Right now, odds are running two to one that HBO mobster Tony Soprano will die. That would make for the morally right ending, in a Victorian sort of way. The bad guy gets his in the end, good wins out over evil, and all that. But is that how things really go?
What became of John Gotti? Died in prison, not on the streets. There are others as well, heads of crime families who went to their just rewards after a bout with cancer or a heart attack or the ravages of age. Nothing dramatic.
Maybe Tony Soprano's saga will take a page from John Gilligan's life. The Irish thug was never convicted of murdering journalist Veronica Guerin, but it's a sure bet that he put out the contract on her when she got too close to uncovering his crime kingdom. Where is Mr. Gilligan today? Sitting in a prison cell, convicted of selling cannabis, doing twenty years, and the Criminal Assets Bureau is fighting him to get possession of his ill-gotten gains.
Gilligan's beloved Jessbrook Equestrian Centre and houses in Lucan have been in the hands of CAB since 1996, and Gilligan has been fighting in the courts to get his property back. There have been court cases, hearings, Supreme Court decisions and appeals galore, and still the criminal will not give it up.
Recently, Mr. Gilligan asked the courts to provide him with legal aid to help pay for a review of a Supreme Court decision that went against him. He's been arguing the constitutionality of a decision, the Supreme Court decided it was constitutional, and now he's trying to get the High Court to consider the Supreme Court ruling. No, said the State. No money for your attorney, no money to try to bring a nonsense to trial. You're not getting Jessbrook back.
There are those who believe that Mr. Gilligan transferred his wealth to his wife, and that he still retains much of the proceeds of his drug-selling business. He denies it, claiming he is destitute but finding the means to fight against the confiscation of his properties for ten years.
How's that for the final episode of The Sopranos? Tony in jail, his grand mansion forfeit to the state, his strip-club in the hands of the Feds....and the show could close with him talking to his lawyer, trying to find a way to hold on to all that was purchased with the proceeds of his crimes. The show would end with a whimper, not a bang, but that's how criminals usually go out these days. Makes for a rather boring program, though.