I just watched the pilot of the Sopranos.

In the pilot there is no mention of Jackie Aprile who is the boss of the family. There is also a scene where Junior Soprano snaps at Tony "You may run North Jersey but you don't run your uncle Junior"

Then, in the second episode we are introduced to Jackie Aprile and its shown that he's the boss.

Was there a change in the structure of the family between the pilot and the second episode? I believe there was a long gap between when the pilot was shot and when the second episode was shot.


6 Answers 6


It seems like they try to fudge it with this line in the second episode -
Tony Soprano: You know, you got a reputation for immaturity, and its not gonna be improved by not paying the tributes the acting boss demands of you.
Brendan Filone: Acting boss my ass Ton'. Come on, everybody knows you really run things since Jackie became the Kemosabe.

  • IIRC the "kemosabe" line was a reference to Jackie undergoing chemotherapy. Maybe it should be "chemo-sabe". Commented May 23, 2022 at 13:39

Based on the following I've concluded that Tony was in fact the boss in the pilot.

  1. No mention of Jackie
  2. Junior says "you may run north jersey but you don't run your uncle Junior" to Tony. North Jersey is the Sopranos territory. If Junior and Tony were both caporegimes and at the same level, like in the second episode, this quote wouldn't make sense
  3. In the Bada Bing, while discussing the Pussy Malanga hit, Hesh says: "your uncle resents the fact that you're the boss"
  4. Artie's wife Charmaine describes Tony as the don of New Jersey

As others have said, there were several hints in the pilot episode, indicating that Tony was in fact the boss. But another reason that has yet to be mentioned is the fact that the pilot episode was originally supposed to be a movie, and David Chase was not certain that HBO would pick it up. He was later convinced to make the Sopranos into a TV series. Subsequently, they resumed filming in the summer of 1998.

Read the Wikipedia article for this episode, under "Production".


Jackie was boss at the very start however he passes away from cancer. its after his death that tony backs junior as new boss of the DiMeo family as he believes junior has been waiting his whole life for this promotion. tony is a capo. after a falling out at the end of series 1 and during series 2 where we see junior try to assassinate tony because of a few reasons (he was seeing a "shrink", he put his mother in a home and he was having frequent meetings at his mothers nursing home with other capos) tony decides to take control by killing juniors men and having junior arrested (from which he is released under house arrest). after tony has him arrested, tony rises to the top of the family as acting boss. tony has the "soprano crew" in new jersey (which the show is based on). see this as a sub section of the DiMeo crime family. tonys position after junior becomes boss in series 1


Despite no mention of Jackie I believe Tony was not the boss in the pilot. When Junior decided to whack Pussy Malanga at Vesuvio all Tony would have needed to do was tell Junior no, if Tony was the boss. Junior, being a long time Capo and knowing the rules, would have listened to Tony. The fact that Tony had to come up with a way to make the hit go down elsewhere and wasn’t able to simply tell Junior no is all the proof you need that Tony was not the boss.

Running North Jersey refers to the area where Tony’s crew operated at the time.


No. Jackie Aprile was the street boss of the DiMeo crime family. However, Tony was a ranking caporegime: a captain of his own crime crew and with his own territory, but still answerable to the family's boss, Jackie.

  • 2
    Hi. This doesn't address the question unfortunately, which is about the Pilot, and specifically was there a change in the family structure written in between the Pilot and the rest of the season.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 19:21
  • @iandotkelly Why does it not? Jackie Aprile has always been the street boss, even if he wasn't mentioned in the pilot. Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 19:29
  • 2
    The question highlights a quote that (out of context) appears to imply that Tony might be the boss. I'm not saying the question is great (as its hard to prove what the non-mention of Jackie means) but a compelling answer would address this not just make a statement that is the counter position with no evidence or analysis. Your answer is correct in the sense that this is how the writers intended his character by episode 2 - the question is asking whether this was retconned in.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 19:46
  • @iandotkelly - Which I have attempted to explain by "a captain of his own crime crew and with his own territory". Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 20:02
  • That's the thing though "North Jersey" is the DeMeo territory, not some part of it.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 20:11

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