Looks like a co-star from HBO, dear”Wire“, the first season of The Sopranos acts as a closed arc, but will leave its season finale as open-ended as its the infamous series finale. Main villains Livia Soprano (Nancy Marchand) and Uncle Junior (Dominic Chianese) are both out, but the new seasons will bring new antagonists, a staple of the show where death always reigns and its players are forever doomed to look over their shoulders.
Chase became known for running a tight ship in the writers’ room, even after the first five episodes (and presumably had the writers he wanted). Brett Martin’s book Heavy Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution suggests that Chase’s strict patronage of the show comes from decades of studio work. To quote season five writer Matthew Weiner:
“We were exorcising David’s demons. Do you know how many decisions were made based on meetings when he was on “Northern Exposition” or “Rockford” or “Kolchak” or some other show you’ve never heard of where he worked for three years and someone said to him, ‘You can’t do that’?’
Chase’s ban included a ban on walking-talking (which delivers information through dialogue as two characters split a frame and walk to their next destination) and a strict rule about camera movement in Tony’s therapy scenes. A quick exit awaited any writer who the show host felt had lost his point, as quickly as a mob attack.
It was the pressure of working on the number one show in America. As Tony says about running a criminal empire, “Every decision you make affects every aspect of every other damn thing.” Fifteen years after The Sopranos, the show’s legacy is an incredible testament to its creator’s discernment.