Carmine "Little Carmine" Lupertazzi, Jr. is a fictional New York mobster in the HBO television series The Sopranos. He is played by actor Ray Abruzzo. Little Carmine is a Capo and the son of Carmine Lupertazzi, the leader of one of New York's Five Families.
Little Carmine is introduced towards the end of season four when Tony Soprano visits him in Florida to seek his counsel in regard to settling a dispute with Carmine Sr. While Little Carmine is initially viewed as a pompous blowhard whose mangling of the English language conveys his poor intellect, he later becomes a thorn in the side of Carmine's underboss, Johnny Sack. His is loosely based on Genovese crime family boss Vito Genovese who married a cousin and was caught in a power struggle with Carlo Gambino, Phillip Rastelli and Thomas Lucchese over the territory of New York.
At the beginning of season five, Carmine Sr. has a stroke and dies. Little Carmine comes up to New York from Florida for the funeral, and quickly becomes embroiled in a power struggle with Johnny Sack. Since Little Carmine is the son of the former boss, he has some claim, albeit tenuous, to the throne, and this irritates Johnny to no end. Even Tony has no faith in Little Carmine's capacity to run New York, jokingly referring to him as "Brainless the Second." Despite his inexperience—Johnny describes Little Carmine as an "idiot" who spends his time "fixing wet t-shirt contests"—Little Carmine finds backers in Carmine Sr.'s old consigliere, Angelo Garepe, and long-time Lupertazzi captain Rusty Millio. It's Angelo and Rusty, along with Rusty's right-hand man Eddie Pietro, who pull most of the strings during the war between Johnny and Little Carmine.
However, after a cycle of bloodshed that escalates throughout the season, Little Carmine ultimately finds it difficult to stomach the continuing violence and greatly regrets the deaths of his friends and colleagues. His decision was heavily influenced by the murder of Angelo Garepe, one of the kingmakers who backed him. After Little Carmine's capitulation, Johnny Sack became the boss of New York, and was immediately arrested by the FBI who were acting on information given to them by Johnny's consigliere Jimmy Petrille. With Johnny in prison, Phil Leotardo has become the acting boss of New York. In season six, Little Carmine is brought in as an investor to a movie project that Christopher Moltisanti looks to get involved in. Little Carmine was instrumental in organizing a meeting with Sir Ben Kingsley to court his interest in the project but he eventually passed on a role.
Little Carmine is not shown with other Lupertazzi crime family members and appears to be keeping a low profile amongst the family. His other backer Rusty Milio was murdered because Johnny feared Rusty would back someone else to take over as boss while he was in prison - Johnny no longer seemed to consider Little Carmine a threat.
When Johnny Sack dies,Tony Soprano approaches Carmine about taking control of New York, telling Carmine about a dream he had after his father passed. In the dream, Carmine Lupertazzi was disappointed in Little Carmine. While Tony took this as a sign that Carmine wanted Little Carmine to succeed him as boss of the family, Little Carmine told Tony that the dream meant that Little Carmine did not have a full life. He also said that he had a near panic attack one day and his wife told him she wanted him to live a long and healthy life and not leave her a wealthy widow. In expressing this, he told Tony that he did not want to succeed Johnny Sack as the boss of the Lupertazzi family, that his interests and what made him happy were outside of the organization. This seems to make Tony quite envious.
Although Phil Leotardo refused to attend a make-peace meeting with Tony that Little Carmine had set up, he helped to broker a successful negotiation between Tony and Phil's underlings, Albie Cianfalone and Butch DeConcini.