In The Sopranos, Johnny “Sack” Sacrimoni, the Underboss of the Lupertazzi Crime Family, warms up to Tony and becomes one of his most reliable friends. Coming from a crime family is populated by remorseless brutes, Sack distinguishes himself by being generally nice unless someone takes things too far.
Sack’s level-headedness makes him popular in the New Jersey and New York underworlds but in a show full of bad guys, his niceness eventually makes him lose as he gets convicted of several crimes. Before the Sack ship sinks, the mobster is granted some of the best dialogue on the show. Whether harsh or thoughtful, his remarks always leave viewers impressed.
“I Remember When You Used To Wait Out In The Car, And Frankly You Should Still Be There!”
Johnny Sack isn’t impressed when Christopher gives an opinion during an executive meeting between New York and New Jersey mobsters. He feels that the young mobster isn’t experienced enough.
Christopher ends up being one of the most likable Capos in The Sopranos but his quick rise in the Cosa Nostra ladder surprises a lot of people, Sack being one of them. It’s all due to nepotism. Not only is he is Tony’s nephew but Christopher’s father Dickie, also mentored Tony. Christopher being allowed into executive meetings is all part of Tony’s efforts to groom him but his presence irks Sack, who reminds him of the ‘nobody’ that he was, just a couple of years ago.
“It Wouldn’t Hurt To Throw Him A Bone.’
Since Ralph is a cash cow for both the New Jersey and New York families, Sack suggests that Tony promote him to Capo in order to keep him happy and motivated. Tony is reluctant to do so because he considers Ralph a loose canon.
Ralph has always stood out as the highest earner but his personality leaves a lot to be desired. He is responsible for some of the most unnecessary kills in The Sopranos and his remarks are always in bad taste too. Nevertheless, Ralph needs to be kept happy in order to be productive and Tony understands that, so he eventually gives him the promotion.
“She’s Beautiful. Rubenesque!”
When word reaches Johnny Sack that Ralph made fun of Ginny’s weight, he becomes furious. He complains to Tony about it, reminding him that wives are always off-limits. He then describes Ginny in glowing terms.
‘Rubenesque’ is indeed a better word. Most mobsters on the show have been shown to have insensitive views about topics such as size and sexuality but Sack is cut from a different cloth. He considers his wife perfect and never pressures her to lose weight, even when though he’s found her indulging in bad habits such as stacking up cartons of candy.
“What’s This? The F’*** U.N. Now?!”
After the death of Carmine, a power struggle brews in New York. Tony suggests having a power-sharing agreement where two people will be co-bosses but Sack rubbishes the idea, claiming that the mafia is becoming like the United Nations now.
The idea of two different people sharing power seems odd to an old-school mobster like Sack. Never in history has there ever been such an occurrence so Sack feels that Tony is being a bit too modern. According to the Underboss, the mob is no place for diplomacy and peace treaties. Only the fittest people should get to become the Don.
“I’ve Been Accused Of Being Part Of A Particular Italian-American Subculture.”
A few months after becoming boss, Sack’s fortunes tumble when one of the best FBI informants in The Sopranos, Jimmy Petrille, gives out information about him, leading to his arrest. In the prison clinic, a fellow inmate asks him what he is being charged with.
Admission into the Cosa Nostra is dependent on heritage. Among the requirements of being a member of the mob on the show is that one either has to be Italian or Italian-American. This rule has proven problematic since most Italian-Americans are assumed to be mobsters by law enforcement officers. Sack thus tries to make it seem like he is being falsely accused, just because he is Italian-American.
“Junior, If There Are Any Flies On You They’re Paying Rent.”
Sack first appears on the show when Junior officially becomes boss. As the mobsters are having a meeting outside Satriale’s pork store, the Underboss mentions how Junior is so cutthroat that if flies land on his body, he’ll demand payment.
Before the FBI begins hunting him down and health struggles take a toll on him, Junior is shown to be quite the ruthless Don. There is no line he won’t cross for personal satisfaction, including ordering a hit on his own nephew Tony. Junior also loves collecting money so much to the point that other mobsters resent him for “eating alone.”
“200k For Insulting My Wife? What Next? He Gets To Sleep With Her For A Million?”
There is an emergency sitdown between members of the DiMeo and Lupertazzi crime families when Sack demands Ralph’s death as payback for insulting his wife. Carmine and Tony are against that course of action because Ralph is in charge of the lucrative Esplanade protect which brings in a lot of money for both families. They thus conclude that Ralph pays Sack $200,000.
The Underboss impressively sounds like knights and warriors of the old by talking about avenging his wife’s honor. It is as ridiculous to him that Ralph is stamped with a fine of $200,000 for his remarks because things would have been much different if it was Tony or Carmine’s wife being insulted. This is proven true when Tony ends up killing Ralph later in the series for downplaying the death of his favorite racehorse.
“A Lotta Things Didn’t Happen That Seem Like They Happened.”
Tony once suspects Johnny Sack of being behind a load of missing smuggled Vespa scooters that were supposed to be collected by Carlo Gervasi’s crew. Sack insists the scooters were never collected even though Tony is certain they were. He also points out that Tony also keeps denying that his cousin shot Joey Peeps yet he did.
Sack’s cold attitude towards Tony foreshadows the war between the Lupertazzi and DiMeo families. Tony and Sack have always been on good terms but all of a sudden, Sack not only denies knowing about the scooters yet he does but also prevents Tony from making money. The relationship is never repaired since Sack goes to prison and the new boss Phil declares all-out war.
“I Shouldn’t Expect To See The Statue Of Liberty Again If I Did That.”
Upon realizing that Sack is indirectly trying to tell Junior how to run his family in the first season, Tony warns him against doing that since he’s from a different outfit. Sack denies he is trying to control Junior, adding that he knows he might not be allowed to go back to New York alive if he did that.
People get killed for the slightest of offenses in the mob and that’s something Sack hasn’t forgotten. As a New York mobster, he shouldn’t be too concerned about how things are run in New Jersey but he is only making suggestions in order to improve relationships. After all, he has always been the only member of the Lupertazzi family to be friendly to the DiMeo family.
“His Decisions End Up ‘Lightening’ My Pockets.”
During one of their private meetings, Sack complains to Tony about Carmine’s leadership. He claims the boss is making reckless decisions that are affecting his earning ability. He then wonders how life would be like if Carmine’s health failed and Tony quickly realizes that Sack is considering killing his Don.
Most mob bosses in history lost power by being overthrown and Sack seeks to go the same route by dethroning the aging Carmine. That he tells Tony about his plans shows just how much he trusts the man. He knows that as one of the most intelligent members of the DiMeo Crime Family, Tony won’t say a thing. Luckily for everyone, Carmine dies of natural causes before sack can pull off a violent coup de tat.