Joe Pantoliano (Ralph Cifaretto)
Character profile from HBO.com
"All this over some whore?"
If the mafia gave out a Mr. Congeniality Award, Ralph Cifaretto would never be in contention for it. A "Mr. Obnoxious" trophy, however, would be his in a walk. Sarcastic, belligerent and misogynistic - even by wise guy standards - Ralph is easily Tony's least favorite business associate. Despite being a very smart man (albeit one who dropped out of school in the eleventh grade), Ralph is prone to making grossly inappropriate comments at the worst possible moment. When a young associate was in a coma, Ralph commented to the guy's brother, "Look at the bright side - he wasn't that smart to begin with."
One night, Ralph's lesser qualities coalesced in a particularly gruesome way, with consequences for the entire Soprano crew. In the parking lot of the Bada Bing, a coked-up Ralph beat to death a young dancer who was pregnant with his baby. When confronted by Tony, Ralph made the mistake of being flip about it: "She tripped...is it my fault she's a klutz?" Tony responded by punching Ralph, something that a made man never does to another made man. The situation was eventually resolved, however: after being made to grovel awhile, Ralph was installed as the captain of Gigi's crew. Ralph was pleased; the captaincy was something had wanted for a long time. Tony warned him to "be careful what you wish for," but hey, what does he know?
Plenty, it turns out. Ralph hadn't been captain for long when he was faced with his first major crisis. Jackie Aprile, Jr. robbed a card game, killing the dealer and shooting Furio in the leg. Once a made man had been shot, Jackie's fate was sealed; but Tony told Ralph that, as captain of the crew that had been hit, the final decision was his. For once, Ralph - who was dating Jackie's mother, Rosalie, and had developed a relationship with Jackie as well - didn't have anything funny to say. He ordered the hit on Jackie, and then took Rosalie to his funeral. Maybe being capo isn't all it's cracked up to be.