Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Married A Mobster: Recap Orena’s “Family Getaway”

Victor Orena Senior

Last night’s episode of I Married A Mobster was not about a mobster or someone married to a mobster. It was the story of Andrew Orena, youngest son of Victor Orena, who was a one time Colombo boss. So why did Investigation Discovery include him in the line up? My first thought is they couldn’t find a tenth woman to tell her story to the world. Perhaps they should have delayed production until they did? I don’t know. But the story that Andrew tells about his father and the Colombo wars gives us the “other side’s” point of view. Victor Orena and Greg Scarpa represented the two warring sides of the Colombo crime family and this is his story.

Victor Orena was the acting Colombo crime family boss. He was old school. He grew up without a father and looked up to wise guys as his role models. His mother was dating a local mobster who abused her. Though Victor was just a young boy, he got a zip gun from a friend of his, and when he encounters the mobster in front of his house--he shoots him. Victor is ironically told by the mob that he can’t go around shooting people. He tells them that if this guy raises his hand to his mother again, he will kill him. With his answer, he earns their respect.

Victor moves his family to Long Island. One day Andrew is outside waiting for the pretzel man to come by. The truck passes him up without stopping. Nick Santoro (a mobster played by Joe Pesci in Goodfellas) asks Andrew what’s wrong. Andrew tells him about the preztel guy. An angry Nick makes Andrew get into his car and they back up down the street till they catch up with the truck. Nick gets out of his car and into the truck, screaming at the guy for passing up Andrew on the street. He tells him he better pass by every day and stop. He gets off the truck with a half dozen pretzels in his hand.

Andrew soon wises up about his father when he reads familiars names of family friends in the newspapers. His older brothers, John and Victor Jr., became made men, but Andrew wanted no part of a lifestyle that would only end in death or jail. One day the FBI comes to their house and tells them there is a contract out on Victor Sr., he is a marked man. Victor tells the family he has to go to a “sit down” over an incident. He leaves his oldest son in charge of the family and says this meeting will decide if he lives or dies. Victor Sr. does return home, but visibly upset. He confided in Andrew, who was the closest to his father. Andrew laments that his father could have done anything with his life, like go into business, but he chose this lifestyle.
Andrew falls in love with his high school sweetheart, Denise. Denise was at the house when the FBI raided it. She was scared and had never experienced anything like that before in her life. By 1985 the Orena family has a lot to celebrate. Carmine Persico is in jail and Victor Sr. is made acting boss of the Colombos and Andrew and Denise marry. They have a big wedding and many mobsters attend, including John Gotti. She gets many envelopes. Andrew is a Pontiac dealer and a year later they have a baby boy, Andrew Jr.

By 1991 Carmine Persico is still in jail and Victor Sr. wants the official title of Colombo boss. However Greg Scarpa, a Perisco loyalist, has other plans. Scarpa sends guys out to shoot Victor Sr. When Victor spots a suspicious car nearby, he senses danger and goes home to his family. He calls his sons and they get the family together. He tells them he is a target of the mob. Their plan is to call all the other mobsters in the family. Those that answer are on their side. Those that don’t are against him.

Victor’s guys try to kill Greg Scarpa. They approach his car the day he is driving away with his daughter’s car following him, and start shooting. Greg decided to kill everyone involved in that incident, including Orena’s kids. Scarpa, known as “The Grim Reaper,” is the most notorious killer and they know all their lives are in danger. Andrew takes his family to a house in Montauk to hide out.

Andrew defends his father against Scarpa. They live in fear of stray bullets. Greg’s reputation is well known. Denise was scared, but she knew her husband had nothing to do with what was going on. After 4 months in hiding, they go home. Victor Sr. decides it is safe. The Feds arrest Victor Sr. and it is really a relief for the family because now he is safe in prison and they can breathe. Andrew works with his father’s attorneys on the case. Andrew’s business suffers greatly because he is guilty by association. The banks will not lend him money and the customers refuse to buy cars. He goes out of business. After the trial, Victor gets three life sentences plus 85 years for racketeering and murder. His brothers were also tried for crimes.

However, at the time, news broke that Greg had been an informant of the FBI for years and was paid for it. They used that information to show that the FBI was protecting a homicidal maniac. The lawyers challenged the FBI’s actions. Andrew’s brothers were acquitted because that did not sit well with the jury. They got out of the mob after that and made new lives for themselves. Victor Sr. is still in prison.

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Harleys Angel said...

chiara, this turned out to be a great episode and i like how it shows things from a completely different perspective.

Chiara Soprano said...

Harley I agree it was interesting. I just think they weren't prepared to bring in 10 women when they started. My second issue is that this story also was too long to deal with in 30 mins less commercials. We only got a glimpse of the Orena faction.