We describe films as philosophical if they hit a few discordant notes, provoking the audience to ask itself a question or two. In contrast, the writers and actors of HBO series The Sopranos managed to argue a complex, controversial, challengeable thesis on corrupt human nature. (David Chase is silent on the degree to which we all have traits like the criminals on his show. The therapist’s character was consistently unlike the other’s.) Due to its scope and serialization, the didacticism of The Sopranos is unprecedented. And the candidates for precedent ought to include Seneca and Plato, since they also tried to convince their audience that vicious behavior destroys character and that when power is given to such a character, tragedy ensues.