The Sopranos

The Sopranos’ Paulie Walnuts Has 1 Surprising Character Record

Paulie is more prolific than both Tony Soprano and Christopher Moltisanti in one particular criminal activity, but what does that say about him?

The Sopranos‘ Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri (Tony Sirico) holds a surprising record among his fellow gangsters in HBO’s seminal mobster drama. Given the brutal endings handed out to the majority of The Sopranos‘ criminal characters across the series, Paulie is one of the last men standing alongside Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) in the final episode. However, this isn’t the only thing that Paulie has over his fellow mobsters by the end of The Sopranos. Paulie was often a loose cannon, quick to anger and surprisingly sensitive. His easily bruised pride often led to clashes with characters like Tony Soprano’s cousin Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli), given the deep connection between Tony and Christopher

It’s unsurprising that Paulie felt slighted by Christopher’s easy rise up the ranks, not least because the hard work he put in to rack up the longest list of deaths directly attributed to him over the course of The Sopranos. Tony Soprano and Christopher Moltisanti have a higher kill count than Paulie, due to their contributing actions to the deaths of many more characters. However, Paulie takes the lead over both characters by directly killing nine people compared to both Christopher’s seven and Tony’s eight.

RELATED:Tony Sirico’s Paulie Was Key To The Sopranos’ Secret Weapon

Everyone Paulie Personally Killed In The Sopranos

Paulie Gualtieri from The Sopranos

Of the nine deaths directly attributed to Paulie, Russian special forces soldier Valery is a bit of a question mark. Shot in the head by Paulie in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, “The Russian” Valery’s fate is unknown by the end of The Sopranos season 3, episode 11, “Pine Barrens”. Given how expansive the Pines are, it’s very likely that Valery never made it out alive, and died from the wounds inflicted by Paulie.

One of the most shocking deaths attributed to Paulie is that of the elderly Minn Matrone (Fran Anthony) in The Sopranos season 4, episode 12, “Eloise”. Minn excludes Paulie’s mother from socializing with her and her friends, following a minor car accident. While this angers Paulie, it’s ultimately not the real reason he kills Minn. In an attempt to bolster his low earnings, Paulie robs Minn’s life savings, and is forced to kill her when he’s caught in the act. It’s a shocking moment in an episode best known for featuring Furio’s unconventional Sopranos exit. The other seven characters directly whacked by Paulie are:

  • Charles “Sonny” Pagano
  • Gallegos
  • Mikey Palmice
  • Salvatore Bonpensiero
  • Raoul
  • Colombian #1
  • Colombian #2

Why Paulie Killed So Many People In The Sopranos

Big Pussy gets killed for being an informant in The Sopranos

Paulie’s anger and temperament are behind the killings of Valery and Minn. For example, the brawl with Valery that led to Christopher and Paulie chasing him through the Pine Barrens could have been avoided if he hadn’t responded to what he believed to be an insult from the Russian. Mostly though, Paulie’s killings are committed out of duty to Tony and the family. He’s one of Tony’s most loyal men, and stands alongside him when they whack Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero for being an FBI informer.

He and Christopher kill Mikey Palmice in revenge for Junior’s hit on Tony, it’s this murder that later haunts Paulie in season 2, episode 9, “From Where To Eternity”. He’s so freaked out by this that he visits a medium, who knows slightly too much about the hit, referencing the poison ivy that Paulie ran through while chasing Mikey. This more spiritual and superstitious side to Paulie adds another layer to his murderous exploits, he’s clearly aware that he’s acting in affront to God, and fears judgment in the afterlife. However, this is the life he chose, and killing is a fundamental part of his criminal career. It’s this internal conflict that makes Paulie not just one of The Sopranos most prolific killers, but one of its most fascinating characters.

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