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Despite Di Meo's long reign as Boss, it is implied throughout the series that the two Soprano brothers were the key players of North Jersey.The unrest of 1983 is hardly referenced, but it was a historical time for the family.Tony would also avoid a long stint in prison when he missed a failed hijacking involving his cousin, Tony Blundetto. ended up getting charged under the RICO law and spending 15 years in prison, while Tony would go on to become one of the top earners in the Di Meo Family.At first, Tony said he was robbed by two black men, but he later admitted to Dr. that he had a panic attack after arguing with his mother and passed out, missing the hijack.The Newark area is depicted as an area of heavy activity during the family's early years.The Sopranos were a key faction in the Di Meo crime family, running two separate crews led by Johnny Boy and Junior, and also had longstanding ties with the five New York Families (particularly the Lupertazzi crime family).
In retaliation, Tony ordered the deaths of key members of Junior's crew: soldier Chucky Signore, consigliere Mikey "Grab Bag" Palmice, and acting capo (after Junior's arrest) Phillip "Philly Spoons" Parisi.
It was assumed that Junior would take over when Di Meo died or went to prison since he was one of the oldest and senior mobsters in the Di Meo family.
Di Meo was impressed with Jackie Aprile's leadership abilities, the Aprile crew had been the top earner and best-run crew of the family for years.
An assassination attempt on Tony was made, but Tony luckily escaped with just an injury to the ear, leaving one hitman dead when the other accidentally shoots him while aiming at Tony.
The FBI revealed to Tony that his mother's retirement home was bugged and let Tony listen to the tapes in a failed attempt to get him to flip.
Junior Soprano was spared when he was indicted by the federal government, along with underboss Joseph "Beppy" Sasso and capo Lawrence "Larry Boy" Barese, and because Tony wished to keep him as the lightning rod that took the hits for the Family.