Richard "Dickie" Moltisanti, was a soldier in the Soprano Crew and the main character of The Many Saints of Newark. He married Joanne Moltisanti (née Blundetto) and they had a son, Christopher. Dickie was also a cousin of Carmela Soprano (née DeAngelis). After a brief time during which he acted as a mentor to young Tony Soprano, Dickie was murdered in 1972.
As we hear through Christopher's narration during the opening of the Many Saints of Newark, " Back in 1967, the man wearing the hat was my father. In those days he didn't have a son." Tony mentions Dickie multiple times throughout the series and calls him quote "a stand up guy" and a "legend." Moltisanti was a soldier and later captain in the DiMeo crime family alongside Johnny and Junior Soprano. They, along with Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri, Silvio Dante and Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, ran the New Jersey numbers racket. Adriana, the longtime girlfriend and fiance of Christopher Moltisanti states in an episode during the 4th season that Dickie was always like a brother/second father to Tony. We see through the Many Saints of Newark that Dickie was the only escape that Tony had from his abusive and manipulative mother and criminal father. Dickie gave Tony a model to build himself around as he aged. Dickie himself appeared to everyone around him to be a strong and competent mafioso but in reality was a very flawed character. We learn through multiple conversations between Dickie, his father "Hollywood Dick" Moltisanti, and his step mother and later comare Giuseppina Moltisanti that Dickie and his mother were regularly beaten and abused by his father. This abuse left Dickie emotionally scarred and majorly affected him later on in his life. Dickie served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and served time in prison for unknown reasons. Dickie, unlike Tony, realizes that many of his immoral acts in his gangster lifestyle are wrong and he tries to right those wrongs by doing "good acts' like coaching a beep baseball team and helping his father's wife/comare buy a beauty parlor. We see that he really can't change after he murders Giuseppina after she confesses to him that she slept with Harold, his old friend now turned gang rival. Dickie tries to distance himself from his nephew, Tony Soprano, in an effort to push Tony away from the Mafia life. Eventually Dickie agrees to meet with Tony, presumably to tell him to not pursue a life of crime but Dickie is shot and killed before the two could meet. At Dickie's funeral, Tony imagines Dickie reaching his hand up to him and them wrapping their pinky fingers around each other, resembling a scene from earlier in the movie. This could symbolize Tony following in his uncle's footsteps by entering a life of crime in the mafia or Tony vowing to avenge Dickie's death.
The Many Saints of Newark
For a time, he worked with an African-American associate named Harold McBrayer, who he apparently played baseball with. When a gang banger called Overalls robs their operation for $600, Dickie orders Harold to kill him. This gang hit forces their working relationship into an unceremonious end. Dickie later gave Harold $500 as a gesture of good will to skip town, freeing him of his debt to the mobster.
Dickie Moltisanti and a young Tony Soprano met his father "Hollywood Dick" Moltisanti and his new step mother Giuseppina Moltisanti as they get off the boat from Italy. Dickie seems infatuated by his father's new wife, and they bond over dinner.
The elder Moltisanti gets in an argument with Guiseppina, which escalates into a yelling match and Guiseppina getting kicked down the stairs. This is noticed by Dickie, who confronts his father over the issue, saying that as a little boy he had seen the same actions taken towards his true mother. When his father denies hitting Giuseppina and insults Lena Moltisanti, Dickie beats him to death in a rage. Tony Soprano, who had been playing ball nearby, comes close to see Dickie disposing of the corpse and asks what he is doing in the garage so late at night. Dickie lies that he is fixing the car, then angrily orders Tony to leave. Dickie then drives through the riot zone to arrive at a plumbing supply store owned by his father. Dickie then takes Hollywood Dick's body inside the building and sets fire to it.
At Hollywood Dick's funeral, Junior Soprano takes Dickie aside and confides in him they he considers them brothers. He promises to grant Dickie any favors he requires. Dickie visits his uncle Salvatore "Sally" Moltisanti in prison, his father's identical twin. Dickie informs his uncle that his father is dead, and promises to visit him more. Dickie regularly seeks consul with Sally and gives him gifts from the outside, but these are often sent back by his notoriously hard to please uncle.
