Sopranos Crime Spree

THE SOPRANOS minor characters John Ventimiglia and Louis Gross have both been arrested on unrelated charges. Ventimiglia, who plays chef Artie Bucco, was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of drink driving and possessing cocaine. Subsequent tests found a blood alcohol level of 0.12 per cent – the legal limit in the US is 0.08 per cent – and Ventimiglia was allegedly carrying a small plastic bag containing the residue of a white powder believed to be cocaine.

Louis Gross, who portrays bodyguard Perry Annunziata, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly breaking into a New York City property. Gross was released on Monday without bail. He told reporters, “I don’t know nothing. I’m innocent. I’m always innocent.”

Of course Ventimiglia and Gross are not the first Sopranos bit players to fall foul of the law. Vincent Pastore, or Big Pussy, who was only really on the show one season but has milked it for all it’s worth, pleaded guilty in November to attempting to assault his girlfriend, while Lillo Brancanto Jr., who played a background mobster, faces murder charges after a police officer was shot dead following a botched robbery.

Then there is Baby Bing, Robert Iler, who mugged someone with his buddies in New York and then got busting holding the pot. Jackass doesn’t even know enough to have his flunkies hold the drugs. Hello, rule number one of being famous!

They all pale when compared to Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie Walnuts. He spent 20 months in jail for little things like dealing speed, packing a loaded Beretta gun and using a baseball bat to shake down Manhattan nightclub owners. After a 1971 conviction for illegal weapons possession, the sentencing judge branded Sirico a “danger to society” and cited a Bellevue psychiatric report that he suffered from a “character disorder”.

Relative newcomer Steve Buscemi got himself stabbed in the throat, face and arm during a barroom brawl at the Firebelly Lounge in Wilmington, North Carolina back in 2001. Busc didn’t get charged with anything, but Vince Vaughn did get arrested for kicking the crap out of one of Busc’s attackers.

Lorraine Bracco let her teenaged daughters live in the same house with accused child molester Edward James Olmos.

The whole cast keeps holding the show up for more and more money, even as the shows quality slips further and further away. James Gandolfini is getting paid $13 million dollars for laying in bed during this season of THE SOPRANOS and is playing Ernest Hemingway in an upcoming movie (a crime against nature).

The only cast members who seems crime free is Edie Falco, but of course, she did adopt a Hollywood Accessory Kid two years ago, so she’s not getting off scot-free, and Dominic Chianese, who’s only crime is thinking that people really want to hear him sing.

Of course the really criminal is David Chase, who really let the show slide down hill the past couple of seasons, even thought they spend more than enough time between seasons to come up with something interesting. I wonder if he really feels like he’s earning his $15 million this season?

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