The Sopranos essentially invented what modern television series could be, things like Breaking Bad and True Detective would have had a very different feel to them if Tony Soprano hadn't graced our screens some year prior.
The show was full of performances that were beyond outstanding, both James Gandolfini and Edie Falco are still held up as the benchmark of television greatness and few others have attained to that level since.
However, the show also was very episodic at times and concentrated on many different people over the run of the show. The minor characters of the show were perhaps what rounded out the world we delved into every Sunday, as they made the feel of the show all the more real. It wasn't always about looking at Tony and Carmela, it was about telling the story of a New Jersey mob syndicate and their day to day operations.
Now, over 20 years later, The Sopranos is seen as one of, if not the greatest TV show in history for the way it presented itself to its audience. It was so convincing that FBI agents have revealed that real members of the mob thought there was somebody giving the show tips on what their world was really like.
So, we will ignore the lead actors for the moment and concentrate on the minor characters that sometimes stole the show.
When looking back through the episodes of The Sopranos, one sticks out as being both hilarious and brutal in equal measure. Four Pines.
In the episode Paulie and Christopher are dealing with a Russian who owes them money, Paulie goes nuts and they end up having to try and kill him. Unfortunately for them that Russian happens to be Valery. An ex-military, hard as nails brute who just keeps on living, much to Paulie and Christopher's chagrin.
Their first attempts to beat him to death ostensibly work, though it takes them considerable effort to do so, then after consulting with Tony they head out to the wilderness to dump the body. When they get there they not only find out that Valery is alive, but he also manages to temporarily subdue them both and run away into the snow.
This complete death-defying Russian was one of the best and most liked characters in the show just because of the grief that he then causes Paulie and Christopher. Never has a character in The Sopranoes taken a beating like he did and live to tell the tale.
Unfortunately, we never saw him again after he ran away in the snow-laden woods. Though it is mentioned in the show that he more than likely survived because of his military training.