The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti

The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti

Infobox Television episode | Title = The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti
Series = The Sopranos
Season = 1
Episode = 8
Guests= "see below"
Airdate = February 28, 1999 (HBO)
Production = 108
Writer = David Chase and
Frank Renzulli
Director = Tim Van Patten
Episode list = Episode chronology

Prev = Down Neck
Next = Boca

"The Legend of Tennessee Moltisanti" is the eighth episode of the HBO original series "The Sopranos". It was written by David Chase and Frank Renzulli, directed by Tim Van Patten and originally aired on Sunday February 28 1999.

Guest starring roles

*Anthony DeSando as Brendan Filone
* Joe Badalucco, Jr. as Jimmy Altieri
* Tony Darrow as Larry Boy Barese
* Joseph R. Gannascoli as Gino
* George Loros as Ray Curto
* Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
* Will McCormack as Jason LaPenna
* Frank Pando as Agent Grasso
* Richard Romanus as Richard LaPenna
* Al Sapienza as Mikey Palmice
* Matt Servitto as Agent Harris
* Bruce Smolanoff as Emil Kolar

Episode recap

At Larry Boy Barese's daughter's wedding, Larry Boy informs the DiMeo crime family members present that his source at the FBI is going to begin handing out indictments to New Jersey associates involved with mob activity. The capos gather around and question whether they should take a break from business. Junior says that they should not. Tony is asked his opinion, causing Junior to become agitated. Tony agrees with Junior and reaffirms Junior's authority, and implies that Junior would want everyone to undertake some "spring cleaning". During the wedding dinner, the capos gather their families and leave to dispose or hide any incriminating evidence in their possession.

Upon arriving home, Tony and Carmela remove cash and guns from their loft space. Carmela is upset when Tony asks for her jewelry, claiming he does not have receipts. When she expresses shock when he asks for her engagement ring, Tony allows her to keep it. Meadow and A.J. observe what is happening, and Meadow tells A.J. to delete the porn from his computer, lest the FBI find it. Tony's crew undertakes similar precautions: Pussy burns all of his papers in a barbecue grill and Silvio enlists Christopher and Georgie to find electronic wire taps at the Bada Bing.

Meanwhile, Tony asks Carmela to take Livia out for brunch so that he can hide the money and guns in her assisted living apartment unit at Green Grove. Tony successfully completes the task and leaves before Carmela and Livia return. The following day (during comedy night at Green Grove), Junior visits Livia, who tells him that Tony is seeing a psychiatrist, a fact she learned from A.J. in the prior episode.

At their therapy appointment, Tony tells Dr. Melfi he may not be at the next appointment. When she asks why not, he tells her that the situation is complicated and that he may be going "on vacation". She gets the point, having seen a newscast that the DiMeo family, in particular Junior, would likely be indicted. In fact, Dr. Melfi and her family have discussed her "Italian" patient. While Melfi's ex-husband does not know the patient is Tony Soprano, he suspects the patient is connected to the mob. He is irate that the Mafia have given millions of Italian-Americans a bad name, and suggests that she refer-out (drop) the patient. Melfi's son points out that mobster movies have become an icon of American cinema. The rest of the family nod in agreement.

Tony in fact misses the next appointment with Dr. Melfi because he is detained by the FBI, who arrive at his home with a search warrant. The FBI agent, Dwight Harris, knows that Tony has children and does not want to upset them by using force or barging in. Tony agrees to allow the FBI access to his home, and they proceed to search the residence. They then take A.J. and Meadow's computers and a few items of Carmela's. However, tensions arise when a fellow agent, Grasso, accidentally breaks a glass bowl in the Soprano kitchen, and Tony, recognizing his ethnicity, curses the agent in Italian. Carmela refuses to clean up the broken glass and Grasso is made to sweep the pieces off the floor. Later as the family eats Chinese food, Tony complains that Italians are unfairly targeted by the police, and that Italians like Michalangelo and Antonio Meucci have contributed to society. A.J. points out that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone but Tony disputes this, saying that everyone knows Italian immigrant Antonio Meucci was the real inventor of the device.

At his next appointment, Dr. Melfi tells Tony that he will be charged for the missed session. He then becomes angered because he felt that she was there to help him instead of shaking him down for his money at a time of duress. He throws cash at her, swears at her and walks out of the office.

