Oz characters hbo

Oz characters hbo DEFAULT

List of Oz (TV series) characters

For characters of the Oz children's book series, see List of characters in the Oz books.

The characters of Oz, fictional characters on the television series about prison life, are a diverse mixture of inmates from various gangs and prison staff.

Main inmates[edit]


  Muslim inmates

  Non-Muslim Black inmates

  Aryan inmates

  Latino inmates

  Irish inmates

  Other inmates

Character: Portrayed by: Appears in seasons:
Augustus HillHarold Perrineau1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The socially astute narrator of the show. Hill's narrations offer philosophical perspectives on given situations, frequently dealing with existential concepts and the nature of death. During his arrest for drug offenses, he killed a police officer. In retaliation, another officer threw him off a roof, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. Due to his disability and distaste for heroin, he is not associated with the Homeboys until Redding, a surrogate father for Hill, arrives in Oz in season 4. He tries to remain neutral in most affairs and appears friendly with almost everyone: no inmate appears to wish him any particular harm aside from the Aryans' general dislike of non-white inmates and a brief period of exclusion from the Homeboys after he betrays them. He is often the moral compass of the show and shows great remorse for the deaths for which he is responsible. He is accidentally killed by Urbano while trying to protect Redding at the end of season 5. Despite this, he remains on the show throughout season 6 as a partial narrator alongside other dead characters.
Tobias BeecherLee Tergesen1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
A former middle class lawyer in denial about his alcoholism, Beecher is convicted of driving whilst intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter after hitting a young girl. Thrown into the deep end in a super-max prison and forced to fend for himself, Beecher quickly learns he is out of his league. Not being street-savvy, Beecher is quickly taken advantage of by Aryan inmate Schillinger who dominates him, rapes him and sexually humiliates him during Season 1. Around this time, Beecher also becomes addicted to drugs to cope with the harsh reality of his surroundings, befriending Irish inmate Ryan O'Reilly. After reaching breaking point, Beecher attacks Schillinger and leaves his eye badly damaged. By the end of the first season, Beecher has become self-sufficient to a degree and is no longer a gullible pushover. His character undergoes the most drastic changes throughout the seasons, during which he becomes a drug addict and falls in love with Keller, a first for Beecher in encountering homosexuality. His relationship with Keller and blood feud with Schillinger is the series' dominant story arc, beginning in the first episode and being resolved during the series finale, when he accidentally kills Schillinger in an acted fight in a performance of Macbeth. By the end, Beecher is free of all his enemies, Keller having arranged for all remaining Aryans to be wiped out by a chemical release, which causes the entire prison to be evacuated.
Vernon SchillingerJ. K. Simmons1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, Schillinger commits atrocities against other inmates because of race, sexual orientation, or overall weakness. He often takes pleasure by not just bullying and harassing, but also raping them and mostly being turned into his personal sex slaves, most notably former cellmate Beecher. Beecher soon became his main rival throughout the series, and sometimes granted help by Beecher's lover, Keller (who was also a long-time friend of Schillinger), to take him down. Schillinger remains a pivotal figure and antagonist, known for his brutality and pursuit of vengeance against his former cellmate, the central arc of the series. Their feud results in the deaths of both Schillinger's sons, the kidnap of Beecher's children and death of his son and the murder of Beecher's father, as well as the deaths of several other prisoners and even Officer Metzger. He undergoes a spiritual transformation in season 4 and he and Beecher try to forgive each other but this does not last. In the final season of the show, Schillinger is double-crossed by Keller during a production of the play Macbeth. With Schillinger playing Macbeth and Beecher playing Macduff, Keller switches the prop knife for a real one and he is fatally stabbed by Beecher. He dies, cursing Keller with his last breath when he realises his betrayal.
Ryan O'ReilyDean Winters1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Ryan O'Reily is an Irish-American inmate and one of the central characters in the show. O'Reily is characterised by his Machiavellianism, doing whatever it takes to survive through double-crossing, manipulation and betrayal. Despite his meek physical stature, O'Reily is a respected member within Emerald City for his lucrative drug connections and seemingly infinite resources and favours to call upon. Compared to Othello's Iago by show creator Fontana, O'Reily is responsible for almost every death in the first season. In the second and third seasons, Ryan's obsession with Dr. Nathan becomes destructive after she helps him through his battle with breast cancer, with O'Reily ordering his mentally challenged brother Cyril to kill Dr. Nathan's husband. Later, he kills Irish inmate Keenan for raping Dr. Nathan. By the end of the series, a romantic relationship exists between the two of them. O'Reily also finds purpose again for his own life sentence at Oz by taking care of his sick father, who abused both himself and Cyril in their youth, and who is also an inmate at Oz and who regrets his own life's actions though he misses the opportunity to see Cyril before his execution.
Bob RebadowGeorge Morfogen1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
An elderly inmate serving life for murder. He was originally sentenced to death, but in 1965, he survived a botched electric chair execution when the power went off and his sentence was commuted. He is fantastically intuitive (some think as a result of the botched execution), which in the first couple of seasons he explains by nonchalantly saying "God told me"; later he begins doubting the source and veracity of his insights, however he even knows private details about prisoners' lives of which he had no prior knowledge. His calm personality is briefly replaced with more murderous fantasies when he suffers from a brain tumour. His grandson's battle with leukaemia makes him look for ways to find a cure. To raise the funds he asks a guard to buy him a lottery ticket and he wins with "God's" numbers only to be thwarted by the guard failing to share. By the time the guard had second thoughts, his grandson dies. When he is later smitten with the prison librarian, he finds out she has breast cancer and hardens his heart fearing the pain of another death. He comes around after being awakened by the admonition of a young inmate whom the librarian had also reached.
Kareem SaïdEamonn Walker1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Kareem Saïd is a charismatic Muslim leader with a powerful voice and a conviction that other people's racism will absolve him. In the first season, Saïd spends much of his time converting other inmates to his cause, even many of the Homeboys, much to the anger of Adebisi. In the end of Season 1, he orchestrates a riot with the Muslims and takes charge of Emerald City. He fancies himself a lawyer and tries to help other inmates by representing them, with mixed results. His more liberal views see him deposed as the leader of the Muslims though he regains the position after Arif recognises his own deficiencies as a leader. After killing Adebisi in self-defense, he struggles with personal demons and inner anger, frequently lashing out at the Aryans, which he tries to overcome by mentoring volatile inmate Omar White. He is shot and killed by Lemuel Idzik, who kills him because of a conversation over a cup of coffee that ruined Idzik's life many years before.
Miguel AlvarezKirk Acevedo1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
On and off leader of the Latino inmates in the prison, Miguel Alvarez has a family background of Latino Gang-life, with his father Eduardo and grandfather Ricardo both incarcerated in Oz. After running the Latinos with little incident, his life spirals out of control in season 2 with the arrival of Hernandez. Hernandez forces him to blind Officer Rivera and he is sent to solitary. He also makes an enemy of Warden Glynn for concealing the identity of the man who raped Glynn's daughter. He escapes Oz through one of Busmalis' tunnels and remains on the run for 6 months, eventually recaptured on the border with Mexico. He spends most of his time in Oz in and out of solitary and survives several attempts on his life by Guerra, a fellow Latino inmate. On his final release from solitary, he abandons the gang life and works towards parole. He participates in the guide dog program and trains a bilingual dog for Rivera, somewhat burying the hatchet between them. After a Latino parole board member swears that Alvarez will never be released, he loses heart about being freed, returns to drugs and is swallowed up again by Oz by the end of the series.
Cyril O'ReilyScott William Winters2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Ryan O'Reily's brain damaged and mentally-challenged brother. He was severely mentally incapacitated in a gang-related fight with Ryan and remains unfailingly loyal to his brother. He is incarcerated after blindly following Ryan's orders to murder the husband of Dr. Nathan, with whom Ryan is obsessed. On his arrival into Oz, he is raped by Schillinger, which destroys the alliance O'Reily had previously held with the Aryan. Throughout his time in the prison, as his brother does what best to take care of him, he also often guarded Ryan from danger from other inmates due to his talent for fighting. He kills an inmate to defend his brother, but gets sent to death row and is finally executed, after a long legal battle.
Chris KellerChristopher Meloni2, 3, 4, 5, 6
A bisexual serial killer and psychopath who preys upon gay men in the outside world while hiding his sexual orientation through a series of marriages. He is a master of emotional manipulation and only seems to really enjoy himself when those who care about him are made to suffer, including Beecher and Sister Pete. After being recruited by Schillinger to seduce and destroy Beecher, he falls for Beecher and their relationship remains an integral part of the series. They alternate through periods of affection and animosity, such as when Keller takes the fall for having Schillinger's son murdered but also sets up Beecher for violating parole to get him returned to Oz. This act turns Beecher against Keller for good. In an attempt to regain his love, he switches a prop knife with a real one, allowing Beecher to kill Schillinger during a performance of the play Macbeth. Despite this, Beecher still rejects him and Keller commits suicide by throwing himself off the balcony in Em City, making it appear that Beecher pushed him. It is then revealed that he had a toxic substance mailed to Oz and released into the mail room, wiping out the remaining Aryans and requiring the whole prison to be evacuated with it being implied it shut down for good.
Simon AdebisiAdewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje1, 2, 3, 4
A gigantic, deranged maniac of Nigerian descent; incarcerated for decapitating a police officer with a machete. His flirtations with insanity and religion are transient, and similar to the Aryans, he later-on carried a somewhat racist belief towards Whites, believing them responsible for any cruel events towards his people. He grows in prominence in seasons 3 and 4 when he manipulates racial tension within the prison to force Warden Glynn to hire a black man to run Em City. This new manager, Querns, allows Adebisi to indulge any drug or sexual desire in return for preventing violence within the unit. This allows Adebisi to become the most powerful inmate in Oz and creates his own version of paradise. His reign is brought to an end by Saïd, who stabs him to death in self-defense.
Arnold "Poet" JacksonmuMs da Schemer1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
An African-American inmate with a talent for poetry. He is often seen reciting his poetry in the cafeteria and his poems provide insight into some of the current prison issues. McManus and Saïd have his work published in order to promote McManus' prison education program and he is granted early parole. However his addiction to heroin means he quickly violates his parole and he is sent back to Oz. He claims to have a knack for "picking winners and losers", which probably explains his shifting alliances and ability to stay alive. Upon his return to Oz, he is friends with Wangler and Pierce until their deaths and helps Saïd bring down Adebisi. He then tries to lead the Homeboys but is ineffective and quickly cedes control to the more competent Redding, becoming one of his most loyal lieutenants. He again leads the Homeboys while Redding is distracted following Hill's death and later unsuccessfully tries to convince Neema to lead them. He reluctantly becomes a telemarketer when Redding pulls the Homeboys from the drug trade but finds a way to scam his respondents with the help of his cousin. He is one of the inmates present in the season pilot to survive to the finale.
Kenny WanglerJ. D. Williams1, 2, 3, 4
One of the youngest inmates in Oz, Wangler was sixteen when he committed murder and was tried as an adult. Wangler exhibits the qualities of a juvenile delinquent: cocky, hot-headed and sadistic. He is also illiterate and a father without knowing any life skills such as parenting, shown in the third season during his interactions with his crying son and not knowing how to react. He often bullies and intimidates other inmates despite his age and size, including his fellow African-American cellmate Poet (who he eventually made peace with) and the elderly Rebadow. He is good at making businesses within the Homeboys, mainly with selling drugs, and often makes good business ventures with O'Reily and the Italians. He has a Love–hate relationship with the Gang's in-and-out leader Adebisi, and their relationship goes further in the second and third seasons where Adebisi treats Wangler as his subordinate. His usual prison routine of intimidation ends up being his downfall when inmate Guillaume Tarrent, a bullying target of Wangler and his fellow Homeboys, murders him and his associate Pierce with a pistol.
James RobsonR.E. Rodgers2, 3, 4, 5, 6
As the Lieutenant of the Aryan Brotherhood, Robson is similar to their leader, Schillinger, as he enjoys harassing others that are not of the brotherhood. He is just as brutal, willing to kill anyone without provocation. He is convicted for murdering a black man whom he spotted walking with his girlfriend. Over the course of the show, Robson evolves from a secondary character into a central character with a storyline of his own. His lack of oral hygiene becomes his undoing in Season 5 when his Arabic dentist transplants a black man's tissue into his gums as a cadaver in response to his racially charged comments. Upon discovery, the rest of the Aryans, including Schillinger, cast him out. Desperate for protection from the many non-white inmates and enemies he has, Robson becomes a willing prag of Wolfgang Cutler, who rapes and sexually humiliates him in front of other inmates. Robson eventually breaks free of Cutler's slavery, as he tricks him into hanging himself during erotic auto-asphyxiation. Robson's role in the Brotherhood returns, but not long after he begins to have haunting memories of his rape carried-out by Cutler, which reminded him of being raped by his own abusive father as a child. Reflecting on his past, Robson begins to see much of his actions in Oz as a result of his conditioning. After being diagnosed as HIV positive, Robson confesses that he had brought much of the actions on himself for his cruelty in the past, and he decides to turn against the Brotherhood. Robson allows himself to be raped on purpose by black inmate Seroy. Disgusted in his actions and labelling him a race traitor, Schillinger expels Robson from the Brotherhood. This act saves his life as he becomes the only Aryan to survive Keller's mailroom attack.
Shirley BellingerKathryn Erbe2, 3, 4, 6
Known as the first and only woman on the prison's Death Row for murdering her daughter by driving into a river. She is unfailingly friendly and sexually aggressive, despite her 'good girl' persona. After starting a correspondence relationship with Adebisi, she rejects him upon meeting him and discovering he is black. This racist belief is later absent when she meets inmate Deyell. Her first stay on death row is commuted when it is discovered she is pregnant and though the father is never identified, she claims it was Satan and she is sent to a mental hospital. She returns after inducing a miscarriage and befriends Deyell and Ginsberg, though clashes with Miles. She chooses death by hanging and her calm demeanor finally fails her upon seeing the gallows. She is executed screaming and crying. She is the only one of the four death row inmates to be executed as planned. Despite her death, much like Hill, she came back in spirit in the sixth season to help narrate one of the episodes. Like Robson, she was only one of the few main inmates who never was put in Em City.
Omar WhiteMichael Wright4, 5, 6
White is an African-American drug addict who murdered a key witness against his cousin in front of her daughter's eyes. White proves to be very troublesome throughout his stay at Oz, most of which ends up with him in solitary confinement. Omar is violent and somewhat childish and has never lost a fight to anyone in Oz besides Saïd. Unit Manager Tim McManus believes he can help White until he messes up for a last time in Season 5 where he ends up in solitary again. He eventually gains control of himself and displays a talent for singing. Idzik, believing in the futility of life, asks White to kill him. White refuses, so Idzik kills White in order to be sent to Death Row.
Agamemnon BusmalisTom Mardirosian[1]2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Named after the mythological Greek king Agamemnon. Since early childhood, he had a fascination with digging. Outside of prison, he was known as "The Mole," having been an expert at digging tunnels to commit various robberies. He makes several attempts to escape OZ by digging tunnels, escaping for only a day before he is recaptured. He is good friends with the fellow elderly inmate Rebadow. After returning to Oz following his escape, Rebadow feels betrayed that Busmalis escaped without him and, coupled with violent fantasies due to a brain tumour, Rebadow unsuccessfully tries to kill him. They reconcile soon afterwards. He is paired with Vahue for the basketball matches and though very ineffective, he does manage to score one goal. He has never been with a woman sexually, and is a huge fan of the children's show Ms. Sally's Schoolyard. Every time the inmates are watching the show, Busmalis can be heard saying "This is the best Miss Sally ever." He writes her fan letters and a woman claiming to be Miss Sally visits him in Oz, though it turns out to be a production assistant named Norma Clark. They fall in love and eventually marry.

Other inmates[edit]

Aryan inmates[edit]

The Aryans are a fierce gang. Led through the whole series by the charismatic Vernon Schillinger. They are racist, nationalist, tough and like to have what are known in the series as "Prags" (The show's term for a "Bitch"). They, and mostly Schillinger himself, take up most of the Oz rape statistic. Curiously they rarely have feuds with the Homeboys but rather with the Muslims. The Aryans were in a perpetual alliance with the Bikers, had a CO on their "payroll," and were a force to be reckoned with.

  • Mark Mack (Leif Riddell) – An inmate in Emerald City and Schillinger's lieutenant. He helps Schillinger murder Vogel and later rapes Hanlon. When he discovers Busmalis' tunnel, he forces them to switch cells and attempts to escape through the tunnel. He and a fellow escaping inmate are killed when the tunnel collapses on top of them.
  • Andrew Schillinger (Frederick Koehler) – Eldest son of Vernon Schillinger. He originally shares his father's white supremacist views, though not his intolerance of drugs. He is sent to Em City and rooms with Beecher. Beecher, Keller and O'Reily see this as an opportunity to get back at Schillinger. Beecher recognises him as a fellow victim of Schillinger and helps him off heroin, in the process turning him against his father. Andrew eventually denounces the Aryan ideals to his father, attacks him and is sent to the hole. Schillinger has Lopresti bring him a lethal amount of heroin and after some reluctance, Andrew takes the drugs and overdoses. Despite the 'success' of their plan, Beecher shows considerable remorse for his part in Andrew's death.
  • Fred Wick (Chazz Menendez) – A background Aryan, often seen antagonizing other inmates such as Beecher and O'Reily. He also sponsors Andrew Schillinger. He participates in the drug trial and suffers a fatal side effect in the middle of a conversation with Hoyt. His family subsequently sue the prison.
  • Mark Miles (Michael Quill) – An inmate on Death Row. His Aryan views mean he is unwilling to befriend the other inmates on Death Row: Deyell (black) and Ginzberg (gay). He is a talented artist and paints a self-portrait on his cell wall. His repeated abuse of neighbouring inmate Deyell leads Deyell to dig through the cell wall between them, finally breaking through and strangling Miles to death, destroying the portrait in the process.
  • Carl Jenkins (Joshua Harto) – A young inmate tasked with murdering Saïd, he instead kills Leroy Tidd and is sent to solitary. Cloutier visits him and attempts to get him to confess to Robson's involvement. The Brotherhood finds out and threatens him, causing him to hang himself in his cell.
  • Franklin Winthrop (Andy Powers) – A friend of Adam Guenzel's. He is sent to Unit B and quickly becomes a prag of the Aryans and is forced to wear women's clothes and makeup. However, he strives to move up the ranks and is accepted as a full member after he murders Beecher's father. Keller realises his crime and seduces him, before snapping his neck.

Biker inmates[edit]

The Bikers are, for the most part, some of the toughest inmates. They are also Schillinger and the other Aryans' allies and as such, share at least some of his thoughts on race, religion, etc. Jaz Hoyt is their leader.

  • Scott Ross (Stephen Gevedon) – A friend of Whittlesey's ex-husband and Schillinger. He transfers into Em City, where is also befriends O'Reily. He starts a cigarette racket with Whittlesey and threatens her when she tries to break it off. During the riot, he shoots McManus but is then murdered by Whittlesey. Despite several other people discovering her crime, it is covered up and Whittlesey is never punished for his murder.
  • Jaz Hoyt (Evan Seinfeld) – The leader of the Bikers for the majority of the series. Despite his brutality, he suggests inmates raise money to send Rebadow's grandson to Disney World. He is not particularly bright and is often manipulated by other inmates, most commonly O'Reilly. He tries to kill Stanislofsky over Galino's cellphone, orchestrates Cloutier's imprisonment in the kitchen wall and kills Burns in self-defense when Burns tries to kill Kirk. Hoyt then receives a vision from Cloutier, telling him to kill Kirk. Though Kirk survives this attempt, Hoyt is haunted by Cloutier and confesses to a series of other murders, resulting in his transfer to Death Row. Once there, he finally kills Kirk but immediately goes insane and his death sentence is commuted. On the eve of his transfer to a mental hospital, he is killed by another biker.
  • Jim Burns (Peter James Kelsch) – A background character in seasons two and three, he takes more prominence in season four when he is converted by Cloutier. He and Kirk try to convert other inmates by force. After Kirk is exiled by Cloutier and Cloutier is injured by the kitchen blast, he sees a vision of Cloutier, telling him to kill Kirk. He tries, and is killed by Hoyt in the process.
  • Max Sands (Mike Arotsky) – Another background biker, he often seen alongside Hoyt, but after Hoyt confessed all of his murders that he was never found guilty with before, he took the role in the gang as leader, helping lure Guenzel into one of Schillinger's traps of Sexual Assault.

