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Isabella (The Sopranos)

"Isabella" is the 12th episode of the HBO original series The Sopranos. Written by Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, and directed by Allen Coulter, it originally aired on March 28, 1999.

The Sopranos episode
Sopranos ep112.jpg
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 12
Directed byAllen Coulter
Written byRobin Green
Mitchell Burgess
Cinematography byPhil Abraham
Production code112
Original air dateMarch 28, 1999
Running time47 minutes
Guest appearance(s)

see below

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Nobody Knows Anything"
Next →
"I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano"
The Sopranos (season 1)
List of The Sopranos episodes



Episode recapEdit

At Mariolina Capuano's funeral, Junior shows signs of nervousness about the hit he has ordered on Tony. Meanwhile, Tony, having taken lithium pills for his severe depression, sees a beautiful Italian woman named Isabella in the Cusamanos' garden next door. Isabella tells Tony that she is a foreign exchange student, and guesses correctly that Tony's family is from Avellino, Italy. Later, Tony takes her out to lunch and, while hearing her talk about Italy, has a daydream that she is breastfeeding a baby named Antonio.

Junior finalizes his plan to kill Tony, using two outside hired goons — Rasheen Ray and William "Petite" Clayborn — contracted through Donnie Paduana. Ray and Clayborn plan to wait for Tony to appear at a Midland Avenue newsstand he is known to visit as part of his weekly routine, but Tony enters a donut shop next door and leaves through the back to meet Dr. Melfi. Chris, who has also followed Tony to the newsstand, unknowingly prevents the hit when he pulls his car next to the assassins and blocks their line of sight. After the failed hit, Junior overhears Donnie make a joke to Mikey about Tony's mother ordering the hit on him, which offends Junior. At Junior's behest, Mikey kills Donnie.

The next day, Ray and Clayborn make their move against Tony at the same spot, but Tony sees Clayborn reflected in the window of his car. In the ensuing struggle, Clayborn is killed and Ray is briefly dragged down the street as Tony drives away. This momentarily invigorates Tony, but he takes his eyes off the road and crashes into a parked car, injuring his leg. At the hospital, FBI Agent Harris tries to convince Tony and Carmela to testify against the DiMeo family and enter witness protection in exchange for immunity. Tony rejects it vehemently, insisting that the incident was merely a carjacking. Chris, Silvio, and Paulie suspect Junior was involved in the attempted hit.

Upon the Cusamanos' return home, Tony is surprised to learn that there was never a foreign exchange student, and nobody else ever saw Isabella in the neighborhood. Tony calls Melfi in alarm to report that he had hallucinated the whole thing, which she identifies as a side-effect of his lithium medication. Melfi theorizes that Isabella was an idealized maternal figure that Tony's subconscious produced because of his anger over his mother's actions, and asks if Tony has anything else worrying him right now. Tony responds that he is fine, and that he'll be even better when he finds out who organized the hit.


Title referenceEdit

Isabella is the Italian exchange student Tony hallucinates.


  • The song played at the Bada Bing when Christopher and Silvio discuss Tony's depression is "Ugly Stadium" by Tipsy.
  • The song that is played twice during this episode (when Tony is in his bedroom, and again during the "carjacking") is "Tiny Tears" by Tindersticks.
  • The song played as the would-be assassins are stalking Tony at the newsstand is "Cry" by Thornetta Davis
  • The song that is played briefly after Tony's meeting with Dr. Melfi, when he runs into Isabella, is "Ballad of Tindersticks (instrumental)" also by Tindersticks.
  • The song played when Tony and Isabella have lunch is "Milonga de Angel" by Al Di Meola.
  • The song played while Mikey kills Donnie Paduana is "Temptation Waits" by Garbage.
  • The song played over the end credits is "I Feel Free" by Cream.


Alan Sepinwall has lauded "Isabella" as one of the greatest episodes of The Sopranos.[1] Todd VanDerWerff found the subplot with the titular character to be outlandish, but still described the episode as featuring "classic scene after classic scene".[2]


  1. ^ "In another 'Sopranos' classic, Tony has to fight off two assassins". UPROXX. 2015-08-26. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  2. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd. "The Sopranos: "Isabella"/"I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano"". TV Club. Retrieved 2018-04-09.

External linksEdit