A cast of characters

By Don Aucoin
Globe Staff / June 5, 2011

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According to Arlene Violet, numerous characters in “The Family’’ were inspired by real-life figures. Here are a few:

DON MARCO: Patterned after the late New England Mafia boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca (above) of Providence, who died in 1984 at 76 of a heart attack.

JOE BARROS: Modeled on the late mob hit man Joseph “The Animal’’ Barboza, who testified against Patriarca and entered the witness protection program. Barboza was shot to death in 1976 in San Francisco.

THE MONSIGNOR: “The church was sometimes complicit with the mob,’’ says Violet. “He personifies that too-close relationship.’’

MIKE O’BRIEN: A composite of several federal marshals whose “good side, but not his bad side,’’ Violet says, is based on the late John J. Partington, who, as a federal marshal, helped develop the witness protection program in the 1960s. Partington died in 2006 at 77 of a viral infection following surgery.

CAPO (MINNESOTA FATS): Based on the late Vincent Teresa, a mobster who became an informant and entered the witness protection program. He died in 1990.