Christian inmates[edit]

The Christians are perhaps the most quiet of all the groups in Oz, but they get a voice when Jeremiah Cloutier entered the fold. Cloutier converted Biker Jim Burns and got close to Vern Schillinger, but unfortunately these connections proved fatal when he banished Timmy Kirk from his congregation. Timmy Kirk was using the flock to extort and punish inmates he considered wicked, but was indeed wicked himself, and eventually turned to Satanism before finally being killed by Jaz Hoyt on his second attempt. Other notable members include William Cudney, who shot the child of a doctor who had aborted his wife's fetus, and Robert Sippel, a pedophile priest, who was eventually nailed by Schillinger and the Aryans.

  • Jonathan Coushaine (Bryan Callen) – A former teacher, he is appointed the teacher for Em City's short-lived GED program. He clashes frequently with Wangler in his attempts to educate him.
  • Robert Sippel (David Lansbury) – A former priest imprisoned for child molestation, he is paroled and finds life on the outside difficult. He moves back into Oz because he cannot find housing or a job, so Mukada hires him as an assistant. Shortly after, he is crucified to the gym floor by the Aryans.
  • William Cudney (William Cote) – Serving life without parole for killing the child of a doctor who performed an abortion on Cudney's partner (reasoning a child's life for a child's life). He and the other Christian inmates in Em City try to stop the inmates from watching Miss Sally's Schoolyard, since they are only interested in her breasts. He steals drugs from the hospital for O'Reily but later decides to turn them both in. O'Reily quickly hires Kosygin to murder him and Cudney bleeds out after being stabbed in the neck.
  • Vincent (Vincent D'Abouze) – A young, attractive black man, who is sponsored by Adebisi. During Querns tenure, all of the Christian inmates besides Vincent are transferred out of Em City. Adebisi then dominates Vincent, forcing him to wear ladies clothing and dance for him.
  • Jeremiah Cloutier (Luke Perry) – A former televangelist preacher, arrested for stealing from his church. He initially engages in a battle for the souls of Oz's inmates with Mukada though they eventually find common ground. He converts Kirk, who then grows violently devout. When he exiles Kirk, Kirk retaliates by having the Bikers humiliate Cloutier and seal him in the kitchen wall. When a gas blast destroys the kitchen, Cloutier survives and is found with severe burns. He recovers in the hospital and after appearing to several inmates as visions, he disappears. Months later, Hoyt confesses to hiding him back in the wall, where his skeletal remains are found by Mukada.
  • Father Daniel Meehan (Malachy McCourt) – A Catholic priest, arrested for assaulting a police officer at a protest that turned violent. He attempts to counsel O'Reily while Cyril is fighting to avoid execution. He dies of a brain aneurysm. Schibetta later claims to O'Reily that he put the 'Evil Eye' on Meehan to cause his death. His death causes O'Reily to regain his faith.

Gay inmates[edit]

The Gays are the most non-violent gang in the prison and they stick together. They do not seem to have a leader but Fiona and Ray Masters are the front figures. Despite usually being in the background, they have had some notable members. Richie Hanlon was a kind individual who was shafted by the Aryans, and Jason Cramer was the only inmate who was ever released and stayed out. Nat Ginzburg was known for killing the former Italian leader Antonio Nappa. Alonso Torquemada who entered late in the series, seemed the perfect leader with tons of ambition, but by then the show was declared to be over.

  • Billie Keane (Derrick Simmons) – Jefferson Keene's brother. He is beaten and hospitalised by Ortolani but recovers. Despite his homosexual status being at odds with Jefferson's newfound Islamic ideals, they make peace shortly before Jefferson's execution.
  • Richie Hanlon (Jordan Lage) – A good-natured inmate. He overhears Alvarez talking about Glynn's daughter's rape and alerts Mukada. He is later raped by Mack and accidentally kills inmate Freakie who subsequently approaches him for sex. He tries to give up Mack for Vogel's murder but is blackmailed into taking the blame himself and is sent to Death Row. He and Bellinger bond, with her attempting to make him a sweater. He manages to beat the murder charge and is sent back to Em City. He is immediately killed by Stanislofsky, a friend of Vogel, who mistakenly believed Hanlon was responsible for his death.
  • Tony Masters (Steve Wishnoff) – A background character, he is often seen with fellow Gays, Fiona Zonioni and Downing. However, by the sixth and final season, he is shown to be Torquemada's henchman.
  • Fiona Zonioni (James Palacio) – A background character, often seen with Tony Masters, but however did interact with Busmalis, as he show Zonioni's the letter he receives from Norma Clark, his fiancé, and reacts pleasantly to it.
  • Kiki Faye Downing aka Downings (Rohan Quine) – A Background character.
  • Jason Cramer (Robert T. Bogue) – The Gay inmates' representative in the boxing tournament. He makes it to the semi-final, where he is narrowly beaten by Khan. He is awarded a retrial for his crime with Saïd's help. Despite his guilt, his conviction is overturned when it is revealed the Detective planted false evidence and he is released, making him one of the few inmates to leave Oz for good.
  • Nathaniel 'Nat' Ginzburg (Charles Busch) – Nappa's cellmate in the ward for HIV-positive inmates. He helps Nappa with his memoirs and cooks him dinner, but then smothers him on orders from Pancamo. He is sent to Death Row where he befriends Bellinger and Deyell. As his health declines from AIDS, he requests his execution be brought forward but he succumbs to the disease the night before his rescheduled execution.
  • Alonzo Torquemada (Bobby Cannavale) – A nightclub owner, sent to Oz for throwing acid at another man. He comes into Oz selling D-tabs, a type of designer drug. He ingratiates himself with both the Italians and the Latinos, and gets them both addicted to his pills. He is attracted to Alvarez and continually tries to seduce him, succeeding when a depressed Alvarez is denied parole.


The Homeboys are the main Black gang in Oz and have the most members compared to other gangs. They also however suffer the most losses, although many of them are due to internal struggles. They are the least religious group and the most drug affected.

  • Jefferson Keane (Leon Robinson) – The original leader of the homeboys, serving life without parole for killing a couple on their wedding day. He loathes the Italians, especially after Ortolani beats his brother Billie. Despite the escalating war between the Homeboys and the Italians, he grows disillusioned with his gangster life and converts to Islam, taking the name Tizi Ouzou. Worried that Keene will reveal his involvement in several murders, O'Reily arranges for Keene to be sent to Death Row after he is manipulated into killing another inmate in a gladiator-style arena. Before he dies, he donates a kidney to his sister. At peace with his life, he apologises for his crimes, reconciles with his family and is executed.
  • Johnny Post (Tim McAdams) – A drug dealer, serving life. He is tasked by Keene with killing Ortolani. He pays a CO to let him into the cell in which a sedated Ortolani lies and immolates him. O'Reily later gives up Post to Schibetta and he is beaten and mutilated by the Italians. His penis is later sent to Keane.
  • Paul Markstrom (O.L. Duke) – Originally claimed to be Glynn's cousin, he is actually an undercover police officer, sent into Oz to shut down the drug trade. He befriends Keane, Abebisi and Wangler. However, his duplicity is discovered and he is hanged in the gym.
  • Jackson Vahue (Rick Fox) – A famous NBA basketball player, arrested for assaulting a woman. He initially struggles adapting to Oz due to his lack of status though he redeems himself after trying to help an injured prisoner during the riot. When McManus arranges a basketball tournament between himself and Vahue, he is partnered with Busmalis. Vahue and Busmalis win two of three matches, despite the meddling of both inmates and officers. Vahue is eventually paroled.
  • Junior Pierce (Lexington Alexander) – A friend of Wangler and Poet. He arranges one of his contacts to murder Wangler's wife and lover and is later severely injured when Adebisi pours boiling soup on his face. He is killed by Tarrant.
  • Malcolm "Snake" Coyle (Anthony 'Treach' Criss) – A friend of Wangler's sent to Em City for armed robbery. In an attempt to impress and earn Hill's respect, Snake boasts to Hill that he murdered a family, including a baby. Hill later uses this information to bring a conviction against him but before he can be tried, Nappa organises his murder.
  • Kevin "Supreme Allah" Ketchem (Lord Jamar) – Ran in the same gang as Redding and Hill, though he gave up Hill to the cops, leading to them both despising him. He aligns himself with Adebisi and takes significant control while Querns controls Em City. He is framed for the murders of Shemin and Browne though he escapes conviction. He tries to start an uprising against Redding with the help of Hill and Daniels, but Hill and Poet use his fatal allergy of eggs to kill him.
  • Raymond "Mondo" Browne (Gano Grills) – One of the inmates transferred to Em City during Querns' tenure. He rooms with Beecher and they sleep together. He is seduced and killed by Keller and his murder is pinned on Supreme Allah.
  • Carlton "Tug" Daniels (Method Man) – The brother of the man Supreme Allah was incarcerated for killing. Poet tries to have him kill Supreme Allah, though he survives and Daniels is sent to Oz. He and Supreme Allah then team up to take control of the Homeboys from Redding. His treachery is uncovered and he is killed by the Homeboys after a mock trial.
  • Leroy Tidd (Jacques C. Smith) – A friend of Adebisi's during the black takeover of Em City. He offers to kill Saïd for the Aryans due to Saïd killing Adebisi. He feigns conversion to Islam, taking the name Salah Udeen, but finds he cannot kill Saïd and his conversion becomes genuine. The Aryans then have Jenkins try to kill Saïd, though Tidd protects Saïd and is killed in his place.
  • Moses Deyell (Erik King) – A Death Row inmate, awaiting execution for murdering his lover and her husband. He befriends Bellinger and Ginsberg. After Bellinger's execution and Ginsberg's death, he is left with only the racist Miles for company. After tiring of Miles' taunts, he digs a hole through their adjoining wall and strangles him to death. He later tries to befriend Giles but is irritated by the latter's nonsensical speech patterns. He requests his organs be donated after his execution and meets the intended recipients. During a transfer to the hospital for a checkup, he attempts escape and is shot to death.
  • Burr Redding (Anthony Chisholm) – The leader of Hill and Supreme Allah's gang. He acts as a father figure for Hill but despises Supreme Allah. He takes control of the Homeboys from Poet after Adebisi's death and refuses to align with the Latinos or Italians. He tries to start a war with the Latinos but Hill tips off the officers, leading to their estrangement. He welcomes Hill back after Hill arranges Supreme Allah's death. He is devastated by Hill's death and neglects his leadership duties. He eventually regains control and tries to pull the Homeboys from the drug trade by having them work as telemarketers, with mixed results.
  • Reggie Rawls (Mtume Gant) – A background member of the Homeboys. He proves to be very effective while working as a telemarketer.

Irish inmates[edit]

The Irish are perhaps the smallest gang in Oz based on membership, mostly driven by the schemes of Ryan O'Reily. As a gang they might appear to be insignificant, but Ryan O'Reily manages to factor into most major plots throughout the series.

  • Timmy Kirk (Sean Dugan) – A background character in seasons 2 and 3, he is mainly seen assisting O'Reily or antagonising Wangler in the GED program. Originally a Catholic inmate, he is converted to Protestantism by Cloutier and becomes aggressively devout. He attempts to forcibly convert other inmates and is exiled by Cloutier. He also becomes an enemy of Mukada after Mukada refuses to welcome him back into a Catholic church. He is sent to Death Row for organising the arson of a church that killed two priests, where he then converts to Satanism. Despite surviving several attempts on his life, Hoyt finally manages to electrocute him with a photography lamp.
  • Liam Meaney (Seth William Meier) – Often seen as O'Reily's lieutenant, he helps O'Reily with schemes throughout the prison. He is recommended for parole towards the end of the series but is unsuccessful and dulls the disappointment by getting high on Bukowski's pot brownies.
  • Patrick Keenan (Dylan Chalfy) – Convicted for the rape of Dr. Nathan. Though originally thought that O'Reily put him up to it, he attacked Nathan randomly. O'Reily makes 'an exception' to never killing people himself and kills Keenan with a dumbbell. Though Arif witnesses this and tells Glynn, O'Reily manages to pin the murder on Stanton and the multiple suspects means no one is punished for his murder.
  • Padraic Connelly (Brían F. O'Byrne) – An IRA member, briefly held in Oz awaiting deportation to Britain. With O'Reily's help, he attempts to build a bomb but it fails to detonate. Ironically, Oz is heavily damaged by a gas explosion in the kitchen soon after.
  • Seamus O'Reily (Kevin Conway) – Ryan and Cyril O'Reily's abusive father. First seen when O'Reily organises a visit, knowing that he will get Cyril angry enough to defeat Khan in the boxing match final. He is later sent to Oz for murder and O'Reily eventually makes peace with him, taking care of him after he is injured by Neema.

Italian and Sicilian inmates[edit]

The Italians and Sicilians, also known as the "Wiseguys", are one of the most powerful gangs. In the beginning of the series, they run the drug trade with an iron fist but because of Ryan O'Reily and Simon Adebisi, they lost their leader Nino Schibetta and control of the trade. Schibetta's son, Peter, failed to take it back but under Antonio Nappa they finally got back a lot of their power. Adebisi caused trouble again by infecting Nappa with AIDS. When the prospect of a slow death caused Nappa to want to confess his crimes, he was ordered killed by the next leader, Chucky Pancamo. Pancamo then led the wiseguys for the rest of the series, only with brief interlude when he was stabbed by Robson and almost died from a staph infection

  • Nino Schibetta (Tony Musante) – The original leader of the Italian mafia in Oz. He runs the drug trade in the prison. He gets into business with the Homeboys. O'Reilly and Adebisi slowly kill him by putting ground glass in his food.
  • Dino Ortolani (Jon Seda) – A volatile inmate and Nino Schibetta's right-hand man. He is incarcerated for attempting to kill O'Reilly (and successfully killing his friend) and the two immediately clash on O'Reilly's arrival to Oz. Despite his brutality, he shows interest in Saïd's peaceful way of life, rejects praise from the Aryans for beating up a gay, black man and euthanases a dying patient at his request. This final act results in him being sent to the hole and sedated. He is then immolated by Post, on orders from O'Reilly and Keane. In a final twist, O'Reilly then moves into Em City and takes Ortolani's old room.
  • Joey D'Angelo (Goodfella Mike G) – The man who steps up to take Ortolani's place following his murder. He assists Schibetta in running the kitchen, until he is hospitalised following a beating by the Homeboys.
  • Peter Schibetta (Eddie Malavarca) – Nino's son, sent to Oz for money laundering and extortion. He attempts to fill father's shoes and though he has the loyalty of the Italians, he makes numerous mistakes. He is raped by Adebisi and the trauma causes a breakdown, leading to him spending some time in the psych ward. When he returns, he continues his campaign for respect but is raped by Schillinger and suffers another mental breakdown. After Schibetta claims to have killed Father Meehan and threatens Suzanne, O'Reilly manipulates Pancamo into killing him.
  • Chucky Pancamo (Chuck Zito) – Originally Peter Schibetta's and then Nappa's backup, he takes leadership of the Italians after they are both removed from Em City. Despite his admiration, he arranges the death of Nappa when it is revealed Nappa is writing his memoirs and could reveal mafia secrets. He represents the Italians in the boxing tournament, though he is drugged and beaten by Cyril. He is shown to be willing to help anyone for a price, including arranging the death of Hank Schillinger, despite the Italian's long-standing alliance with the Aryans. Pancamo is then stabbed during a brawl with the Aryans and nearly dies from a staph infection. He recovers, rejoins the Italians and is manipulated by O'Reilly into killing Schibbetta.
  • Antonio Nappa (Mark Margolis) – Takes control of the Italians after Schibetta's rape and breakdown. He wields considerable power within the prison, being able to arrange for Adebisi to be caught with drugs in his system and arranging Coyle's murder, despite Coyle being in protective custody. Adebisi secretly infects him with HIV and he is transferred to Unit E, the AIDS ward. Faced with the end of his life, he decides to write his memoirs. Pancamo is afraid he could reveal mafia secrets and arranges for Nappa's cellmate Ginzberg to smother him in his sleep.
  • Frank "The Fixer" Urbano (Antoni Corone) – An occasional leader of the Italians. He attempts to kill Redding though kills Hill instead. He later assists Pancamo in killing Schibetta.

Latino inmates[edit]

The Latinos, also known as "El Norte", are one of the three main players in the drug trade along with the Italians and Homeboys. They tend to have an easier relationship with the Italians rather than the Homeboys, although they have cooperated with both. Besides drugs, they also deal in alcohol and medical supplies via their members doing work detail as orderlies. Miguel Alvarez led the gang in the beginning, then El Cid Hernandez took over and forced Alvarez into proving himself by sticking out the eyes of a CO. This landed Alvarez in solitary where he went in and out through the series. Chico Guerra was the perpetual lieutenant, both to Hernandez and Morales. Guerra had a long rivalry and vendetta to Alvarez, but made peace in the end. After Morales died, nobody stepped up to lead.

  • Emilio Sanchez (Jose Soto) – Sanchez was an AIDs infected patient, who homophobic Italian member, Dino Ortolani, knew while working the AIDs ward as a punishment for his homophobic-related assaults, the two bond while talking about their children despite Ortolani constantly criticising Sanchez's homosexual status. He asks Ortolani to help him die, a request Ortolani eventually grants and he is suffocated.
  • Ricardo Alvarez (Tomas Milian) – Eduardo's father and Miguel's grandfather. He was sent to Oz when Eduardo was a baby and did not see his son again until he was sent to Oz as well. He killed a Haitian inmate who cut out Eduardo's tongue and was sent to solitary and was eventually able to meet his grandson. He develops Alzheimers and dies offscreen.
  • Eduardo Alvarez (José Ramón Rosario) – Ricardo's son and Miguel's father who has been in Oz most of Miguel's life. Soon after being sent to Oz, he had his tongue cut out by a Haitian inmate for being abusive. He works as an orderly in the prison hospital with his son and together, they care for a dying Ricardo. Alvares comes to him when Hernandez orders him to blind Rivera and Eduardo shows frustration that he is unable to advise his son.
  • Jorge Vasquez (Jose Hernandez Jr.) – A background member of the Latinos, identifiable by his long, dark hair. He is present for the riot and is often seen with the other Latinos, though he has no storylines. While Alvarez is briefly released from solitary, Vasquez attacks him but Alvarez slits his throat with a razorblade, killing him.
  • Carmen "Chico" Guerra (Otto Sanchez) – The ever-present lieutenant of the Latinos. He was arrested for murder after he threw a dwarf off a bridge. He tires of Alvarez's inaction against other inmate groups that disrespect the Latinos. When Hernandez takes control of the Latinos, Guerra grows to hate Alvarez and constantly belittles and tries to kill him, even when Morales forbids it. He eventually gets over his hatred of Alvarez when all the other leading Latinos have been killed and is last shown tearing his own skin after getting high on Torquemada's pills.
  • Raoul "El Cid" Hernandez (Luis Guzman) – Arrives in Em City with a fearsome reputation. Despite Alvarez's admiration, Hernandez considers him "too white", calls him 'Michael' and forces him to blind Officer Rivera to prove himself. He leads the Latinos until Morales arrives though he seems to tire of the life. In order to gain the respect of the Italians and Homeboys, as well as leadership of the Latinos, Morales arranges for Rebadow to kill Hernandez and claim self-defence.
  • Carlo Ricardo (Juan Carlos Hernández) – An inmate who is originally visited by many family members, though they drop off after time. He is selected to represent the Latinos in the boxing tournament but is disqualified after he is sent to solitary. He misses his final visit with his sister and is shown to be greatly depressed that he no longer has anyone visiting him. He attempts to kill Alvarez but dies in the process. Alvarez then falsely tells Glynn that Ricardo was responsible for raping Glynn's daughter. He is Bevilacqua's cousin.
  • Enrique Morales (David Zayas) – An inmate who takes control of the Latinos after arranging Hernandez's murder. He forms an alliance with Pancamo and Adebisi to control the drug trade but is forced out by Adebisi. He also arranges for Martinez to maim Officer Brass. Brass later fakes hearing a deathbed confession from Martinez that Morales ordered his attack and Morales is moved to solitary. He is attacked by Officers Brass, Howell and Murphy and injured in a similar way to Brass. While recovering in hospital, he alerts McManus to Nurse Grace before he is murdered by her. The Latinos are shown to be in disarray after his death.
  • Louis Bevilaqua (G.A. Aguilar) – First introduced as an inmate in solitary. He was sent to Oz for murder, but it is unknown what got him sent to solitary. Alvarez reveals that Bevilacqua was the one who raped Glynn's daughter, not Ricardo as previously thought. As Ricardo's cousin, he attempts to kill Alvarez during an exercise period for the inmates in solitary but Giles takes his shank and kills him instead. Alvarez does not tell Glynn the real rapist's identity.
  • Carlos Martinez (Carlos Leon) – First appears in the prison hospital when he unsuccessfully tries to kill Alvarez. He later slashes Officer Brass's Achilles tendon, ending his basketball career. He is sent to solitary but refuses to confess that Morales ordered the attack. While in solitary, he regularly has sex with Officer Howell. He falls ill and is transferred to the hospital. He assaults Dr Nathan during his checkup and she subsequently neglects his care. When he later dies, Dr Nathan blames herself but it is eventually revealed he was suffocated by Nurse Grace.
  • Jamie Velez (Christopher Rivera) – An inmate who allies himself with Alvarez when Alvarez is briefly released from solitary. He tries to kill Guerra in the showers and is killed in the attempt.
  • Pablo Rosa (Michael Rivera) – A young inmate convicted of manslaughter after the gun he brought to school to show off fired and killed a classmate. He struggles with his anger but bonds with Stella when she gives him a book to read. When he is thrown in the hole for attacking an Aryan, Stella reads to him through the wall.

