The Sopranos Finale Gives One Character The Wrong Ending And It’s Not Tony

By TeeJay Small | Updated

the sopranos

By now most prestige television fans agree that The Sopranos had one of the most exciting and controversial finales in television history. In the nearly 20 years since the HBO mob drama’s final episode hit the small screen, it’s been discussed to death in bars, dining rooms, and online forums all over the world. Unfortunately, not every character got the perfect ending in the Sopranos finale, as it seems clear that the writers didn’t know what to do with Tony’s therapist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi.

Dr. Jennifer Melfi

The Sopranos Dr. Jennifer Melfi

Tony Soprano’s (James Gandolfini) fate in the Sopranos finale has been the source of a great deal of debate, while Melfi’s conclusion has largely fallen by the wayside. In fact, even Melfi’s actress Lorraine Bracco believes that the New Jersey psychiatrist got the short-end of the deal, as she explained in a 2021 episode of the Talking Sopranos podcast, hosted by her fellow castmates Michael Imperioli and Steve Schirripa.

Specifically, Bracco felt that Melfi’s final moments were too “rushed” and “abrupt,” arguing, “You don’t spend seven years with someone and discard them. I felt bad about that.”

Melfi’s Revelation About Tony Soprano


In the Sopranos finale, Melfi learns of a scientific journal regarding the psychiatric treatment of sociopaths, and the lasting effect that therapy has on a clinically psychotic brain. Much to her surprise, she learns the truth that the audience has known from day one, that Tony isn’t growing or becoming more introspective at all.

The study suggests that true sociopaths don’t glean any genuine humanity from therapy, but that they learn how to better mask their feelings and better manipulate those around them, utilizing the language of therapy as another tool for manipulation.

An Abnormal Relationship

The Sopranos Tony Soprano Jennifer Melfi

As a result, Melfi abruptly ends a session with her on-again off-again client, and washes her hands of New Jersey’s most dangerous man in a scene that leaves Tony utterly dumbfounded. The relationship between Tony Soprano and his therapist is abnormal from the very beginning, as the show rests on the premise that they have worked out an informal agreement regarding Tony’s mob background. Still, in the Sopranos finale, Melfi’s decision to drop Tony as a client seems to come completely out of left field, especially as the Soprano family patriarch feels that he was just hitting a therapeutic stride.

Hard To Justify The Ending

The Sopranos Tony Soprano Jennifer Melfi

While it makes perfect sense that Melfi would be finished with Tony after reading the academic paper, and facing ridicule at the hands of her colleagues, Bracco feels that her final scene was far too detached from the character’s long-standing emotional bond. Part of the reason Melfi treats Tony throughout the HBO original series is because she feels safe in his presence, all while maintaining a whiff of intrigue and danger from his double life. In the Sopranos finale, it’s tough to justify Melfi throwing all of that away in a single session.

The Sopranos’ Final Moments

Of course, Melfi has kicked Tony out of therapy before, so there’s a chance that she would still take him back as a client if he survives the show’s final moments. Even this seems unlikely though, as Tony explains to his wife Carmela that he has officially quit therapy for good in the last scene of the Sopranos finale, only for Carmela to affirm that Melfi hasn’t done much to change Tony for the better in 7 years.

While the show’s final moments play out to cheers and screams from viewers around the world, these incongruities are what plague long-standing Sopranos fans, who have re-watched the show numerous times.