Whitecaps (The Sopranos)

The Sopranos episode
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 13
Directed by John Patterson
Written by David Chase
Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography by Phil Abraham
Production code 413
Original air date December 8, 2002 (2002-12-08)
Running time 75 minutes
Episode chronology

"Whitecaps" is the 52nd episode of the HBO television series The Sopranos, and the 13th and final episode of the show's fourth season. It was written by series creator/executive producer David Chase, and executive producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and was directed by longtime series director John Patterson. It originally aired in the United States on December 8, 2002, attracting 12.5 million viewers.[1]


Guest starring

Episode recap

Christopher leaves rehab

Tony gets a call from Patsy Parisi, who is watching Adriana pick Christopher Moltisanti up from rehab. Patsy reports to Tony that Christopher has graduated rehab and is looking well. However, also observing are FBI Agents Harris and Grasso, to whom Patsy extends his middle finger.

Adriana meets with Agent Sanseverino, and they discuss Christopher's return. Adriana reveals that Christopher no longer wants children because he feels he is unfit to be a father, after having accidentally suffocated her dog while high. Adriana tells Sanseverino that she and Christopher plan to get help for Ralph Cifaretto when he resurfaces. She also states that Vito Spatafore has been calling her while Christopher was in rehab. Finally, she asks permission to visit her mother and gives thanks when it is granted.

Beach house

As Carmela is still feeling unwell, she and Tony visit Dr. Cusamano. Cusamano reassures Carmela that she does not have lupus as she believed, but most likely mono. He also checks after her mental health inquiring about any significant changes in her life that may have brought on this illness. Tony takes Carmela to a surprise trip to "Whitecaps," the house on the Jersey Shore he is thinking of buying for the family. Carmela's father, Hugh, and a RE/MAX real estate agent, Virginia Lupo, meet them there. Carmela worries that they won't be able to afford the property, due to the Esplanade situation with the Lupertazzi family, but Tony explains that he wants something to draw the family together. Virginia explains the catch: the house has been sold to another couple but it seems likely they won't be approved for the home loan.

In bed, Carmela encourages Tony to buy Whitecaps as an investment. Tony and Chris visit Whitecaps and Tony meets the owner, Alan Sapinsly an attorney, who owns the house next door. When Tony offers cash in the shortest possible time allowed by law, Sapinsly calls Dr. Kim, the current buyer, and negotiates his way out of their contract by promising full return of the deposit and threatening litigation if Dr. Kim moves in. Tony immediately tells his family the good news and they all arrive to survey the property. Tony and Carmela have a romantic walk on the beach, and they reaffirm their love for one another.

Esplanade shut down

With the Esplanade construction project shut down, Johnny Sack is worried about the lost revenue and argues with his wife, Ginny. Tony meets Johnny in an OfficeMax store and they again discuss making a move against Carmine Lupertazzi. Tony says he has to pass, but this proves to be a negotiating technique. When Johnny promises to relinquish claims to his HUD business and gives him a favorable (6040) split on all future projects, Tony agrees to go ahead. On the return trip, Tony discusses the job with Christopher. Tony asks him to contract the job out and make it look like a random act, such as a carjacking or robbery gone wrong. Christopher says he knows some trustworthy black men to carry it out. Christopher delivers a pre-payment to Credenzo Curtiss and Stanley Johnson, a couple of heroin dealers he knows from his pre-rehab days, and delivers instructions for the planned hit on Carmine, including his clockwork-like movements, and tells the hitmen to make it look like a carjacking.

Tony receives a call from Johnny to tell him that Carmine has decided to settle. Tony and Chris attend a sitdown in a Queens, New York park. They ultimately settle on 15% for Carmine. Carmine asks Tony to remember his son, Little Carmine's, role, whom he claims helped a lot, in the settlement after he [Carmine Sr.] "is gone." But Carmine also reminds them of his good health, that he "isn't going anywhere." "Healthy as a rhino," Johnny Sack adds about Carmine. Tony and Carmine embrace.

