I am in London all day for meetings. Meetings about all sorts of things: from social media, the Meissen Commission (work with the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland), European work, recording a script, communications, etc.

Yet, it is the death of James Gandolfini that haunts my mind amid the busyness.

The three great TV series of the last couple of decades are (in my humble opinion) The West Wing, The Wire, and The Sopranos. The writing in each is superlative. The characters are well developed and rounded. The acting is brilliant. And each one shines a light into America at a particular point and in a particular way.

I winced at the violence of The Sopranos. But, this was better than any psychology textbook on fleshing out the personal, psycho-social, emotional, intellectual, relational and ethical mess that stood at the centre of the drama. Tony Soprano – husband, father, son, colleague, brother, friend, enemy – was the Mafia boss who went for therapy. Talk about confusing the stereotypes.

And James Gandolfini explored this character so convincingly. Yeah, the scripts were great, the production wonderful and the cast superb. But, Gandolfini made it all work.

Dead at 51. Tragic.