Live Free or Die (The Sopranos) Article

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"Live Free or Die"
The Sopranos episode
Live Free or Die Sopranos.jpg
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 6
Directed by Tim Van Patten
Written by David Chase
Terence Winter
Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Production code606
Original air dateApril 16, 2006
Running time55 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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The Sopranos (season 6)
List of The Sopranos episodes

"Live Free or Die" is the 71st episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the sixth of the show's sixth season. Written by David Chase, Terence Winter, Robin Green, and Mitchell Burgess, and directed by Tim Van Patten, it originally aired on April 16, 2006.


* = credit only

Guest starring

Episode recap

Tony gives Perry some money as compensation for the beating, leading the two to make peace. Meanwhile, the New York associates who spotted Vito in the gay bar have spread the news. Christopher and Murmur hear the story outside of an AA meeting, then repeat it to Tony and his crew at the Bada Bing. Paulie dismisses the news as slander, and Tony insists more proof is needed. Benny, Dante Greco and Terry Doria visit Vito and his mistress at a beach house on the Jersey Shore, where he's been lying low. They try to escort him to see Tony, but Vito speeds away. Vito returns home later that night, looks in on his sleeping children, grabs some keepsakes and necessities, and drives off into a stormy night. After his car hits a downed tree branch, Vito proceeds on foot and finds himself stranded in a small town in New Hampshire. Exhausted, he checks into an inn.

Vito's hasty disappearance suggests to Chris and others he has something to hide. Further testimony is gained from Silvio, who remembers Vito phoned him the night he was spotted at the gay bar. After speaking to Vito's wife Marie, Silvio declares, "In my business, I'm around a lot of women, and that one ain't getting laid." All the while, Tony continues calling Vito, but to no avail. A road crew worker finds Vito's ringing phone; after being offended and puzzled by Tony's questions, the worker throws the phone into the path of a steamroller. Meadow reveals to Carmela and Rosalie that Finn witnessed Vito performing oral sex on a security guard. Tony takes Finn to the back room of Satriale's and asks him to repeat the story for the crew. The reactions range from laughter to immediate calls for Vito's execution. Finn is terrified after the interrogation.

Meadow has her values questioned when she sympathizes with an Afghan Muslim family whose son was detained by police. When she says George W. Bush's policies are eroding the society's "constitutional protections," Tony teases her while Carmela says she voted for him. Meadow starts a new internship at a law firm which handles white collar crimes. She later discusses a case from her new job while smoking marijuana with Finn, but they argue over Johnny's treatment by the government at his daughter's wedding. Finn challenges Meadow's rationalization of her father's business as Italian tradition, and notes her hypocrisy since Tony's crew is poised to punish Vito over his sexual orientation. Meadow storms out.

Meadow's mention of terrorists prompts Tony to ask Chris if his Arabic friends, Ahmed and Muhammad, are possibly " al-Qaedas". Chris tells Tony the pair seem too tolerant and Americanized to be terrorists, but is somewhat concerned by the suggestion. After Tony gives Vito's construction business to Carlo, the capo reveals that some members of the crew desire to kill Vito. Tony, who expresses to Dr. Melfi his ambivalence over Vito's sexual orientation, manages to quell calls for bloodshed while he considers the impact of Vito's death on his family and on his own income. After Tony suggests to Silvio he will not go after Vito, Silvio notes Tony's men will use clemency as an excuse to kick up even less money.

Phil arrives to comfort his distraught cousin Marie and asks if she can help him locate Vito, ostensibly to get Vito "therapy." Meanwhile, Carmela discovers that Angie Bonpensiero has secretly branched out into business with some members of Chris' crew, putting money up for street loans and buying stolen car parts. Angie seems to be too preoccupied with her work to have dinner with the mob wives and donates a large sum of money for Carmela's charity auction. Rosalie concludes that Angie used to belong to their circle but is now a full mobster. Carmela tries to pressure Tony into having the building inspector allow her to move forward with her spec house. Tony seems to forget her request, and Carmela is appalled to find that Hugh has set about selling materials salvaged from the construction site.

Tony informs Chris that two Italian hitmen will be sent over to the U.S. to kill Rusty, and tells Chris to hire a "third party" to equip them with weapons and to act as an intermediary between the assassins and the DiMeo family. Chris later gives the task to Corky Caporale, a DiMeo family associate, and gives him heroin as an advance partial payment. In his New Hampshire hideaway, Vito tries unsuccessfully to locate a cousin and poses as a tourist while socializing with the locals. He notices a gay couple being welcomed warmly at a diner. While visiting an antique shop, Vito picks up and admires a pot. Its proprietor tells him he has "a good eye" and is "a natural," as it happens to be his most expensive piece.