At first, still telling Christopher to proceed with the hit on Carmine, Tony later changes his mind and notifies him to call off the assassination and to ensure the hired guns don't talk to anyone. Christopher meets Credenzo and Johnson with half of what they would have been paid and drives off. Benny Fazio and Petey, suddenly appear and shoot the two would-be hitmen repeatedly before grabbing the money and fleeing the scene, as Chris watches from a distance. Tony drives out to meet Johnny and tells him that the Carmine hit is off. Tony feels that the hit will be too high-profile and it would more than likely draw attention from the FBI. Also, there is no reason to kill Carmine now that the dispute is resolved. Johnny is highly enraged and complains to Tony that he will have to go back to work for Carmine and his son, whom he hates, each day. Johnny lets loose his true feelings about his boss, including treasonous insults. Tony says he shouldn't be hearing this. Johnny asks Tony why he should trust him when he has backed out of their deal, something that he can hang over Johnny's head. Tony again states that he shouldn't be hearing this. They part ways after an embrace, but eye each other when Johnny drives away.

Junior's trial

At Junior's trial, the jurors are having difficulty reaching a verdict. The jurors look angrily at one man in particular: Danny Scalercio, the juror whom Eugene Pontecorvo intimidated. As the judge reads them the Allen charge instructing them to deliberate further despite their apparent deadlock, Junior gives the corrupted juror a long stare. Later, Junior finally gets a mistrial when the jury still cannot reach a verdict, to his and his entourage's joyous celebration. When Junior returns home, he is in no mood for much partying and just lets Bobby Bacala order some pizzas and get a bottle from the fridge, while he tries to nap on the couch. He comments that Tony probably won't visit him because of his own troubles. Bobby and Janice's relationship appears to be developing. They dance and caress together, but an irritated Junior breaks up the moment by ordering Bobby to check for Murf's payment envelope, "downstairs under the flagstone."

The separation

Tony's ex-mistress, Irina, is drunk and phones the Soprano residence, telling Carmela she used to have sex with her husband. Carmela hangs up, shocked. Irina calls back and tells Carmela that "Tony loves [her]" and she also reveals he had sex with Svetlana. Carmela tells Irina that if she calls again then she "will find her and kill her." Later, as Tony pulls into his driveway, music blaring, he accidentally runs over his golf clubs, which are in the middle of the driveway. He exits the vehicle and sees Carmela hurling more of his possessions from an upstairs window, and at him when he enters the house, before she locks herself in the bedroom. Carmela tells Tony that he has embarrassed her for years with his infidelity and she is angry because it has bled into their home lives. She is even more infuriated because Irina initially spoke to A.J. Carmela tells him to leave the house, becoming violent when he touches her after Tony tells her to calm down. Tony accuses Carmela of taking money from his stash in the bird feed bags, which she denies and counters by bringing up the fingernail she found. Tony tries to deny the connection (the fingernail in fact belonged to yet another mistress, Valentina La Paz) but can't come up with an excuse for it, being caught red-handed. Carmela again insists that Tony leave. When Tony asks about the kids, she admits the separation would be horrible for them, but stands her ground and he leaves.

Tony drives to Irina's duplex but only Svetlana is there. Svetlana reveals to Tony that Irina and Zellman broke up because of the emasculating beating that Tony gave him in front of Irina. She also tells Tony that Branca, the now-fired nurse of Junior, was the one who told Irina about their affair after an argument over Svetlana's withholding Federal Insurance Contributions Act tax and other taxes from her paycheck. Tony lets her know about the separation. Svetlana tells Tony that he is a strong man and will survive and they part somewhat amicably. Tony goes to Whitecaps to stay there for the night, as his boat is being stained and the fumes have driven him out. In the morning, he is awakened by Sapinsly's banging on the window. Sapinsly asks him not to stay at the house, since he would be liable if something happened to Tony while he was there, as he is not technically the owner yet. He advises Tony to meet with all of the top local divorce lawyers, so that none of them will be able to take Carmela on as a client. Once he is dressed, Tony visits the Sapinsly house and asks to withdraw from the sale. Alan's wife, Trish, seems caring but Alan insists that they stick to the contract he signed, especially since Alan dumped another buyer to accommodate Tony. After Tony leaves, Trish chastises Alan for getting into a dispute with a "mobster," and also for lying about having partners.