Muslim inmates[edit]

The Muslims are the most devout gang in Oz. They mostly stay away from violence and gang-related things. They are anti-drugs and against almost everything else that falls in that category. Kareem Saïd was their natural leader for almost the entire series, but his position was usurped by Hamid Khan (Ironically just after Saïd refused a pardon to be with his Muslim brothers). After Khan died in the boxing tournament, Arif took over but found he could not lead. Saïd took over leadership duties again but after he killed Adebisi in self-defense and convert Salah Udeen was killed by the Aryans, he had an angry period where he gave into violence a lot. When he came around again he started the book-binding business, and then suddenly, was shot by Lemuel Idzik. Arif took over after that, but again could not handle it. When the series ended it was not certain who was the leader. Huseni Mershah was more gang member-like but his effort to take over from Saïd failed and he was cast out. Saïd converted Jefferson Keane but he was set up by Ryan O'Reily fearing that he would inform on him. The Muslims had almost inevitably long-running tensions with the Aryans.

  • Zahir Arif (Granville Adams) – Saïd's lieutenant for the majority of the series. He is serving time for assault and possession of stolen goods. He is loyal, though he sides with Khan when he replaces Saïd as leader of the Muslims. After Khan's death, Arif takes charge of the Muslims but quickly realises he is not a leader and gives Saïd the position again. He is the only person to witness O'Reilly murder Keenan but his information does not lead to a conviction, thanks to O'Reilly's manipulation. He is forced to lead the Muslims again after Saïd's death and tries to run the printing press. However, he once again proves a weak leader and has the printing press burned to claim the insurance money.
  • Nacim Busmilla (Ra Hanna) – A Muslim inmate regularly seen as Saïd's chief bodyguard. He is mostly silent and steadfastly loyal to Saïd; he is last to leave the table when Khan ousts Saïd as leader of the Muslims and does so reluctantly. He seems briefly swayed by Supreme Allah but quickly returns to his Islamic beliefs. When it is revealed that Arif purposely had the printing press burned, he beats Arif.
  • Sanjay Afsana (Conrad Lindsey) – A background member of the Muslims. He is identifiable by his red kufi decorated with white shells.
  • Huseni Mershah aka James Monroe Madison (Roger Guenveur Smith) – An inmate who favours a more violent approach to Islam than Saïd practices. His attempts to 'defend' their faith to other inmates only angers Saïd. When Saïd suffers a heart attack, Mershah leaves him to die, hoping to take over the Muslims. Saïd survives and exiles Mershah. When he is unable to find allies among either the Muslims or the Homeboys, he tries to give up Saïd to Glynn, leading to a shakedown in which many of the inmates lose drugs, weapons and privileges. All Em City's inmates turn against him and spit on him as he is transferred out of Em City. Soon after, he commits suicide.
  • Hamid Khan (Ernie Hudson Jr.) – Arrested for assault after severely beating a white man he caught raping a black woman. He disapproves of many of Saïd's actions, from meeting with Tricia Ross (a white woman), appointing a Jewish lawyer to lead the court case, and allowing Beecher to listen to the Muslim's Bible study. He eventually replaces Saïd as leader of the Muslims. He competes in the boxing tournament, easily defeating Wangler, narrowly beating Cramer and finally facing Cyril O'Reilly in the final. Cyril's final punch leaves him brain dead and his wife sues the prison and has him removed from life support.
  • Ahmad Lalar (Chris Gardner) – A young Muslim inmate. He sneaks a piece of bread during prayer and is nearly exiled by Saïd, but is allowed to remain. He is identified by the Aryans as the weakest member of the Muslims and subsequently murdered by Robson.

Other inmates[edit]

  • Donald Groves (Sean Whitesell) – A cannibalistic inmate with a childlike demeanor and limited emotional range. He is incarcerated for murdering his parents; he ate his mother and claimed he was saving his father for Thanksgiving. He converts to Catholicism (liking the concept of eating flesh and drinking blood during the Eucharist), is constantly caught sneaking into the morgue, burns 'MOM' onto his hand and fears the dentist. He is impressed with Saïd's rhetoric and attempts to kill Glynn. He instead kills Officer Lawrence Smith and is sentenced to death. He requests death by firing squad. Smith's mother Loretta visits him prior to his execution and he breaks down after receiving her forgiveness, finally showing emotion. He attempts to dictate his final words in a letter to Loretta but no one hears what he says before he is executed, to Mukada's dismay.
  • Richard L'Italien (Eric Roberts) – A Death Row inmate with a fondness for the Yo-yo. While awaiting execution for the rape and murder of one woman, he subsequently confesses to the murder of over 30 others. He explains to Mukada that he loves every woman he sees. However, he believes that when he loves them, they own him and he refuses to be owned.
  • Ronald Poklewaldt (Brian Tarantina) – An inmate imprisoned for burning down a fire station. He is an addict and it is seen attending Sister Pete's counselling sessions. He falls afoul of the Homeboys when he is unable to pay and tries to bring them down by informing on them. O'Reilly lets him bust his and Healy's drug smuggling business to gain favour with Nino Schibetta. O'Reilly admits to the officers that Poklewaldt was the informant on Healy, leading to them beating Poklewaldt. He survives and is occasionally seen in the background from then on.
  • Eugene Dobbins (Zuill Bailey) – A famed cellist, sent to Oz for murdering a rival. Hill is attracted to his talent and arranges another inmate to play with Dobbins while he practices. Vahue smashes the cello and a depressed Dobbins spends his time watching TV. He is stabbed during the riot and despite Vahue leaving Em City to get him help, he dies of his injuries.
  • Alexander Vogel (Brian Smyj) – A Jewish inmate doing time for murder, and known for his sheer size. Killed by Schillinger and Mack as a 'roadkill', a random killing to show the other inmates that the Aryans are to be feared. Hanlon is forced to confess to the murder though he is not convicted. He is a friend of Stanislofsky.
  • William Giles (Austin Pendleton) – An elderly inmate convicted in the 1960s for murder who has been living in solitary since 1995 for killing his cellmate Ron Bibi. He is obsessed with oral hygiene and speaks in riddles and morse code. Sister Pete eventually deciphers a series of words into a confession that he witnessed the murder of her husband Leonerd by Bibi. During a period of exercise for the solitary inmates, Giles kills Bevilacqua and is transferred to Death Row. He requests death by stoning. To avoid an uproar over such a barbaric execution method, Devlin orders Giles declared insane and returned to solitary. Giles jubilation at the commutation of his death sentence is shattered when he realises that his tiny solitary cell is not much better. He is released from solitary when the air proves toxic and he successfully defends himself against Alvarez, to the amusement of the other inmates.
  • Jiggy Walker (LL Cool J) – An inmate who comes to Em City, claiming to be Governor Devlin's drug dealer. Saïd and McManus quickly publicise this to embarrass Devlin. Devlin easily disproves Walker's claims and McManus angrily transfers Walker out of Em City.
  • Kipekemie Jara (Zakes Mokae) – A Nigerian witch doctor, sent to Oz for criminally negligent homicide. He takes an interest in Adebisi and tries to get him to turn away from his life of drugs and indulgence. Though he succeeds somewhat, he is killed by Wangler in a show of good faith for Nappa. His death is blamed on Adebisi and causes Adebisi to have a mental breakdown.
  • Nikolai Stanislofsky (Philip Casnoff) – A Russian inmate who maintains a prickly alliance with O'Reilly. His Em City sponsor is Busmalis. He murders Hanlon, thinking him responsible for the murder of his friend Vogel, narrowly survives an assassination attempt by Kosygin and acquires Galino's cellphone. He eventually loses the cellphone to O'Reilly and moves to protective custody. Querns warns O'Reilly not to let anything happen to Stanislofsky after he returns to Em City. O'Reilly instead has Stanislofsky killed before he returns to Em City, by having Officer Howell electrocute him in a bathtub.
  • Yuri Kosygin (Olek Krupa) – A Russian inmate who arrives in Oz with a reputation as a killer for hire. O'Reilly pays him to kill Cudney and later Pancamo has him try to kill Stanislofsky. Stanislofsky survives and Kosygin is put in the hole, later solitary confinement. A deleted scene sees him murdered by a member of the Russian Secret Police.
  • Guillaume Tarrant (Lothaire Bluteau) – An inmate sent to Oz for destroying a statue in a museum. A diminutive man, he is sponsored by Hoyt, who promptly mugs him. He is also frequently picked on by Wangler, Pierce and Poet. After O'Reilly advises him to stand up for himself, he finds Adebisi's gun in his bed. The next time he is confronted by Wangler and his gang, Tarrant fires the gun, killing Wangler, Pierce, Lou Rath and Officer Joseph Howard, as well as wounding several others. He then turns the gun on himself.
  • Ralph Galino (Domenick Lombardozzi) – An Italian inmate sent to Oz after a building he designed collapsed and killed two people. With no mafia connections, the other Italian inmates abandon him. He manages to bring a cellphone into the prison, unaware it is against the rules. Stanislofsky offers to turn it in but keeps it for himself. After Galino is made aware of this, Stanislofsky organises his death by having the Bikers inject him with a lethal dose of heroin. Though his death is ruled as suicide, Hoyt eventually confesses to his murder.
  • Johnny Basil aka Desmond Mobay) (Lance Reddick) – An undercover cop sent to Em City to shut down the drug trade. He eventually becomes accepted as a drug runner, though he becomes addicted to heroin and murders Goergen to get there. Hill identifies him as a cop and shames him into confessing to Goergen's murder. Basil is sent to Oz to serve his sentence and lives in Unit J (the Cop Unit) with Hughes and Yood. After insulting Hughes, Hughes murders him by stabbing him in the chest.
  • Bruno Goergen (Harry O'Reilly) – A corrupt former cop, sent to Oz for murder. He recognises Basil and threatens to expose him if he does not protect Goergen from the other black inmates. Since Basil has been ordered to murder someone to prove his worth to the drug runners, he kills two birds with one stone by pushing Goergen down an elevator shaft.
  • Eli Zabitz (David Johansen) – A Jewish inmate. Schillinger pays him to implicate Keller in the kidnapping of Beecher's children. He gives Beecher the false information in exchange for dental work for one of his own daughters. Keller pledges to kill him and after demanding protection from the Aryans, Shillinger also orders Robson to kill him. Robson and Keller corner Zabitz in a storage room and the stress causes him to have a fatal heart attack, to their amusement.
  • Nate Shemin – An inmate with whom Beecher becomes intimate. Later killed by Keller in an attempt to discredit Querns and get back at Beecher. His murder is pinned on Supreme Allah, though Beecher knows the truth.
  • Ronald 'Ronnie' Barlog (Brian Bloom) – A friend of Keller's who is sent to Em City for car theft. He rooms with Beecher and Beecher seduces him. Keller also seduces him to get back at Beecher. Barlog is approached by Agent Taylor, who offers him a sentence cut in exchange for information about Keller murdering several gay men. After he seeks legal advice from Beecher, Beecher warns Keller and Keller snaps Barlog's neck.
  • Alvin Yood (Tom Ligon) – A resident in Unit J, though he was actually a small town sheriff rather than a cop. He befriends Basil and is antagonised by Hughes. He also pushes Howell down the stairs and takes Beecher's job as Sister Pete's assistant. He witnesses Bandt's murder but refuses to talk.
  • Glen Shupe (Joel West) – A drug addict, arrested for killing his playing partner during a darts game. He is recognisable for his long hair and tie-dyed shirts. Kenmin pays him to tell O'Reilly that Li Chen plans to rape his mother, though this is a ploy to provoke the brothers. O'Reilly then has the Latinos injure Shupe in an accident where he loses his right arm. He later tries to admit the truth about Kenmin and Cyril but he is deemed an unreliable witness and his testimony useless.
  • Colonel Edward Galson (John Doman) – A military Colonel, imprisoned for raping a female colleague. He is an alcoholic and is seen attending Sister Pete's counselling sessions. He rooms with Redding and the two bond over their military history in the Vietnam War. He overhears Daniels and Supreme Allah plotting to kill Redding and warns his cellmate. Redding tasks Galson with killing Morales, however Morales gets the upper hand and crushes him beneath an elevator.
  • Greg Penders (John Lurie) – An inmate serving time for criminally negligent homicide, though it is unknown why he was sent to solitary. He initially helps Hughes in his attempt to declare solitary as the Republic of Huru, though he then protects Glynn and kills Hughes. He is transferred to Em City when solitary is evacuated and participates in the guide dog program. He teaches his dog to attack Officer Lopresti and is returned to solitary. He gets sick from the toxic air in solitary and attempts to sue the state.
  • Jia Kenmin (M.G. Gong) – A Chinese inmate, convicted for drug trafficking. He originally attempts to kill Morales in revenge for the death of Bian Yixhue and is involved in Redding's unsuccessful war with the Latinos. He later becomes an enemy of O'Reilly. He goads Cyril into killing Li Chen, resulting in Cyril being sent to Death Row and eventually executed. O'Reilly then provokes Kenmin into a fight and assists the officers in violently subduing him. Since he attacked officers, Kenmin is thrown into solitary without medical attention and the officers later beat him to death.
  • Adam Guenzel (Mike Doyle) – A family friend of Beecher's, sent to Em City along with his a friend Franklin Winthrop for raping a college girl. Beecher keeps him safe from the Aryans, but their friendship ends when the homophobic Guenzel finds out about Beecher's relationship with Keller. Schillinger offers Beecher an opportunity to see Keller in exchange for allowing the Aryans to rape Guenzel. Beecher agrees after Guenzel attacks him. Guenzel is transferred to Unit B and gang-raped by the Aryans. When Schillinger thinks Guenzel will tell the officers what has happened to him, he tricks Guenzel into trying to escape, and Guenzel is killed when he is electrocuted on the prison fencing.
  • Henry Stanton (Thomas G. Waites) – An inmate who befriends Cyril while they are both in protective custody. O'Reilly disapproves of this and tries to keep them apart. O'Reilly makes it appear Stanton is in love with Dr Nathan, frames him for Keenan's murder and has Montgomery corroborate this. Stanton attempts to kill Montgomery and is sent to solitary.
  • Martin Montgomery (Peter Criss) – An inmate O'Reilly pays to say Stanton killed Keenan. O'Reilly then tells Stanton that Montgomery accused him, and Stanton stabs him in the neck. He survives but it not seen again.
  • Clarence Seroy (Emanuel Yarbrough) – A morbidly obese inmate with a fondness for arson and rape. He is hired by Kirk to organise the arson of a church Mukada is visiting, resulting in the death of two priests. He tries to rape Winthrop and later rapes Robson. Robson allows this, as he knows he is HIV positive.
  • Li Chen (Nelson Lee) – A Chinese inmate used by Kenmin in his war with the O'Reilly brothers. He attempts to kill the O'Reilly brothers on Kenmin's orders and manages to stab Ryan. Cyril stabs him in the heart and is sentenced to Death.
  • Wolfgang Cutler (Brendan Kelly) – An inmate doing time for murder. He tries to join the Brotherhood by killing Saïd but fails and is most commonly associated with the Bikers. Robson goes to him when he needs protection from his many enemies after being cast out of the Brotherhood, only to make him his so-called "Bitch". Cutler is briefly given the part of Macbeth in the prison play and considers Macbeth a 'pussy' for being unable to deal with murdering his king. Robson tricks Cutler into hanging himself during autoerotic asphyxiation, with his death being ruled suicide. For reasons unknown, his will leaves all of his possessions to Alvarez though Alvarez gives everything to Cutler's widow Cathy Jo.
  • Lemuel Idzik (Joel Grey) – Posing as a publisher for the release of Hill's memoirs, Idzik ambushes Saïd in the visiting room and shoots him. He is then sent to Oz. His Jewish faith alienates even the Aryans, who wanted to embrace him for killing their long-time enemy. He explains to White that many years ago, Saïd (while still known as Goodson Truman) spoke to him about how the universe would eventually end. Idzik was significantly affected by this information. He quit his job, abandoned his family and vowed to kill Saïd for ruining his life. He then asks White to kill him. White refuses, so Idzik kills White and is transferred to Death Row. His sentence is later commuted to life imprisonment, to his despair.
  • Jahfree Neema (Peter Francis James) – An inmate arrested for kidnapping; his victim was his daughter of whom he did not have custody. He is a former Black Panther and lover of Suzanne Fitzgerald. O'Reilly initially hates him and tries to arrange his murder, though he gains respect when he organises a protest over Cyril's execution. The Homeboys unsuccessfully try to have him lead them as Redding is still distracted by Hill's death. Seamus O'Reilly attempts to kill Neema but Neema turns the knife on him and is subsequently sent to the hole.
  • Mayor Wilson Loewen (Tom Atkins) – Arrested after it is revealed he was involved in the death of two African American girls in the 1960s. Though he seems a friend of Devlin and Schillinger, he antagonises them both and they both turn their backs on him. Beecher saves him from choking, a factor that counts towards Beecher's successful parole bid. After Loewen threatens to expose Devlin's various crimes, Devlin arranges his murder. Willy Bandt slits his throat while he sleeps. Glynn later investigates the murder, and is killed when he gets too close to the truth.
  • Lionel Kelsch (Tony Hoty) – An inmate first seen in the prison hospital. He distracts the guards while Brandt murders Loewen. Kelsch then murders Brandt and Warden Glynn and is thrown in the hole when Stanton tells the officers. He quickly admits Officer Johnson orders the hits when threatened with starvation.
  • Willy Bandt – An inmate first seen in the hospital. He takes advantage of Kelsch's distraction and murders Mayor Loewen. He admits Officer Johnson's involvement to Glynn and is quickly murdered by Kelsch.
  • Stanley Bukowski (Ashley Hamilton) – A drug dealer. On arrival to Oz, his pot brownies become popular among the other inmates, which angers the existing drug dealing Italians. Pancamo uses the steam pipes in the kitchen to kill him and make it appear an accident.

Prison staff[edit]

The corrections officers (COs) are mostly white, with many black and some Latino officers. They range from kind and well-meaning to cruel and violent. Diane Wittlesy was the CO supervisor in Emerald City initially, then succeeded by Karl Metzger, Sean Murphy, Travis Smith and then Murphy again. Claire Howell excels in cruelty and sexual harassment, despite being a guard. Other staff members try their best to run the Penitentiary but sometimes get involved with the Inmates, such as main nurse Dr. Nathan's relationship with O'Reily, and McManus always getting into complicating and overwhelming situations with several of the Inmates in his unit of Emerald City.