In 1972, Harold McBrayer returns to New Jersey and begins taking over Newark's numbers racket, beginning a war with the DiMeo Crime Family. When McBrayer murders fellow capo Buddha Bonpensiero in a gang hit, Dickie attends his funeral. While there, Junior Soprano slips down the stairs of the mortuary and breaks his hip. Dickie breaks into hysterical laughter at Junior's plight, mocking him as he struggles to get back onto his feet. Dickie fails to realize his attitude would come back to haunt him in the worst way.
Dickie Moltisanti begins seeing Giuseppina as his comare. Giuseppina has aspirations of opening a beauty parlor, but this puts her into conflict with Dickie, who sees creeping costs with taxation and renovation after renovation. After leading her on, Dickie eventually agrees to go into business with her as a partner, allowing her complete control over the business. Shortly after, while walking on the beach together, Giuseppina confesses to have been seeing Harold behind Dickie's back, as Harold also expressed interest in bankrolling the beauty parlor. Enraged, Dickie drowns her in the waves.
Dickie then returns to prison to visit his uncle. Sally recommends that he stay out of Tony's life. Dickie does so for a while, but when his crew notes Tony's persistence in trying to see him, he agrees to meet Tony at a malt shop.
Around Christmas that year, Dickie is unloading TV trays in his driveway, when he is shot from behind by an assassin hired by Junior Soprano. At his funeral, Junior stares coldly at his corpse, content that Dickie's death will never come back to him.
In September 2002, Tony Soprano told Christopher that Dickie's killer was Detective Lt. Barry Haydu, who had just retired from the force. Tony delivered Haydu to Christopher Moltisanti as a part of his process of bonding Chris to him and slowly easing him up the family hierarchy. However, when confronted by Christopher, Haydu denied ever having heard of Richard Moltisanti and claimed that someone was "obviously" setting him up. Despite his repeated claims of being unfamiliar with Dickie, Chris puts an end to Haydu’s life.
Tony Soprano remembers Dickie as a "stand up guy" and describes a lot of his positive qualities to Christopher. Dickie once took on a whole crew from New England and brought the war home to their turf. Tony apparently never learned the full story of Dickie's demise; he believes that Dickie was killed because of a beef with Jilly Ruffalo, a man whom he crossed swords with while imprisoned; Dickie gouged out Jilly's eye in revenge for Ruffalo having murdered his cellmate.
According to Christopher, Dickie also struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, with his alcoholism being touched upon in the Many Saints of Newark, as Dickie was frequently seen drinking from a vodka bottle during the day and before family events. It is possible he also struggled with sexual addiction in that he could not stay faithful to Joanne. However, it was not shown if those addictions reached the point it spilled over to harm his work in the DiMeo crime family, unlike decades later where his son would ultimately ruin himself through those same vices.
Murders Committed By Dickie Moltisanti
- "Hollywood Dick" Moltisanti - Beaten to death in a rage for abusing his new wife Giuseppina the same way he abused Dickie and his mother. (July 14 1967)
- Unnamed Gangbanger - Shot in self-defense after being ambushed by Harold McBrayer. (November 1972)
- Hippie Van Driver - Accidentally shot through the driver window during the shootout between Harold and Johnny crews. (November 1972)
- Giuseppina Moltisanti - Drowned in a rage for having an affair with his African-American rival, Harold McBrayer. (December 1972)
Murders Ordered By Dickie Moltisanti
- Leon Overall - Murder ordered for robbing their operation for $600. (1967)
- Cousin Cyril - Murder ordered in retaliation for a hit against a DiMeo soldier. (1972)
- When Christopher confronts Detective Barry Haydu in "For All Debts Public and Private", Haydu tries escaping while pleading “I’m sorry" for unknown reasons. Some viewers believe he is apologizing to Christopher to get in his last words of remorse, and interpret it as evidence of his role in Dickie's death. While Dickie's death was confirmed in The Many Saints of Newark, no evidence was provided that Haydu was indeed the killer.