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"Pax Soprana" is the 6th episode of Season One of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It is the 6th overall episode of the series. It was written by Frank Renzulli, directed by Alan Taylor and originally aired on February 14, 1999.

Episode cast[]

* = credit only

Guest starring[]

Also guest starring[]

Episode recap[]

After a long wait, a Soprano has finally become the boss of the DiMeo crime family, and it's Tony's Uncle Junior. But as Junior's lead henchman, Mikey Palmice, says when he busts up Sammy Grigio's card game, Junior "ain't respecting old arrangements". He changes old deals and attempts to have more money funneled toward him, while allowing less to trickle down to his capos.

Tony allowed Junior to gain control of the family in the hope that he himself would be able to be the de facto boss, while leaving Junior to deal with the headaches associated with being the boss. Thus, the captains come to Tony to complain, letting him know they are unhappy with the way Junior "eats alone" and that Mikey should have let the card game proceed after Sammy brought up Jimmy Altieri's name.

Junior makes another rash decision when he finds out that one of Larry Boy Barese's top earners, Rusty Irish, had sold drugs to the 14-year-old grandson of Junior's elderly tailor, causing the boy to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge above the Great Falls of the Passaic. He decides that Rusty should be killed for this infraction, to be made an example of. The next day, Palmice, with the help of "Joey Eggs" Marino, abduct Rusty and throw him off the same bridge to his death. After they throw him over, they notice some witnesses sitting on the other side of the bridge and pay them off to say it was a suicide.

Livia convinces Junior to tax Tony's Jewish associate Hesh Rabkin, even though Hesh's arrangement has been in place for decades, dating back to Hesh's relationship with Johnny Boy Soprano, Livia's husband and Tony's father. When Hesh approaches Tony with the news and threatens to leave the area, Tony aligns with Johnny Sack, the underboss in New York's Lupertazzi crime family, and helps Hesh and Sack present a disingenuous proposition for Junior to accept.

After more persuading from the other capos, Tony meets with his uncle at a local Little League baseball game to try to convince him to share more of his newfound wealth. With historical evidence related to the leadership skills of Augustus Caesar, as well as reminding Junior about an anecdote he told Tony about bulls and cows, Tony is successful. Junior decides to divide the money he received from Hesh and give it to his capos, fifty thousand dollars apiece. Tony later returns his share to Hesh personally.

Meanwhile, Tony is having difficulty with his libido, and is fantasizing about Dr. Melfi, through intrusive thoughts and dreams. At his therapy session he professes his love for Dr. Melfi, who tries to explain what he feels is not love, but positive feelings as the result of his progress in therapy. Carmela expresses a jealousy towards Melfi that she's never felt about Tony's mistresses. Later, Carmela tells Tony that she wants to be the woman in his life to help him, and Tony agrees.

Even though Tony really controls the family, Junior becomes the main focus of the FBI. At a banquet to honor the new boss, the Feds are in attendance, disguised as servers. With the photographic information they gather from their button cameras, they move Junior up their hierarchy board, to replace the late Jackie Aprile as "boss". Tony's position as "captain" remains unchanged; he is on the same level as the other capos.

First appearance[]

John "Johnny Sack" Sacrimoni: The underboss of the Lupertazzi crime family, one of the Five Families of New York City.


  • Dominic Capri: Grandson of Junior's tailor Mr. Capri who committed suicide after taking designer drugs sold by Rusty Irish.
  • Rusty Irish: Murdered by Mikey Palmice with help of Joseph Marino on orders from Junior.


Tony Soprano- All due respect to New York, I don't think you should be telling my uncle how to run things.

John Sacrimoni- You think I got the balls to drive in from New York and tell your uncle how he should run his family? I shouldn't expect to see the Statue of Liberty again if I did that. (laughs) Alright, look, Tony, Hesh isn't only a friend of you guys. He's a friend of ours. Somebody has to step in so he doesn't get fucked.

Hesh Rabkin- I never said "fucked".

Tony Soprano- And you, frankly I'm a little hurt, you should've came to me first, airing your dirty laundry in public.

Hesh Rabkin- Junior knew how I felt. How would it look if I went to you after I spoke to him?

John Sacrimoni- Now, he's got a point. Bottom line is, what are we gonna do about this?

Junior Soprano- Something tells me you have a suggestion.

John Sacrimoni- Oh, Junior. If there are any flies on you, they're paying fucking rent. (Hesh and Tony laugh) 500 is a little steep for back taxes, no? As far as 2 percent of his action, that's up to you to settle. Because after all, it affects Tony, as much as Hesh.

