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Ford says the Expedition was cast without a placement deal.

Whacked out Ford cameo
Firm's Hollywood boss gives thumbs up to SUV's grisly role in series finale
Bryce G. Hoffman | / The Detroit News

It may not have been another "Bullitt," but the Ford Expedition has again made the Blue Oval part of Hollywood history thanks to its cameo role in one of the climactic scenes of Sunday night's final episode of "The Sopranos."
Few who saw the scene will soon forget it, but executives in Dearborn are not necessarily thrilled with the way Ford's flagship sport utility vehicle was used to punctuate the career of Tony Soprano's arch-rival.
The scene in question begins with a lingering close-up of the Blue Oval badge on the grille of an Expedition that carries Phil Leotardo, a New York mob boss locked in a deadly feud with series star Tony Soprano. Leotardo gets out of the passenger side and is promptly shot in the head by one of the latter's henchmen. The mafia don falls, his head landing right before the front wheel of the SUV as his wife leaps from the driver's seat, fleeing from the shooter.
The camera then shifts again to the Ford logo, this time emblazoned on the wheel of the Expedition. The wheel begins to turn, rolling slowly over Leotardo's head, which is crushed with a sickening crunch.
Despite the heavy use of Ford imagery, the automaker said it was as surprised by the scene as anybody else.
"The Expedition that appeared in the series finale of 'The Sopranos' last night was not a product placement deal," said Ford spokeswoman Whitney Drake, quoting a prepared statement.
She would not say whether the automaker was pleased or displeased with the depiction of its powerful SUV.
However, the head of Ford's Hollywood office that handles product placement, Ford family member Alessandro Uzielli, told The Detroit News that he was pleasantly surprised as he watched Sunday night's finale.
"We don't like to see our vehicles cause the demise of anyone, but as a fan, I hated the guy -- and there was definitely an element of tongue-in-cheek to it," he said. "We had nothing to do with it, but as far as brand recognition goes, I think it was great."
Other Ford workers said the scene was the subject of much water-cooler debate in Dearborn Monday. Some watched the scene on YouTube before it was removed from the Web site.
Though the numbers were still being tallied Monday, preliminary estimates suggest about 8 million viewers were watching as the Expedition crushed Leotardo's skull. That was more than tuned in to the Tony Awards or the NBA finals.

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But on the other hand, Phil Leotardo always drove Lincolns (a Town Car and then an LS), unlike the Jersey crew, which usually drove Caddies or imports.
 
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