S3 Ep 1: Mr. Ruggerio's Neighborhood
Written by David Chase
Directed by Allen Coulter
Season Three opens with the Sopranos going about the daily activities of a typical upwardly mobile American family: Anthony, Jr. is skateboarding, smoking cigarettes and denigrating school authority. Carmela is taking tennis lessons. Meadow is adjusting to her first semester at Columbia and Tony is winning the bread that makes it all possible. They're a typical family, but with one major difference: their every move is being watched by the FBI.
The Feds have stepped up their efforts to build a RICO case against Tony, even though they no longer have the services of Cooperating Witness 16, AKA Pussy Bonpensiero. Pussy is, as Agent Lipari delicately puts it, "probably compost," the Bureau is going to have to find some other way to get close to Tony. So they get a special warrant to bug the Sopranos' basement, hoping to listen in on any business Tony might conduct there.
While the FBI is figuring out how to install a covert listening device in Tony's basement, Tony is trying to sort out a sticky situation of his own. Patsy Parisi, twin brother of the deceased Philly Parisi, may have figured out that his brother became deceased on Tony's order. Patsy's been behaving erratically, drinking a lot and telling people that he knows who killed Philly. He even showed up one afternoon drunk - in Tony's backyard. Unseen by Tony, Patsy pointed a gun at him, urinated in the swimming pool and then left. While Tony would prefer not to have to give Patsy the same treatment he gave his brother, Paulie advises him, "we always have the option."
Meanwhile, after a few setbacks, the FBI finally manages to get a bugged lamp installed in Tony's basement. So, now that they can eavesdrop on his inner sanctum, here's what the Feds have learned about New Jersey's most notorious crime boss: he needs to steady his dental hygiene and get more roughage in his diet.
Not a lot of information, but from little acorns...