Christopher suffers recurring nightmares about the first man he killed, Emil Kolar. In the dream, Christopher serves Emil cold cuts in Satriale's and receives the meat from a severed hand in the meat cooler. Emil warns him that he left evidence from the murder. Awake, Christopher worries about Emil's body and enlists Georgie to help relocate it.

Additionally, Christopher is struggling to write a screenplay loosely based on his experience in the Mafia, complaining that he cannot develop a story arc to advance the characters, and concerned that his life also lacks a significant event that will prompt him to start a successful arc in his life. Christopher has written 19 pages while his script-writing booklet says a movie should be about 120 pages. He is angry that he got a computer, thinking that it would make the task of writing easier.

Adriana, Paulie Gualtieri and Big Pussy all try to offer support, but Christopher continues to careen into desperation. The situation is worsened when Christopher watches the news and discovers that Brendan Filone is receiving more recognition as a deceased DiMeo "associate" than he is as a live one. Tony calls Christopher to drive over to the Bing and asks him to pick up some pastries on the way. At the bakery, Christopher takes his frustration out on the clerk, finally shooting him in the foot for unfairly making him wait for service.

When Tony learns of the shooting, he berates Christopher. Concerned for Christopher's mental state, Tony asks Chris if he ever considered suicide (making a gun with his hand and putting the index finger in his mouth). Christopher denies such feelings. Tony's tentative attempts to have Christopher discuss his feelings, as Tony himself does in therapy, are met with bemusement and derision. The next day, Christopher receives a call from his mother, who tells him that his name is featured in a "Star-Ledger" article on the Mafia. While his mother is disapproving, this is the recognition Christopher has longed for. Energized, he drives to the nearest coin operated newspaper dispenser and buys a paper. Upon seeing his name in print, he grabs the entire stack of newspapers and throws them in his car before speeding off.

First appearances

* Agent Grasso: an agent investigating the DiMeo crime family
* Agent Harris: an agent who specializes in the DiMeo crime family
* Jason LaPenna: Dr. Melfi's college-age son
* Richard LaPenna: Dr. Melfi's ex-husband
* Jimmy Petrille: capo in the Lupertazzi crime family.
* Angie Bonpensiero: Pussy's wife of 24 years who is considered a "mob wife" and is good friends with Carmela Soprano, Gabriella Dante and Rosalie Aprile.
* Gabriella Dante: Silvio's wife who is considered a "mob wife" and is good friends with Carmela Soprano, Rosalie Aprile and Angie Bonpensiero.


* In Christopher's dream, the number 34 is shown in the background at the deli. It is also the same number Christopher gets when in line at the bakery.

Title reference

* Christopher is trying to write a screenplay and Adriana calls him her own "Tennessee William", a reference to Tennessee Williams, the playwright who wrote "A Streetcar Named Desire". When Tony scolds Christopher over the bakery incident, he tells him that this is how cowboys act.

References to other media

* Christopher shoots the bakery clerk in the foot in a homage to the character (Michael "Spider" Gianco) that Michael Imperioli plays in "Goodfellas".
* Paulie references Ernest Hemingway when talking about "the guy with the bullfights, blew his head off".
* In the episode "The Blue Comet" (eighth episode of the final season), Dr. Melfi drops Tony as her patient. In this episode (eighth episode of Season One), Dr. Melfi contemplates dropping Tony as her patient due to his sociopathic nature.


* Joseph R. Gannascoli, who plays Gino the bakery customer in this episode, returns in season two as Vito Spatafore, a soldier in the Aprile crew. Gannascoli, Saundra Santiago and Dan Grimaldi are the only actors to portray two roles in the series. Saundra Santiago portrays twins Jeannie Cusamano and Joan O'Connell. Grimaldi portrays twins Philly and Patsy Parisi.
* Pussy and Silvio appear with different wives in this episode—neither actress had any lines and are not credited for their appearance. Pussy's wife also appears in "Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office...". In season two, the role of Angie Bonpensiero is recast with Toni Kalem and that of Gabriella Dante with Maureen Van Zandt.
* This is the first episode directed by Tim Van Patten, who would become a regular director on the series.


* The song played over the end credits is "Frank Sinatra" by Cake. This is possibly a reference of when Tony and his family were naming famous Italians and he said "Francis Albert".

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