Who played Christopher in the Sopranos?
Christopher Moltisanti, played by Michael Imperioli, is a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. He was Tony Soprano’s protégé and a Capo in the DiMeo crime family.
Christopher is introduced as Tony Soprano’s protege, who has been a father figure to Christopher since the death of his father Dickie Moltisanti. Tony affectionately refers to Christopher as his “nephew”, though in fact he is a cousin of Tony’s wife Carmela. His long-term girlfriend is Adriana La Cerva, with whom he shares a tumultuous and abusive relationship.
Christopher is a volatile, impulsive young man, perennially frustrated by his apparent lack of progression in the business. Early on, he overstepped the mark when he hijacked trucks under the protection of family boss Junior Soprano. To teach him a lesson, Junior ordered a mock execution on him. He also shot a bakery clerk in the foot for not serving him quick enough, for which he was scolded by Tony. Nonetheless, Tony entrusted him with sensitive tasks, such as disposing of the bodies of murdered capos Richie Aprile and Ralph Cifaretto, and arranging the assassination of New York boss Carmine Lupertazzi. In season three Christopher was finally granted his wish of becoming a made man, though this led to friction with his new capo Paulie Gualtieri, whom he was now obligated to make regular tribute payments to. His feud with Paulie culminated in the Pine Barrens incidentand though they made an uneasy truce, they would clash again on several occasions. By the sixth season, Christopher had been promoted to capo and had been told by Tony that he would lead the family into the 21st century.
Throughout the series Christopher struggled with major drug and alcohol addictions, and periodically spent time at AA and drug rehabilitation centers. In season two Christopher was shot by his subordinates Matthew Bevilaqua and Sean Gismonte, but he survived. He came close to death again when, enraged about false rumors of Adriana and Tony having an affair, he pulled a gun on Tony, who was ready to kill him for the insult; he was only spared after Tony Blundetto interceded for him. In season five Christopher learned that Adriana had been working as an FBI informant, and she wanted them to go into the Witness Protection Program. However, Christopher’s loyalty to the business proved stronger, and he told Tony about Adriana, who was then murdered by Silvio Dante. Christopher later appeared guilty about Adriana’s death, which caused him to relapse into heroin abuse. He then married his new girlfriend Kelli Lombardo and they had a daughter, Caitlyn, but his interest in his new wife soon waned.
Christopher grew disillusioned with Tony and his frustrated progress in the family, and appeared to be distancing himself from the business by making a movie and trying to become a Hollywood screenwriter. Furthermore, his efforts to stay clean of drugs and alcohol saw him spending less time at their regular haunts, which aroused more suspicion. Tony started to have doubts about his nephew’s loyalty and suitability to be his successor, and feared his frequent drug problems would make him a ripe target to turn state’s evidence. While high on cocaine, Christopher caused a car crash as he was driving Tony home, Tony suffocated the injured Christopher, and was relieved to finally be rid of his troublesome nephew.
The character of Christopher contains various nods to actor Michael Imperioli’s own life and career. Like Imperioli, Christopher is a movie and television buff with ambitions to be a scriptwriter (Imperioli wrote several episodes of the show), and there are references to Imperioli’s appearances in Goodfellasand Dead Presidents. Imperioli tried out for the role of Christopher, but thought that series creator David Chase was unimpressed with his audition and thus was surprised to be offered the part. Chase also said he wanted Imperioli because he had appeared in Goodfellas.