By Mike Lipton
April 03, 2000 12:00 PM

CBS (Tue., April 4, 9 p.m. ET; April 5-8 and April 10-12, 10 p.m. ET)

Show of the week

“You don’t turn on your friends. You don’t rat. That’s the rule.” Or so Sonny Napoli, a shrewd and ruthless captain of a New York City Mob family, informs one of his most trusted soldiers, Joe Falcone. What Napoli (Titus Welliver) doesn’t know—but always seems on the verge of finding out in this tense, tightly plotted limited-run series—is that Falcone (Murder One alum Jason Gedrick) is really an undercover FBI agent named Joe Pistone, who has been building a case against Sonny’s crew for the past two years. Based on the real-life Pistone’s 1988 memoir—previously dramatized as Donnie Brasco, a terrific 1997 film with Johnny Depp and Al Pacino—Falcone soars on the strength of Gedrick’s nervy tightrope act as loyal henchman, ambitious agent and sensitive family guy, with a wife and two daughters who know nothing of his criminal alias. And veteran tough guy Welliver (Brooklyn South) makes Sonny scarily believable. Though lacking the black comedy of The Sopranos, this may be the grittiest Mob drama since CBS’s ’80s classic Wiseguy.

Bottom Line: Don’t be a rat—stick with all eight nights