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Why Steve Schirripa Never Wants To Play Another Mobster After The Sopranos - Exclusive

Steve Schirripa has spent more seasons starring on "Blue Bloods" than he did on "The Sopranos," yet he's still largely associated with his fan-favorite mobster character Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri.

Premiering on HBO in 1999, "The Sopranos" was a critical and commercial juggernaut that changed the realm of television forever. The crime drama revolved around Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini), a New Jersey-based Italian-American mafioso trying to balance family life with his criminal life.

As Bobby Bacala, Schirripa played a likable mobster who rose through the ranks of the organized crime operation to become a top aide to Junior Soprano as well as Tony's brother-in-law. It's a character that Schirripa is deeply connected to, as it was his first major role. But it's also one he isn't looking to replicate anytime soon.

During an exclusive interview with Looper, Steve Schirripa — who currently stars as D.A. investigator Anthony Abetemarco on "Blue Bloods," which airs Fridays on CBS — explains why he never wants to play another mobster after being Bobby Bacala on "The Sopranos."

'The mob thing doesn't interest me anymore'

Despite "The Sopranos" coming to an end some 15 years ago, Steve Schirripa still gets stopped on the street by people who recognize him as Bobby Bacala. But even though he admits the role was "once in a lifetime," he has spent the years since the series ended trying to distance himself from playing a mobster.

"I played a suburban dad on 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager' for five years, and that was terrific to get out of the whole mob thing and play this blue-collar sausage king," he says. "The show was terrific. It was a big hit and put ABC Family on the map. Because of that, I got out of the mob thing and into other stuff."

Outside of that, Schirripa has tried his hand at films like the big-screen version of the Broadway musical "Jersey Boys" and the young adult made-for-TV Nickelodeon movie "Nicky Deuce." And while he has a major soft spot for the time he spent on "The Sopranos," he doesn't have any interest in rehashing that role via another, watered-down project.

"I'm a realist," says Schirripa. "I know I'm not going to play an English professor. I'm not going to get lost in the roles. I'm a blue-collar guy. I'm not Christian Bale or Gary Oldman, where they play a different guy every time. But I wanted to get out of the mob thing, as I've yet to see anything done as well as 'The Sopranos.' ... Unless something incredible comes along, the mob thing doesn't interest me anymore. It's like, we did it, it was great, and I don't think you're going to do it as well."

Season 13 of "Blue Bloods" airs Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.