  • Warden Leo Glynn (Ernie Hudson) – A conflicted person trying to maintain law and order in an often chaotic environment. He does what he can to manage every conflict present in Oz. Sister Pete calls him "the best man for the worst job." Appears in episodes 1–55.
  • Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) – A hopeful idealist who forms Emerald City for purposes of making a perfect prison where rehabilitation and conflict are resolved. Often seen as weak for supposedly soft approaches to dealing with the inmates, he still manages to come out on top of many situations. Appears in episodes 1–26 and 28–56.
  • Sister Peter Marie Reimondo (Rita Moreno) – A psychologist and nun, she is one of the main forces of good inside of the prison and often is helpful to McManus, Father Ray Mukada and Dr. Gloria Nathan in whatever conflict they are trying to solve. Gave serious thought to leaving the church after developing feelings for Chris Keller. Appears in episodes 1-56.
  • Diane Whittlesey (Edie Falco) – A CO who is faced with managing several issues at home, a relationship with McManus, and being fair to the inmates. While on a holiday in London, she becomes engaged to a Buckingham Palace guard and does not return to Oz. Appears in episodes 1–18, 20–24.
  • Mike Healy (Steve Ryan) – A disgruntled and corrupt officer, Healy has a very low opinion of both the inmates and Unit Manager Tim McManus. Healy is friends with inmate Ryan O'Reily and is a friend of Ryan's brother. Healy and O'Reily run a drug operation in Oz though O'Reily eventually sells him out in order to ingratiate himself with Nino Schibbetta. Healy is arrested and immediately fired.
  • Joseph Mineo (Phillip Scozzarella) – An elderly Italian American CO. He is one of the few COs who is seen in every season. He is taken hostage in the Em City riot where he is savagely beaten by Miguel Alvarez and is then traded along with officer Armstrong in exchange for Tim McManus. He is often seen around Em City breaking up fights and counting inmates.
  • Jason Armstrong (Timothy L. Brown) – A tall muscular CO who is mainly seen breaking up fights and patrolling. For the most part he is a good honest CO. He is one of the hostages in the Em City riot where he is seriously injured and is traded along with Joseph Mineo in return for Tim McManus
  • Eddie Hunt (Murphy Guyer) – A CO who appeared in the first season of Oz. He was one of the officers on the firing squad who executed Donald Groves. He was a hostage during the Em City riot where he was killed by the SORT team.
  • Vic D'Agnasti (Douglas Crosby) – A muscular CO and back-up SORT team member. He appears in all six seasons and is one of the hostages in the Em City riot. He tries to pass the time by telling terrible jokes, to the annoyance of the other hostages. Crosby was also one of the stunt coordinators for the show.
  • Roger Brese (Ray Iannicelli) – An elderly officer regularly seen working the reception desk. He is very lax at his job, allowing many people to smuggle in contraband. After Idzik smuggles in a gun and kills Saïd, Glynn discovers Brese has been drunk on the job and is fired.
  • Father Ray Mukada (BD Wong) – A Catholic priest and the main religious authority in Oz. Despite a promising start to his religious career, he was sent to Oz as punishment for clashing with the extremely conservative Cardinal Francis Abgott (Gavin MacLeod), under whom he was serving. Although it was forced upon him, he appears to grow into the role of a spiritual guide over time and firmly believes that his work is important. He provides spiritual counsel to many of the inmates, especially Miguel Alvarez. He later becomes an enemy of Kirk. After Kirk repeatedly attempts to ruin his life and career, Mukada's faith in people is severely shaken and he begins to pray for Kirk's death. Appears in episodes 2–46, 49–56.
  • Dr. Gloria Nathan (Lauren Velez) – A prison doctor who leads the prison hospital in providing care for the inmates within Oz. She regularly deals with conflict, both from inmates and from the state medical board. She assists O'Reily when he is diagnosed with breast cancer, leading to O'Reily falling in love with her and arranging the murder of her husband. Their interactions are decidedly hostile, though she comes to accept his love when he murders her rapist, Keenan. She eventually begins to return his feelings though they are rarely able to act upon them.
  • Lenny Burrano (Skipp Sudduth) – A detective within Oz with ties to the Italian mafia. He is originally tasked with finding out who killed Ortolani and manipulates O'Reily into giving up Post, making him one of the few people able to manipulate O'Reily. He is also seen relaying information to Peter Schibetta from 'the family' and assisting Nappa in bringing down Adebisi. Having previously worked in a prison with a firing squad, he advises the officers on how to conduct Groves execution.
  • Lawrence Smith (Curtis McClarin) – An African American officer. He defends Glynn when Groves attacks him, and he is accidentally stabbed to death. His death angers other officers to the point that they beat the inmates for minor infractions. His mother visits Oz to clean out his locker and meet Groves.
  • Rick Heim (Paul Schulze) – A SORT team member, he is involved in putting an end to the riot. He gives his gun to Whittlesey and she uses it to kill Ross. Afterwards, he is seen being questioned about these events by both Case and McManus, though he does not reveal the truth.
  • Karl Metzger (Bill Fagerbakke) – A white supremacist guard who takes over Whittlesey's position in Emerald City after she is transferred to Unit B. He is secretly a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, and clearly favors the Aryan inmates. He lets Marck Mack and another Aryan switch to Busmalis and Rebadow's cell so they could escape using Busmalis' tunnel and lets Schillinger use the gym to crucify Sippel and cripple Beecher. McManus finds out about his connections with the Aryans, but Beecher covertly murders Metzger before he can do anything about it.
  • Eugene Rivera (Nelson Vasquez) – An officer who was previously a member of a rival gang to El Cid's. He comes to Oz and works in Em City. Hernandez orders Alvarez to blind Rivera, which Alvarez does. Afterwards, Rivera participates in the Sister Pete's victim-offender program with Alvarez. He does not forgive Alvarez and the sessions end prematurely. When Alvarez trains a guide dog, he trains her in English and Spanish and gives the dog to Rivera, somewhat burying the hatchet between them.
  • Sean Murphy (Robert Clohessy) – An Irish-American CO, Murphy is the staff member most trusted by McManus. A fair and confident officer, Murphy maintains order to the best of his ability in Oz while doing what he can to support McManus' ideology. He is more honest and competent than the other guards and Warden Glynn also holds him in high regard. Appears in episodes 18–55.
  • Len Lopresti (Carl DiMaggio) – An officer working on Death Row, who is often seen siding with the Aryans. He brings Andrew Schillinger heroin on behalf of his father during his stay in the hole. During Bellinger's second stay on Death Row, he starts coming to her cell at night for sex. He spends some time in Em City, where he comes into conflict with Penders during the guide dog program.
  • Clayton Hughes (Seth Gilliam) – A young and conflicted African American officer, Hughes is very close to Glynn. Hughes' father was Glynn's best friend and was killed while working as a CO when Hughes was seven years old. After being convinced by Adebisi that his father's murder was racially motivated, Hughes becomes a Black Militant and attempts to murder the governor. Hughes is sent to Unit-J in Oz which is meant for ex-cops and ex-correctional officers, only to be transferred to Solitary after murdering Johnny Basil. The isolation causes Hughes to suffer a psychotic break, and he manages to escape his cell and take the entire cell block hostage. When Glynn attempts to negotiate with him, Hughes tries to murder him, only to be stabbed to death by Penders.
  • Claire Howell (Kristin Rohde) – A female CO, she is extremely unstable and prone to sadistic sexual violence. She begins a relationship with McManus but he breaks it off when she proves violent and possessive. She then accuses him of sexual harassment when he has her fired for misconduct and she is reinstated. She spend most of her time working in solitary, though she has a brief stint in Em City. She has sexual relationships with inmates, including Ryan O'Reily and Carlos Martinez, and murders Stanislofsky on O'Reily's request. She eventually begins to change after learning that she is pregnant, and is unsure who is the father. Appears in episodes 17–39, 41–56.
  • Joseph Howard – An elderly African American correctional officer. He appears briefly in Season four where he is killed by inmate Tarrant in a shootout.
  • Martin Querns (Reg E. Cathey) – A jaded and results-oriented black man, Querns is hired by Glynn after pressure by community leaders and the black prison population, led by Adebisi, to hire a black Unit Manager to replace McManus. Querns, as told through a conversation to Adebisi, is only different from the black inmates in that he has been smart enough to have never been arrested for dealing drugs. The complete opposite of McManus, he believes that drugs are good for the prisoners because they subdue them until they are incapable of any discipline problems. He runs Emerald City by making Adebisi and his partners in Oz's drug trade the main trustees, allowing them to do all the drugs that they wish as long as no violence occurs in Emerald City. Kareem Saïd and McManus completely oppose this which leads to his firing. His efficiency, however, gets him promoted to the position of warden at another state correctional facility and he transfers back to Oz following the death of Leo Glynn.
  • Adrian Johnson (Cyrus Farmer) – An African American officer who works in Em City during Querns' tenure. He is acquainted with Perry Loftus, Devlin's assistant, who asks him to organize the murders of Loewen, Bandt and Glynn. Once his involvement is revealed, he gives up Loftus and is allowed to go free.
  • Floria Mills (Dena Atlantic) – A woman hired as Glynn's secretary. She proves invaluable at her job and almost everyone, inmates and staff, is attracted to her beauty.
  • Dave Brass (Blake Robbins) – An officer with a talent for basketball. McManus recruits him as his teammate in a series of games against Vahue. He manages to win the second match after Vahue is injured. McManus organises for Brass to train with the NBA, however Morales has Martinez maim Brass by severing his Achilles tendon. Thereafter, Brass walks with a limp. He steals a winning lottery ticket from Rebadow, who intended to use the money for his ailing grandson. By the time he returns, Rebadow's grandson has died. Brass spends his time trying to get Martinez to confess Morales ordered his attack. After Martinez dies, Brass fakes hearing a deathbed confession and has Morales moved to solitary. He, Howell and Murphy then injure Morales in the same way as Brass. After Vahue is paroled, Brass tries to maintain contact with him, though Vahue is dismissive. Brass then tries to kill Vahue and is arrested.
  • Eleanor O'Connor (Ellen McElduff) – A woman hired as the Liaison to the Governor's office, also McManus' ex-wife. Though hired to further Devlin's interests within the prison, she ends up siding with the staff on most issues and starts a relationship with Glynn. After Devlin's involvement in Glynn's murder is revealed, she abuses Devlin and quits her position.
  • Suzanne Fitzgerald (Betty Buckley) – Inmate Ryan O'Reily's biological mother, though O'Reily was unaware of her existence. She ran away while O'Reily was a baby after being involved in a violent protest. She comes forward to admit her crime and is sentenced to community service at Oz. She works as a musical arts teacher and organizes the inmates to stage a production of Macbeth. Formerly had a relationship with Neema.
  • Tariq Faraj (Aasif Mandvi) – An Arab dentist who was assigned to get rid of Robson's bad gums, but however being insulted by the Aryan during a discussion about the upcoming operation, he replaces his gums with that of a deceased black man. Once Robson learns of this, he became enraged and attacks the dentist, right before Faraj knocks him out and has him sent to the Hole.
  • Stella Coffo (Patti LuPone) – The librarian of Oz. Adored by Robert Rebadow (who works with her in the library), she is reserved in returning his affection because of his reaction to her breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Nurse Carol Grace (Catherine Wolf) – A nurse who works in the hospital ward with Dr Nathan. She murder those she considers 'bad men', including Martinez and Morales. Dr Nathan realizes her crimes and she is arrested.
  • Dr. Frederick Garvey (Milo O'Shea) - A callous, incompetent doctor who takes over the medical ward after Devlin makes a deal with the private contractor Garvey works for. He is fired and publicly disgraced after it is discovered that he previously ran a back-alley abortion clinic, where he had accidentally killed a patient.


  • Governor James Devlin (Željko Ivanek) – A right-wing politician, Governor Devlin represents all extreme mechanisms of law and order to make society "crime free." He passes several acts to minimize prisoner rights and increase law enforcement spending. Disliked by several staff members and the vast majority of the inmates, Devlin eventually is in a sea of controversy once a city mayor whom he was politically involved with is sent to Oz for conspiring to commit a racially motivated bombing.
  • Genevieve Beecher (Susan Floyd) – Beecher's wife. On his first day in Oz, Rebadow informs Beecher that she is thinking of divorcing him. Despite this, she shares a conjugal visit with him but is clearly distressed by the experience. She proceeds with the divorce and moves away with the children. Some time later, she commits suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. Though Schillinger mentions having her killed, when he later brags of his murders to Mayor Loewen he only mentions Beecher's father and son, implying that he was not involved in Genevieve's death and her death was a suicide.
  • Jeremy Goldstein (Scott Cohen) – An FBI agent who visits Oz once in the first season to investigate the murders of inmates Dino Ortolani, Johnny Post, and AIDS patient inmate, Emilio Sanchez. He experiences Anti-Semitism during his visit but manages to piece together the story.
  • Alvah Case (Charles S. Dutton) – Law school Dean; he investigates the prison riot after season one and, in season four, runs unsuccessfully for governor against Devlin.
  • Heinrick Schillinger (Dick Bocelli) – Schillinger's father. Schillinger's sons stay with him while their father is in prison but Heinrick kicks them out when their drug habits become too much. He is as abusive as his son and they do not have a good relationship. Schillinger's sister eventually visits and telling him that Heinrick has lung cancer.
  • Preston Nathan – Dr Nathan's husband. He and Dr Nathan are having marital problems in Season 1 but are back together in Season 2. After O'Reilly falls in love with Dr Nathan, he convinces his brother Cyril to murder Preston.
  • Miss Sally's Schoolyard (Miss Sally played by Whitney Allen) is a puppet show that the inmates enjoy watching because Miss Sally has large breasts. Busmalis is obsessed with the show and Miss Sally; he writes her fan letters, goes to her house when he escapes Oz and is often heard remarking "This is the best Miss Sally ever". Miss Sally's Schoolyard is eventually cancelled, but Miss Sally starts a new exercise show, Sally-cise, that the inmates continue to watch.
  • Tricia Ross (Arija Bareikis) – Scott Ross's sister. She visits Oz after Saïd contacts her about the lawsuit he is bringing against the state. She and Saïd fall for each other, which leads to Saïd's deposal as leader of the Muslims and she receives threatening phone calls. She visits several times, though Saïd remains aloof with her. When the case is won, she decides to use her money to move to California and begs Saïd to tell her he loves her. Saïd refuses, saying it will make her leaving easier. She is not seen again.
  • Harrison Beecher (Edward Herrmann) – Beecher's father. He lets Beecher use his law firm's resources to locate Hank Schillinger and arrange his visit. He later works to get Keller's death sentence overturned, despite his distaste for his son's lover. In order to be accepted as a member of the Brotherhood, Winthrop murders him during one of his visits.
  • Angus Beecher (Jayce Bartok) – Beecher's younger brother. He visits Beecher a few times, complaining of the pressure he feels to be the ideal lawyer, husband and father since Beecher's arrest. During one of his visits, Robson stabs him with a shank made from a bed spring, though he survives.
  • Hank Schillinger (Andrew Barchilon) – Schillinger's younger son and Carrie's husband. He lives with his grandfather until his grandfather kicks him out, at which point Schillinger loses contact with him. Beecher hires his father's law firm to locate Hank and pays him to visit his father in prison. Schillinger pays him to kidnap two of Beecher's children and murder his son, though he lets his daughter go. Hank is arrested for the crime but is let go on a technicality. Beecher hires Pancamo to arrange Hank's murder and though he tries to call it off, Hank is already dead. Since Hank indicated to his father he wanted to move to Florida, his murder is not discovered until his body is found six months later. Keller initially takes responsibility for the crime, though Pancamo is eventually discovered as the true culprit.
  • Pierce Taylor (Robert John Burke) – Another FBI agent who often visits Oz (starting in the fourth season) to investigate cases. He originally investigates the kidnapping of Beecher's children, then moves onto the murders committed by Keller. Generally very effective at his job, but insensitive to the needs of inmates. He informs Schillinger that Pancamo arranged the murder of his son Hank. He essentially replaces Jeremy Goldstein.
  • Norma Clark (Michelle Schumacher) – A former secretary to Miss Sally star, Whitney Allen. She receives Busmalis' fan letters and shows up to Oz, pretending to be Miss Sally, but her disguise does not work for long. She and Busmalis start a relationship and though she leaves him at the altar once and has a baby with her ex-boyfriend, they get back together and eventually marry.
  • Carrie Schillinger (Jenna Lamia) – Hank's wife who comes to visit Schillinger when Hank disappears following his murder. Schillinger is unaware of her existence and is initially skeptical but accepts her when she shows their marriage licence. She is pregnant and gives birth to a daughter, Jewel. A pimp in Oz tells Schillinger that Carrie worked for him as a prostitute, however a DNA test reveals that Jewel is Schillinger's granddaughter. Carrie is killed in the bus crash at the beginning of Season 5. Jewel survives and is sent to live with Carrie's parents.
  • Katherine McClain (Sandra Purpuro) – A lawyer who works towards Beecher's parole bid in Season 4. She is so certain of his being paroled that she even starts a relationship with him. After his application is rejected, they stay together. She originally works on defending Cyril O'Reily on his murder charge but recommends that the O'Reily family hire a more high-profile lawyer. Beecher later gets her to work on overturning Keller's death sentence. She is aware of Beecher's relationship with Keller, even remarking on the odd situation of representing her "boyfriend's boyfriend". After she becomes aware that Keller is guilty, she drops him as a client, breaks up with Beecher and leaves Oz.
  • Perry Loftus (Christopher Jackson) – Governor James Devlin's assistant. He plays an instrumental role in orchestrating the murder of Wilson Loewen.


Due to Emerald City's unconventional configuration and routine, each new inmate is given a sponsor to help acclimate. Inmates are generally paired with sponsors of similar nationality, background, race, and/or religion, to help acclimate, with the help of someone with similar interests and beliefs. Specific requests for current Emerald City prisoners to be paired up with inbound inmates have occasionally been made and granted. Below is a list of inmates and sponsors.


  1. ^Gary Richard Edgerton and Jeffrey P. Jones, The Essential HBO Reader (University Press of Kentucky, 2008), 54.
Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Oz_(TV_series)_characters

Series / Oz

'"Oz: that's the name on the street for the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary. Oz is retro, Oz is retribution. You wanna punish a man? Separate him from his family, separate him from himself, cage him up with his own kind."

Augustus Hill

Oz is a six season long (1997-2003), one hour drama created by Tom Fontana that follows the daily lives of the inmates and staff of the Oswald State Correctional Facility, nicknamed Oz. Inmates are divided between the main prison (Genpop) and "Em City", a unit with more perks for the prisoners at the price of more surveillance.

The prison's out-of-control violence, general anomie, and domination by gangs creates an environment that forces prisoners to make difficult decisions just to survive, much less avoid sexual slavery, drug addiction, or solitary confinement. Characters range from former lawyer Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen), Aryan leader Vern Schillinger (J. K. Simmons), Iago-figure Ryan O'Reily (Dean Winters), senior citizen Bob Rebadow (George Morfogen), veteran criminal Simon Adebisi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), and many, many more. Wheelchair bound prisoner-for-life Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau) serves as narrator, intermixing the events of each episode with a more general theme.

The struggles of gangs to control the lucrative prison trade in "tits" (drugs) creates much of the dramatic background, with cunning gang "leaders" attempting to leverage both their followers and the prison structure in a never-ending battle for dominance.

The staff of the prison, while treated sympathetically, is shown to be divided and isolated from events in the prison. Idealists such as Em City head Tim McManus (Terry Kinney), Father Ray Mukada (B.D. Wong), and Psychologist/Nun Sister Peter-Marie (Rita Moreno) attempt to introduce academic rehabilitation methods, while the more battle hardened Corrections Officers tend to view the prisoners as scum who deserve punishment, leaving the well-meaning yet politically astute Warden Leo Glynn (Ernie Hudson) to decide between them. Successes in reaching inmates are balanced by outright failure, while crackdowns on inmates that get superficial results sometimes lead to much bigger problems just beneath the surface.

The show was HBO's first dramatic series, and was considered a forerunner of "Peak TV" series like The Sopranos and The Wire. The series was revolutionary in being uncensored, featuring only 8 episodes per season, and featuring Loads and Loads of Characters that can become central to the story immediately, fade away, be killed, or be transferred unexpectedly.

When first released, the powerful first 15 minutes (featuring Beecher's entry into prison) forever branded Oz as "the show with prison-rape." However, the show is more complex, attempting to tackle questions of the nature and origin of violence and criminality, but continually refusing to provide any easy answers. Every character on the show is morally ambiguous, with the "good" characters of the show sometimes committing despicable deeds while the "monsters" sometimes act humanely. The show also examined the issue of prisoner's rights and the effectiveness of the American prison system, which the show depicts as inherently corrupt.

The series received a sequel short film, Zo, in 2021, in which Tergesen and Winters reprised their roles.

Not to be confused witha certain other Oz. Or Dr. Oz. Or The Land Down Under.

This series contains examples of:

  • AB Negative: When a prison guard is stabbed in the eyes and needs a blood transfusion, the only donor immediately available is inmate Ryan O'Reily, who makes it a condition of his helping that Cyril be moved into Em City with him.
  • Acid Attack: Alonzo de Torquemada, a prominent LGBT nightclub owner, is convicted of 1st degree assault and sent to Oswald Prison for throwing a flask of acid into the face of somebody he had an undisclosed personal beef with.
  • Affably Evil: Enrique Morales, leader of El Norte prison gang, especially the scene when he forces The Old Convict Rebadow to murder his predecessor, El Cid. "Who'd suspect a nice old man like you?"
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Defied in Richie Hanlon's case, though some of the other inmates do treat him like he's one.

    Hanlon: I only suck the cocks I wanna suck.

