Whitecaps (The Sopranos)

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

The Sopranos episode
Episode no.Season 4
Episode 13
Directed byJohn Patterson
Written byDavid Chase
Robin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code413
Original air dateDecember 8, 2002 (2002-12-08)
Running time75 minutes


Guest starring


With the Esplanade project shut down, Johnny is worried about his lost revenue. Tony declines to move against Carmine, but when Johnny promises to relinquish his claims to the HUD scam and to give him a favorable split on all future projects, Tony agrees to go ahead. Chris has come back from rehab in very good shape; Tony asks him to contract the job out and make it look like "an outside job". Chris delivers a pre-payment to Credenzo Curtis and Stanley Johnson, a couple of heroin dealers, and delivers instructions for the planned hit. However, Carmine unexpectedly changes his mind and offers to negotiate; at a sitdown he agrees to accept just 15% and pointedly praises Little Carmine for smoothing things. For Johnny the hit is still on, but Tony finally decides not to go ahead and tells Chris to ensure the hired guns don't talk. Chris pays them, then Benny and Petey appear and kill them. When Tony and Johnny meet again, Johnny plainly expresses his resentment against Carmine and his son, and his anger at Tony for letting him down. Tony says twice, "I shouldn't be hearing this." They embrace and part, but eye each other warily as Johnny drives away.

Thanks to juror intimidation, Junior is freed following a mistrial. Celebrating upon returning home, Bobby and Janice dance fondly together but Junior, distrusting Janice, finds a pretext to stop them.

After accompanying Carmela to the doctor, Tony takes her on a surprise trip to "Whitecaps," a house on the Jersey Shore he is thinking of buying. The Sopranos are told the house has been sold to another couple, but it seems likely they won't be approved for the home loan. At first Carmela is hesitant about the cost, then she encourages Tony to buy it as an investment. Finally, she is delighted; she and Tony walk hand-in-hand on the beach and kiss. Tony meets the house's owner, attorney Alan Sapinsly, who lives next-door, and offers cash in the shortest possible time allowed by law. Sapinsly calls the current buyer and negotiates his way out of their contract by promising full return of the deposit, threatening litigation if the buyer moves in.

Irina drunk dials Carmela and brags about Tony's relations with her and tells her he also had sex with Svetlana. This causes Carmela extreme distress because Irina spoke first to one of her children, AJ, and because she knew Svetlana and liked her. When Tony returns home, Carmela is hurling his possessions from an upstairs window. She tells Tony that he has embarrassed her for years with his infidelity and tells him to leave the house. Tony says, "You stole from me!"—the cash hidden in the birdseed. He goes to Irina's home and finds Svetlana. She explains that soon after Tony thrashed Zellman in front of Irina, humiliating him, their relationship ended. Tony spends the night at Whitecaps. He explains to Sapinsly that he no longer wishes to buy the house, but Sapinsly declines to release him from the contract.

Meadow argues with her mother about the separation, asking her how she could "take shit" from Tony for so many years. Tony returns home and becomes violent for the second time when Carmela tells him to leave. She threatens to call a lawyer and get a restraining order. He dares her to and hands her his phone which she bats away with her hand. She tells him that she doesn't want him sleeping in her bed anymore and that she no longer loves him, and runs upstairs in tears. Later, AJ helps Tony clear the home theater so that he can stay there.

Tony lies in the pool. Carmela complains to him about (he thinks) a trivial matter and there is soon another argument. She tells him it might not have come to this if he had a more loving attitude. He brings up her telling him he was going to hell just before his MRI exam. She apologizes for this. He asks her what she expected from their marriage, as she knew that he and his family were gangsters, as well as her cousin Dickie Moltisanti, and that gangsters keep "women on the side." He also accuses her of materialism. She tells him he is hateful and at last says, "For the last year, I have been … in love with Furio." Tony, at first incredulous, again becomes violent. He charges at her, almost punches her, but stops himself and punches the wall beside her head instead, smashing it in. She turns away while he 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, the strippers and cocktail waitresses, and walks out, calling him a "fucking hypocrite."

Tony calls Dr. Melfi but hangs up when she answers. She tries to call him back but his number is blocked. He finally tells the family he has decided to move out completely. Both children go to him and he embraces them.

Sapinsly calls Tony to say will release him from the sale but will keep the $200,000 deposit. He offers to negotiate; Tony declines. Benny and Little Paulie take the speakers out of Tony's home theater, install them on Tony's boat, anchor it just offshore from the Sapinsly house and, at lunchtime, play a Dean Martin in Las Vegas concert at high volume. The Sapinslys close the patio doors and try to ignore it. At night, as they sit peacefully on the patio, the music starts again.


  • Credenzo Curtis and Stanley Johnson: shot by Benny Fazio and Petey LaRosa in the Meadowlands to ensure their silence about the canceled Carmine hit.

Title reference

  • "Whitecaps" is the name of the property Tony plans to buy for his family.


  • "Whitecaps" is the longest episode of the series, running 75 minutes.

References to past episodes

  • Tony brings up Carmela's telling him he was going to hell when he was first being examined for an MRI for his collapses (this occurred in the show's pilot episode).

Cultural references

  • When Johnny Sack and Tony meet at an OfficeMax to discuss potentially assassinating Carmine Lupertazzi, Johnny paraphrases a line from The Beatles' song, "Hey Jude", saying, "I'll take a sad song and make it better".
  • Johnny Sack intimates that with Carmine's assassination there would be "differences between this and Castellano", in reference to the assassination of New York Gambino Crime Family Boss Paul Castellano by John Gotti, who subsequently became boss in 1986.
  • When Tony first sees Christopher after the latter's release from rehab, he says, "Hey, Jack Lemmon! How's Lee Remick?" This refers to the film Days of Wine and Roses (1962), which deals with alcoholism and recovery.
  • When fighting with Tony in the pool house, Carmela says angrily, "Who knew? All this time, you really wanted Tracy and Hepburn."
  • Johnny Sack says to Tony angrily, "Creeps on this petty pace...", misquoting Shakespeare's Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, line 20).
  • When explaining his decision to call off the hit on Carmine, Tony warns Johnny Sack they need to avoid causing a "shootout at the OK Corral," referencing the infamous 1881 gunfight.
  • While in the pool, Tony responds to Carmela's complaint about the seats being left on the lawn being bad for the grass by quoting the Mulwray's Chinese groundskeeper's line about "very bad for grass" from Roman Polanski's Chinatown.


  • "Layla" by Derek and the Dominos is playing in Tony's truck when he runs over his golf clubs in his driveway.
  • The song played while Tony and Christopher are at Nuovo Vesuvio is "Oh, What A Night" by The Dells.
  • When Janice and Bobby are dancing in Junior's kitchen, they sing/hum part of Sonny and Cher's "I Got You, Babe".
  • The song played over the end credits is "I Love Paris (Vegas)" by Dean Martin. It is followed by the instrumental piece, "I Have Dreamed", from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The King and I, performed by Fantastic Strings.


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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