The Many Saints of Newark answers this mystery of the Sopranos


Did Tony Soprano lie to Christopher Moltisanti about his father’s death? Of the myriad of ways The Many Saints of Newark adds to the myth of the Sopranos, one of the most relevant is the fate of Christopher’s father – Richard ‘Dickie’ Moltisanti.

During the episode of the television series “For All Public and Private Debt”, Tony tells Christopher that retired police investigator Barry Haydu killed Dickie. Christopher goes to this man and murders him in cold blood, obtaining redemption for the father he never knew. Everything seemed neat and tidy – but we know Tony will lie to anyone about anything to protect the business. So, was he telling the truth?

The Many Saints of Newark has the answer, and it’s surprising. The facts are the facts, of course, but what they say about the characters involved is fascinating. Nothing in Tony Soprano’s life is as simple as it sounds, sometimes in a way that he might be aware of. Let’s get rid of the easy part, before we dig into what this all means.

Who killed Christopher Moltisanti’s father?

In The Many Saints of Newark, it is revealed that Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano is the author of the death of Dickie Moltisanti. Amid all the upheaval of the events of the thriller, Junior’s resentment boils over and he decides to strike out on Dickie as a means of instituting control and maintaining the status quo.

Dickie plans to start moving away from organized crime. He envisions a future in which Tony and Christopher won’t grow up as gangsters, living a life of violence and depravity to maintain a social hierarchy. In fact, he plans to guide Tony into sports and schoolwork – a good deed he can do to even kill his own father, Aldo ‘Hollywood Dick’ Moltisanti.

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Needless to say, Junior would prefer to keep things as they are, so that he could possibly have his time at the top. He wants power, and if the DiMeo crime family crumbles for lack of new hires or people adopting legitimate activities, he won’t get it.

Add to that that he suspects Dickie of lying about what happened to Hollywood Dick, and you have the motivation for him to take a step. The Sopranos never shied away from saying that Junior was narcissistic, deceitful, and murderous if he felt like it – he suggested killing Tony in the pilot. But The Many Saints of Newark makes it clear that he’s not beyond hurting someone to get what they want.

Did Tony Soprano know he was lying to Christopher?

This is a more difficult question to answer. Maybe he did, but there’s also a good chance he didn’t. He certainly doesn’t know the truth about The Many Saints of Newark’s ending, and Junior can be unscrupulous when he wants to. Especially in these kinds of circumstances – temperaments were heating up, it was suspected that Dickie had killed his father, and the political unrest provided easy alibis on all levels.

Tony may have just accepted that sometimes even men die without anyone knowing who did, because having power puts a target in the back of your head. The problem before him in The Sopranos was that he knew Christopher could manage without having someone to blame for his father’s plight. So, in order to bring Christopher together and put it all to rest, Tony chooses a retired cop because no one in his job would pass up the excuse of killing a judicial officer.

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It works. Christopher feels the closure, and Tony has one less thing to fear. We know Junior did it, but what are we going to do about it? The Many Saints of Newark makes a facade of all grandeur here, built on lies and deceit. But would the truth really make someone feel better? Sometimes it’s better not to even ask.

The Many Saints of Newark is now in theaters in the UK and US, and on the HBO Max streaming service in the US.

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