HBO Sets March 7 for 'Sopranos' Return

12/30/2003 at 04:50 PM EST

Badda bing, and Happy New Year: After a 15-month hiatus, the HBO Mob hit "The Sopranos" will be back on March 7, 2004, with the first of 13 new episodes, reports Variety.

The fifth – and, likely, the next-to-final – season debut is scheduled to take place two weeks after the Feb. 22 final farewell of the premium cable network's other stellar Sunday show, "Sex and the City."

While "The Sopranos" reruns have been running constantly on HBO (which, like PEOPLE, is part of Time Warner), the last original episode aired Dec. 8, 2002, Variety notes.

In it, Edie Falco's Carmela delivered an Emmy-worthy performance as she lashed out at James Gandolfini's Tony for his years of infidelity. Eventually, she threw her Mob boss husband out of their house.

Since premiering on Jan. 10, 1999, "The Sopranos" has won 13 Emmys, including three each for Falco and Gandolfini, reports Variety.

While there is no doubt that the domestic situation between Tony and Carmela will weigh heavily in this new season, there also have been reports that several characters who were bumped off in past episodes may return through, presumably, dream sequences, says the trade paper.

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