Sunday, June 17, 2007

Flights Of Mobsters Sing Thee To Thy Rest

Fans of The Sopranos are sorry to see it gone. No more excitement on a Sunday night. No more suspense, who gets whacked and who rises in the televised world of organized crime.

How real was the program, anyway? Was it largely flights of fancy, cooked up to follow along the lines of King Lear or something equally tragic? Did the screenwriters take news items and cook them up into juicy scenes, to lend that tasty air of reality? A new series is about to begin, and it will dish up all kinds of reality. Follow along and judge for yourself, just how accurate The Sopranos version of mob mayhem might have been.

In Chicago, the trial of Conrad Black is drawing to a close and court watchers are keeping an eye on the next trial. Joey "The Clown" Lombardo is about to be hauled into court, along with four of his closest friends who were the core of Chicago's crime syndicate.

Contract killings? It will be there, brought out in an open courtroom. Unsolved murders, loan sharking, the numbers racket; all fodder for the prosecution. Who was the boss of the family, who were the made men, the enforcers, the hit men? Day by day, the evidence will be presented. Flow charts will be fashioned for PowerPoint presentations, a roster of who reported to whom, and where the money went.

The Sopranos was entertainment, with family conflict as much a part of the show as the crime, but it was the cold-blooded nature of the criminal enterprises that held viewers spellbound, week after week. Now, instead of turning on your television to HBO, you can click on a link to the Chicago Tribune, and watch the drama unfold.

You can be sure that City Hall will have its collective eyes glued to the courtroom, carefully watching the action and trying to guess which mobster will be legally whacked next. The trail leads back to the fifth floor office of Richard Daley, it is said. So you thought it was exciting, that last bit at the end of the final episode of The Sopranos? You ain't seen nothing yet.

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