  • All of the Other Reindeer: There's a lot of bullying in this show, and many attempts to graciously help those bullies; however, these attempts tend to backfire. For example, Beecher's attempt to reunite Vern with his son, Hank. Vern ends up getting suspicious and has Hank murder Beecher's son, and Beecher has Hank murdered.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Shupe has his arm cut off by the Latinos at O'Reily's orders.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Any act of violence witnessed by the inmates is greeted by cheers and jeers, depending on their sympathy (or lack of) for the one being attacked. Exceptions include:
    • When feared Nigerian gangster Simon Adebisi is killed, the initial reaction is a shocked gasp of disbelief from both inmates and guards, as Adebisi seemed so Bad Ass he couldn't be killed by anyone.
    • The death of Augustus Hill. Burr Redding is overcome with grief, and most of the prisoners are shocked. McManus actually breaks down crying. Mainly this is because more so than anyone else in Em city, Hill had become the most philosophical and accepting of the bad things that he had done.
    • The killing of Kenny "Bricks" Wangler, Junior Pierce, Lou Rath, and CO Joseph Howard by timid French inmate Guillaume Tarrant. Mostly because everyone else is terrified because Tarrant went on a shooting spree inside the prison.
    • Played for Laughs when Mayor Wilson Loewen is killed; there follows a montage of various characters saying in a deadpan voice, "Oh well."
  • Anyone Can Die: this show routinely killed off well-established characters. By the end only 5 of the many prisoners that appeared in the pilot are alive and even Warden Glynn has died.
  • Anything That Moves: Scott Ross, who is said to "fuck anything on two or four legs." Ditto for Chris Keller, who seems to prefer men, but has been married 4 times.
  • Arch-Enemy: Beecher and Schillinger, O'Reily and Ortolani, Saïd and Adebisi, Timmy Kirk and Father Mukada, Chris Keller and Agent Taylor...
  • Ass Shove: James Robson, who, contrary to the typical Prison Rape, gets a spoon shoved up his ass by a more creative inmate.
    • All the rapes in the series certainly count as well.
  • Asshole Victim: Everyone by default, though subverted in that you can feel sympathy even for some of them given how horrible their fates are. For example there's Neo-Nazi thug Robson, who goes through a Humiliation Conga throughout Season 6..
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • Vern Schillinger to Reverend Cloutier, when warning him not to interfere in the affairs of the Aryan Brotherhood.

      "And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee. I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men. And skillful to destroy." Ezekiel 21:31

    • Warden Glynn as Smug Snake Timmy Kirk is hauled off to Death Row.

      "He who comes in vanity, shall depart in darkness. And his name shall be covered in darkness. He will never see the sun." Ecclesiastes 6:4

  • As Himself: Robert Iler (AJ Soprano of The Sopranos) shows up in the season 4 finale as a celebrity contestant on the Show Within a Show "Up Your Ante" when McManus appears on the show.
  • As You Know...: the sometimes awkward retellings of pertinent plot points as they jump from storyline to storyline
  • Ate His Gun: Poor Tarrant....
  • Autocannibalism: Unseen until death, solitary inmate McCullum upped the ante by eating himself.
  • Ax-Crazy: Many of the inmates are this. Even Beecher after taking a level in badass and some of the guards show these tendencies.
  • Back for the Finale: In most episodes of the final season Augustus receives co-narrators in the form of many of the shows past characters including ones like Dino Ortolani and Jefferson Keane that died way back in season 1. In a more straightforward example, in the finale proper Jackson Vahue makes an appearance after being Put on a Bus back in season 4.
  • Badass Boast: Martin Querns introduces himself as the new unit manager of Emerald City with one of these, earning him the respect of the prisoners.

    Querns: The warden is correct, I have served in many correctional institutions. But what he didn't say, is that like most of you, I come from the streets. I am not some candy-ass white liberal looking to turn you all into "better citizens". I intend to meet with each of you individually, but until that time, keep one principle in mind: Don't fuck. With Querns. That's all.

  • Batman Gambit: Most of Ryan O'Reily's ploys. He fails sometimes, but never completely.
  • Becoming the Mask:
    • An inmate joins the Muslims in order to kill Said, only to convert to Islam for real. He later dies saving Said's life.
    • Chris Keller is originally sent to make Tobias like him in order to hurt him emotionally later on but ends up actually falling for him instead and turning on the plot's mastermind Vern Shillinger.
    • Undercover cop Desmond Mobay becomes a drug addict trying to infiltrate Adebisi's gang. He also becomes Adebisi's top seller, and even kills another prisoner.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Plenty of people are competing for the title of Big Bad throughout the series. The biggest contenders are Devlin, Schillinger, Adebisi, and O'Reily.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: A few throughout the series. Beecher and Keller's kiss in the laundry room in season 2. Keller (again) when ex-wife Bonnie comes to visit. And Dr. Nathan kissing O'Reily when she admits her feelings for him.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Quite a lot, and in Spanish (Alvarez, etc.), Russian (Stanislofsky), Chinese (Kenmin) and probably some more.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Even the most 'innocent' characters- Beecher, Cyril and Rebadow- are killers. With Beecher doing something even worse than that before the end of the series. Although he has a My God, What Have I Done? moment shortly after that and tries to make things right, it's too little, too late.
  • Blatant Lies: Prisoners to each other, prisoners to guards, guards to prisoners, guards to each other...
  • Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Used twice at the ends of the first and fourth seasons. The first ends with National Guard troops bursting into the cellblock to put down the riot, firing live ammunition at random. The fourth ends with a massive accidental gas explosion in the prison kitchens.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The series ends with Oz being evacuated after a supposed anthrax attack on the prison.
  • Bookends: The episodes begin and end and with Augustus Hill narrating on some philosophical topic. This is notably subverted however in the season 5 finale, where Augustus Hill dies. The final shot of the episode is of his empty chair, symbolizing that the voice of Oz is truly dead.
    • The shot of Keller's dead body is largely similar to the first time his face is shown in his introductory flashback.
  • The Boxing Episode: Several episodes in series 3 centre around a boxing tournament organised between the various gangs in Oz. Ryan tries to fix the fights so his brother Cyril wins.
  • Break the Cutie: Several characters apply but Beecher...Hoo boy Beecher... And Dr. Nathan, whose husband is murdered, because O'Reily has a crush..
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Tobias Beecher's entire time in Oz is spent making his life get worse and worse. Season 1 has him get handed every prison humiliation in the book, Season 2 has him get all of his limbs broken, Seasons 3, 4, and 5 have his family getting victimized by Vern Schillinger, and Season 6 has him get paroled, only to get shipped back to Oz thanks to Keller, and then accused of Keller's murder.
    • The Christians are always portrayed as weak, as they are the only gang who accepts sex offenders (though there are rapists in most of them), the bottom rung of prison hierarchy.
    • Omar White. He is genuinely trying to improve his behaviour, but being somewhat naïve and hyperactive at the same time he gets into trouble constantly.
    • Supreme Allah tends to fall victim to just about any framing attempt.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Most of the inmates don't care about how they're labeled, or are too deluded or in denial to see their actions as wrong. Timmy Kirk, however, is the exception to that rule. When Kirk is put on Death Row for his attempted murder of Father Mukada, he boasts that he can't die because he's either Satan's spawn or the devil himself.
  • Cast Herd: This is enforced, due to the nature of the prison gangs. Most of the main cast members belong to different groups, making it difficult to focus on any great number of them at a time.
  • Celebrity Paradox: A particularly bizarre one. In the season 4 finale, McManus appears on the Show Within a Show "Up Your Ante" (modeled somewhat after $1,000 Pyramid) the celebrity contestant is Robert Iler who plays A.J. on The Sopranos (which was also running on HBO at the time), good thing McManus doesn't watch the show or else he'd wonder why Diane was on the show pretending to be an actress named Edie Falco. The same episode also has the inmates demand cable so they could watch HBO, which, again, Oz aired on.
  • Character Focus: Due to having an Ensemble Cast, the focus tends to shift between the characters, often within the course of a single episode.
  • Cliffhanger: The series ends with Oz being evacuated because of a bioterrorism incident, with no indication given on whether the prison will be reopened or Devlin will answer for Glynn's murder.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Keller's obsession with Beecher which leads him to kill Beecher's prison lovers and and sets him up to be sent back to prison after he gets a girlfriend on the outside, the equally obsessive Ryan O'Reily over Gloria Nathan leading him to have her husband killed, the character Li Chen was doing time for the attempted murder of his girlfriend and the man he saw her kissing and Enrique Morales' abusive brother in law towards his sister.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: This is one of Ryan O'Reily's specialties. Played with in series 4 with his rivalry with Stanislofsky. One episodes plot sees the two approach various different groups and attempt to get them to kill the other, all while maintaining a very visible friendship.
  • Conveniently Cellmates: Ryan and Cyril O'Reily, although the lengths Ryan had to go through to arrange this diminishes the 'convenient' aspect.
  • Convenient Miscarriage : Shirley Bellinger's sentence is commuted to life in prison when she turns up pregnant, then changed back to the death penalty when she miscarries.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Two during the Season 3 boxing tournament. First, "Throttlin'" Steve Pasquin is downed by a single punch from Pancamo. Then the Wangler vs. Khan fight. While Kenny gets plenty of punches in, they have no effect on Kahn. Meanwhile, every single punch from Khan rocks Wangler, to the point that he tries to bite Khan. One more punch puts him down.
  • Cycle of Revenge: One runs between Schillinger and Beecher for the whole show. Lampshaded by Said to Beecher: "You killed Schillinger's son, he killed yours, now you're going to kill his other son. When does it end?" Beecher replies it will end when Schillinger is dead. It does in fact end in the series finale when Beecher kills Schillinger and Keller kills the rest of the Aryans.
  • Death by Irony: The handsome Stanley Bukowski dies by getting his face melted off by a steam pipe by the Italians.
  • Death by Racism: Mark Miles was a Death Row inmate who took to constantly hurling racial insults at his fellow death row member Moses Deyell. This pisses off Moses so much that he digs a hole through the wall in between their cells just so he can strangle Miles.
  • Death Row: Killing another prisoner or a CO generally puts an inmate on death row, which is located in a small wing of Oz, and the characters there are generally used as a "B-plot" in Seasons 2 and later, with different inmates appearing until their execution.
  • Deck of Wild Cards: Pretty much all of the Homeboys have engaged in some kind of backstabbing and betrayal. The entire gang ousts Jefferson Keane after he has a Heel–Face Turn, Paul Markstrom and Johnny Basil are undercover cops trying to bring the gang down, Adebisi murders Markstrom and takes over once this comes out, Wangler and Pierce turn on Adebisi so they can take over which leads to him orchestrating their deaths, and Poet's loyalty is always shifting depending on who he thinks has the better chance at success.
  • Deconstructed Trope: Kareem Said, mostly in Seasons 1 and 2, is a deconstruction of the social leader archetype prevalent in the 1990s, particularly after the L.A. Riots. He is a brilliant and wise man who fights for a noble cause (equality in the justice system). His arguments that the judicial system and society are not fair to minorities are not without cause, but he is completely unwilling to take responsibility for his actions, such as the deaths caused in the riot, and he frequently comes off as petty and vindictive to those outside his group. He polarizes race relations into a two-sided issue and often appears oblivious to the fact that every prisoner in Oz is guilty.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Chris Keller, both a serial divorcée and a serial killer of gay men.
    • The Aryans frequently exhibit bisexual behavior, in the form of raping other men, but it's not clear how much of this stems from attraction, per se, and how much is them simply wanting to dominate other inmates on the deepest possible level short of murder.
  • Depraved Dentist: A rare heroic case appears in Dr. Faraj, who uses his skills to dish out some richly-deserved pain and humiliation to Robson.
  • Determinator:
    • Deconstructed by Hernandez. Hernandez's pure hatred of Alvarez (which he finally admits has no logical basis) and constant pressure on his fellow Latinos to kill Alvarez causes the group's initial admiration for "El Cid" to eventually degrade into annoyance and makes him an easy target for Morales.
    • Downplayed by Alvarez himself. He keeps going in spite of all the horrible things that happen to him, but he needs a lot of pushing to even make the attempt.
  • Doing In the Wizard:
    • It is implied that Rebadow's "conversations with God" are the product of a brain tumor, as the voices intensify when his tumor becomes malignant, and disappear when it is removed.
    • Cloutier's mystical disappearance at the end of Season 5 is finally explained in the Series Finale: he was kidnapped by the Bikers and sealed behind the wall again.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Averted. Claire Howell going after the reluctant inmates is disturbing. Not quite as disturbing as the male on male rapes, though.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Averted. Not a single rape scene is ever played off or received as "funny". When Glynn condones prison rape as a form of prisoner control, his staff is horrified.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Beecher's wife Or was it?
    • Although he made it look like Beecher killed him, Keller's dive at the end may have been as well.
    • Poor Guillaume Tarrant blows his brains out on his second or third day in prison.
  • Dysfunction Junction: It's a show about a prison. But interestingly, the staff aren't above this trope.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Prison guard Claire Howell murders inmate Nikolai Stanislofsky this way, after first giving him some hand relief.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Ryan considers the tattoo of his wife's name on his forearm to be this, as he mentions to Said while scrubbing it off his arm in the bathroom.
    • Beecher is distraught that his wife saw the swastika that Schillinger burned onto his ass.
  • Enemy Mine: Happens all the time as the different factions struggle for power or revenge, forming temporary alliances to gain the advantage over their enemy of the moment. Lampshaded by Galson, a convicted Marine colonel.

    Galson: The land-mines in Oz are even less visible. Friends turn on friends, enemies buddy up.

  • Ensemble Cast: The entire main cast gets equal screen time and importance, as well as having equal claim to being the protagonist. Supporting characters also often get the same treatment, and even background characters can suddenly surge into relevance.
  • Erotic Dream: At one point Sister Peter Marie starts having erotic dreams of inmate Chris Keller. She realizes soon enough that he's been messing with her head to help him get closer to Tobias Beecher again.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: A major theme of the show. Special mention must go to Malcolm Coyle. He boasts that he slaughtered a family for fun, prompting Hill to turn him in. Kareem Said enlists the help of the Latinos, Italians, and Aryans to protect Hill by reminding the leaders that they are family men, and Coyle is despicable even by their standards. Schillinger especially agrees once he learns the family had a war Veteran in it.
  • Everything Is Racist: A dark, realistic example. The inmates organize themselves around racial lines, toss slurs around at each other, and compete for racial control of the prison, along with the occasional race-motivated murder or rape. The Aryans are the most explicitly hateful and violent, and even the prison staff seem to carry some racial tension.
  • Eye Scream: Alvarez gouging out the eyes of a prison guard. Or Schillinger getting some glass shards thrown onto his eye courtesy of drugged up Beecher.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: McManus and Said in their attempts to reform the inmates — every time it looks like they've succeeded, circumstances or the inmates' own internal demons make it all for naught.
  • Fake Guest Star: All over the place given that most seasons only had 8 episodes so nearly everybody feels like a series regular. Perhaps the most notable examples are B.D. Wong (Father Ray), muMs da Schemer (Poet), Lauren Velez (Dr. Gloria), and George Morfogen who were apart of the series from the pilot episode and appeared in nearly every episode through to the finale. The opening credits make it harder to judge; for the first two seasons, the opening sequence has a "guest-starring" tier, which is where a majority of actors fell. Season Three removes the actual words "guest starring", but still lists actual guest stars alongside the semi-regulars.
  • Fanservice: Many of the cast members are quite muscular and spend periods of time in undress.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Many, many times, attempts at genuine kindness and altruism backfire horribly on the person offering. Examples include:
    • Dr. Nathan's kindness to O'Reily during his cancer treatments ends with him murdering her husband.
    • Poet repaying Kareem Said's efforts to secure his release by not only blowing it and getting sent back to jail, but later publicly humiliating Said over the latter's relationship with a white woman.
    • Schillinger repaying Beecher's attempt to broker peace by murdering Beecher's young son.
    • Beecher trying to protect Schillinger's prags from being raped results in one of them murdering Beecher's father to get a Rank Up in the Aryan Brotherhood.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Getting sent to solitary is this for Miguel Alvarez at the end of Season 2.
  • Finger in the Mail:
    • African-American inmate Johnny Post kills Italian inmate Dino Ortolani on the orders of Homeboys leader Jefferson Keane. In retaliation, the Italians dismember Post and send Keane his penis in a box.
    • And then of course there's the actual fingers in the mail, previously attached to Beecher's kidnapped son.
    • ** Jason Cramer's crime flashback shows that he was arrested after he attempted to send a package containing the decapitated head of his lover (where he was sending it isn't clear) and the clerk noticed blood seeping from the box.
  • Flat "What": Robson in response to Cutler telling him to bend over. It makes sense (and a lot more pain) in context.
  • Fortune Teller: Jara is a fetisher, reading cowrie shells in African tradition. He claims to have known that Adebisi would come to him for advice.
  • The Freelance Shame Squad: Any time a brawl or other drama breaks out, expect the other prisoners to stop what they're doing and whoop and jeer at the person on the losing end. This can actually be quite funny when it happens to prisoners who really deserve it.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • The O'Reilys had an abusive father and a mother who died while they were young.
    • James Robson was both physically and sexually abused by his father.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Some instances during the shower scenes.
  • Gallows Humor: An awful lot of it. No matter how brutal or horrific a situation, someone is going to make a joke about it.

    Warden Glynn: The M.E. has ruled McCullum's death as a suicide. He bit into his skin, chewing off chunks of muscle over the course of a week or so, causing himself to bleed out.
    Sister Pete: Sweet Jesus!
    Officer Murphy: Like a cannibal!
    Tim McManus: A cannibal eats somebody else's flesh.
    Murphy: So what do you call a guy who eats his own flesh?
    Tim McManus: Inventive.

  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: After Beecher's wife on the outside commits suicide and leaves her body behind for their little children to find, he receives a letter that she sent in advance in which she spitefully blames him for her death.
  • Great Escape: Agamemnon Busmalis, three unsuccessful attempts to dig out from prison to freedom. Got out once, but got caught.
  • Groin Attack:
    • The Season 2 premiere is aptly named "The Tip". When Beecher is sexually assaulted by one of his new cellmates after transfer to Gen Pop, he bites the tip of the man's penis off.
    • Johnny Post gets his penis cut off and mailed back to his gang.
    • In a hilarious and far less gruesome example, Beecher kicks Schillinger in the balls before beating him with a dumbbell and shitting on his face.
    • Tiny, old, crazy Giles surprises Alvarez (who was harassing him after being stabbed two years prior) by delivering a well-placed kick and punching him in the face.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Tobias Beecher, imprisoned for vehicular homicide, is a murderer several times over by the end of the series.
  • Handsome Lech: McManus. Though this backfires on him when Claire Howell arrives on the scene.
  • Hanging Judge: Homeboys leader Burr Redding adopts this role for himself when he kills Tugg Daniels for conspiring against him with Supreme Allah, holding a mock trial before "sentencing" him.

    Redding: I believe every man deserves a fair trial... before the execution.

  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Keller spends an awful lot of the series spinning around in here.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Oftentimes, when an inmate makes genuine strides to redemption, something will send it all to hell and send them all the way back to where they started and completely put off the idea of redemption.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: In an effort to stay clean, Omar White takes up singing. Every prisoner seems to think he's the worst singer in OZ. It should be noted that his actor Michael Wright played Eddie King Jr. in the film The Five Heartbeats, who was loosely based on singer David Ruffin. The point is, Michael Wright can sing.
  • I Can't Feel My Legs: A very tragic inversion. Augustus Hill, who has been paralyzed for the entire series, last words are "I can feel my legs."
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Governor Devlin: Despite OZ experiencing a riot, the above-average murder rate, two inmates escaping, two different incidents involving an inmate having a gun, and a freaking bomb scare not to mention a gas explosion that followed, Devlin seems completely content with sending numerous high profile criminals such as Kareem Said, Jackson Vahue, and even his close friend Mayor Wilson Loewen to OZ (though in this case, you could argue he set Loewen up deliberately). Another case would be allowing a TV crew to film a documentary on prison life in OZ when there are other prisons without a history of clusterfucks. It ends with the Host getting the crap beat out of him. And finally, amidst tension and in the wake of several murders, two separate times Devlin has ordered Glynn to end an essential lockdown so he can save face and portray a sense of control to the public. Though that last one is probably more of him not caring than being stupid. The only way to justify much of it is to claim that he deliberately wants people to think of prison as brutal, to exemplify his "tough on crime" stance.
    • Both McManus and Glynn have a habit of putting their faith in prisoners when they're obviously up to something, while any genuine plea for protection, help, or justice is usually met with a "Now, why would I trust you? The answer is NO."
    • The correction officers. If they were good at their jobs and stopped a good portion of the shenanigans going on in Emerald City, there wouldn't be much of a show. Some of them are shown to be outright corrupt, however.
    • Robert Sippel: After serving time for molesting a fourteen-year-old boy, Sippel cannot find a place to stay, let alone a job. He convinces Sister Pete to let him sleep in his old cell, and not in protective custody. He only lasts hours before CO Metzger brings him into the gym so the Aryans can crucify him.
    • McManus deserves special mention with Lemuel Idzik. When Idzik killed Kareem Said, McManus knew that Omar White (having kicked his addiction to heroin thanks to Said) intended to seek vengeance. In true McManus fashion, his ideals overshadowed common sense when he made the two cellmates. Omar didn't kill Idzik however, Idzik killed Omar.
    • Adebisi gives Said a tape of all of his misdeeds as an act of good faith, despite apparently knowing that Said wants to bring him down. Adebisi is genuinely surprised and enraged when the inevitable occurs.
    • The "Men Of Death Row" photoshoot. Sure, let's put a bunch of psychopathic dudes who are responsible for multiple murders in a room full of equipment. What could possibly go wrong?
  • If I Had a Nickel: "If I had a nickel for every time I didn't understand, you'd be talking to an empty chair."
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Donald Groves, who ate his mother and was saving his father for Thanksgiving.
  • Incompatible Orientation: When Richie Hanlon (gay) joins Shirley Bellinger (straight) in the Death Row block, Bellinger offers to show her vagina if Hanlon shows her his penis. He points out that he's gay, but obliges anyway when she says she doesn't care either way.

