Nobody likes a snitch, but when it comes to "Soprano Sue" Sadik, I'll make an exception.
HBO's mobsters are finally back in action Sunday, and "Soprano Sue" knows where all the bodies are buried. She can take you to Satriale's, the pork store where Tony Soprano masterminds his crime empire, the strip club that passes as the Bada Bing and the place where Paulie Walnuts gets his manicures.
One reason the mob drama has such a cult following is that so much of the show is shot on the mean streets of New Jersey, and fans have turned the bars, pizza joints and vacant lots where characters get whacked into the state's newest cultural attractions.
Pizzaland, the two-table restaurant shown in the opening credits, routinely gets calls for delivery from all over the world. And the nearby Skyway Diner, where Christopher was riddled with bullets, has become a tourist destination.
Of course, "The Sopranos" doesn't claim to be anything but fiction. But creator David Chase grew up in north Jersey, and the local detail has been a boon to those locations featured on the show.
Satin Dolls, in Lodi, N.J., is one of the few strip clubs where customers rush in to see something other than the dancers. Fans might be disappointed to learn that Silvio's office is actually the ladies room. But judging from the vast array of souvenirs, this might be the only gentlemen's club with customers who want proof to show off where they've been.
The Cozzarelli funeral parlor, where Tony held services for his mother, has also received a share of notoreity. But as of yet, no T-shirts.
Will Vito Be the First Whack Job?
Through it all, Sadik, a 46-year-old former private investigator, has kept close tabs on the production, following the cast to nearly every on-location shooting, striking up a friendship with Vincent Pastore, who played Tony's friend-turned-FBI-informant Big Pussy, one of the characters who now sleeps with the fishes.
"My prayers were answered. I entered the big time," Sadik tells me Monday, as we cruise around north Jersey. She's happy to say that HBO gave her a small part as an extra in "The Ride," an upcoming episode, in which you'll see her in the background behind Paulie, purchasing a sausage sandwich at a Newark street fair.
"They actually paid me minimum wage to do that."
Like a good gangster, Sadik practices omerta -- the oath of silence. Still, she all but boasts that she knows which character will be whacked first this season. But if she does know, she isn't saying.
"You'll see Cozzarelli's in the first episode, and a lot of characters are there at that funeral," she says, suggesting that someone big is going to get whacked.
One online gambling site, PinnacleSports.com, is already pegging Soprano captain Vito Spatafore (Joseph Gannascoli) as the 6-to-1 favorite to not make it all the way through episode one. As we learned last season, Vito had a secret life that might qualify him as mob boss of "Brokeback Mountain." That alone might be enough for Tony's crew to fit him with cement shoes.
Who Dares Steal Tony's Fiberglass Pig?
In addition to operating a small delivery service and a Web design company, Sadik serves as research consultant to Georgette Blau's On Location Sopranos Tour, a $40 ride through New Jersey's TV gangland, to see every known place where they've dumped a body.
Here, you'll see the Kearney, N.J., storefront that serves as Satriale's. Eight years ago, when HBO leased the building and put up the sign, complete with the fiberglass pig shown in the opening credits, neighbors actually thought a butcher shop was opening. Little did they know that this was where Richie Aprile would get chopped into mob burger.
As the tour heads down Route 17, you'll see the spot outside Satin Dolls where Ralphie (Joe Pantoliano) savagely beat to death the pregnant stripper who was carrying his child and, as a result, took a beating from Tony.
Just up the road is Party Box, where Big Pussy was meeting with the FBI, and he's nearly exposed as an informant by another mobster who moonlights as an Elvis impersonator.
One of my favorite stops: Joe's Bake Shop, now a window blinds store, where Christopher flies into a rage while waiting for pastries in Season Two and shoots a baker in the foot. The scene echoes back to Michael Imperioli's early role as "Spider" in "Goodfellas," when he plays a kid who is similarly shot in the foot when Joe Pesci loses his temper.
One place you won't go on the Sopranos On Location Tour is Tony and Carmela's house. The family who lives there has begged for privacy, after several incidents of fans wandering up the driveway and in the backyard.
"I can't take you there," she says. "To me, it's sacred ground,"
Wire Taps: Wise Guys Watch Cable
If honest, everyday Americans have an obsession with "The Sopranos," so do real-life wise guys. James Gandolfini says he's gotten unsolicited advice -- even fashion tips -- for his portrayal of Tony Soprano.
"I talk to some gentlemen who have friends who are these people and most of them enjoy the show," Gandolfini told reporters when he was promoting "The Mexican."
"They get a good laugh out of it, although once when I wore shorts in a barbecue scene it was relayed to me that it was not something these gentlemen would do, even at a barbecue."
When "Sopranos" creator James Chase heard that, he wrote it into the show, having New York boss Carmine Lupertazzi tell Tony at a lawn party, "a don never wears shorts." The Lupertazzi character died last season, and Tony subsequently started showing some more leg.
Of course, the mob's love of mob movies is a running joke on "The Sopranos." As Silvio Dante, Steve Van Zandt regales the rest of the Soprano gang with his Michael Corleone impression. And as Van Zandt's fictional character did his impression of another pretend gangster, some real gangsters were watching, according to FBI wiretaps.
Members of the DeCavalcante family -- a New Jersey crime syndicate said to be the model for the HBO show -- were secretly recorded in 1999 gushing over the show, and how it's given them more respect among their elitist New York peers, who once dismissed them as "Farmers."
"Every show you watch, more and more, you pick somebody," says Anthony Rotondo, a DeCavalcante turncoat who called the show "amusing."
"Yeah, but where do they get this information from?" family soldier Joseph "Tin Ear" Sclafani asks.
"Aren't they funny?" Rotondo says. "What characters. Great acting."
Like the Sopranos, the DeCavalcante family is said to operate from a pork store in north Jersey, and one of the acting bosses owns a strip club, just like the Bada-Bing.
GAG-sters Become Mob-stars
Still, "The Sopranos" cast features several actors with real-life rap sheets -- including Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie -- who count themselves in an unofficial group of New York actors called "GAG" -- the Gangsters Actors Guild.
Not all "GAG-sters" have prison records, but all make an honest living playing hoodlums. Not that it works for everyone.
Sirico served time in Sing Sing more than 30 years ago for sticking up a few New York nightclubs. That's where the acting bug bit, and he's since become one of Hollywood's most dependable bad guys.
As he once told the New York Daily News, "I've done like 45 movies, played 40 gangsters and five crooked cops."
Buck Wolf is entertainment producer at ABCNEWS.com. "The Wolf Files" is published Tuesdays.