Why ‘Sopranos’ Producers Cut Out Fairuza Balk’s Scene After the Season 3 Episode Aired
If you were watching the season 3 finale of The Sopranos on HBO in 2001, you saw the introduction of a new character. She appears at a department store, where Adriana La Cerva (Drea de Matteo) happens to be shopping for an outfit to wear to a funeral.
After offering Adriana unsolicited advice on a dress to buy, the character introduces herself as Danielle. They chat about shoes and quickly strike up a friendship. Later, viewers learn Danielle is actually FBI agent Deborah Ciccerone, working undercover. And her plan to befriend Adriana worked beautifully.
When the episode aired in ’01, Fairuza Balk played the Danielle character. However, viewers who’ve seen the episode on video (or streaming on HBO) later on would have seen Lola Glaudini playing that part. Following Balk’s work on the episode, she didn’t return to the Sopranos cast to play Danielle. And producers later reshot the scene with Glaudini.
Fairuza Balk’s work as an undercover FBI agent on ‘The Sopranos’ got replaced after it aired
Sopranos fans paying close attention will have noticed characters shifting roles during the course of the series. That happened with Joe Gannascoli, who played a regular guy at the bakery early on before returning as Vito Spatafore.
But the closest match came with the actors who played Tony Soprano’s sister Barbara. Nicole Burdette played the character for seasons 1-3. Then Danielle De Vecchio took over playing Barb for the rest of the show’s run.
Sopranos producers went the extra mile after Balk did not return to play agent Ciccerone (aka Danielle) in season 4. After hiring Glaudini, they did a reshoot of the scene where the character meets Adriana in the department store (and invites her to coffee).
So if fans who saw the original episode later got the home video version, they saw different performers in the same role. If you watch the scene on HBO Max today (at the 36:00 mark if you’re streaming), you’ll notice the lighting is different when the scene switches between Adriana (de Matteo) and Danielle (Glaudini). Balk is gone, of course.
Lola Glaudini went on to play Danielle/agent Ciccerone into season 5 of ‘The Sopranos’
Agent Ciccerone has a huge impact on the plot, of course. As Danielle, she quickly gains Adriana’s confidence. Once the FBI has Adriana in its clutches, the bureau makes some inroads in the Soprano family. Eventually, it also leads to the death of Adriana.
Starting in season 4, Glaudini (a much better fit in the role) plays the undercover Ciccerone for another six episodes. After making her moves in season 4, viewers see her final appearance in “Irregular Around the Margins,” the fifth episode of season 5 (2004).
Glaudini went on to work on Criminal Minds, The Handler (starring Joe Pantoliano), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Showtime’s Ray Donovan. As for Fairuza Balk, the Craft and Almost Famous actor continued making movies, including Don’t Come Knocking (2005) and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call Los Angeles (2009).