    Bellinger:You must have made some guy really happy.

  • Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Rebadow, a kindly old prisoner, starts to become obsessed with the idea of killing after the leader of one of the gangs forces him to take out one of his rivals. At one point he fantasizes about laying into the crowd in the cafeteria with a machine gun before he snaps out of it.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence:
    • There's the Keller/Beecher relationship, conjugal visits in the first season, and transvestites strutting their stuff. Not to mention all the sexual slavery that goes on.
    • Jefferson Keane's execution also counts, what with the actual execution part interlaced with scenes of McManus and Wittlesey getting it on in the prison.
    • The flashback to Augustus Hill's arrest and injury. Police broke into his apartment while he was having sex with his wife. In the ensuing chase, he shot a cop dead, then got thrown off a roof in retaliation, ending up paralyzed.
  • Ironic Echo: When Beecher finally gets back at Schillinger, beating the hell out of him and defecating on his face, he screams "Sieg Heil baby! Sieg-fuckin-Heil!". When Schillinger returns the favor, breaking Beecher's arms and legs, he delivers the same line, only with none of the irony.
  • Is That a Threat?: Martin Querns, the new unit manager of Emerald City, uses the "Are you threatening me?" version in a mocking tone towards the leader of the Muslim prisoners to emphasize how unimpressed he is by the toothless display.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Vern keeps on correcting people's pronunciation of his name, and everybody who isn't his friend ignores him and keeps pronouncing it the wrong way. (Because let's face it, if you knew a bully/Nazi/homophobe/rapist like him, wouldn't you enjoy irritating the living fuck out of him if you could get away with it?) Witness his reactions, particularly the one at the very end of the video.

    "Schillinger! God DAMN IT! Schillinger! I've been here NINE FUCKING YEARS! You'd think you'd know how to say my goddamn name!"

  • Jerkass: Many of the guards, especially Lopresti.
  • Karma Houdini: Ryan O'Reily commits numerous heinous acts and in the end faces minimal punishment for his crimes, mainly because he's able to manipulate others to do the dirty work for him; and then arrange their deaths as well.
    • Jason Cramer, a gay inmate who decapitated his lover, ends up getting his conviction overturned because a police officer involved in the case confessed to fabricating evidence and the one witness to his crime died several years prior.
    • Claire Howell abuses her authority as a prison guard to molest male inmates, and murders Nikolai Stanislofsky in order to please O'Reily. In the end, she never faces any punishment, with the closest she gets being having to give up her violent ways in order to raise her daughter by one of the inmates.
  • Karmic Rape: The male-on-male rape that occurs in the Oswald prison is always treated as horrific and unjust, except a few instances where it's very clearly Laser-Guided Karma. Examples of such include Franklin Winthrop, who was convicted in the first place for raping a woman in public; and Robson, who frequently raped other inmates himself before he was later ousted from his gang and had to become a sex slave to a stronger inmate.
  • Killed Offscreen: Death row inmate Moses Dyell volunteers to donate his organs immediately after his execution, even getting Said to vouch on his behalf. Said later hears the news that Moses was shot when he attempted to escape from his prison transport.
  • Killer Finale: Schillinger, Keller, Cyril, and Hoyt all die in the Grand Finale.
  • Kiss of Death: Chucky Pancamo to Peter Schibetta, right before ripping his eye out.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • After six years of monstrous and sadistic acts, Schillinger looks like he is about to end the series unscathed. He is even about to kill old enemy Beecher during a play. Then he realizes that Keller switched it so Beecher has the real knife. Particularly nice in that he realized he had been duped just before dying. The prison audience rejoiced.
    • Robson, who was among the more insistent Aryans with his abuse of "prags", ends up with HIV toward the end of the series. He even acknowledges that it's this.
      • This is also used to dish out karma to Clarence Seroy, who rapes Robson in the series finale, confident that he'll get away... then finds out about Robson's diagnoses and realizes what this means for him.
    • It's deconstructed otherwise, as the series' themes of mercy and punishment means it tends to examine when punishment goes too far. As satisfying as it is to watch some characters get their comeuppance, the series often tends to have it go to such lengths that it becomes uncomfortable to watch rather than satisfying.
  • Last-Minute Reprieve:
    • Part of Bob Rebadow's backstory; a power failure saved him from the electric chair.
    • Cyril in Season 6. But it's only temporary...
  • Left Hanging: Quite a few storylines are left unresolved, most pressingly: whether Beecher will get charged with Keller's death, how Ryan and Gloria will move forward with their relationship, if the Governor will remain in office, whether or not McManus gets fired.
  • Lemony Narrator: Augustus Hill narrates the show while simultaneously giving commentary on the prison system and life in Oz, all according to a theme indicated by the episode's title. Oftentimes he breaks to take a shot at one of the other prisoners or the staff.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: During any given season, there's at least twenty recurring characters that are playing a pivotal role in at least one arc. If you got a line somewhere in the first two seasons, chances are you got a name, multiple character arcs, and a tragic death scene by the end of the show. With Anyone Can Die being strongly in effect (with at least one or two notable character deaths per episode) there was pretty huge cast turnover so collectively, there was well over 200 named characters and over half of them died over the course of the series.
  • Longer-Than-Life Sentence: Several characters serve such sentences.
    • Chris Keller is sentenced to 88 years with parole accessible in 50 before getting an eventually overturned death sentence.
    • Subverted with Omar White: while he is sentenced to 75 years, he's up for parole in 20.
  • Love Hurts: And the pain aspect being intentional doesn't help much.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: Adebisi outfits his pod this way after Querns makes him trustee of Em City
  • Madness Mantra: Beecher's nursery rhymes in Season 2.
  • Made of Iron: Alvarez could be a mundane version. Over the course of the show, he is stabbed four times (once in the first five minutes of the show), shot, strangled, beaten, starved, and attacked with a shiv twice, and tries to commit suicide twice. And he manages to survive until the series finale. Played with in that he does spend time in the hospital ward for several of these injuries, but characters lament the fact that it seems impossible to actually kill him.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: If penises scare you, don't watch the show.
  • Manchild: Cyril O'Reily, due to brain damage.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Ryan O'Reily, the king chessmaster of the prison.
    • Stanislofsky is O'Reily's rival chessmaster for a time, and even has the advantage for most of Season 4.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Two moments of this bookend Season 4. In the premiere, during Guillaume Tarrant's shooting rampage characters as disparate as Hernandez, Schillinger and Said are shown with a massive Oh, Crap! reaction; and in the finale, one occurs when Padraig Connelly is revealed to have a bomb, swiftly followed by Crowd Panic.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Rebadow's "conversations with God", Timmy Kirk's demonic voice, and the visions of the Reverend Cloutier are never given an explanation.
  • Meaningful Name
    • The evil Nazi guard is called Karl Metzger; "metzger" means butcher in German. In fact, almost all the American white supremacists on the show (James Robson being the exception) have at least one German or German-sounding name.
    • Ray/Rei is Japanese for spirit, a fitting name for a priest, though in a sardonic twist it can also mean zero, i.e. nothingness.
    • Sister Peter Marie Reimondo = Rey mundo (King and world in Spanish). Peter means rock, and Marie is a variation on Mary, the mother of Christ.
    • Schillinger wants to make Adam Guenzel his prag. In old-timey prison slang, the word "gunsel" was the equivalent of "bitch", "punk", etc. It's essentially the Yiddish word for being Camp Gay.
  • Meaningful Rename: Halfway through the series, the facility's name is changed from Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary to Oswald State Correctional Facility Level 4. Hill suspects that the name change reflects the administration abandoning any serious attempt to reform the prisoners.
  • Mind Rape: This is essentially Schillinger's revenge plan for Beecher during the second season. It works flawlessly.
  • Moral Luck: A recurring theme is how various people use this to justify harshly punishing the prisoners no matter who they are or what they've done, rationalizing that it's entirely deserved no matter how excessive the punishment is because they're criminals.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Schillinger is constantly reacting to Beecher's attempts at revenge as though they were the most heinous things ever, in spite of the fact that Beecher only wants revenge because Schillinger had put him through a hellish period of abuse and murdered his son when he tried to bury the hatchet.
    • Various government officials, particularly Devlin, tend to moralize and act holier-than-thou while displaying how callous they really are at the same time.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Ryan O'Reily and his brain-damaged brother — though this is horribly subverted on several occasions due to Ryan's utter willingness to manipulate his brother for his schemes.
    • The only times Keller does anything good is to help or protect Beecher.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Beecher, since he's a pretty big Woobie and becomes tougher with a "take no shit" attitude. There's also Chris Keller, Ryan O'Reily, Adebisi (who has a tendency to leave his shirt open) etc.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse:
    • Ryan O'Reily does this to Dr. Nathan's husband.
    • Chris Keller does this to every single one of Beecher's former male lovers, though, the two female lovers Beecher has after he and Keller became involved fare a little better. He drives one to dump Beecher, and he gets Beecher re-imprisoned to separate him from the other, but he doesn't kill or physically harm either of them.
  • Murder-Suicide: Guillaume Tarrant, a weak inmate who got his stint after demolishing an important statue, quickly finds himself bullied by several other inmates. When he gains possession of a gun through Adebisi, he kills his tormentors in front of everyone. He then turns the gun around on himself when the SORT team corners him.
  • Musical Episode: Series 5, episode 3 "Variety" is a downplayed example with various characters singing during the narrator segments instead of Hill talking. Allows The Cast Showoff skills of Broadway alums Betty Buckley, Rita Moreno and B.D. Wong. Also including a hilarious duet between enemies Beecher and Schillinger. Of all the characters who sing in the episode, the only one without an actor with stage musical experience was Jaz Hoyt. Hoyt is portrayed by Evan Seinfeld, bassist and singer for metal band Biohazard.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Beecher experiences this after his plan of getting Schillinger to kill his own son works
  • Naïve Newcomer: Beecher in Season 1. He's unprepared for the brutality of Oz, and quickly becomes Schillinger's sex slave after "saving" Beecher from becoming a sex slave to Adebisi.
  • Neck Snap: After Chris Keller discovers that an old friend tried to sell him out to the cops, he coaxes the man into giving him a blowjob in a janitor's closet, then snaps his neck afterwards.
  • Never My Fault: Adam Guenzel. He claimed that he gang raped his victim because they were all drunk and that he never meant to hurt her (he is later seen bragging about the rape). After Beecher hands him over to the Aryans, he blames his situation on Beecher, even though he brought it on himself by being a complete asshole to him after he saved his life.
  • Nice Hat: Adebisi's perpetually tilted knitted hat. Nobody is quite sure how he gets it to stay there.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted with a vengeance. Between Beecher, Keller, Adebisi, Schillinger, and the various prison rapists, the show has a large number of prominent male characters who don't seem terribly picky about gender.
    • Though, interestingly, bisexuality as a recognised concept might fit the trope. 'Homosexuality' is addressed by name and is acknowledged to be something that some men are beyond Situational Sexuality and/or using rape as a tool of domination, but bisexuality never is. When someone close to him accusingly asks if Beecher is or isn't gay, he stumbles over how not everything is simple and that people can't always easily be boxed into certain labels. Keller is pretty open about liking both men and women, but he has a lot of issues with what liking men says about him.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: On many occasions, the most brutal of them all (Keller to Beecher) being surprisingly systematic in nature.
  • Not Quite Forever: One measure of the show's gradual decline from a gritty prison drama to a prison-based soap opera is the number of times Alvarez is sent to Solitary permanently, only to be let out a couple of weeks later.
  • Not So Above It All: Most of the prison staff; McManus is a secret pot smoker, Diane murdered an inmate in order to keep him from incriminating her in a scheme to get her to smuggle cigarettes into the prison, Sean Murphy helped cut Morales' Achilles tendons as payback for him having another guard's tendon cut, and recurring straight-arrow prison guard Armstrong took money to let a man destroy the Muslims' printing press equipment. In addition, Glynn makes no effort to hide his disdain for prisoners or his bullying of Alvarez.
  • Not-So-Fake Prop Weapon: The prop knife in the prison production of Macbeth was switched for a real one.
  • Not the First Victim:
    • There's a single episode character, Richard L'Italien, who is a Serial Killer known to have murdered several women. Days before his execution he confesses to there being many more victims than were known about, complete with a long list of names.
    • Although Keller is already in prison for murder, it's in the context of having killed someone during a robbery (as well as a host of other violent crimes). In Season 4, he ultimately reveals (shortly before killing Barlog via a Neck Snap) that he is also a Serial Killer of gay men whom he'd have sex with and then kill.
  • Odd Friendship: A few develop over the course of the series: Beecher and O'Reily, Beecher and Said, Burr Redding and Col. Galson, Mukada and Cloutier once they get over their rivalry.
  • Oh, Crap!: Given all the plotting, power struggles and reversals of fortune among the inmates, this is a fairly common occurrence. Some notable ones include:
    • Schillinger has a literal one in the first season when Beecher takes his revenge, which culminates in Beecher taking an actual dump on Schillinger's face.
    • Kenny Wangler has a richly deserved moment of this when his meek, introverted bullying victim Guillaume Tarrant unexpectedly whips out a gun.
    • The look on Kareem Said's face when he realizes his efforts on behalf of Jason Cramer have Gone Horribly Right, and he's unwittingly helped set a brutal murderer free.
    • Huseni Mershah has one when Said survives the heart attack Mershah purposefully ignored and returns to Em City.
    • O'Reily when he hears the contraband cell phone ringing, and realizes Stanislofsky has just outfoxed him.
  • Only Sane Man: Augustus Hill. Also: Sean Murphy. Of the rounded officer characters he seems to have the most common sense.
  • The Old Convict: Rebadow, who's been in for 30 years and was handed the last death penalty in the state (before Devlin re-instated it). Busmalis to a lesser extent, but he was old before he came to Oz.
  • Pariah Prisoner:
    • Any prisoner known to give up information to the guards
    • The prison has a separate small wing to house inmates who used to work in law enforcement to protect them from other prisoners.
    • Zigzagged by one of the few child killers in the show, Malcolm "Snake" Coyle. He was arrested on a robbery charge, but when the truth about his other crimes came out (he couldn't help bragging about it), all the other gangs allied together to protect August when he snitched on him. The Homeboys, however, were pissed off when Coyle ended up dead, albeit for "political" reasons rather than moral ones.
  • Pater Familicide: Mark Miles is on death row for doing this twice.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Plenty of the inmates consider their original crimes to be something along these lines:
    • Schillinger is in prison for beating the drug dealer selling to his kids with a crowbar. He also crucified a former priest in prison for molesting a child.
    • Hill poisons Supreme Allah for getting him sent to prison and crippled (but also to protect Burr Redding).
    • Wangler has his wife and her new boyfriend killed when the boyfriend abuses Wangler's son.
    • Wangler himself (along with friend Junior Pierce) is killed by Guillaume Tarrant for stealing from and harassing him non-stop.
    • Snake Coyle is murdered by Antonio Nappa for brutally killing three generations of a family he knew for no reason at all and bragging about it.
    • Timmy Kirk is a manipulative inmate killed by Jaz Hoyt when Hoyt thinks Kirk is possessed by Satan.
    • O'Reily kills Patrick Keenan for raping Dr. Nathan.
    • Shirley thinks she is doing this when she self-aborts, saying that she was raped by Satan in the form of a man.
    • Jefferson Keane burning Dino Ortolani alive after Ortolani viciously beat Keane's brother. In the same vein, Nino Schibetta has Johnny Post emasculated and tortured to death for burning Ortolani.
    • Beecher's murder of the loathsome guard Metzger, who was an ally of the Aryans.
    • The homophobic rapist Guenzel becoming the Aryans' newest prag. Also qualifies as Laser-Guided Karma.
    • Cudney views the killing of the son of the doctor who performed his wife's abortion as this.
  • Percussive Prevention: In the long feud between Beecher and Schillinger, Schillinger gets his son to kidnap Beecher's children and kill one of them. In retaliation, Beecher arranges to have Schillinger's son killed, but feels remorseful afterwards. So remorseful, in fact, that when Schillinger is about to find out that Beecher was responsible Beecher decides to own up to it. Keller wants to confess to the crime instead so that Beecher won't become a target. Beecher tells him no. Keller knocks Beecher out so that Beecher can't stop him from taking credit for the murder and then runs off to do so.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust:
    • In a late season 6 episode, an inmate in Emerald City is seen playing one of the Tomb Raider games in the computer rec room. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Lara Croft is one of the main draws.
    • Of all things, the inmates also lust after a children's show host (Miss Sally) because of her large breasts. Though in this case it's a bit more understandable, given that she's played by a live-action actress. There's even a subplot with a woman pretending to be Miss Sally (she did work on the show, but only answered fan mail) starting a relationship with one of the nicer inmates.
  • The Place: The show's title refers to the correctional facility.
  • Police Brutality: Alvin Yood (Prisoner 01Y218) is a former small town Sheriff jailed for beating a minor who spat on him during an interrogation.
  • Posthumous Narration: Augustus does his usual narrations in Season 6 despite being killed in the Season 5 finale. He's joined by other dead characters such as Jefferson Keane, Dino Ortolani, Antonio Nappa and even the Schillinger brothers (who never appeared together onscreen while alive, apart from a flashback as children).
  • Post-Rape Taunt:
    • Invoked when Dr. Gloria Nathan is raped on her way home from work by an Irish criminal, and she suspects that inmate Ryan O'Reily, who was obsessed with her and had already arranged her husband's death, was behind it. When she confronts him, he gloats about the rape until she physically attacks him, but he later admits to Father Mukada that he was lying so she could truly hate him and move on with her life. He later kills the rapist personally.
    • Schillinger gives one to Peter Schibetta in a hallway that causes Schibetta to have a minor breakdown.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The default setting of the vast majority of prisoners. You could make a drinking game of the number of times some variation on "But what's in it for me?" is asked, or conversely, when someone spots an offer that's clearly too good to be true.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Dianne Wittlesey, after Edie Falco landed a role on The Sopranos.
    • Miguel Alvarez escaped from Oz in season 4 for a chunk of episodes so that Kirk Acevedo could shootBand of Brothers.
    • Keller was given a death sentence in Massachusetts when actor Christopher Meloni decided working two shows at once (he also portrayed grizzled cop Eliot Stabler on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) was to exhausting. The sentence was overturned when Meloni changed his mind and came back to the show.
  • Precision F-Strike: Sister Peter-Marie, who doesn't use any profanity (even Father Ray does when talking to inmates) angrily shouts "what the fuck is going on!?" after a verbal fight between McManus and Querns.
  • Prison Rape: Many instances of this, realistically portrayed and very disturbing. Rather perversely, many of the rapes perpetrated on this show are said to be against cast and crew that show up late to work.
  • Prison Riot: Prison riots are a constant threat. One erupts in the first season finale "A Game of Checkers" when the prison gangs unite to take over Emerald City by taking the guards hostage. The prisoners establish a ruling council, but it's later revealed that everyone from the rioters to the prison administrators were being manipulated by Kareem Said from the start. He correctly predicted that Governor Devlin would refuse even the rioters' mostly reasonable demands and take back Em City by force, causing enough deaths for public outrage to bring about real reform.
  • Prisoner's Work: The prison industry is a dress factory. Anyone who doesn't have a job elsewhere in the prison (mail room, kitchen, etc.) ends up working there.
  • Rape and Revenge: Prison Rape is really rampant in the setting, which turns victims into "prags", prisoners who trade in sexual favors for protection. The only reliable way for such a prisoner to regain their cred is to kill their rapist.
    • Beecher gets revenge on Schillinger for all the crap he did to him, which includes rape, by knocking glass in his eye, beating him up, and crapping on him.
    • James Robson becomes a prag to Wolfgang Cutler after he is kicked out of the Aryan Brotherhood, who sodomizes him with a spoon several times. Robson gets revenge by tricking Cutler into killing himself through Erotic Asphyxiation.
  • Rape as Drama: Chiefly with the rapes of Dr. Nathan and Peter Schibetta. In Season 6, prison rape is treated much more seriously, with one of the final scenes in the series showing Sister Peter Marie's new sexual assault support group.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Wilson Loewen, whom Vern Schillinger idolizes, cuts him down brutally, telling him that he never thought he'd amount to anything, and the only reason he even looked Schillinger's way is because his father and Loewen were friends.
    • Hill gives a big one to Burr Redding:

      Bullshit! The fact of the matter is, I wouldn't be in Oz, I wouldn't be in this chair, if you had only let me have the fucking paper route!

