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'Sopranos' Say Ciao With Season Finale

This round of "The Sopranos" started with Tony getting gunned down by his trigger-happy uncle. By the end of the season, one of his cronies got caned to death for being homosexual.

Who knows what's in store for the 12th and final episode of the season?

Previews aren't available, of course, but it's a safe bet that Tony's physical and psychic recovery won't be making any giant leaps in this last hour. He's had a tough time, since, in the first episode, his delusional Uncle Junior shot him while he was cooking dinner.

Tony's near-death experience has only heightened his angst about himself, his empire and his family. Survival doesn't seem to have clarified any of life's mysteries, but, instead, to have brought all his pre-existing agita into even fiercer focus.

It is just as Lorraine Bracco, who plays Tony's therapist, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, suggested on the CBS Early Show in March prior to the year's first episode: "I think it's a sadder season," Bracco said.

She added that she had not dwelled to much on the show's impending end. "I still have almost a year to cry about it. So why go now?" Bracco said.

Others, too, took the season hard, notably, Vito Spatafore, who, exposed among his fellow wiseguys as a gay guy, got whacked.

In real life, Joseph R. Gannascoli, who plays Vito, is being whacked in a different way.

He is being sued by the manufacturer the diet drug Stacker 2, which claims Gannascoli hasn't done enough to promote the product after receiving about $316,000 from the company over the last 2½ years.

The sixth-season finale, "Kaisha," premieres 9 p.m. EDT Sunday on HBO. And then ... the wait begins for next year's airing of the eight concluding episodes of this magnificent series.