"The Knight in White Satin Armor" is the 12th episode of Season 2 of the HBO original series The Sopranos. It is the 25th overall episode in the series. It was written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, directed by Allen Coulter and originally aired on April 2, 2000.
The episode begins where Richie Aprile's son is practicing ballroom dancing while his nephew Jackie Aprile Jr. is hanging out with friends at Janice's home. After being told by Janice that she knows of his Russian girlfriend on the side, Tony attempts to break it off with Irina Peltsin for reasons of shame and embarrassment, and insists to Irina that she deserves better than being his comáre. Irina refuses to accept the breakup, saying that she loves Tony and will commit suicide if he leaves her, but he walks out. Tony later receives a call from Irina's cousin, Svetlana Kirilenko, informing him that Irina attempted to kill herself by consuming sleeping pills and vodka. Tony visits her in the hospital and tells her that she needs help. Tony then discusses Irina with Dr. Melfi and asks if she can find her a suitable therapist. Melfi refuses since she does not want to get deeply involved with Tony's criminal career or extramarital life. When Tony, in an attempt to cast himself as doing the right thing, confesses the Irina situation to Carmela, she becomes angered and yells, "You are putting me in a position where I am feeling sorry for a whore who fucks you!?" To make amends, Tony sends Silvio Dante to Irina's house to present her with a parting gift of $75,000, and along with Svetlana, he persuades her to move on with her life. While this solves Tony's problem with Irina, the threat of Richie Aprile taking over the Soprano crime family by killing Tony remains, and he cannot be bought off.
At a bridal shop, while Janice is beaming over her upcoming marriage to Richie, Carmela makes comments that soon enough Janice's marriage will go down the same path as her own, which Janice defends by saying she engages in kinky (and potentially dangerous) activities that no comáre could match. At Richie Aprile and Janice's engagement party, which Tony reluctantly hosts, Richie professes his love for Janice and his gratitude that he is entering a great family. Witnessing the pair's affection and happiness, Carmela escapes to the kitchen where she cries uncontrollably. The following day, Carmela runs into Vic Musto at a paint store where she thanks him for not showing up to their intended luncheon since she would have done things that she would have regretted.
Big Pussy Bonpensiero begins to take to his job as an FBI informant seriously, beginning to feel even more resentment towards Tony. First he wears a wire to Richie and Janice's engagement party and then elicits useful information about stolen airline tickets and Tony's business with Davey Scatino. However, Pussy begins to develop an unrealistic image of his new role. When he learns that Christopher Moltisanti is planning a hijacking with another associate, targeting a shipment of Pokémon cards, Pussy attempts to conduct his own surveillance and follow them to the heist, but winds up in a car accident and is wounded. At the hospital, his handler Agent Skip Lipari reminds Pussy that he is not a government employee and that he should focus solely on providing information on Tony.
Richie's contempt for Tony grows when he is again ordered to shut down a sideline distributing cocaine along his garbage routes. Later, Janice informs him that Tony refuses to have his children near him after the situation with Beansie Gaeta, and believes Richie is a bad influence. Furious, Richie can no longer remain loyal to the boss. Richie approaches Junior Soprano and suggests having Tony killed, but Junior is reluctant, being mindful of his own failure to do so last year, and his tentative reconciliation with his nephew since then. When Richie insists that he can muster support from other dissatisfied crews such as the Bareses, Junior finally offers his approval. Richie visits Albert Barese, acting-capo of the Barese crew since his cousin Larry Boy's indictment, to try to win his allegiance, but Albert balks at the idea of a hit on Tony and refuses. Junior subsequently suggests to Richie that they should wait and consider their options - but once Richie departs, Junior mulls his loyalties once more and concludes Richie's inability to "sell" the plan to Albert reflects upon his lack of respect and influence. He ultimately decides that having Richie in power would ultimately cause him more trouble, and tips off Tony about Richie's plans to eliminate him. After learning of this, Tony asks for Silvio's advice on what to do with Richie, and Silvio concludes that there is no further benefit to keeping Richie around. Silvio is ordered to plan the hit - but these plans will be overtaken by other events.