  • Reassigned to Antarctica: How Father Mukada ended up in Oz. By his own admission he was a star student but was too critical of his superiors to rise further through the ecclesiastical ranks. The Cardinal claims that the assignment was not intended as a punishment, but as a lesson in humility.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: One of the inmates was sent to prison after brandishing a gun at school which went off, killing a schoolgirl on the floor above.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Commonly done. Most notably Jefferson Keane in Season 1, Andy Schillinger in Season 3 and Omar White in Season 6.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: A recurring theme is that prisoners genuinely seeking redemption will always be disbelieved by the prison administration, with the exception of Sister Pete and Father Mukada. The worst offender is the parole board, who are only seen turning down genuinely repentant prisoners out of crimes they have done their best to atone for.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Schillinger's hellish abuse slowly breaks Beecher, and he finally snaps when Schillinger tries to get the Homeboys to kill him, turning into a rage-fueled, unhinged berserker and one of the most violent inmates in Oz.
    • Alvarez's relationship with sanity is rather tenuous. At his lowest points, he's prone to self-harm and even suffered from hallucinations at one point.
    • Carlo Ricardo gradually loses it as his family slowly abandons him, until he snaps entirely when he (incorrectly) believes his beloved sister has left him as well.
    • Thanks to his own insecurities and Adebisi's influence, Clayton Hughes slides into radicalism, culminating in him trying to assassinate Devlin. From that point on, he slowly gets more delusional and violent, until he finally suffers a psychotic break and is completely enveloped by his delusions.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Occurs several times when the prisoners are watching Miss Sally's Schoolyard.
  • Scars Are Forever: Subverted. Both Alvarez and Schillinger receive prominent facial scars during the first season, and both scars are totally badass and reflect on their character. Nonetheless, both heal over, which in Vern's case is actually pretty hard to believe. Although Alvarez's scar occasionally reappears as the plot demands.
  • Scary Black Man: Adebisi. Said often uses this stereotype to his advantage, too. Said can look particularly scary when the lighting makes his (normally dark brown) eyes appear red!
  • Scenery Censor: Noticeably averted. There's quite a lot of full frontal male nudity. Hell, by Season 4, they made at least one of those shots is part of the opening titles.
  • The Scottish Trope: In the final season the prisoners put on a performance of Macbeth. Every prisoner who volunteers for the title role gets murdered, with the last death taking place on stage during performance night.
  • Series Fauxnale: By the time of the fourth season finale, they didn't know whether they would be renewed and so Tom Fontana wrote two endings: one where Beecher got paroled and one where he didn't. If the show was canceled they would end on the happy note of Beecher being paroled. The show was renewed but Fontana liked the sequence of Beecher's parole so much that he used it as a dream sequence in the final season.
  • Serial Killer: Quite a few, with Keller eventually admitting to have been one.
  • Sexy Secretary: Floria Mills, Glynn's temporary secretary in season 4. The whole prison gives her a standing ovation when she strolls through the cafeteria.
  • Shot at Dawn: After Donald Groves is sentenced to death for the murder of a correctional officer, he chooses firing squad as his method of execution.
  • Shout-Out: When Clayton Hughes shoots Governor Devlin, his hair is cut into a mohawk and he wears a green army jacket, not unlike Travis Bickle. Interestingly enough, the whole affair is reminiscent of the Hinckley shooting, which was inspired by Taxi Driver.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Miss Sally's Schoolyard a children's show that also appeared on several other shows Tom Fontana produced and featured a buxom host that the prisoners loved.
    • Up Your Ante: a game show modeled after $1000 Pyramid that featured celebrity contestants (one of whom was Miss Sally) helping regular contestants guess the answers to questions.
  • Shower of Angst: Considering the amount of traumatic experiences the prison inmates go through, it's expected.
  • Shower Scene: There are a few notable beatdowns in the shower, but probably the worst is in Season 5, when Supreme Allah kicks the shit out of Augustus Hill—who is in a wheelchair.
  • Sinister Minister:
    • Played straight with Timmy Kirk, who after converting from Catholicism to Cloutier's evangelical group, arranges beatings, murders, and the arson of Father Mukada's rectory. He pays for several of these with blow jobs. He also arranged for Cloutier to be bricked inside the kitchen wall.
    • Subverted with Cloutier: despite initially seeming like a shady televangelist, he's actually a very good preacher who helps keep the peace.
  • Sinister Shiv: The Weapon of Choice for inmates of Oz. One of Augustus Hill's narration segments even breaks down all the different varieties found in Oz.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Schillinger, Ryan, Adebisi, Chris, and even Beecher have perfected this. Oftentimes it doesn't seem like they're capable of any other kind.
    • Done (as a probably unintentional visual pun) in a Season 3 episode when Nikolai Stanislofsky (the Russian Jew) kills an inmate in the shower with a razor he had concealed in his mouth.
  • Sleazy Politician: Governor Devlin.
  • The Smurfette Principle: There is but ONE female inmate depicted in the whole series: Shirley Bellinger. She is also a very believable Distaff Counterpart to the male inmates in her amoral ways.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Execution Syndrome: A number of inmates sentenced to death row are executed in a matter of months. The average wait time in real life is close to fifteen years.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Chris Keller and Ryan O'Reily.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The prisoners range from benevolent characters (Ralph Galino, Hamid Khan, Father Meehan) and harmless characters with a few exceptions (Busmalis, Augustus Hill, Said) to monsters like Schillinger, Adebisi and Hernandez.
  • Special Guest: The show didn't really traffic in outlandish Stunt Casting but on occasion featured well known character actors that often got a special And Starring credit in the intro. The more notable ones include Eric Roberts, Charles S Dutton and Luke Perry.
  • Stalker with a Crush:
    • Ryan O'Reily's obsession with Dr. Nathan.
    • Keller's obsession with wanting to remain in Beecher's life, even though Beecher rejects him.
  • Straw Nihilist: Lemuel Idzik, who kills Kareem Said in the hopes of a death sentence, because he believes his life is meaningless due to the impending apocalypse.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Chris Keller for Scott Ross; both are depraved bisexuals with ties to Schillinger.
    • Jahfree Neema, a charismatic African American community leader of some local renown, comes into Oz almost immediately after Kareem Said, a charismatic African American community leader of some local renown is shot by Lemuel Idzik. Not that much really comes of the similarities, but the archetype void is filled.
  • Talkative Loon: Omar White. He does not shut up for even a second, and nothing he says makes a damn bit of sense.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Keller's suicide is engineered by him as a means of keeping Beecher in Oz.
  • The Cast Showoff: Craig "Mums" Grant who plays Poet is a poet in real life. In fact, he wrote every poem he read on the show.
  • The Television Talks Back: Augustus Hill never interacts with the other characters while speaking as The Narrator, except for one occasion when Simon Adebisi is in the computer room high on drugs, and is dumbfounded to see Augustus on his monitor discussing the events of the episode.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Subverted in the case of Eli Zabitz. Keller wants to kill him out or revenge, Robson wants to kill him so he can't blackmail the Aryans anymore. While they argue over who can kill him (and quite obviously prepare to attack each other over the pleasure), Zabitz has a heart attack. Keller and Robson look at each other, shrug, and leave.
  • The Unfair Sex: Averted with characters like Shirley Bellinger and Claire Howell. Bellinger murdered her own children and is put on death row, while Claire Howell is depicted as a loathsome sexual predator who abuses her authority. This discussed with regard to Shirley, as Devlin gets a lot of flak for the first death sentence in 30 years being handed to a woman.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Adam Guenzel, the last thing you should do is act like a complete asshole to the only person in the prison who's trying to protect you from the Aryans who clearly have it out for you.
    • Enrique Morales' brother-in-law bragging to Morales that he'd abused his wife (i.e. Morales' sister). No-Holds-Barred Beatdown ensues.
    • Peter Schibetta taunting the resident Ax-CrazyScary Black Man Adebisi with racial slurs... while Adebisi's holding a box of rat poison... and finishing by telling Adebisi to go fix him lunch. Three guesses where the rat poison ends up. Sadly that's not even the most disastrous of his decisions, but it is one of the most blatantly stupid.
    • Directly after Kosygin tells Stanislofsky that he's going to kill him, Stanislofsky turns his back on him and damn near dies from a weapon that Stanislofksy knows about and which Kosygin is brandishing.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Tobias Beecher, starts out as a helpless rich lawyer in first season by the end he's a cynical grizzled con with a beard to prove it. Eventually becoming tough enough to kill a hard as nails white supremacist guard with nothing but his sharpened fingernails.
  • Tunnel King: Agamemnon 'The Mole' Busmalis. Not only were they his MO for robbing banks on the outside, but he repeatedly uses them in attempts to escape from Oz. He even names his tunnels and treats them like women.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Adam Guenzel. After Beecher went out of his way to protect him from the Aryans, he mocked his sexuality and humiliated him in front of the prison.
  • The Vamp: Shirley Bellinger, who uses her sexuality to get favors from prisoners and COs alike.
    • Timmy Kirk to a slightly lesser extent; he tends to offer oral sex as payment for favors. It works about half of the time, with disastrous consequences for other characters.
  • The 'Verse: The appearance of Miss Sally's School Yard and Weigert places it in the same convoluted universe as Homicide: Life on the Street, St. Elsewhere, The X-Files and Cheers among many others.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: The first to appear is Nathalie/Nathaniel in Season 3. Franklin Winthrop as the Aryans' prag qualifies however, as does Robson during his brief "feminine" period.
  • Villain Protagonist: Several of the major prisoners. Ryan O'Reily is probably the premier example.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Adibesi is shirtless most of the time, and quite muscular.
  • Welcome Episode: Tobias Beecher being admitted into Oz in the first episode.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The finale infamously left the Governor Devlin plotline unresolved, let alone McManus's fate (essentially being told that in a month's time, if Devlin doesn't get arrested for his crimes, new warden Querns will have no choice but to fire him in order to appease Devlin). Character wise, there are several who disappear with no explanation. Although they are usually minor characters, some more important ones have disappeared, notably William Giles.
  • Where da White Women At?: Despite his political and religious views, Kareem Said has only been attracted to white women, much to the horror of his fellow Muslim followers, and even his own (Christian) sister.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: It's never made clear where Oz is located. The best location is likely in western New York, as CO Sean Murphy was able to transfer from Attica to there with little time to move. Other clues lie in the power of the Wiseguy gang and the prevalence of white powder heroin instead of black tar heroin (black tar being almost exclusively used west of the Mississippi).
    • After being released, Sippel mentions sleeping on the subway. There are only eight cities in the US with subway systems: NY/NJ, DC, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and LA.
    • On occasion, the NY state flag and motto appear behind public officials when they are giving press conferences.
    • The only state mentioned explicitly as it not being is Illinois, as Governor Devlin rants against Governor George Ryan's abolition of the death penalty.
  • Widowed at the Wedding: Jefferson Keane, the first leader of the Homeboys seen in the series, got his life sentence for shooting one of his enemies at the man's own wedding.
  • Wild Card: Ryan O'Reily was a prisoner in the Oswald State Correctional Facility who was often involved as part of some scheme with various other inmates (or even the guards), but with no true allegiances except to himself. The Irish weren't really organized as a major gang like El Norte (Latinos), the Homeboys (blacks), or the Aryans (neo-Nazis), so he only really had his mentally disabled brother Cyril as muscle. His audacity and charm allowed him to become one of the leaders of the prison riot in Emerald City, for one.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Malcolm Coyle, Timmy Kirk, Shirley Bellinger, William Cudney, Vern and Hank Schillinger... a disturbingly large number of inmates, really.
  • Written-In Absence:
    • Christopher Meloni left the show towards the end of the fourth season because he was also working on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and he felt that he could no longer do both shows at the same time. On the show, it was explained that Keller was transferred to another prison. But Meloni missed Oz and decided to return. He decided that being able to work on two great shows simultaneously was worth the physical and emotional toll.
    • Kirk Acevedo (Alvarez) was absent from most of the first half of the fourth season because he was working on Band of Brothers. On the show, it was explained that Alvarez had escaped. Acevedo returned for the second half of the fourth season. But shortly after production began on the second half, he landed a recurring role on Third Watch and had to leave again. This time, it was explained that Alvarez had been put in solitary confinement. In some episodes, archive footage of Acevedo from past episodes was reused.
  • Yandere:
    • Chris Keller. He murders all of the guys that Beecher has sex with, acts aggressive with Beecher, has him unknowingly kill Schillinger when he can't convince Beecher to do it willingly, and later kills the Aryans so that they don't pose a threat to him and Beecher. On two various occasions knocks Beecher out with a punch to the head when he refuses to comply with his wishes, and later handcuffs him to a chair, away from everyone, where he threatens him and then forcibly kisses him.
    • Ryan O'Reily towards Dr. Nathan. After Nathan helps him recover from cancer, he falls in love with her and arranges for her husband to be murdered.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Are you, or have you recently pissed off, a series regular? Is your parole hearing coming up soon? Yeah... good luck with that.
  • Zipping Up the Bodybag: This is seen quite a bit during the later seasons, most notably with El Cid and Desmond Mobay. Dino Ortolani's burned body is also seen in one, albeit in a photo and not zipped up.

Sours: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Oz
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Oz (TV series)

American drama television series

Oz is an American dramatelevision series set at a fictional men's prison created by Tom Fontana, who also wrote or co-wrote all of the series’ 56 episodes.[1][2] It was the first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced by the premiumcable networkHBO.[3]Oz premiered on July 12, 1997 and ran for six seasons. The series finale aired February 23, 2003.


"Oz" is the nickname for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, formerly Oswald State Penitentiary, a fictional level 4maximum-securitystate prison.

The nickname "Oz" is also a reference to the classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939), which popularized the phrase, "There's no place like home." In contrast, a poster for the series uses the tagline: "It's no place like home".[4] Moreover, most of the series' story arcs are set in "Emerald City", a wing named after a setting from the fictional Land of Oz in L. Frank Baum's Oz books, first described in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).


The majority of Oz's story arcs are set in "Emerald City", named for a setting from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900). In this experimental unit of the prison, unit manager Tim McManus emphasizes rehabilitation and learning responsibility during incarceration, rather than carrying out purely punitive measures. Emerald City is an extremely controlled environment, with a carefully managed balance of members from each racial and social group, intended to ease tensions among these various factions. However, almost all of these factions are constantly at war with one another which often results in many prisoners being beaten, raped, or killed.

Under McManus and Warden Leo Glynn, all inmates in "Em City" struggle to fulfill their own needs. Some fight for power – either over the drug trade or over other inmate factions and individuals. Others, corrections officers and inmates alike, simply want to survive, some long enough to make parole and others just to see the next day. The show's narrator, inmate Augustus Hill, explains the show, and provides context, thematic analysis, and a sense of humor.

Oz chronicles McManus' attempts to keep control over the inmates of Em City. There are many groups of inmates throughout the show, and not everyone within each group survives the show's events. There are the African-American Homeboys (Wangler, Redding, Poet, Keane, Adebisi) and Muslims (Said, Arif, Khan), the Wiseguys (Pancamo, Nappa, Schibetta, Zanghi, Urbano), the Aryan Brotherhood (Schillinger, Robson, Mack), the Latinos of El Norte (Alvarez, Morales, Guerra, Hernandez), the Irish (The O'Reilly brothers, Kirk, Keenan), the Gays (Hanlon, Cramer, Ginzburg), the Bikers (Hoyt, Sands, Burns), the Christians (Cloutier, Coushaine, Cudney) and many other individuals not completely affiliated with one particular group (Rebadow, Busmalis, Keller, Stanislofsky). In contrast to the dangerous criminals, central character Tobias Beecher gives a look at a usually law-abiding man who made one fatal drunk-driving mistake.

Cast and characters[edit]

From left to right: Ryan O'Reily, Vernon Schillinger, Miguel Alvarez, Tobias Beecher, Kareem Saïd, In the front sits Augustus Hill (this photo was also used as the cover for Hill's book)

Main article: List of Oz (TV series) characters

Main actors are credited as "starring" in the opening title sequence, while supporting actors are listed under "also starring". Guest actors are listed in the show's end credits.




Main article: List of Oz episodes

Oz took advantage of the freedoms of premium cable to show elements of coarse language, drug use, violence, frontal nudity, homosexuality, and male rape, as well as ethnic and religious conflicts that would have been unacceptable to traditional advertiser-supported American broadcast television.[3]

On an episode of Saturday Night Live that Jerry Seinfeld hosted on October 2, 1999, a sketch was produced that showed what life was like for his character of the same name behind bars after being transferred to the Oswald State Correctional Facility sometime after the events of Seinfeld (1989–1998).[5] The roughly four-minute sketch shows the opening credits for the HBO series with clips of Jerry mixed in doing various activities around the prison. The sketch continues and mixes in different story lines from both Oz and Seinfeld and has Jerry interacting with various characters from the show in his typical quick-witted, sarcastic way.[6]

International broadcast history[edit]

In Australia, Oz was screened uncensored on Channel "OH" on Optus TV, then free-to-air channel, SBS. This was also the case in Brazil, where it was aired by the SBT Network Corporation, late at night; in Ireland, where the series aired on free-to-air channel TG4 at 11 p.m.; in Israel, where Oz was displayed on the free-to-air commercial Channel 2; in Italy, where it was aired on the free-to-air Italia 1; and in the United Kingdom, where Channel 4 aired the show in the middle of the night.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was aired on the federal TV station called FTV. In Canada, Oz aired on the Showcase Channel at Friday 10 p.m. EST. In Croatia, Estonia, and Slovenia, the show was aired late at night on public, non-commercial, state-owned channels HRT, ETV, and RTV SLO, respectively. In Denmark, it appeared late at night on the non-commercial public service channel DR1. In Finland, it broadcast on the free-to-air channel Nelonen (TV4). In France, the show aired on commercial cable channel 'Serie Club,' also late at night. In Malaysia, full episodes of Oz aired late at night on ntv7, while the censored version aired during the day. In the Netherlands, Oz aired on the commercial channel RTL 5. In New ZealandOz aired on The Box at 9.30pm on Wednesdays in the early 2000s (decade). In Norway and Sweden, it aired on the commercial channels ZTV and TV3 late at night. In Panama, Oz aired on RPC-TV Channel 4 in a late-night hour. In Portugal, Oz aired late at night on SIC Radical, one of the SIC channels in the cable network. In Serbia, Oz aired on RTV BK Telecom. In Spain, the show aired on premium channel Canal+. In Turkey, Oz was aired on Cine5; DiziMax also aired the re-runs. In Japan, it aired on SuperChannel (now, Super! Drama TV) from 29 December 2001 to 22 July 2005.


On April 21, 2009, Variety announced that starting May 31, DirecTV will broadcast all 56 episodes in their original form without commercials and in up-scaled "high definition" on The 101 Network available to all subscribers. The episodes will also be available through DirecTV's On Demand service.[7]


The series was co-produced by HBO and Rysher Entertainment (who owns the copyright), and the underlying U.S. rights lie with HBO Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment, which has released the entire series on DVD in North America. The international rights were owned originally by Rysher, then Paramount Pictures/Domestic Television after that company acquired Rysher. CBS Studios International currently owns the international TV rights, and Paramount Home Entertainment/CBS DVD owns the international DVD rights.

Home media[edit]

The first two seasons of Oz were released on VHS in box sets.[8][9]HBO Home Video has released all six seasons of Oz on DVD in Region 1 and Region 2. The Region 1 releases contain numerous special features including commentaries, deleted scenes and featurettes. The Region 2 releases do not contain any special features.

