'Sopranos' Back With a Bada-Bang

“There are far bigger crooks than my husband,” says Carmela Soprano (Edie Falco) in a voiceover on the new season of “The Sopranos,” which returns to HBO Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.

Really? Not on television.

It’s been almost two years since Adriana LaCerva (Drea de Matteo) was whacked and swanky mobster Johnny Sack (Vincent Curatola) was arrested in the closing episodes of the fifth season.

And now The Family is returning for one last bada-bang!

Tony (James Gandolfini) is an even fatter target for the Feds, still on his tail.

At the end of last season, The Family is in a feud. Tony has gone to Sack’s house to explain that his cousin, Tony Blundetto (Steve Buscemi) has been dealt with for good. As he spots the FBI approaching the house, he tears off through the woods, and has a long, cold walk home in the snow.

Season six’s tension spirals off the incarceration of Johnny Sack, who’s facing a RICO trial. The trial — and the resulting power void — will disrupt The Family, especially Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) and Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli).

In the show’s trailer, Christopher is heard saying, “I had to choose and I chose my loyalty to you.”

Terence Winter, who wrote the premiere episode, “Members Only,” adds that this season the characters will be grappling with “old wounds.” He adds, “there are ramifications to things that have happened in the past.”

According to show creator David Chase, Paulie Walnuts and A.J. Soprano (Robert Iler) will also see big doings this year, much of which will leave them “sort of rattled.”

Among other revelations that have come out:

- Julianna Margulies, who had sizzling chemistry with George Clooney on “ER,” will play a real estate agent — named Julianna — who becomes romantically involved with a mobster.

- Hal Holbrook is cast as an ailing Bell labs scientist whose falls in with the mob.

- Oscar winner Ben Kingsley plays himself. (Has Christopher convinced the wise guys to get into filmmaking?)

- Lorraine Bracco’s sister Elizabeth comes on as bisexual mobster Vito Spatafore’s wife.

- The Sopranos attend a wake.

- Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) is still with her fiance, Finn (Will Janowitz).

- Tony is still having panic attacks.

- Uncle Junior hires a slick new lawyer and tells Tony, “You can take your ultimatums and shove them.”

Chase has said that when contemplating how the show would end, he decided, “It’s going to be about money, about materialism, buying stuff. That’s all these characters care about. All that stuff helps them not to think about larger issues.”

This last hurrah is divided between 12 episodes debuting Sunday, and a second installment of “The Final Eight,” airing in January 2007.

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