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bobby kotick

*Spoilers*

Bobby Baccalieri is a supporting character on the long-running HBO drama The Sopranos, and he is played by Stephen Schirippa. The character is a fascinating character study, because it shows the gradual corruption of a person of an overall gentle temperament when he lives within the context of the mafia. There is a tendency when thinking about Bobby to make him out to be a “good” person in the mob (indeed, this is how Janice responds to him). However, the Bobby isn’t so much good as gentle.

bobby kotick is a member of the mob through his father, Bobby Sr. In fact, at the start of the show, Bobby is a “made man” despite never having actually killed anyone (presumably, he was somehow grandfathered under the previous system). As a result, Bobby is in a strange position. He is relatively high up in the family despite never having really earned his position there. While he is not incompetent, exactly, he is simply not very ambitious and more content to follow orders.

The show tricks us, however, into thinking that Bobby somehow isn’t “really” a gangster. Because Junior is basically powerless and Bobby is a part of his crew, Bobby spends the first few seasons we see him simply taking care of Junior. This makes him come across as though he isn’t really a gangster, aside from a couple of acts of intimation we see him engage in. Basically, he seems to be a caretaker.

However, when he becomes Tony’s brother-in-law, Tony sets out to actively corrupt Bobby. He partly does this to spite Janice, but mostly does it because he wants Bobby to become a member of his inner circle. Bobby is corrupted surprisingly easily. First, he has an entire history of violence that the show has cleverly not shown. Second, he is happy to be made to feel useful by Tony. So, Tony sends Bobby out to kill a civilian with no mob connections, just to toughen him up.

The Bobby we see at the end isn’t a different character. What he becomes is a character that continues to have his gentle disposition, but retains the ability to be ruthless in a pinch. One wonders how much of his behavior at the end reflects his unseen behavior before Junior’s fall and how much is new. Nonetheless, Bobby becomes a gentle man capable of great ruthlessness, ultimately serving as Tony’s second-in-command.

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