The Mob Museum, the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement, announces its newest exhibit: “The Mob on TV.” Comprising a collection of on-screen costumes and props from three iconic organized crime-based TV series – “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Breaking Bad” – the exhibit is on view in the Museum’s retail store.
While Mob movies dominated the twentieth century with blockbuster hits such as “The Godfather,” “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” the depiction of the Mob on the small screen gave rise to some of the most iconic television series of the twenty-first century. Both “The Sopranos”and “Breaking Bad”rank among the greatest series ever made, being named No. 1 and 3, respectively, by Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 greatest TV shows of all time.
Costumes and props in this collection include:
- “Nucky” Thompson’s “Death Suit”: A three-piece suit worn in the series finale by Steve Buscemi, who played real-life Atlantic City crime boss Enoch “Nucky” Johnson in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.” The suit features a bullet hole where the character was shot. “Boardwalk Empire,” created by Terence Winter and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, chronicles organized crime in Atlantic City and beyond during Prohibition. The show’s five seasons (56 episodes) ran from 2010 to 2014.
- “Breaking Bad” Hazmat Suit: The collection includes the hazmat suit and mask used during meth-cooking scenes worn by Bryan Cranston, who played Walter White in AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” This popular show ran from 2008 to 2013 for five seasons (62 episodes), following the transformation of White from a mild-mannered high school chemistry teacher to ruthless drug kingpin in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Breaking Bad” was created by Vince Gilligan, who extended the story through a prequel AMC series, “Better Call Saul”and a sequel Netflix film, “El Camino.”
- Tony Soprano in Casual Mode: A costume worn by James Gandolfini, in his role of Mob boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” during season five, episode two. “The Sopranos,” created by David Chase, premiered in 1999 and ran for six seasons (86 episodes). The stories and characters were inspired by real-life Mob crime families in New Jersey.
- “Boardwalk Empire”Tommy Gun: This submachine gun prop was used by “Nucky” Thompson in season two, episode eight of “Boardwalk Empire.” In the episode, Thompson receives crates of Tommy guns destined for the Irish Republican Army, which is rebelling against English rule. In episode nine, Thompson travels across the Atlantic to deliver the guns, which are smuggled inside a coffin that presumably holds his deceased father’s remains.
- On-screen Gas Mask: This gas mask was worn on screen during meth-cooking scenes in “Breaking Bad.” The drug-making chemistry in the show was quite accurate, from the rudimentary production processes shown in the early episodes to the “super-lab” scenes in later seasons.
For more information about the Mob in pop culture, visit The Mob Museum’s blog here, which features numerous posts about that topic.
The Museum is open daily; visit the themobmuseum.org for admission rates and operating hours.