weather icon Clear

Actress Edie Falco talks ‘Sopranos’ memories, new TV series

Twenty-one years ago, she began her run as a dutiful mobster’s wife. Now, she’s on duty as the top cop in Los Angeles.

Bada bing! Edie Falco is the Boss.

In the CBS drama series, “Tommy,” premiering Feb. 6, the multiple Emmy winning star of “The Sopranos” and “Nurse Jackie” plays Abigail “Tommy” Thomas, a high-ranking NYPD officer who becomes the first female chief of police for the LAPD. “Ridiculous that there aren’t more female chiefs,” said Falco, 56. “It might sound like a stereotype, but women are quite level-headed and get the job done.”

Case in point: In real life, Falco is a breast cancer survivor and single mom to adopted children Anderson, 14, and Macy, 11.

She mulled it all over — including future “Sopranos” projects — on a weekday afternoon from her home in New York where it turns out breakfast for dinner is a Sunday tradition.

Review-Journal: What is your idea of the perfect Sunday?

Edie Falco: My perfect nonworking Sunday definitely involves some lunch-brunch thing with some friends at my favorite local veggie restaurant in New York. Then maybe my friends come over. I love when everyone just comes over to hang out with me and the kids. Maybe I’ll cook. On Sunday nights, we’ve been known to have pancakes and smoothies for dinner. Later, my daughter and I will sit around and watch TV.

Tell us about your role in “Tommy.”

She just wants to do the right thing and do her job well. Since she does do that job so well, she goes from New York police officer to chief of police in Los Angeles. The key isn’t that she has these rough New York edges. The bigger thing is that she’s a woman in the role of police chief. There aren’t many of them. And she’s a woman who doesn’t just want to sit behind a desk. She wants to get out there and solve some crimes.

The series is mostly set in Los Angeles, but you film the whole thing in New York.

I shot one day in L.A. The rest is done in New York. It’s a shout-out to our art department and our scenic department. I started to wonder, after a while, where we were! Basically, we’re in New York with a truck bed full of palm trees. We’d stop, take the palm trees out, put them up and film. Then the trees go back into the truck. The funniest thing is before we film a scene on a brutally cold New York day, someone will shout, “Parkas off.” Then you try not to shiver because we are supposed to be in L.A.

What do you love about doing TV?

I love the atmosphere on the set of a TV show. Another reason I love to do television is you get to know these people for a very long time. If you’re lucky, you create a family of sorts with incredible actors and behind-the-scenes people. Some of the biggest emotions I’ve ever felt in my life were in the guise of another person while filming a television show.

You grew up in Brooklyn and Long Island, where your mother did community theater and other acting. Is that why the acting bug bit?

I was enchanted by the stage and the props and eventually the audience. I’d sit backstage while she rehearsed. These were people who had other jobs by day, but they transformed into these totally different people at night. I found that mesmerizing. … So the community theater directors began casting me in the plays. I got the bug, but I prefer to say the magic of acting settled into my system.

In 2003, you learned you had breast cancer and then went back to work on “The Sopranos” the same day.

I had the biopsy that morning and was told that they found cancer. Meanwhile, I had to be at work at one. It’s a bit surreal how I remember that day. I remember that I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t breathe. But then I thought: I am a strong woman. I have resources to get good treatment. I can handle this. So, I went back to work, which was the first step for me. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t want it to just be about “How are you feeling?” Of course, I was scared. There were days I didn’t feel so good. One of the producers was a good friend and I told her, so we could schedule my work around my treatments.

Tell us about your children.

I never really thought I’d have kids. Then the cancer thing kicked in. Once I realized I wasn’t going to die, it was like a light going on. I knew I wanted to be a mother. They’re amazing children and we bring out the best in each other, which is what family should do for each other.

How long did it take to transform into the perfect mafia wife who made that great baked ziti?

On the set, I’d be in the makeup trailer for about two hours with all the hair curling, straightening and pinning. It was a lot of makeup and then those long nails and big rings. Carm came out from all of those things.

There are rumors of a “Sopranos” sequel?

Once, I told (creator) David Chase that maybe now Carmela should be the mob boss. He just laughed. Do you have a favorite Sopranos episode?

There is one where Tony is looking out the window at this young woman next door hanging laundry. You don’t know if it’s his imagination or a ghost. Maybe it’s a representation of his mother. I found that episode to be so incredibly moving. It was so beautifully written.

Really, you won’t watch an episode?

