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TV THIS WEEK | THE BIG THING

It's Tony's swan song

June 10, 2007|Mary McNamara

TONIGHT, they settle all family business. For eight years, "The Sopranos" has held our attention, infiltrating national conversations about marriage, parenting, violence, psychotherapy, acting, depression, Italian food -- everything with the possible exception of organized crime.

Following the personal and professional exploits of a depressive mob boss seeking, through therapy, a little inner peace, "The Sopranos" put HBO on the map, turned creator David Chase into an industry demi-god, made fat men sexy again, and paved the way for subsequent cable-original series as diverse as "Deadwood" and "Nip/Tuck." Not too bad for a series no one thought would last a season.

More ink has been spilled about the show than actual blood has been in the episodes, and no doubt the requiems will continue for several weeks. But whaddya gonna do? Everything must end, and both Chase and lead actor James Gandolfini have made it clear that it's time for the last made guy standing to put out the lights. With two of his top guys dead and/or wounded, Tony goes into his final episode on the run, as furious at his son's depressive sulkiness as he is concerned about his own well being. He's even been kicked out of therapy.

"That's it?" he asked Dr. Melfi when she told him she could no longer help him. "After seven years?" Implacable, she shows him the door. "As a doctor," he told her as he left, "I think what you are doing is immoral."

We hear you, Tone. And how do you think we feel? (HBO, today, 9 p.m.)

-- Mary McNamara

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