10 iconic “Sopranos” characters that have appeared in 5 episodes or less
The sopranos is one of the greatest TV shows of all time, and fittingly, it’s also about one of the greatest fictional characters of all time: Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini). He’s a middle-aged man who has to balance his family life with his work life, and his job happens to be running a criminal organization. This leads him to interact with a variety of interesting, funny, and often terrifying characters, with the show’s scale – and its lengthy six-season run – allowing the total cast to number in the hundreds.
With so many people appearing in a total of 86 episodes, some characters end up only showing up for an episode or two. Despite this, the writers were frequently great at making these supporting characters memorable despite their minimal screen time. The following sopranos Characters are all a testament to this as none appear in more than five episodes but all play an important and hard to forget role within the overall show.
The following article contains spoilers for the discussed characters of The Sopranos.
10 Vin Makazian
Appears during the first season of The sopranos, Vin Makazian is a corrupt cop and associate of Tony Soprano. He meets with Tony and gives him certain information about what the police are up to, although the relationship is short-lived as Vin is eventually arrested and fearing for his safety, ending his life on his own terms.
He is notable for being one of the first characters (apparently) on the other side of the law for Tony to receive proper character development, and for being important enough to Tony to appear in one of his dreams years after his death . That he is also played belongs to John (who is best known for playing Kevin’s father Home alone) also helps him stand out from other supporting characters.
9 Jackie Aprile
Like Vin, Jackie Aprile (Michael Rispolis) is another character introduced and killed before the end of the first season. At the beginning of the show he is the acting boss of the crime family of which Tony eventually becomes head. His death (due to stomach cancer) three years into his tenure resolves the conflict between Tony and his uncle Corrado “Junior” Soprano (Dominik Chinese), since both want to be the head of the family.
His level headedness sets him apart from the more fiery and aggressive members of Tony’s crew, and his passing is integral to the direction the series is taking. If it weren’t for Jackie Aprile’s death, things might have turned out very differently for Tony and the other characters, and might even have been better for them in the long run.
8th Beanie Gaeta
Introduced in Season 2, Beansie Gaeta (Paul Herman) is one of the more sympathetic mafia associates in The sopranos. He is introduced as someone who has distanced himself a little from mob life and has even invested in running successful pizza shops, some of which admittedly are sometimes used by Tony for money laundering.
He clashes with the violent and terrible Richie Aprile and becomes paraplegic in a violent attack, further escalating the conflict between Tony and Richie. Beansie distances himself even more from mafia life and lives and works in Miami. However, he remains a background character on the show through further appearances in recent seasons.
The Season 3 episode “University” is one of the most powerful, darkest and most notorious in the entire series. Much of the plot revolves around Tracee (Ariel Kiley), a young woman who works as a dancer at Tony and his crew’s main hangout: the Bada Bing strip club. She gets involved with Ralph Cifaretto (Joe Pantoliano), one of the series’ most despicable gangsters, leading to Tracee suffering a horrific fate at his hands.
Tracee is notable for being given a compelling story contained in a single episode, and also for being one of the few dancers at the club — appearing in almost every episode — to get celebrity screen time. Her character serves to show how horrible the main characters can be, with “University” specifically showing the misogynist violence that members of the mafia are capable of (and subsequently covering up).
6 Johnny Boy Soprano
Giovanni Francis “Johnny Boy” soprano (Joseph Siravo) is Tony’s father and an ex-capo of the crew that Tony eventually leads. He is notable for being a character that only appears in The sopranos through flashbacks (and a dream sequence). This is because he died in 1986 and the actual show began in the late 1990s, more than a decade later.
In his numerous flashback appearances, he is seen through the eyes of the child Tony. These sequences are crucial to discovering who Tony is and how his father shaped his adult life, even after his death. Johnny Boy makes an impression despite appearing in very few episodes overall, and the character was further explored in the 2021 prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.
5 Feech La Manna
In the fifth season of The sopranos, various characters are released from prison and reenter the mafia lifestyle that ultimately had them imprisoned in the first place. One such figure is Feech La Manna (Robert Loggia), rejoining the mob as a much older man as his sentence lasted 20 years.
It serves as an illustration of how few people manage to get out of the mob once inside, and also depicts the conflict between the different generations of gangsters first explored in Season 1, with the struggles between Tony and Junior. Feech is also memorable for being incredibly aggressive and obnoxious, and while he doesn’t last long before going back to prison, he remains memorable.
4 Ben Kingsley & Lauren Bacall (as herself)
There have been a variety of notable guest stars appearing in all six seasons of The sopranoswhere few are as high caliber as Ben Kingsley And Lauren Bacall. They appear in the Season 6 episode “Luxury Lounge” which is mainly about Christopher (Michael Imperoli) and Little Carmine (Ray Abruzzo) travels to Los Angeles because the former has a film idea that he would like to implement.
Along the way, they meet Kingsley and Bacall, who amusingly play themselves and serve to present a satirical view of Hollywood. Both serve as fun cameos that are relevant throughout the season, as Christopher spends much of Season 6 working on a fluffy horror film that would eventually be dubbed “cleaver.”
3 Noah Tannenbaum
through The sopranosTony’s daughter Meadow (Jamie Lynn Sigler), had various boyfriends that rarely lasted more than a season or so. The first was Noah Tannenbaum (Patrick Tully), a fellow Columbia student who clashed with Tony over Tony’s racism.
Like all of Meadow’s friends, Noah isn’t exactly known for being a likable character, but the way he takes on Tony and really gets under his skin makes him unforgettable. Tony always likes to be in control, or at least appear to be in control, and Noah joins Livia Soprano (Nancy Marchand) as one of the few characters who could drive Tony into a state of genuine panic.
2 JT Dolan
all on The sopranos is shown to suffer in some way and at some point, but few suffer as frequently as JT Dolan (Tim Daly). He meets Christopher while the two are at an AA meeting and eventually continues working with him as a screenwriter cleaver.
Getting involved with someone as dysfunctional and resentful as Christopher doesn’t end well for anyone, and JT learns that the hard way. He is mentally tormented, beaten and even killed in cold blood by Christopher. He stands out as another character that shows just how destructive the mafia can be to otherwise normal people involved – either directly or indirectly – with that way of life.
1 Valery (aka the Russian)
Valery (Vitaly Baganov) is a member of the Russian mob who appears in two episodes in Season 3 and is particularly prominent in “Pine Barrens,” which is often considered one of the show’s finest hours. Christopher and Paulie (Tony Sirico) are tasked with getting money from him, though physical conflict ensues leading to the two driving him into the woods to execute him.
Things go wrong for Christopher and Paulie and Valery escapes, his fate unknown after this point. The mystique of Valery – and the way he overpowered two men who seemed to have the upper hand – makes him a legendary supporting character The sopranos. The fact that he never returns makes him all the more memorable, with plenty of fan theories as to what might have happened after he escaped.
READ MORE: ‘The Sopranos’: The 10 Funniest Episodes Ranked by IMDb