At the Soprano household, Meadow discusses the separation with her mother. She is distressed about it and brings up Furio Giunta. Carmela denies any infidelity to Tony. Meadow storms off, after asking her mother how she could "eat shit" from Tony for so many years. Tony dines at Nuovo Vesuvio and Artie offers consolations. Paulie Gualtieri fervently supports Tony's position in the argument with Carmela, telling him he should have kicked her out of "his house."

Tony returns home and Carmela is angry to see him. She tries to stop him from taking food from the refrigerator, twice, and demands that he leave. Tony becomes violent and refuses to leave. Carmela threatens to call a lawyer and get a restraining order. Tony dares her to and hands her his phone which she bats away with her hand. Carmela tells him that she doesn't want him sleeping in her bed anymore and that she no longer loves him. Carmela runs upstairs in tears. Later, A.J. helps Tony clear the home cinema (located in the pool house) so that he can stay there. Tony tells his son that he will be taking a bigger hand in his life now that he is right outside. Tony has a difficult night's sleep.

Tony lies in the pool and Carmela asks him to move the chairs he has put on the lawn. Tony thinks she is looking for an excuse to nag him and they get into another argument. Carmela tells Tony it might not have come to this if he had a more loving attitude while at home. Tony brings up Carmela's telling him he was going to hell when he was first being examined for an MRI for his collapses (in the pilot). She follows him out to the home theater room and apologizes, telling him he was her man and was sweet to her. Tony asks her what she expected from their marriage, as she knew everything about him when they met, including the fact he and his family were gangsters, and that gangsters keep "women on the side." He also accuses her of materialism. Carmela calls Tony hateful and reveals she harbored feelings for Furio, telling Tony that her happiest moments for months have been her mornings with Furio. Tony again becomes violent and charges at Carmela and almost punches her but stops himself and punches holes in the wall beside her head instead, smashing it in. She turns away while Tony keeps punching. He tells her he looked for women with different qualities from her in his affairs. She reminds him that he hardly knew most of the women he slept with and walks out, calling him a "fucking hypocrite." Later, Tony calls Dr. Melfi but hangs up when she answers. She tries to call him back using *69 but the recording says that the number was blocked to that service.

A.J. goes to his father to ask if he can move in with him because A.J. is not getting along with his mother. Tony refuses and tells A.J. to support his mother. Tony tells the family he has decided to move out completely. A.J. becomes upset and asks if it was because he asked to live with Tony. Meadow takes the news hard as well, and suggests Tony and Carmela try counseling again. When Meadow gets upstairs, a flash of a moment from years before when she antagonized her parents runs through her mind and she begins to cry. Tony packs to leave and Carmela tells him to be careful. A.J. watches from the doorway with his mother as his father leaves for good.

Whitecaps deposit battle

Sapinsly calls Tony to say he is going to let him out of the sale but will keep the $200,000 deposit. Tony says if that's the case, he will make Sapinsly's life hell. Benny and Little Paulie take the speakers out of Tony's home theater, install them on Tony's boat (The Stugots), and play a Dean Martin in Las Vegas concert at high volume, disrupting the Sapinslys' lunch party with family friends. The Sapinslys close the patio doors and return to their lunch, attempting to act as if the lunch is unaffected, but they can still hear the music through the closed windows. This occurs again at night as they sit in lawn chairs facing the bay sipping wine. Sapinsly's wife urges him to settle the matter. Sapinsly wants to call the Coast Guard again but she points out that they will only turn the music down again when the police boat comes close. She loses her temper and shouts at him that Tony could keep paying the $200 fines forever and goes into the house. Sapinsly sits there a few more moments. He gets up and goes inside, closing the doors and windows to block out some of the noise.


Title reference


References to past episodes

References to other media and cultural references



Critical response

Entertainment Weekly placed "Whitecaps" #3 on their list of the 10 greatest The Sopranos episodes;[2] TIME placed it at #4.[3]



  1. Ryan, Maureen (2006-03-14). "The comeback". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
  2. Fonseca, Nicholas. "The Hit Parade - 3. WHITECAPS (Season 4)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
  3. Poniewozik, James (2007-04-04). "Whitecaps - The Sopranos - TIME". TIME. Retrieved 2008-02-26.
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