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"Irregular Around the Margins" is the 57th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos and the fifth of the show's fifth season. Written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and directed by Allen Coulter, it originally aired on April 4, 2004.

"Irregular Around the Margins"
The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep505.jpg
Tony and Carmela projecting family solidarity.
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 5
Directed byAllen Coulter
Written byRobin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code505
Original air dateApril 4, 2004
Running time52 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
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"All Happy Families..."
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"Sentimental Education"
The Sopranos (season 5)
List of The Sopranos episodes




Tony goes to the hospital to remove a mole that is later determined to be a squamous skin cancer. Adriana also goes to a doctor for Irritable Bowel Syndrome brought on by the stress of her working as an FBI informant. Tony spends more time at Adriana's club and, with Christopher out of town on a cigarette smuggling job, is alone with her in her office. The two bond over recent problems and snort cocaine together. During a game of darts, there is sexual tension: they are about to kiss - when there is a knock on the door. Phil and Joey have arrived for a meeting. Tony resumes his psychiatric therapy; he tells Dr. Melfi that Adriana is the kind of woman with whom he could start a new family, but he is aware of how that would lead to problems with both Chris and Carmela; "I was able to control myself," he says. Melfi commends Tony for this "milestone" of resisting temptations and expressing empathy. Adriana reveals her feelings for Tony to Agent Sanseverino, who appears understanding, but mocks Adriana's feelings to her colleagues behind her back.

One night, on the eve of Chris' return, Tony and Adriana decide to drive to Dover to get some cocaine from her drug dealer. Tony is distracted and swerves to avoid a raccoon, which flips his SUV on its driver's side. Tony is later released from the hospital unhurt. Adriana, however, gets several bruises and a head injury. Tony suggests that they come up with a cover story as to why they were alone together in the early morning. Chris learns of the accident from his crew and is puzzled about why Tony and Adriana would be driving together, assuming the worst. It is inferred that she was performing a sexual act on Tony when the accident occurred. Chris angrily interrogates her and refuses to believe her cover story about getting something to eat. At the Bada Bing, Tony gives the same cover story and turns the conversation against Chris, calling him selfish and suspicious, telling him he is lucky to have a woman as good-looking as Adriana. He swears on his children that nothing is going on.

Meanwhile, Tony's crew plays an unintentional game of "telephone" with the story of the accident. The details get more elaborate and lurid with each retelling. The FBI gets wind of the story and believes the distorted version of an affair. Chris, now a laughing stock, goes to Satriale's and gets angry when Vito and his crew refuse to say what they have just been laughing about. A fight nearly breaks out when Chris throws his sandwich at Vito (an insult since Vito is now a captain). Later, Chris, having heard the distorted story about the accident being caused by Adriana performing fellatio on Tony, comes home, and violently slaps her and chokes her. Adriana admits that she and Tony were going to see her drug dealer, but insists that nothing happened between them. Chris throws her out of the apartment and relapses. Later, Tony B warns Tony that Chris has been making drunken threats.

When Tony brings A.J. over to his house, Carmela confronts him about the rumors. A drunk Chris arrives at the Bing and empties his pistol into an SUV resembling Tony's before entering the club, where he is over-powered. Tony and his crew take Chris to a deserted country road, where Tony prepares to execute him if he won't accept that nothing happened with Adriana. However, at Tony B's suggestion, Chris is taken to the doctor who treated Tony and Adriana on the night of the accident. Though under pressure, the doctor freely acknowledges that Adriana's injuries show that she was wearing her seatbelt and sitting upright when the accident occurred. Chris is placated, but remains upset that everyone else thinks that the false story is true and will still treat him like a fool. Tony relates the story to a bemused Melfi.

Tony convinces Carmela that nothing happened with Adriana, but is caught in a lie that he didn't do drugs. Tony tries to shift the blame by making veiled references to Carmela's past relationships with Furio and Father Phil. Sanseverino, believing the distorted stories of Adriana and Tony, wants Adriana to use their "relationship" to get more valuable information, and also tells her the FBI wants to plant listening devices in her club. Adriana verbally explodes at Sanseverino and moves to get out of the car. Sanseverino says it is a syndrome to protect one's batterer, to which Adriana back-handedly defends Chris by saying that if it were him alone in a car with a woman, she "would have killed him." In a show of unity, Tony and Carmela, Chris and Adriana, and Tony B., and Quintina Blundetto arrive to dine at Nuovo Vesuvio, where most of Tony's crew are eating at other tables. Vito approaches them and shakes Chris' hand, wishing him a pleasant evening, and it seems that all fences have been mended.


  • Tony's burgundy 1999 Chevy Suburban is last seen in this episode (he was last seen driving it in the closing scene of the season 4 finale). He had upgraded to a black Cadillac Escalade at the beginning of season 5 (and drives/is driven in a white 2003 Escalade from the middle of this season onwards).

First appearancesEdit

  • Frankie Cortese: an associate/soldier in the Soprano family. He is one of the two bodyguards who subdue Christopher when he comes into the Bada Bing to confront Tony.
  • Jason Molinaro: member of the Aprile crew.

Title referenceEdit

  • Tony tells Adriana that he's afraid a mole on his shoulder looks "irregular around the margins," a worry he's had ever since a cancerous mole was removed from his forehead.



  • The song that plays during the meeting in the Crazy Horse, when Adriana comes in, is "Beat Connection" from LCD Soundsystem.
  • The song that plays while Tony and Adriana use cocaine at the Crazy Horse is "Come for Me" by Little Steven and the Lost Boys. The band's singer, Steven Van Zandt, plays Silvio Dante on the show.
  • The music that plays during the final restaurant scene is the aria, "Chi il bel sogno di Doretta?", from La rondine, an opera by Giacomo Puccini sung by Luba Orgonasova. The same aria was used in the pilot episode, when Tony got his first panic attack at the moment the ducks left his pool.


External linksEdit