The Sopranos

The Sopranos: How Furio’s Exit Broke A Show Tradition

Given his mutual attraction to Tony Soprano's wife, Furio avoids the same fate as many Sopranos characters who came before and after him.

The nature of Federico Castelluccio’s departure from the role of Furio in The Sopranos broke a show tradition. David Chase’s seminal gangster drama featured numerous character departures throughout its six seasons aired between 1999 and 2007. Many of these characters died at the hands of Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) such as Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano) or his own cousin, Christopher (Michael Imperioli.) Other characters were killed off during one of the many conflicts between Tony Soprano’s crime family and their enemies, such as when Bobby Bacala (Steve Schiripa) was shot dead during the final season’s war with the Lupertazzi crime family

The only departing main character who wasn’t killed off was Furio in The Sopranos season 4. Furio was first introduced when Tony and his crew visit Naples in The Sopranos season 2, episode 4, “Commendatori.” Impressed by Furio’s loyalty to Don Vittorio, Tony brought him to America under the pretense of working in Artie Bucco’s restaurant. Unlike most of Tony’s crew, Furio was gentlemanly, sensitive, and respectful of women. This led to complications when he became Tony’s driver and spent more time with his boss’ wife Carmela (Edie Falco.) An attraction was formed, which ultimately led to Furio’s departure from the show, but not in the fatal manner of other Sopranos characters.

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The mutual attraction between Furio and Carmela was one of the main storylines of The Sopranos season 4. Furio knows he cannot pursue his romantic obsession with Tony’s wife, and Carmela comically brings her son AJ along as a buffer when she meets with Furio, to avoid giving into temptation. After a visit back home to bury his father, it becomes apparent to Furio that his love for Carmela can only end in one of two ways, with he or Tony dead. With this knowledge, Furio eventually makes the decision to return to Naples, ending The Sopranos‘ show tradition and streak of killing off departing characters.

So, What Did Happen To Furio & Why Didn’t He Return?

Furio tries to kill Tony Soprano

Furio’s last appearance in The Sopranos is in season 4, episode 12, “Eloise”, where he briefly considers killing show lead Tony Soprano. Perhaps acting on the advice of his uncle, who told Furio that the only way for him to be with Carmela would be to murder Tony, he grabs Tony by the lapels and ponders throwing him into rotating helicopter blades. He swiftly relents, and warns Tony about standing too close, before boarding the helicopter and making the decision to return to Naples. It’s unclear whether Tony knows if Furio intended to kill him, but Carmela’s later revelations about her feelings for Furio in the season 4 finale likely made him reassess this drunken moment.

It’s Carmela’s admission of her attraction to Furio that leads to her temporary split from Tony, but it also makes it impossible for Furio to return. Tony swears to have Furio killed if he ever re-surfaces and says that he has men out looking for him. Despite this, Furio’s death is never reported back to Tony so, unlike many of his fellows in the Sopranos cast of characters, he’s still alive by the end of the series. It’s just as well for Tony and Carmela’s marriage, as Furio’s assassination would have been the final nail in the coffin for the couple.

Why So Many The Sopranos Characters Were Killed Off

Sopranos Adriana death

Ultimately, characters like Adriana are killed off in The Sopranos because it’s a dangerous life being involved in organized crime. David Chase updated gangster movie tropes for an era where psychology had become more mainstream, so The Sopranos was about the psychological impact of the gangster life. This isn’t exclusive to Tony Soprano’s therapy, characters like Christopher and Paulie also tackled their own demons through rehabilitation and spiritualism. The numerous deaths that signaled character exits both reinforced this dangerous life, and exacerbated the survivor’s own damaged psyches.

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