goes to her at first because he suffers from anxiety attacks, but after a while, he likes having someone he can just talk to. Having a mob boss as a patient is empowering for her, but Dr. Melfi proves to be a deeply moral person who never dabbles in the criminal underworld of their patient.
Let’s not pretend: she had to listen to her father if she knew what was good for her. But Meadow was Tony’s pride and joy; beautiful, smart, and with a promising future. She had the power to turn this criminal into a soft-hearted guy.
Fans watched as Tony left a hit to transform into a loving dad attending his child’s Christmas pageant. He also took her on a father/daughter road trip to look at colleges, leaving the tour to go murder a former associate now in witness protection after squealing on those in the organization. Clearly, Tony had the power to be both a good and bad guy and meadow’s influence only went so far.
Sure she loved Tony, but what she loved more was the lifestyle his ill-gotten gains provided her and their children, who wanted for nothing. Even though she plays dumb to his goings-on, Carmela knows of her husband’s place in organized crime and his extra-marital affairs.
When she wanted to exert personal power, Carmela had an affair with her son’s guidance counselor which Tony never found out about but it’s relatively little power to exercise compared to her husband’s impulsive behavior.
Corrado Soprano, Jr. was the boss of the New Jersey crime organization who helped his nephew Tony rise through the ranks (and then put a hit out on Tony.) When his nephew recovered from the attack, he told Junior he could keep the title of Boss, but all his businesses were taken over by Tony with a 5% tribute paid to the uncle.
Junior had gained power only because those above him either died or were serving life sentences. He was considered selfish, and not a good leader, making it easy for Tony to get the other bosses to side with him against his uncle.
Sal’s power derived from being a long-time friend of Tony’s and following orders whether it be to hijack trucks, collect money, or do murder. He never moved up in the organization because of his side hustle as a heroin dealer. At one point, after years of service, he ended up on par with the new guy, Furio.
“You were like a brother to me,” said Tony, before he opened fire and killed Sal, who had used his power as a member of Tony’s inner circle to betray the crew and co-operate with the FBI when they threatened to send him to prison for his dealing.
Tony’s nephew began as an associate, then worked his way up through the organization to soldier and then capo. Christopher’s power comes from being related to the mob boss and being trusted with knowing where a number of the bodies are buried.
He lost his clout, however, when he became a heroin addict, subsequently getting in a car accident with Tony in the passenger seat. His uncle walks away because he was wearing his seatbelt. Christopher was not, so he needs medical attention. Instead of calling 911, Tony suffocates his nephew to death.
Paulie went from capo to underboss (with Christopher reporting to him) but was demoted back to capo because that’s where he was needed.
His power came from the fact that he was a true psychopath who was very unemotional when it came to his work, whether it be stealing or committing murder. His big mouth had him come close to being whacked by Tony, but the boss changed his mind since Paulie’s other power came from being a top earner. Making the boss get richer helped him keep his job and keep breathing.
Bobby was a soldier who finally reached the coveted position of Tony’s underboss. Aside from his rank in the organization, much of Bobby’s power came from his personality; unlike the other men, he was shy, even-tempered, and well-liked. It also didn’t hurt that after his wife died, he began dating Tony’s sister Janice. Eventually, though, he becomes a killer, like the rest.
If this had been a legitimate business, Bacala would have been considered a success story, as he began as Uncle Junior’s driver. His high status, however, only meant that, when war broke out between the New York and New Jersey crews, Bobby was one of the top guys who had a hit put out on him.
Although his daily job was to manage The Bada Bing, his real position in the organization was as soldier-turned-consigliere, whose power came to him because of his support and loyalty to Tony. Silvio’s level-headedness as well as his reliable advice made him the number one choice to attend “sit-downs” with the boss. This is not to say, he didn’t have a long line of murders to his name.
Unfortunately, because blood is thicker than water when Christopher made his bones, the family connection jeopardized Silvio’s position, but he eventually accepted the situation.
One word from Tony–known publicly as a waste management consultant–and an enemy got “hit.” If he protected your business (like there was a choice?) his men came to collect and kicked it up to “T.” Nothing happened in his North Jersey territory unless he knew about it and gave the OK. It must be great to be king of The Bada Bing. Or is it?
To hear Tony tell it: “You got no f***ing idea what it’s like to be number one. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f***ing thing. And in the end, you’re completely alone with it all.”