First appearances

  • Corky Caporale: A DiMeo crime family associate and heroin addict who is tasked with serving as the "third party" intermediary between Christopher Moltisanti and the Italian hitmen coming to murder Rusty Millio.
  • Jim Witowski: Owner of a local diner at Dartford, New Hampshire, the town where Vito has taken refuge.

Title reference

  • The episode's title, " Live Free or Die", refers to the New Hampshire state motto, which Vito notices on a license plate while he is browsing an arts and crafts shop.
  • It also possibly refers to Vito's options: Live free (stay in New Hampshire) or die (return to New Jersey).


  • Sharon Angela ( Rosalie Aprile) is promoted to the main cast and now billed in the opening credits for the episodes in which she appears, with some exceptions.
  • "Live Free or Die" is the final episode written by the married writing team of Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess. They left the series, which they had been with since the first season, to produce a new project for HBO, which never took shape. This is also one of only three episodes in the entire series where four writers share credit for the script, the other being " Calling All Cars" of Season 4 and the Season 6 Part II premiere " Soprano Home Movies."
  • The scenes filmed for the fictional town of Dartford, New Hampshire were actually filmed in Boonton, New Jersey. [1]
  • The highway Vito was traveling on when his car broke down, New Hampshire Route 228, is also fictitious.

Other cultural references

  • In the opening scene, Tony is sitting by his pool reading Yachting.
  • When Christopher's friend "Murmur," standing outside the AA meeting, asks the guy from Yonkers if he's "lost," it recalls the title of the play and movie Lost in Yonkers.
  • Tony angrily calls Carlo, who talks about killing Vito, Judge Roy Bean.
  • When the highway department worker finds Vito's phone on the side of the road and is antagonized by Tony, Tony says "Oh, yeah? Telephone tough guy, eh?". Famous actor Joe Pesci, known for his mobster roles, says this exact line arguing with Mel Gibson's character in a scene from the film Lethal Weapon 4.
  • After Finn confirms to the Soprano crew that he caught Vito performing a sex act on a security guard (" Unidentified Black Males"), Christopher suggests that he should cut off his penis and "feed it to him." This same fate befell actor Michael Imperioli's character at the hands of the Viet Cong in the film Dead Presidents.
  • Also, in the scene where Finn confirms Vito's sexual preference, the table and the seating of the crew around the table suggests The Last Supper in placement, as well as mood, as "betrayal" is an oft-repeated suggestion by Christopher, Paulie among others.
  • Silvio tells Tony that one of the guys has "gone Mau-Mau" on the subject of the necessity of killing Vito. This is a reference to the brutal Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya (1952-1960).
  • In the scene with Dr. Melfi, Tony referenced the controversial comments made by Senator Rick Santorum (pronouncing his last name as " Sanatorium") who once claimed the government's allowance of gay marriage would be the first step in a slippery slope leading to tolerance of more taboo practices, including bestiality.
  • Also in the scene with Dr. Melfi, Tony referenced a Showtime series ( The L Word) when talking about "that lesbian show with Jennifer Beals."
  • When discussing Ahmed and Mohammad with Tony, Christopher mentions their reaction to the "Danish cartoons" incident - the 2005 Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.
  • After speaking with Carlo at the backroom of the Bada Bing, Tony starts reading the Robb Report magazine.
  • At a diner in Dartford, Vito is introduced to jonnycakes, pancakes made with white corn meal. " Johnny Cakes" is also the title of the eighth episode of the season.
  • Vito also tries to order some Jimmy Dean sausages.
  • The room that the innkeeper assigns to Vito Spatafore is called the "Franklin Pierce" room, a reference to the 14th President of the United States and a native of New Hampshire.


  • After Meadow tells Carmela and Rosalie Aprile about Vito and the security guard, Tony comes down the stairs singing the opening line of " Aqualung" by Jethro Tull.
  • The song playing in the background of the scene at the Bada Bing! when Tony promotes Carlo is "After" by Wide Open Cage.
  • The song played during the end credits is "4th of July" by X.
  • The song playing in the background of the scene at the Bada Bing! during the meeting discussing Vito's sighting at a gay bar is "Rock & Roll Queen" by The Subways.


  1. ^ Martin, Brett (2007-10-30). "Welcome to New Jersey: A Sense of Place". The Sopranos: The Complete Book. New York: Time. p. 32. ISBN  978-1-933821-18-4.

External links