Junior Soprano- I'm not out to hurt anyone. God forbid I get in the way of someone earning. Let's say one and a half on the shy business and 300 on the back tax.

Hesh Rabkin- 250.

Junior Soprano- What'd I tell you? Hold onto your cock when you negotiate with these desert people. (laughs) 250 (shakes Hesh's hand)


(capos walk in, looking upset)

Tony Soprano- I thought I was the only one Junior could make look like that. (all sit down) Alright, let me hear it.

Jimmy Altieri- Rusty Irish.

Tony Soprano- What about him?

Larry Barese- He took a header off the falls.

Raymond Curto- That's the closest that junkie fuck ever got to a bath.

Larry Barese- Yeah, well I got news for you. That junkie fuck was my biggest earner. During the football season, he moved more cards than 10 guys put together. And another thing, a certain friend of ours should of checked with me before he did a favor for the old man Capri.

Tony Soprano- You're losing me.

Larry Barese- Irish was the one who sold Capri's grandson that shit.

Raymond Curto- I think you created a fucking Frankenstein in Junior.

Tony Soprano- I created? We all agreed to let Junior have his day. Let him be the lightning rod, and when lightning strikes, god forbid, and somebody goes down, it's not a young man with a family. You remember this? We all agreed.

Larry Barese- Yeah, we agreed, but who the fuck expected to get raped, over here?

Raymond Curto- I mean when Jackie was acting boss, no one minded 'cuz it all evened out at the end of the day. But your uncle, Madonn', does he eat alone! He doesn't even pass the salt.

Jimmy Altieri- What about that Sammy Grigio's card game? That fucking Mikey smacked him around. That ain't right.

Tony Soprano- Come on, Jimmy, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Junior was right, he had a position. That game wasn't paying anybody.

Raymond Curto- The minute Sammy Grigio used Jimmy's name, it should of been end of story.

Jimmy Altieri- That's right.

Tony Soprano- What do you want me to do?

Larry Barese- Hey, we made our bed, we sleep in it. We're all men. But how long we gonna continue to kick upstairs without it hurting? I mean, something, anything, should trickle down over here, no?

Jimmy Altieri- All we want you to do is talk to him. After all, he's your uncle. Come on.

Larry Barese- That's right.


Tony Soprano- Ok, I'm no good at speeches.

Larry Barese- Yeah, you owe him a fucking dime you'll hear some great speeches.


Tony Soprano- Shit. Shut up let me talk. (laughing)

Larry Barese- Go ahead, talk. I was only kidding. Go ahead.

Tony Soprano- Alright I'd like everybody to raise their glasses. Okay, uh, taught me as much as anybody, except for maybe my father. Even if he wasn't my uncle, I'd be standing here saying "to our new boss". Salut'.

Raymond Curto- To Junior.

Larry Barese- Junior.

Jimmy Altieri- To Junior.

John Sacrimoni- Salut'.


Title reference[]

The title is a reference to Pax Romana (Roman peace) and related terms (Pax Britannica, Pax Americana etc.), which refer to a lack of conflict over a long period of time due to the unchallenged rule of a single dominant power, which Tony hopes to achieve within the Soprano family. Pax Romana was an era initiated by the Roman emperor Augustus, mentioned by Tony in his conversation with Uncle Junior.


  • The song played when Mikey and his boys shake down a poker game which is under Jimmy Altieri's protection is "Willy Nilly" by Rufus Thomas.
  • The song played when Mr. Capri fits Junior for a new suit is "When the Boys in Your Arms" by Connie Francis.
  • While Junior visits Livia at Green Grove, some of the other seniors are singing to "I Whistle a Happy Tune".
  • The song played as Christopher walks into the card game at Satriale's is "Coconut Boogaloo," by Medeski Martin & Wood.
  • The song played during Tony's first dream featuring Dr. Melfi is "What Time Is It?" by The Jive Five.
  • The song played when Tony meets with Johnny Sack during his anniversary dinner with Carmela is "Pampa" by Gustavo Santaolalla.
  • The song played during the final montage and end credits is an instrumental version of "Paparazzi" by Xzibit, a song derived from Gabriel Fauré's "Pavane".


In 2015, Alan Sepinwall argued that "Pax Soprana" is "so fraught with discomfort and complications with both family and Family (and whatever separate sphere Melfi occupies) that it's nearly as compelling in its own right as last week's Very Special Episode." Emily VanDerWerff of The A.V. Club wrote that the episode "isn't a tremendous hour of television like 'College' was, but it may be more significant."