Chicago Mob Trial Begins, Like a Real Sopranos

While media writers are still debating the ending to the Sopranos, those who are jones-ing and in need of a fix can head to Chicago where a real life mob trial, called Family Secrets, begins Tuesday.

Even in a city as heavy with mob history and lore as Chicago, the landmark trial set to begin Tuesday with the selection of an anonymous jury promises to be a spectacle.

There will be veteran prosecutors who have made careers targeting wiseguys. There will be flamboyant defense lawyers unafraid to make a joke in court and wear pink socks while doing it.

...Family Secrets will essentially put on trial the structure and enterprise that was the Chicago mob during the last few decades.

As for the cast of characters:

The trial, expected to last as long as four months, will feature high-ranking turncoats, including a made mob member, Nicholas Calabrese, who will testify against his brother, giving the case its Family Secrets code name. It will include undercover recordings of prison meetings between the incarcerated Marcello and his brother, Michael, and even a government expert dubbed a "mobologist" by the defense to try to tie it all together.

A parade of prosecution witnesses that includes hit men, pornographers, bookies, career burglars, gamblers and other mob associates are expected to testify about their dealings with the Outfit.

Back to the Sopranos and media writers who are still trying to figure out the ending. I prefer Alan Sepinwall's last column in the Newark Star Ledger, which makes a good case for saying the ending wasn't ambiguous after all. Look at all the themes that got wrapped up this season. If you forget about the final fade to black scene at Holstons:

Now what's left hanging? The war's over, and Phil is dead. Paulie takes over the old Altieri/Aprile/Ciffaretto/Spatafore/Gervasi construction crew. Sil's in a coma, never to recover (though, shockingly, his hair turns out to be real). Butchie runs New York, Tony runs what's left of New Jersey, and while Carlo is probably talking to the feds, plenty of captains and high-level hangers-on have cooperated before with little consequence (see Jimmy Altieri, Pussy, Ray Curto, Jack Massarone, Adriana, Eugene, etc.).

On the lower-case family side, Janice is preparing to "make it work" with Bobby's kids, even if they have no interest in that. Carm's real estate business is going well. Meadow's engaged to Patrick Parisi and preparing to sell her soul to a big-ticket law firm. AJ has already sold his soul for a dual-exhaust BMW and the promise of a career in showbiz or club management. ... Junior is locked away from both the civilized world and his own memories.

That's more closure than any "Sopranos" finale has ever provided, by a long stretch. There are some loose ends here and there, mainly having to do with Carlo and the feds, but everything else is as wrapped up as this show has ever done, since Chase usually hates wrapping things up into tight, neat packages.

I'm starting to come around. But I'm still inclined to look at the blackout in the final scene at Holston's more like a temporary power outage than an ending.

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