Watching an episode of “The Sopranos” is too evocative for me. It brings up too much. I’ll see Jim and … I’ll remember this or that. Or I’ll think, “Oh God, he was so young.” It just brings up too much.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
5 Las Vegas chefs to watch - VIDEO
If you want to know what’s next for dining in Las Vegas, we suggest paying close attention to these five accomplished chefs. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Slanted Door in The Forum Shops at Caesars - VIDEO
The Slanted Door, Charles Phan's James Beard Award-winning modern Vietnamese restaurant, will open a Las Vegas location on March 2. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas REview-Journal)
Buddy V opens PizzaCake at Harrah’s - VIDEO
Buddy Valastro, aka Cake Boss Buddy V, is in town this week overseeing the soft opening of his new restaurant, PizzaCake, in Harrah’s Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making mist-shrouded tuna poke at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas - VIDEO
E.J. Estrella, banquet chef at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, makes tuna poke by mixing chunks of bigeye tuna with sliced green onions, julienned white onions and house-made poke sauce and serving it on a bed of seaweed salad garnished with lotus chips and suspended over melon-scented mist. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making baked goat cheese at Ri Ra in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Shea Wafford, sous chef and pastry chef at Ri Ra at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, makes baked goat cheese served with honey-nut pesto, pickled red onions, peppadew relish and sourdough baguette. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bruce Kalman cooking at Ada’s - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Bruce Kalman will be cooking at Ada's in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making banana cream pie at Cut in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Nicole Earl, pastry chef at Cut at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, makes an updated banana cream pie by layering banana ice cream, custard and compote with house-made Cool Whip, vanilla wafers and 24-karat gold leaf in a milk chocolate sphere and drizzling it with warm banana-caramel sauce so it devolves into petals. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Chile Colorado at Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas
Javier Chavez, chef/owner of Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas, makes Chile Colorado by braising pork belly with three kinds of peppers and serving it atop stewed black beans with crema and pickled jalapeño, carrots and onions, with flour tortillas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap introduces its vegan CrazyShake - VIDEO
Black Tap at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip has a new CrazyShake that's vegan -- The Black ’N White CakeShake. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri reflects on the Las Vegas dining scene
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri talks about the Las Vegas food scene while in town celebrating his 52nd birthday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Familiar faces among Circa culinary lineup
Derek Stevens and chefs Barry Dakake and Dan Coughlin talk about some of the new restaurants for Stevens' Circa resort project. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Ausser Rand und Band (Over the Top) bloody mary at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas
The Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas serves the Ausser Rand und Band bloody mary with Hofbrau Dunkel, vodka, bloody mary mix, a Tajin rim and a soft pretzel, slider, bacon, sausage and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Custom Pizza Truck is a 'kitchen on wheels' - VIDEO
Custom Pizza Truck serves pizzas in a one of a kind food truck that traveled to Poland and back. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
Squidhat Records comes to an end - VIDEO
Founder Allan Carter explains decision to shutter the Las Vegas label. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kaiseki Yuzu relocates to Chinatown - VIDEO
Kaiseki Yuzu restaurant celebrated its move from Henderson to Chinatown at 3900 Spring Mountain Road on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Panic! at the Disco frontman opens studio for kids - VIDEO
Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie launches Notes for Notes at a Henderson Boys & Girls Club. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A sneak peek at the new Mas Por Favor in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Mas Por Favor in Las Vegas’ Chinatown is an Instagram dream come true with original art, an arch of skulls and one of roses. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegan menu unveiled on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Truth & Tonic, one of the two dining spots within The Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness, rolled out its new plant-based menu on Friday. Executive chef Pete Ghione talks about the menu. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making lobster and avocado flatbread at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Josh Grimes, chef de cuisine at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, created a lobster and avocado flatbread that also has avocado-creme fraiche spread, yellow tomatoes, red onion and Hearts On Fire microgreens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Riding the new 15-minute "Star Wars" ride at Disneyland
What it's like to ride the new 15-minute "Star Wars" ride At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Main St. Provisions is coming to the Arts District - VIDEO
Kim Owens talks about her new Arts District restaurant, Main Street Provisions, which is under construction. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Artist Wayne Littlejohn on “Spin Baby” - VIDEO
Wayne Littlejohn’s sculpture celebrates Las Vegas entertainers. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tiësto headlines CES 2020 closing party at Hakkasan Nightclub - VIDEO
Tiesto performs for CES conventioneers and clubgoers during the DreamlandXR Closing Night Party at Hakkasan Nightclub at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Locals cheer on James Holzhauer at 'Jeopardy!' watch party - VIDEO
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But James Holzhauer would have a better chance at winning “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament if Ken Jennings would stop copying his aggressive betting strategy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drake's first show of 2020 at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Drake performs at the indoor/outdoor XS and Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ceremony held for Elvis artist Trent Carlini - VIDEO
A ceremony was held for Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini on Wednesday night at The Space in Las Vegas. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Small appliances unveiled in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The small appliances on show at Sands Expo at CES 2020 in Las Vegas include a Keurig cocktail maker, autonomous cooking system, nitrogen coffee ampules and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Impossible Foods debuts Impossible Pork in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Before a packed press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods executives introduced Impossible Pork, its newest product. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lady Gaga joins her band leader at his after-hours show - VIDEO
After finishing her “Jazz + Piano” show at Park Theater, Lady Gaga joined her band leader Brian Newman for a rousing version of "Fly Me to the Moon" during his show at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip after midnight on New Year's Day, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Brian Newman rings in 2020 at NoMad at Park MGM - VIDEO
Brian Newman, bandleader for Lady Gaga, performs at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto