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Mob Wives (TV series)

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Mob Wives
Mob wives logo
"Mob Wives" TV series opening logo.




60 minutes



Picture format

480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
1080i (HDTV)

Series debut

January 1, 2012


Official Website

Mafia Wiki Script

Mob Wives is a reality television series airing on VH1 that made its debut April 17, 2011. It follows six Staten Island women after their husbands or fathers are arrested and imprisoned for crimes connected to the American Mafia. They have been described as "Informant|rats and stoolies", since discussing private family business on TV violates the Mafia code.[1] The idea for the show came from Jennifer "Jenn" Graziano, sister of Renee Graziano.[2]

Season 2 premiered January 01, 2012 with two new cast members: Ramona Rizzo and Angela "Big Ang" Raiola.

A spin-off reality series, Mob Wives Chicago, debuted on 10 June 2012. Also in June 2012, Mob Wives executive producer, Jennifer Graziano, announced that Raiola would be getting her own spinoff show. That spinoff, Big Ang, premiered on VH1 July 8, 2012.

Mob Wives season 3 began filming in August and is scheduled to premiere on January 13, 2013.


Season 1Edit

Renee GrazianoEdit

Renee Graziano, who was 41 in May 2011, is the daughter of Anthony Graziano.[3] She is divorced from Hector Pagan, Jr., who was convicted of running a marijuana distribution ring [4] and with whom she has a son, A.J., who was 16 in May 2011. She started a greeting-card company called Jail Mail.[5] She describes herself as a "loud, foul-mouthed drama queen".[6] Her father no longer speaks with them as a result of their appearances on the show.[7]

Drita D'AvanzoEdit

Drita D'Avanzo works as a freelance make-up artist and is of Albanian ancestry. Her husband Lee D'Avanzo was in prison for his second bank robbery conviction in Season 1. They have daughters Aleeya, who was nine in Season 1, and Gizelle, who was three.[8] Lee D'Avanzo, who was 32 in December 2001, is the son of the late Lewis D'Avanzo, an estranged cousin of Rudolph Giuliani.[9] Before marrying Drita, with whom he has two children, Lee had dated fellow Mob Wives cast-member Karen Gravano.[10]

Carla FaccioloEdit

Carla Facciolo grew up in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn, and was married to stockbroker Joseph Ferragamo, who was convicted of what VH1 calls "a boiler-room scandal". They have a pair of twins, Joe and Carmen. She is a stay-at-home mother and sales representative for a juice company.[11]

Karen Gravano Edit

Karen Gravano is the daughter of Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, a former underboss of the Gambino crime family, and federal informant.[12] She was in a seven-year relationship with Drita D'Avanzo's ex-husband, Lee. The single mother has one daughter, Karina,[13] who has appeared on the show (e.g., in episode 2.17 "Back to Arizona"[14], as has Karina's father, David Seabrook. The full extent of Gravano and Seabrook's relationship is somewhat murky: the couple refer to David on Mob Wives as Karen's former fiance, some news reports have referred him as Karen's "live-in boyfriend",[15] and still others, documenting Karen and David's involvement in Sammy's drug ring in Arizona, have referred to David as Karen's husband.[16][17][18]

Season 2Edit

Ramona RizzoEdit

Ramona Rizzo is the granddaughter of former mobster Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero; who was played by Al Pacino in the movie Donnie Brasco. She is a childhood friend of Karen Gravano. Rizzo was married for one year to a Jordanian man before divorcing in 2008. They have four kids: Giovanni, Anissa, Melina, and Gianna. Ramona is currently in a committed relationship with incarcerated Gambino drug trafficker, Joseph Sclafani who is doing 15 years for running a drug ring.Template:Cn

Angela "Big Ang" RaiolaEdit

Angela "Big Ang" Raiola (born June 30, 1960)[19] is the niece of Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, a deceased captain of the Genovese crime family. The mother of two has two sisters and four brothers, and is separated from her sanitation worker husband, Neil, who appears in episode 1 of Big Ang and proposes moving back in. Raiola co-owns the bar Drunken Monkey.

Recurring CastEdit

Season 1Edit

  • Nikole, Renee's best friend; she also has family members with possible Mafia ties Template:Citation needed
  • Eleanor, Carla's friend/former co-worker
  • Etty, Carla and Drita's friend; is a legal jewelry appraiser
  • Rana Gravano, Karen's cousin
  • AJ Pagan (Season 1-present), Renee and Junior's son; he is currently attending college and intends to major in engineering

Season 2Edit

  • Hector "Junior" Pagan - two-year FBI Informant, Renee's ex-husband, and AJ's father; Junior's relationship with his wife and son is sometimes strained, even more so by his recent cooperation with the federal authorities
  • Linda Torres- Big Ang's friend; also has a family member with alleged Mafia ties.
  • Janine- Big Ang's sister; niece of Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi
  • Anthony Pezzolanti - Drita's boxing trainer; he is currently training Drita how to box at Brooklyn's Evolution Boxing. Anthony is also a loyal friend to Drita; many fans wonder if there is more than a friendship with the two. Season 2 shows Pezzolanti playfully telling Drita, while training, that she is strong for a girl.
  • Anthony "A. J." D'Onofrio[20] - Big Ang's 23 year old son; even though he has been in trouble in the past, AJ is trying to get his life back in order, by working at a local pizzeria restaurant.


The first season of Mob Wives was well received by some entertainment critics. Entertainment Weekly's television critic Ken Tucker praised the show in his review, stating, "As someone who’s watched at least a few episodes of every version of the Real Housewives franchise and feels a bit nauseous about it, I didn’t come to Mob Wives with high hopes. But this floridly funny, vicariously vicious reality series exerts a vulgar charm." He noted the fascination of watching excessively made-up people living in apparent luxury and the authenticity of the drama between the women. "By turns funny, appalling, and frightening, Mob Wives is swiftly paced, reality-TV at its most effusively dismaying."[21] The Hollywood Reporter critic David Knowles felt the show was significantly better than typical reality TV. He found the women's internal conflict between their mob past and their desire to break free from that lifestyle to be the underlying question of the series. Knowles noted that the women's story lines are so tense and engrossing that the surveillance-style effect used to introduce them seemed unnecessarily cliché. "As we learned from The Sopranos, the wives and children of mafiosos can be every bit as compelling as the gangsters themselves... As for those other real housewives franchises, their endless squabbles and social climbing antics are rendered rather trivial after you watch the first five minutes of Mob Wives'."[22]

Some New York critics were less enthusiastic about the show. David Hinckley's New York Daily News review called it a "tired concept, is so bad it should sleep with fishes". The review also said "these are unpleasant people in an unwatchable show". On the other hand, he wrote: "Now it could be added that if this is what you want on TV, Mob Wives is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Imagine the angriest of the "Real Housewives" ratcheted up into overdrive".[23] Staten Island Advance's "Entertainment Comment of the Day" said, "Out of interest we only watched about twenty minutes of the first episode and couldn't stomach watching the second. We don't know what's so interesting about a bunch of low-life women (the one pictured is a real piece of work) who think that husbands that go off to prison is like spending a year at college. I bet their kids are real proud of them. Any glorification of a life of crime is pathetic. They all deserve whatever misery that comes along".[24]

The Mafia theme of the show was a concern for some non-journalists as well. Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro stated; "I've seen it – It's disgraceful. It paints Staten Island and Italian-Americans in a bad light. It's detrimental because people will think this is what Staten Island is made of. I'm Italian – and this is bad for our doctors, our lawyers, the people who came from Italy to build their lives".[25] UNICO National, an Italian advocacy group, said the show is tantamount to "trash TV like Jersey Shore. I hope it dies because no one watches it. We were mobsters and mafiosos with The Sopranos, bimbos and buffoons with Jersey Shore, and now we're back where we started. It's a disgrace".[26] said, "This seems like a terrible idea for a reality show! Would anyone watch a show called Mass Murderers' Wives?"[27]

Relatives of murder victims killed by the cast members' relatives are not happy about the show. Jackie Colucci, whose brother Joseph was murdered by Salvatore Gravano in 1970, stated: "She should be ashamed that her father is a murderer and a drug dealer. I would be ashamed and crawling in a hole and staying out of the limelight".[28]

References Edit

  2. NY Post - Married
  3. VH1 - Renee Graziano biography
  4. NY Post - Married
  5. Renee Graziano: Full Biography, at Mob Wives official site ( accessed June 28, 2012.
  6. 'Mob' Mentality: Renee on fight: 'Why didn't I crack her?' by Melanie Lefkowitz, New York Post article, May 24, 2011 accessed June 28, 2012.
  7. Married to the 'Mob', by Vinita Singla for the NY Post, May 01, 2011 first accessed June 28, 2012.
  8. Mob Wives cast member Drita D'Avanzo: Full Biography, May 8, 2011 article, taken from Mob Wives official site ( accessed June 28, 2012.
  9. Drug, Rob Raps Vs. Mob Gang, by Michele McPhee with Mike Claffey for the New York Daily News, NYC, December 07, 2001 accessed June 28, 2012.
  10. VH1 'Takes It to the Mattresses' with Amped Up Drama on New Series 'Mob Wives', New York Post article, March 23, 2011, first accessed May 8, 2011.
  11. Carla Facciolo: Full Biography Mob Wives official site (, first accessed June 28, 2012.
  13. Mob Wives » Season 1 » Cast › Karen Gravano, Biography, July 9, 2012.
  14. Back to Arizona, Mob Wives Season 2, Episode 2 synopsis at
  15. Bugging the Bull: Did Ariz. police go too far in Gravano wiretaps? March 25, 2001, by Dennis Wagner for the Arizona Republic, article, accessed July 9, 2012.
  16. Some of the principal players in the suspected Gravano drug ring, by Pat Flannery for The Arizona Republic, on website, February 25, 2000, accessed July 9, 2012.
  17. Fighting the Rap in Jay Slay: Old pal denies killing Run-DMC star Jason Mizell, October 29, 2003, by Michele McPhee, Police Bureau Chief, New York Daily News, first accessed July 9, 2012.
  18. Sammy 'The Bull' Gravano: Final Contradiction, Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods by Allan May,, July 9, 2012, accessed October 6, 2012.
  19. 'Mob Wives,' 'Big Ang' spinoff: Joyful tackiness, by Frank Lovece for Newsday, New York City, July 3, 2012, first accessed July 8, 2012, Angela "Big Ang" Raiola, who turned 52 Saturday June 30, 2012.
  20. Judge orders 'Mob Wives' star's son held on $200,000 bond for alleged drug peddling, story by Jose Martinez for the NY Post, June 6, 2012, first accessed June 27, 2012.
  21. Mob Wives Entertainment Weekly ( article, April 17, 2011.
  22. TV Review: VH1's 'Mob Wives' Could Challenge the 'Housewives' Franchise, The Hollywood Reporter article by David Knowles April 15, 2011, accessed October 6, 2012.
  23. Black Friday deals for Target, H&M, Forever21, Old Navy, Radio Shack and more, by David Hinckley for the NY Daily News, April 15, 2011.
  24. - Entertainment comments, April 2011.
  25. - 'Mob Wives' program ignites the ire of NY state, April 2011.
  26. - Entertainment article
  27. Mob victims not happy with 'Mob Wives, article]'
  28. [ Mob victims not happy with 'Mob Wives, article]

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