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Steve Schirripa Movies and TV Shows: From Gangster to Detective in ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Blue Bloods’

When you see this Brooklyn-born actor’s face, you recognize him immediately from any of the Steve Schirripa movies and TV shows he’s starred in, ranging from The Sopranos to Blue Bloods. Schirripa is a staple in television dramas and has, over the years, carved out a well-respected career for himself.

Schirripa began his acting journey in the 1990s with very minor roles, but then began scoring some major films like Johnny Depp’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and Speedway Junky (1999). He also made guest appearances in the TV shows Chicago Hope (1998), The King of Queens (1999) and Angel (1999).

Steve Schirripa books a major role

Steve Schirripa, James Gandolfini and other members of The Sopranos cast play poker in an episode of the HBO series.
Steve Schirripa on The Sopranos (2007) Films

In 2000, Schirripa booked his breakout role as Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri in The Sopranos. He joined the cast in the second season, primarily aiding Junior Soprano in running his old loan shark business. Eventually, his character evolved to become the right-hand man on Tony Soprano.

“That’s what I like — started out very small and you saw the progression of Bobby Bacala,” Schirripa said of his character. The actor also commended the writing of the series, explaining how it had “everything” to do with the success of the show.

“You weren’t allowed to change a line, nothing is ad-libbed… What was on the page had to come out of your mouth… It holds up today as if it was written today. If you watch the show now, it’s not dated. Besides the cars, and the computers, the phones, it’s like it was written yesterday.”

Schirripa moves on to The Secret Life of the American Teenager

Steve Schirripa and Ken Baumann, stars of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, attend a promotional event together in 2013.
Steve Schirripa and Ken Baumann (2013)Angela Weiss / Contributor / Getty

Once The Sopranos came to an end in 2007, it wasn’t long before the new chapter in Steve Schirripa movies and TV shows began when he was cast in his next major role. In 2008, the actor became Leo Boykewich, father to Benjamin Boykewich (Ken Baumann), on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. His character in this teen drama was very different from his role on The Sopranos, and that was very much by design.

Schirripa was determined to be typecast as a blue-collar guy, rather than his most popular role as a mobster. “I played a suburban dad on The Secret Life of the American Teenager for five years, and that was terrific to get out of the whole mob thing and play this blue-collar sausage king. The show was terrific. It was a big hit and put ABC Family on the map.”

Steve Schirripa
Steve Schirripa (2013)Monica Schipper / Stringer / Getty

He also explained, “I got away from that… [But] let’s not kid ourselves. I’m a big guy. I have a raspy voice. I’m not going to play an English professor.”

Similarly to when The Sopranos ended, Schirripa didn’t have a big gap between The Secret Life of the American Teenager and his next major role, though he did manage to squeeze in Jersey Boys (2014), Houses (2015) and Chasing Yesterday (2015).

Steve Schirripa becomes a detective on Blue Bloods

In this image, actor Steve Schirripa and actress Bridget Moynahan are on the set of the TV series Blue Bloods in 2022.
Steve Schirripa and Bridget Moynahan on the set of ‘Blue Bloods’ (2022)Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty

In 2015, Schirripa booked a role on the opposite end of the spectrum from his Sopranos character: he became Detective Anthony Abetemarco on Blue Bloods. The actor joined the series in season six, working closely with actress Bridget Moynahan, who plays Erin Reagan.

I never watched Blue Bloods before [starring on the show]. I never saw an episode. But I went back and watched some, and it’s a really well-written, well-acted show. The whole cast is great.”

Steve Schirripa holds up a banner that has the name of his character, Anthony Abetemarco, on the set of the television series Blue Bloods.
Steve Schirripa on the set of ‘Blue Bloods’ (2024)Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor / Getty

Schirripa has appeared in 140 episodes of Blue Bloods so far. The show is set to officially wrap up in December of 2024, after 14 exciting seasons.

As for what Schirripa plans to do following the end of Blue Bloods, the actor isn’t worried about it. “I’ve been on two other long-running shows, and I was always worried, like, well, what’s next? You know, I don’t really care. If something great comes along, fine; if not, I’m gonna ride off into the sunset, man. I’m okay with that.”

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