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Top 10 Sopranos "hits" (not all of them whacks)

The Sopranos soon will be back among the living for one last time. The final nine episodes of HBO's all-time great begin rolling out on Easter Sunday, with a consequential death within the first two hours. A full review will run later this week on unclebarky.com. Meanwhile, here's an appetizer in the form of the show's Top 10 dirt naps. Not all were violent, but each made its own lasting impression. (All pictures are courtesy of HBO's web site.)

10. Gloria Trillo -- Tony had his hottest affair with this smoldering sales rep, but it proved to be a fatal attraction. Jealous, insecure and sometimes severely depressed, she threatened to tell his wife, Carmela, about their doings. And in a memorable blowup, Gloria hit the big guy in the back of the neck with a freshly cooked steak. Cause of death: Off-camera suicide via a rope tied to a chandelier.

9. Eugene Pontecorvo -- At best a peripheral character, he toiled for demonic Ralphie Cifaretto as a "made man" with a latent yearning to break free. A $2 million inheritance from an aunt crystallized his desires to leave the mob life. But Tony nixed that, and Eugene then began last season's first episode on a dramatic note. Cause of death: Self-hanging in his garage, complete with herky-jerky death spasms and urination.

8. Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. -- Capo di tutti capi of the New York mob branch, Carmine always dipped his beak with a vengeance. He clashed with Tony over portion-sizes and once ordered and then un-ordered a hit on his veteran underboss, Johnny Sack. Alas, he wasn't around to see Sack succeed him. Cause of death: Major league stroke on a golf course.

7. Richie Aprile -- This foul-tempered ex-con with "Manson eyes," as Tony dubbed them, emerged from a decade in the slammer with a chip on his shoulder the size of a manhole cover. While trying to undermine Tony, he also took up with his volatile sister, Janice. They were engaged to be married until Richie hit Tony's sis in the chops during another of their domestic disputes. Cause of death: Two bullets in the chest from Janice's warm gun. His remains were reconfigured in several plastic bags.

6. Vito Spatafore -- Deceptively soft hit man had been a big earner for Tony until being ostracized for acting on his affinity for men. An on-the-lam sojourn in New Hampshire drove several of last season's episodes, with a newly svelte Vito falling hard for a short order cook whose specialty was "Johnnycakes." Vito eventually made his way back to Jersey to plead his case with Tony, who sympathized. But others weren't as forgiving. Cause of death: Beaten into the grave in a motel room by henchmen of Phil ("The Shah of Iran") Leotardo.

5. Livia Soprano -- Tony's domineering mama likely would still be with us had not actress Nancy Marchand died off-camera. Her dysfunctional parenting skills still boil back to the surface during Tony's sessions with Dr. Jennifer Melfi. A pistol without packing heat, Livia at one point tried to talk Uncle Junior into offing her own son. Years later, a demented Uncle Junior plugged Tony in the gut without being the wiser. Cause of death: In her sleep.

4. Tony Blundetto -- Tony's first cousin took the rap for "T" in a gone-wrong truck heist, serving 15 years of hard time before re-emerging with plans to be a massage therapist. He eventually hit the mob freelance circuit, but made things very complicated for Tony when he revenge-killed the brother of surly Phil Leotardo. Phil envisioned a slow, agonizing death for Tony B. That didn't happen, because Tony S loved his cousin enough to take matters into his own hands. Cause of death: Quickly via shotgun, with Tony S the oddly merciful triggerman. A tight shot of Tony B's wide open peepers gave his demise the classic Hitchcock-ian touch.

3. Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero -- He was The Sopranos' first big hit after growing up with Tony and becoming a surrogate big brother to him. Alas, Pussy became an informant rather than spend the rest of his life in the pen after being caught smuggling heroin. This doomed him when Tony learned the awful truth. Cause of death: A barrage of gunfire on a boat, with Tony, Silvio Dante and Paulie Walnuts simultaneously pulling the triggers after Pussy asked only that they not shoot him in the face. Wrapped in chains, he then went overboard.

2. Ralph Cifaretto -- Vicious, hot-tempered and altogether not very nice, "Ralphie" repulsed even Tony. His misdeeds included beating a pregnant prostitute to death and then being flip about it. The prompted Tony to punch him in his sneering mug. But a worse infraction came when Ralph burned Tony's beloved racehorse, Pie-O-My," in his stable in order to collect the insurance money. Cause of death: At the hands of Tony after a furious fistfight. "T" and Christopher Moltisanti then graphically dismembered Ralph for burial. His remains remain in their final resting places.

1. Adriana La Cerva -- This one still reverberates, with Tony and Adriana's former fiance, Christopher Moltisanti, still covering up their roles in her demise. Like "Pussy," tempestuous Adriana was lured by the Feds into being an informer. She eventually confessed all to her "Christophuh," which is something you just don't do. Tony responded by laying a dead-end trap for her, telling Adriana that Christopher had tried to kill himself and was now hospitalized. Hitman Silvio Dante came to pick her up, but instead took her to the woods. Cause of death: Two bullets to the back as she tried to crawl away. To this day, Carmela Soprano thinks that one of her best friends is still a living, breathing, missing person. And if she should ever find out the real truth . . .