Vexed, Richie returns home to dinner with Janice, and expresses disgust for his son Richie Jr.'s career path as a ballroom dancer. When Janice takes offense, saying she does not care if "Little Ricky" is considered gay, he silences her with a punch to the mouth. He asks his distraught fiancée, "What, are you going to cry now?". Janice walks out of the room, returns with a gun in her hand and shoots Richie in the chest. Richie clings to life for a brief moment hardly believing what had just happened. Janice shoots him a second time, killing him. Starting to panic, she calls Tony to take care of the body, which he does by enlisting the help of Christopher Moltisanti and Furio Giunta, where they dismember the corpse with the meat-cutting equipment from Satriale's. Tony then buys Janice a bus ticket to Seattle and they quickly part company.
Tony and Carmela discuss Richie and Janice's sudden disappearances where he hints that Richie will not be coming back. Understanding his implication, Carmela is shocked, but soon moves the conversation on and informs Tony that she and Rosalie Aprile want to travel to Rome to see the sights and hopefully Pope John Paul II. Carmela asks that Tony be a "chauffeur" to A.J. and to find Meadow a suitable tennis camp while she is away, mockingly suggesting that she "just might commit suicide" unless he agrees to let her go.
- James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano
- Lorraine Bracco as Dr. Jennifer Melfi
- Edie Falco as Carmela Soprano
- Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti
- Dominic Chianese as Corrado Soprano, Jr.
- Vincent Pastore as Salvatore Bonpensiero
- Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante
- Tony Sirico as Paulie Gualtieri*
- Robert Iler as Anthony Soprano Jr.*
- Jamie-Lynn Sigler as Meadow Soprano
- Drea de Matteo as Adriana La Cerva
- David Proval as Richie Aprile
- Aida Turturro as Janice Soprano
- and Nancy Marchand as Livia Soprano
- Joe Penny as Victor Musto
- Joe Lisi as Dick Barone
- Louis Lombardi as Skip Lipari
- Richard Portnow as Attorney Melvoin
- Frank Pellegrino as Frank Cubitoso
- Oksana Lada as Irina Peltsin
- Federico Castelluccio as Furio Giunta
- Steve Schirripa as "Bacala" Baccalieri
- Alla Kliouka as Svetlana
- Sharon Angela as Rosalie Aprile
- Katalin Pota as Lilliana
- Maureen Van Zandt as Gabriella Dante
- Andy Blankenbuehler as Richie Aprile, Jr.
- Jason Cerbone as Jackie Aprile, Jr.
- Richard Maldone as Albert Barese
- Adrian Martinez as Ramone
* = credited only
- Jackie Aprile, Jr.: Richie's nephew and son of Rosalie Aprile and the late Jackie Aprile, Sr..
- Albert Barese: Acting capo of the Barese crew while his cousin Larry Boy Barese is under indictment.
- Svetlana Kirilenko: The cousin of Tony's girlfriend, Irina.
- Richie Aprile: shot by Janice after he punched her in the mouth for defending his son's possible homosexuality.
- The episode's title is a quote made by Irina about her cousin Svetlana's American fiancé, Bill, who treats her well, apparently a confused paraphrasing of the term "knight in shining armor" and the Moody Blues song "Nights in White Satin". Irina first says this in the Season One episode "College".
- Janice is seen wearing white satin when trying on wedding dresses. She later acts as Tony's savior (albeit inadvertently) when she kills Richie, who had been planning on killing Tony.
- The song played over the end credits and during the episode is "I Saved the World Today" by Eurythmics.
- "The Memory Remains" by Metallica can be heard playing in the background of one scene.
Connections to future episodes
- Agent Lipari tells Big Pussy that the airline tickets resulting from the "bust out" of David Scatino are of no value to the FBI, as he believes Tony is way too clever to have it traced to him. Lipari's speculation would be proven wrong, as Tony angrily gives a ticket to Livia in an effort to get her to leave town. Livia's arrest at the airport in "Funhouse" was due to her use of a stolen plane ticket that was traced to Tony, which nearly caused him problems in the third season.
- Due to David Proval's training as an amateur boxer, he had the capacity to judge the distance of his strike. Consequently, the scene where Richie punches Janice was filmed without stunt doubles.
- Allen Coulter was nominated for the 2000 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series for his direction in "The Knight in White Satin Armor", Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green were nominated for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series and William B. Stich received a nomination for Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series.
- This episode was one of two viewer's choice winners on the A&E Network.
- In Big Pussy's chase scene, after he wrecks, you can see the camera/crane's reflection in the car.
- When Christopher and Furio are cutting up Richie Aprile's body in the back of Satriale's, you can clearly see that the saw blade is not moving.
- When Richie begins to stumble out of his chair after first being shot, a hand can be seen moving the chair around.