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"Down Neck" is the 7th episode of Season One of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It is the 7th overall episode of the series. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, directed by Lorraine Senna Ferrara and originally aired on February 21, 1999.

Episode cast[]

Guest starring[]

Also guest starring[]

  • Paul Albe as Contractor
  • Shirl Bernheim as Pearl
  • Madeline Blue as Janice Soprano
  • Bobby Boriello as Young Tony Soprano
  • Scott Owen Cumberbatch as Rideland Kid #2
  • Anthony Fusco as Father Hagy
  • Rob Grippa as Byron Barber
  • Jason Hauser as Rideland Cop
  • Michael B. Jordan as Rideland Kid
  • Greg Perrelli as Jared
  • Nick Raio as Wiseguy
  • Tim Realbuto as Jimmy
  • Steve Santosusso as Guy
  • Tim Williams as Mr. Meskimmin

Episode recap[]

A.J. and his two classmates Jared and Byron Barber sneak into the chapel at their school and steal the sacramental wine and drink most of it, the boys arrive at P.E. class drunk. As the boys stumble over jumping jacks and burpees, Mr. Meskimmin grows suspicious of the boys in back and stops the class to check out what's going on. Byron complains about feeling nauseous and throws up on Mr. Meskimmin after the latter smells alcohol on Byron's breath. Tony is at his construction job when he and Carmela are called in Father Hagy's office. While in the principal's office Carmela and Tony are told by Father Hagy that A.J. has been given a three day suspension. The school psychiatrist Dr. Peter Galani thinks that A.J. might have A.D.D. and should be tested. Regardless, Dr. Galani also states that A.J. still has to be adequately punished for his actions and Tony and Carmela agree.

Later that night during dinner, Livia and Uncle Junior find out about A.J. being suspended from school; the both of them express outrage towards the school, but Carmela disagrees with their reaction. Livia and Junior reminisce about Tony getting in trouble and constantly being sent to the principal's office when he was around A.J.'s age. A.J. considers Tony's childhood transgressions particularly exciting when Livia reveals that Tony stole a car at age 10, and Junior talks of Tony's crew stealing lobsters off of boats and sell them on Bloomfield Avenue. Tony becomes infuriated and makes it clear that he doesn't approve of his boyhood infractions being idolized and refuses to allow that type of influence around A.J. or Meadow. A.J. replies with a smart-aleck remark under his breath which gets him reprimanded. In the presence of their guests, Carmela tells A.J. that she and Tony have decided on his punishment and A.J. is grounded for the next three weeks and is prohibited from watching any TV, playing video games, riding his skateboard and using the internet and much to Livia's delight, A.J. has to visit her at the nursing home. A.J. doesn't take the news well and storms off with tears in his eyes.

While getting ready for bed, Tony and Carmela talk about A.J. possibly having A.D.D.. Tony is rather surprised and denying the possibility of A.J. having A.D.D. but Carmela disagrees noting behaviors she has noticed. Carmela changes the subject and asks Tony about Meadow's strange behavior.

First appearances[]

Johnny Soprano: Tony's deceased father who appears in flashbacks during his childhood. He was the long-time capo of the original Soprano crew (which later became known as the Gualtieri crew) until his death from emphysema in 1986.

Janice Soprano: Tony's older sister who appears as a child in flashbacks.

Barbara Soprano: Tony's younger sister who appears as an infant in flashbacks.

Title reference[]

"Down Neck" refers to the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey where Tony grew up.

Cultural references[]

While being tested for A.D.D, A.J. mentions the animated series South Park. He specifically mentions the first episode, "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".


Although the flashbacks are set in 1967, some anachronistic modern-day motor vehicles and people wearing modern clothing are visible in the background in some of the scenes.

The Rideland scene was filmed on Sand Lane, at South Beach Amusement Park in Staten Island, New York.

References to past episodes[]

When Carmela mentions Meadow's suspicions on Tony's true occupation, flashbacks from "College" appear briefly which includes Meadow asking him if he's in the Mafia and killing Febby.


  • The song played on the television during Tony's flashback to 1967 was a live performance of "(I've Been) Lonely Too Long" by The Rascals on The Ed Sullivan Show.
  • The song played while Tony takes his Prozac and remembers his childhood is "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane. It is also played when he makes ice-cream sundaes with A.J. and into the end credits.
  • The song played when young Tony misses the bus and sees Johnny and Junior beating up a man is "Don't Bring Me Down" by The Animals.
  • The song played when young Tony plays catch with Junior while Janice leaves with Johnny for the carnival is "Carrie Anne" by The Hollies.
  • The song played when young Tony hides in the trunk of Johnny's car and follows him and Janice to the carnival is "Mystic Eyes" by Them.
  • The song played when young Tony sees Junior, Johnny and friends arrested at the carnival is "The Blue Danube" by Johann Strauss II.


Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club retrospectively praised "Down Neck" as "an unusually focused episode. It rarely deviates from its central thesis about fathers and mothers and their sons." She considered the flashbacks to be "nicely constructed and handily paralleled with Tony's fears that his kids will find out what he does for a living." Alan Sepinwall praised Gandolfini's acting and also stated, in reference to the scene where AJ tells Livia of Tony's therapy sessions, that the episode's two plots "make a great comic combination because AJ is so oblivious [...] that he not only doesn't realize what he's telling Livia, but is invulnerable to her usual emotional manipulations. Once Livia decides that Tony goes to a psychiatrist to complain about her, she starts up the waterworks and loud self-pity, and AJ couldn't possibly be less interested in, or even aware of, this display. It's priceless."