‘The Sopranos’ Creator Reveals Why Ralphie Had to Die

by Chase Thomas

The Sopranos was an iconic show for HBO in the early part of this century. Even now, new folks find the program and immediately binge the whole series to see how everything unfolds for Tony and his crew in New Jersey. It’s a tough life with a lot of tough endings for the folks in Tony’s crew, but that was what they signed up for when they joined. Not a lot of happy endings on David Chase’s program, and that includes Raphie. Yes, the creator of The Sopranos revealed why Ralphie had to die on the show.

In the last episode of his podcast on The Sopranos, David Chase said, “Tony had it right. But the thing is, when he was beating up on Ralphie for killing Pie-o-My, it was really about that girl who he killed, Tracee (Ariel Kiley).”

So it wasn’t just that Ralphie killed his favorite horse that most fans suspected, but it was also the innocent girl that he killed as well. It was a combination of heinous things that led to the demise of Ralphie.

The Legend of Ralphie on ‘The Sopranos’

Joe Pantoliano was a star on The Sopranos for several seasons. But his path to the show was odd. He told THR, “They hired me when they were moving on to the fourth episode, so I had catching up to do.” He continued, “I had to reshoot all of these scenes with everybody that had already been shot.”

So he was a late addition, but his addition in the third season was huge. Joe got his start working with famed director Chris Nolan. He said, “The wig I had them build as an homage to Chris Nolan,” which was hilarious. He continued, “I like Chris’ hair. And I told David, ‘I live in Hoboken, New Jersey. That’s the epicenter of Soprano-land. I want to have some anonymity.’ I wanted to be able to walk down the street.”

So it was two-fold. He liked Nolan’s hair and he wanted to be left alone when he wasn’t working on the show. It made sense.

He continued, “It occurred to me that Ralph always instigated people to react.” That was Ralphie’s M.O. He wanted to get people to do something to him so he had a reason to do something back in return. It led to a lot of problems for Ralphie on the show and was a key reason as to why he ended up sleeping with the fishes.

Joe concluded, “He sees red, and in that moment beats her to death.” This was why Ralphie did what he did near the end of his run. He did enough to “see red” so that he could do what he wanted to do anyway. He just wanted to be provoked first. You can watch The Sopranos on HBO Max.