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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
← Previous
"All Happy Families..."
Next →
"Sentimental Education"
The Sopranos (season 5)
List of The Sopranos episodes




Tony has a mole removed, later determined to be a squamous skin cancer. Adriana is being treated for Irritable Bowel Syndrome caused by stress. 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. There is sexual tension: they are about to kiss—when there is a knock at 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 knows that would lead to problems with both Chris and Carmela; "I was able to control myself," he says. Melfi commends Tony for this "milestone"; he avoided doing something destructive: "That's growing. That's progress."

On the eve of Chris' return, they drive to Dover to buy cocaine. Tony swerves to avoid a raccoon, and his SUV flips over to the driver's side. Tony is released from the hospital unhurt. Adriana is bruised and has a head injury. Tony suggests a cover story to explain why they were alone together in the early morning: they were going to get something to eat.

Tony's crew and their associates play an unintentional game of "telephone" with the story of the accident. The details get more elaborate and lurid with each retelling; the final version is that Adriana was fellating him when the accident happened.

Chris learns of the accident from his crew and is immediately suspicious. At Satriale's he 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). At a face-to-face meeting, Tony turns the conversation against Chris, telling him he does not deserve a woman as good-looking as Adriana. He swears on his children that nothing is going on. At home, Adriana admits that she and Tony were going to see her drug dealer, but insists that nothing happened between them. Chris slaps her hard and physically throws her out: "I never want to see you again!" He then relapses.

Chris, drunk, 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 him to a deserted country road, where Tony prepares to execute him if he doesn't acknowledge that nothing happened. 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, though placated, feels like a laughing stock: "I've got to live in the world."

Agent Sanseverino, believing the final version of the story of Adriana and Tony, wants Adriana to exploit their "relationship", and the FBI wants to plant listening devices in her club. Adriana verbally explodes at her and moves to get out of the car. As she is leaving, Sanseverino tries to warn her that by staying with Christopher she is protecting her abuser. "If it had been Christopher alone in the car with a woman," Adriana says, "I would have killed him."

Tony convinces Carmela that there is nothing between him and Adriana. 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