Warning: This piece contains spoilers for The Sopranos, a very good program you should watch.
The Sopranos may be popular once again, thanks to the prequel The Many Saints of Newark. But people still take umbrage with how certain characters exited the show. There’s Tony’s own ambiguous end, of course, the debate over which continues to annoy the show’s creator, David Simon. There’s the also maddeningly mysterious fate of Valery, the Russian operative who simply vanishes in the beloved/notorious “Pine Barrens.” And then there’s Dr. Jennifer Melfi, Tony’s on-again-off-again shrink, who in the penultimate episode just…peaces out.
There’s one person who perhaps dislikes the anticlimactic capper to Dr. Melfi’s arc more than anyone: Lorraine Bracco, the actress who played her. The Goodfellas alum swung by Michael Imperioli and Steven Schirpa’s podcast Talking Sopranos, and she made sure to speak her mind about how Simon and team gave her what she felt was an insufficiently decent goodbye.
The big farewell happens in “The Blue Comet,” the show’s penultimate episode. Melfi is at a dinner party. One of her colleagues brings up a new study about sociopaths taking advantage of talk therapy. She does some investigating and concludes that it’s right. She then cuts ties with Tony, not providing an explanation. That’s it.
“I remember being upset [with] the direction that David [Chase] was bringing Melfi,” Bracco told her fellow castmates. “I just felt like he wanted me to get rid of [Tony]. I felt that he did it in a very abrupt way. I don’t think that she should have done it that way. I would have liked for it to have been more meaningful. I think she cared for Tony. Even though he was a f*ck-up and he was never going to really straighten out. But I think she really cared for him. You don’t spend seven years with someone and [then] discard them. I felt bad about that.”
Bracco had an idea for how Melfi’s storyline could have ended. “Wouldn’t that have been great for him to have said that to her? ‘F*ck you. I am doing what I am doing. I don’t care what you say to me. I don’t care morally where you want to guide me,’” she said. “I think that would have been powerful.”
That said, it’s not like she was mad at Simon. She even wanted him to play her husband, who had never before been seen. “I begged David to play my husband,” Bracco said. “I begged him. He said no. He was too busy writing, editing and blah blah blah.”
You can listen to the podcast below.