In what New York Daily News TV Editor Richard Huff called "one of the most shocking moments in recent primetime history," Tony Soprano, the character played by James Gandolfini in HBO's The Sopranos, was shot in the closing moments of Sunday night's episode -- the first new Sopranos episode in two years. In USA Today, critic Robert Bianco commented that the shooting serves a creative function: "It sends the show off in a new direction. Up to now, Tony has always been on the dishing-out side of violence. Sunday he was on the receiving end, and how he and his family deal with that will be the season's unifying theme." Several critics debated whether to reveal the surprise ending at all in their reviews, but Molly Willow commented in the Columbus Dispatch: "If you taped the season premiere of The Sopranos last night after 21 months off, you aren't a real fan and deserve to have the surprise ruined."