The Sopranos creator dissects show's most disturbing death scene, 10 years on

The devastating sequence arrived at the tail-end of season five

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The Independent Culture

June 2017 marks ten years since The Sopranos aired its final episode, culminating in a finale capped by one of the most enigmatic moments in television history. In celebration, David Chase and more have dissected the seminal HBO series' most devastating death scene to have featured across all six seasons.

Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo) was the long-suffering girlfriend of Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), the nephew of James Gandolfini's New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano. The character's death knell was marked when she found herself under investigation by the FBI during season four. As Chase described to EW: “What [Adriana] had done, in the world that we were investigating, had marked her for death. We always knew at some point, she was probably going to pay for that.”

That tragic moment arrived in season five episode 12, 'Long Term Parking,' and - while perhaps inevitable - it was one of the most heartbreaking moments in The Sopranos' six year history aided by the episode's manipulation into making the audience believe Adriana has escaped her fate: Tony calls her to tell her Christopher's attempted suicided and orders her to pack a bag. She does and, instead of leaving with Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) as planned, we see her driving away from New Jersey alone, finally escaping the life she should have escaped years before.

However, one cut later and we see hat this was a daydream: Adriana is sat in the car with Silvio, the very character who will end up whacking her in the woods.


Drea de Matteo and Steven Van Zandt in 'The Sopranos'


Drea De Matteo, the Emmy award-winning star behind Adriana, described to EW how Chase had told her he'd shoot the scene two ways. He told her: "I’m going to kill you and I’m going to let you live. And nobody’s going to know until it airs.'” 

She elaborated: "He said one reason was he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, and the other was to keep confidentiality on set. He would go that far to divert the crew from being able to leak anything.”

Director Tim Van Patten reflected upon Chase's decision:  “All you wanted for her was to escape. And when you thought she was going to succeed, you were so happy for her and so relieved. When you realise she’s going to her death, it’s absolutely devastating.”

In a series filled with murder, Adriana's is the most gut-wrenching. After coming to the realisation she's being driven to her death (at the same time as the audience), the actual moment sees her crawl away from Silvio, too frightened to run. He raises his gun and pulls the trigger as she crawls out of shot, made more effective by what you don't see. 

"It’s the only time in the whole history of the show in which we killed someone and we didn’t show their point of view," Chase explained. "It seems to be worse without it; we were imagining what might’ve happened to her and how her body would’ve been destroyed. I don’t think any of us wanted to see Drea in that condition."

Terence Winter, the episode's writer, said: "I’ve written some very graphic violence for the show and for some reason - and this was completely subconscious - I scripted this scene where she crawled out of camera. People asked, “Why didn’t you show it?” I realised that I didn’t want to see it myself."

You can read the full EW interview here.