Title Episodes Release date Rating
Region 1Region 2Region 4BBFCACB
The Complete First Season


March 19, 2002 (DVD & VHS)February 5, 2007 February 15, 2007  15  MA 15+
The Complete Second Season


January 7, 2003 (DVD & VHS)August 6, 2007 August 16, 2007  18  MA 15+
The Complete Third Season


February 24, 2004 October 29, 2007 November 8, 2007  18  MA 15+
The Complete Fourth Season


February 1, 2005 March 3, 2008 March 20, 2008  18  MA 15+
The Complete Fifth Season


June 21, 2005 June 30, 2008 June 19, 2008  18  MA 15+
The Complete Sixth Season


September 5, 2006 September 22, 2008 September 18, 2008  18  MA 15+
The Complete Series


September 5, 2006 (Special Edition)September 7, 2009 (The Emerald City Collection)N/A  18 N/A

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception of Oz was mostly positive. The first season of Oz has been ranked a 70 based on the rating aggregator website Metacritic, indicating generally favorable reviews by critics.[10] Caryn James from The New York Times stated: "Set almost entirely in the prison, a high-tech horror with glass-walled cells, Oz can also be unpleasant to watch, it is so gruesome and claustrophobic. Yet... as the series moves beyond its introductory shock value, it becomes more serious, disturbing and gripping.... The point of Oz, with its depiction of guilty men in torturous circumstances, is never subtle, but it is complicated and strong."[11] Steve Johnson of the Chicago Tribune wrote: "Engaging, often Brutal."[12]

Other reviews were more critical of the series. Frederic Bidle of the Boston Globe said: "A pretentious exercise in cheap thrills, by great talents allowed to run amok."[13] Howard Rosenberg of the Los Angeles Times reported: "Its unique and arresting style don't earn endorsements here... there's no light at the end of the tunnel, or a tunnel- that offer central characters to root or pull for [sic] ... Be forewarned that Oz is flat-out the most violent and graphically sexual series on TV."[14]


Main article: Oz (soundtrack)

Avatar Records released a soundtrack containing East Coast, West Coast, and Southern hip hop on January 9, 2001. It peaked at #1 on the Billboard Soundtrack Charts, #42 on the Billboard 200, and #8 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.[15] The soundtrack featured the song "Behind the Walls" recorded by Kurupt & Nate Dogg.


  1. ^Adam Dunn (21 February 2003). "The end of 'Oz'". CNN. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  2. ^"Oz Production Notes". Retrieved 2010-08-05.
  3. ^ abBruce Fretts (11 July 1997). "Nasty As He Wanna Be". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  4. ^Beeler, Karin (Nov 7, 2005). Tattoos, Desire and Violence: Marks of Resistance in Literature, Film. p. 120. ISBN .
  5. ^Saturday Night Live season 25
  6. ^"SNL Transcripts: Jerry Seinfeld: 10/02/99: Oz". October 8, 2018.
  7. ^MICHAEL SCHNEIDER (20 April 2009). "'Oz,' 'Deadwood' join DirecTV". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2009-10-21.
  8. ^"HBO Store - Other HBO Shows: OZ: The Complete First Season VHS". February 7, 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-02-07.
  9. ^"HBO Store - Other HBO Shows: OZ: The Complete Second Season VHS". February 5, 2005. Archived from the original on 2005-02-05.
  10. ^"Oz Season 1". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  11. ^Caryn, James. "High Tech Prison and the Face of Horrors". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  12. ^"Oz Season 1". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  13. ^Biddle, Frederick. "Metacritic". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  14. ^Rosenberg, Howard. "Metacritic". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2020-11-15. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  15. ^Steve Rosen
    Dave Darlington. "Oz – Original Soundtrack (2001)". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2009-10-21.

Additional sources[edit]

  • Season 1, Episode 2, DVD Commentary on "Oz: The Complete First Season."
  • Season 2, Episode 5, "Oz: The Complete Second Season."

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oz_(TV_series)
vern schillinger best moments - argument with mcmanus - Oz - Aryan Brotherhood

Hbo Oz Main ImageOz, the violent, funny and sometimes moving Prison television drama series was created by Tom Fontana. He also wrote or co-wrote all of the series’ 56 episodes. It was the first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced by premium cable network HBO. Oz premièred on July 12, 1997 and ran for six seasons. The series finale aired February 23, 2003. It features a bunch of mostly bad-ass characters all trying to run various scams and rackets, usually involving drugs, while banged up in a maximum security institution. Inevitably most of the best characters are the inmates, but there are one or two others who give great characterisation. The interaction of the various gangs is a feature of the series, all jostling to be the top dogs; that’s the latinos, the Mafia, the Homies, the Irish, the Bikers, the White Supremacists, the Muslins, the trannies (transvestities), the Bible-Bashers- to name just a few!

Why Oz? “Oz” is the nickname for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, formerly Oswald State Penitentiary, the fictional maximum-security prison (level 4) in an unnamed US state.The nickname “Oz” is a reference to the classic film The Wizard of Oz, which is notable for popularizing the phrase: “There’s no place like home”.

Oz Main LogoSome of its episodes were fillers, but there was usually enough plot twists, violence, and bizarre episodes to keep you engaged. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments, particularly at the ridiculousness of the opening introductions (which got more and more crazy as the series progressed with inmates dressed up in costumes and mugging to the camera), and the points were people “lost it” big time.

Oz Shower PicDid you know that Peter Dinklage, he now of Game of Thrones fame (as Tyrion, the Lannister imp) was in an episode? In a Head to head with The Sopranos, I guess Oz would always come off with a bloodied nose and a spell in solitary, but it’s not far behind in terms of quality acting, plots, black humour, and turn away nastiness (we’re talking immolation, anal impropriety, and face-dumping, as well as the usual hackings, slashing and beatings). It also became a must see for US’ gay community- just as Starz Spartacus series had a minimum booby count each episode, it seemed that as the series progressed, the Oz gratuitous cock count and shower scenes seemed to be erected to ridiculous proportions…

Ten years on, you should recall that for its time Oz was pretty ground-breaking. Not just in its graphic portrayal of violence, but in the honesty of the physical and spiritual relationships forged (and broken) between the prisoners. Oz never held back on issues of race or religion either and was one of the first shows to highlight the modern day issue of African-American Muslims honestly and openly. Likewise, Oz was as critical of its characters lifestyle choices as it was open about showing them and was quick to highlight the slippery slope many people find themselves on when they become part of the system. The insular security of Emerald City, the experimental unit within Oz, would drive many of us crazy. Having just watched the box set of all 6 series plus the extras, it is definitely well worth a return viewing. And if you didn’t catch it the first time round when aired, then go get it now (at great prices!) and settle down for a real treat. But best put the security chain on the door first.

Ps. I’ve tried not to put any big plot spoilers in here- but ending the riot by nuking the joint at the end was a tad OTT in my book..

10. Enrique Morales

Enrique Morales

Morales is one of the most powerful Latinos in Oz, incarcerated for killing another man in a fight. On arriving in Oz, he assumes the position as the head of the Latino gang El Norte by having inmate Bob Rebadow kill the old leader Raoul “El Cid” Hernandez. In doing so, he becomes partners in the prison drug trade with Italians (known as the “Wiseguys”) led by Chucky Pancamo and the African American gang (known as the “Homeboys”) led by Simon Adebisi. Moralese is a true businessman who onl
y makes decisions based on how to get more influence within Oz. Unlike the more reactionary members of the Latinos, Morales is calculating and deliberate. With Morales in charge, the Latinos prosper in the drug trade. Though less hot-headed, Morales is an absolutely ruthless leader with no reservations about using violence against anyone to achieve his business goals.

9. Vernon Schillinger

Vernon SchillingerPrisoner number 92S110.

Convicted October 21st, 1992, aggravated assault in the first degree. sentenced eight years, up for parole in five. In the series he kills another inmate, Alexander Vogel, by hanging his ankles in the gym and carving “JEW” on his chest. Vogel had not done anything specific to offend Schillinger, he simply needed to make a kill – any kill – to restore his reputation after another inmate, Beecher, beat him up and took a dump on his face. He’s the leader of the Nazi-like Aryan Brotherhood.

Vern is often responsible for some of the funniest yet darkest moments in the show. He gets some eye tattoos mid-season..And tattoos a swastika on his new pet boy’s buttocks as a display of ownership.

8. Agamemnon “The Mole” Busmalis

Agamemnon The Mole Busmalis 2One of the funniest characters on the show. Also one of the strangest. An old guy who like the others, crowds round the television to watch a kids’ TV series because of the presenter, Miss Sally, and her obvious assets. But he goes one better and breaks out of Oz to visit her!

7. Augustus Hill

Augustus HillYou can’t ignore Hill when talking Oz. His character in real life was boring and sometimes annoying. But, when Hill is in that glass box in his wheelchair, spinning around,  talking about life, death, and everything in between, he became the central person. He’s the one that introduces you to all the perps at the start of each episode. He gradually gets involved in the various sub-plots as the series advance.

6. Ryan O’Reily

Ryan O’ReilySometimes slick, charming and seemingly genuine, this boy is out only for himself and his passive/aggressive Kurt Cobain lookalike brother, Cyril.  Ryan was outdone in many ways by others in terms of manipulative bastards in Emerald City, but Ryan’s motives were much more clear cut. It was always entertaining seeing his plans fail, and yet he was a survivor.  Perhaps his most dastardly deed was to arrange for a prison doctor who spurned his affections to be raped outside of Oz. An evil Leprechaun who you could trust as much as his crocodile smile.

5. Governor James Devlin

Governor James DevlinJames Devlin is the governor of an unspecified U.S. state in Oz’s fictional universe. Think of the Simpson’s Mayor Quimby combined with the backstabbin’ slippery Corporation bloke in the film Aliens, and the shitty little Joffrey Baratheon, in Game of Thrones.

After campaigning on a platform that includes “no perks for prisoners”, Devlin enacts legislation designed to emphasize punishment in the state’s correctional system. Devlin’s draconian measures make him a figure hated by Oz’s inmate population, and by several staff members.

Throughout the series, Devlin finds himself in legal controversies stemming from his political corruption. His dubious morals sometimes make the inmates of Oz look positively angelic. He is the No 1 sleazeball in Oz, and supposedly on the side of goodness and right. Yeah….

4. Miguel Alvarez

Miguel Alvarez

When we saw Miguel get stabbed in the first episode, I thought he was just a throwaway character. However his character just keeps developing and becomes one of the most interesting in the show. He beat an old man just because he scratched his car and was sent to Oz. He does a lot more once inside. One of the more complex but perfectly realised characters.

3. Kareen Sa’id

Kareen Sa’idYou could be forgiven for thinking that HBO were playing with fire by introducing a sympathetic yet religiously ruthless Islamic fundamentalist character in the show..

“How do I feel? I feel joyless. My brothers remain behind, imprisoned, suppressed. I don’t just mean my Muslim brothers. I mean every single man that will sleep here tonight, that was cut off from everything that he loves, cut off from his own self.”

Another person whose character develops as he realises that he has to engage with all the other troupes and ne’r-do-wells in Oz in order to help his cause. Even if that means turning a blind eye to some of the teachings in the Qur’an. Peace be with you brother.

2. Claire Howell

Claire HowellA strange choice perhaps, Claire Howell played by Kristin Rohde. A female Correctional Officer she is extremely unstable (to put it mildly) and prone to sadistic sexual violence. She has sexual relationships with several staff members and inmates in order to dominate them. She accuses the Warden of Emerald City of sexually abusing her after a night out together, when he wants to call a day on the relationship… leading to the arguably best scene in the series in terms of pure oral venom. If you don’t believe why she’s number two in the list, lookee here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IB0zQSuvlts

1. Simon Adebisi

Simon AdebisiThe man has it all- screen presence, believable, loves his “tits” (drugs), sex and power. He strives for all three in Oz in the most entertaining way possible. In Oz for first degree murder (he decapitated a cop with a machete) he has some of the most hilarious and crazy set-pieces. With his curious mini-woollen hat super-glued to his crown, he is threatening all the time. Even in his sleep. The showdown between Kareem and Said (see No 3 above) is a stormer! Any scene with Adebisi not in it is just lacking something.

A man who radiates brooding menace like a black Jack Palance:

Sours: https://top-ten.tv/top-ten-best-characters-from-hbos-oz/

Characters hbo oz

Full Cast & Crew

Ernie Hudson Ernie Hudson ...  Warden Leo Glynn56 episodes, 1997-2003 J.K. Simmons J.K. Simmons ...  Vern Schillinger56 episodes, 1997-2003 Lee Tergesen Lee Tergesen ...  Tobias Beecher56 episodes, 1997-2003 Dean Winters Dean Winters ...  Ryan O'Reily56 episodes, 1997-2003 George Morfogen George Morfogen ...  Bob Rebadow56 episodes, 1997-2003 Terry Kinney Terry Kinney ...  Tim McManus55 episodes, 1997-2003 Rita Moreno Rita Moreno ...  Sister Peter Marie Reimondo55 episodes, 1997-2003 Harold Perrineau Harold Perrineau ...  Augustus Hill55 episodes, 1997-2003 Eamonn Walker Eamonn Walker ...  Kareem Said51 episodes, 1997-2003 Craig muMs Grant Craig muMs Grant ...  Poet49 episodes, 1997-2003 Luna Lauren Velez Luna Lauren Velez ...  Dr. Gloria Nathan48 episodes, 1997-2003 Granville Adams Granville Adams ...  Zahir Arif48 episodes, 1997-2003 Tom Mardirosian Tom Mardirosian ...  Agamemnon Busmalis47 episodes, 1998-2003 Kirk Acevedo Kirk Acevedo ...  Miguel Alvarez47 episodes, 1997-2003 BD Wong BD Wong ...  Father Ray Mukada46 episodes, 1997-2003 Chuck Zito Chuck Zito ...  Chucky Pancamo46 episodes, 1998-2003 Philip Scozzarella Philip Scozzarella ...  Officer Joseph Mineo / ... 46 episodes, 1997-2003 Scott William Winters Scott William Winters ...  Cyril O'Reily45 episodes, 1998-2003 Otto Sanchez Otto Sanchez ...  Chico Guerra40 episodes, 1998-2003 Christopher Meloni Christopher Meloni ...  Chris Keller37 episodes, 1998-2003 Robert Clohessy Robert Clohessy ...  Officer Sean Murphy38 episodes, 1999-2003 R.E. Rodgers R.E. Rodgers ...  James Robson36 episodes, 1998-2003 Kristin Rohde Kristin Rohde ...  Officer Claire Howell35 episodes, 1999-2003 Carl DiMaggio Carl DiMaggio ...  Officer Len Lopresti / ... 33 episodes, 1999-2003 Evan Seinfeld Evan Seinfeld ...  Jaz Hoyt33 episodes, 1998-2003 Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje ...  Simon Adebisi32 episodes, 1997-2000 Timothy L. Brown Timothy L. Brown ...  Officer Jason Armstrong32 episodes, 1997-2003 Zeljko Ivanek Zeljko Ivanek ...  Governor James Devlin27 episodes, 1997-2003 Sean Dugan Sean Dugan ...  Timmy Kirk28 episodes, 1998-2003 Steven Wishnoff Steven Wishnoff ...  Tony Masters15 episodes, 1999-2003 David Zayas David Zayas ...  Enrique Morales26 episodes, 2000-2003 Anthony Chisholm Anthony Chisholm ...  Burr Redding23 episodes, 2001-2003 Edie Falco Edie Falco ...  Officer Diane Whittlesey21 episodes, 1997-2000 J.D. Williams J.D. Williams ...  Kenny Wangler / ... 23 episodes, 1997-2000 Michael Wright Michael Wright ...  Omar White22 episodes, 2001-2003 Todd Etelson Todd Etelson ...  Mario Seggio22 episodes, 1998-2003 Betty Buckley Betty Buckley ...  Suzanne Fitzgerald18 episodes, 2001-2003 Kathryn Erbe Kathryn Erbe ...  Shirley Bellinger17 episodes, 1998-2003 Seth Gilliam Seth Gilliam ...  Clayton Hughes / ... 17 episodes, 1999-2001 Peter Hans Benson Peter Hans Benson ...  Reporter16 episodes, 2000-2003 Steven Johnson Steven Johnson ...  Prisoner16 episodes, 2002-2003 Eddie Malavarca Eddie Malavarca ...  Peter Schibetta15 episodes, 1997-2003 Blake Robbins Blake Robbins ...  Officer Dave Brass / ... 15 episodes, 2001-2003 Cyrus Farmer Cyrus Farmer ...  Officer Adrian Johnson15 episodes, 2000-2003 Leif Riddell Leif Riddell ...  Mark Mack / ... 9 episodes, 1997-1998 Philip Casnoff Philip Casnoff ...  Nikolai Stanislofsky13 episodes, 1999-2000 John Lurie John Lurie ...  Greg Penders / ... 13 episodes, 2001-2003 Douglas Crosby Douglas Crosby ...  Officer D'Agnasti5 episodes, 1997-2003 Luis Guzmán Luis Guzmán ...  Raoul 'El Cid' Hernandez12 episodes, 1998-2000 Ellen McElduff Ellen McElduff ...  Eleanor O'Connor12 episodes, 2002-2003 Lance Reddick Lance Reddick ...  Desmond Mobay / ... 12 episodes, 2000-2001 Tom Ligon Tom Ligon ...  Alvin Yood / ... 12 episodes, 2001-2003 Jerome Preston Bates Jerome Preston Bates ...  Officer Travis Smith12 episodes, 2000-2003 Whitney Allen Whitney Allen ...  Miss Sally / ... 4 episodes, 1999-2002 Rick Fox Rick Fox ...  Jackson Vahue11 episodes, 1997-2003 Austin Pendleton Austin Pendleton ...  William Giles11 episodes, 1998-2002 Erik King Erik King ...  Moses Deyell11 episodes, 2000-2001 Lord Jamar Lord Jamar ...  Kevin 'Supreme Allah' Ketchum11 episodes, 2000-2001 Mark Margolis Mark Margolis ...  Antonio Nappa10 episodes, 1998-2003 Luke Perry Luke Perry ...  Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier10 episodes, 2001-2002 Tim Hopper Tim Hopper ...  Rick Donn / ... 10 episodes, 1997-1999 Carlos Leon Carlos Leon ...  Carlos Martinez / ... 10 episodes, 2000-2003 Lexington Alexander Lexington Alexander ...  Junior Pierce / ... 10 episodes, 1998-2000 Sandra Purpuro Sandra Purpuro ...  Katherine McClain9 episodes, 2001-2002 Antoni Corone Antoni Corone ...  Frank 'The Fixer' Urbano9 episodes, 2002-2003 Mtume Gant Mtume Gant ...  Reggie Rawls9 episodes, 2002-2003 Ernie Hudson Jr. Ernie Hudson Jr. ...  Hamid Khan / ... 9 episodes, 1999-2000 Michelle Schumacher Michelle Schumacher ...  Norma Clark / ... 9 episodes, 2000-2003 Jacques C. Smith Jacques C. Smith ...  Leroy Tidd / ... 9 episodes, 2000-2001 Jon M. McDonnell Jon M. McDonnell ...  Prison Guard9 episodes, 2000-2003 Robert John Burke Robert John Burke ...  Special Agent Pierce Taylor8 episodes, 2000-2003 Reg E. Cathey Reg E. Cathey ...  Martin Querns8 episodes, 2000-2003 Sean Whitesell Sean Whitesell ...  Donald Groves8 episodes, 1997 Charles Busch Charles Busch ...  Nat Ginzburg8 episodes, 1999-2000 Andy Powers Andy Powers ...  #02W562 Franklin Winthrop / ... 8 episodes, 2002-2003 Nelson Vasquez Nelson Vasquez ...  Officer Eugene Rivera / ... 8 episodes, 1998-2002 M.G. Gong M.G. Gong ...  Jia Kenmin / ... 8 episodes, 2001-2002 Larry Pine Larry Pine ...  Arnie Zelman / ... 8 episodes, 1999-2003 Dena Atlantic Dena Atlantic ...  Floria Mills8 episodes, 2001-2002 Michael Quill Michael Quill ...  Mark Miles8 episodes, 2000 Jenna Lamia Jenna Lamia ...  Carrie Schillinger7 episodes, 2000-2002 Ali Merhi Ali Merhi ...  Luis Batista7 episodes, 1998 Mam Smith Mam Smith ...  Lulu8 episodes, 2002 Don Cebron Don Cebron ...  Correction Officer8 episodes, 2003 Calvin Powell Calvin Powell ...  Prisoner8 episodes, 2003 Tony Musante Tony Musante ...  Nino Schibetta7 episodes, 1997 Patti LuPone Patti LuPone ...  Stella Coffa7 episodes, 2003 Bryan Callen Bryan Callen ...  Jonathan Coushaine7 episodes, 1998 Ray Iannicelli Ray Iannicelli ...  Officer Roger Brese / ... 7 episodes, 1997-2003 Jordan Lage Jordan Lage ...  Richie Hanlon / ... 7 episodes, 1998-1999 Thomas G. Waites Thomas G. Waites ...  Henry Stanton / ... 7 episodes, 2001-2003 Natascia Diaz Natascia Diaz ...  Margarita Ricardo / ... 6 episodes, 1999 Seth William Meier Seth William Meier ...  Liam Meaney3 episodes, 2001-2003 Juan Carlos Hernández Juan Carlos Hernández ...  Carlo Ricardo6 episodes, 1999 Tessell Williams Tessell Williams ...  Nurse5 episodes, 2000-2003 John Paul Cooney John Paul Cooney ...  Inmate 'The Kid'+7 episodes, 2002-2003 Leon Leon ...  Jefferson Keane / ... 6 episodes, 1997-2003 Joel Grey Joel Grey ...  Lemuel Idzik6 episodes, 2003 Kevin Conway Kevin Conway ...  Seamus O'Reilly6 episodes, 1999-2003 Skipp Sudduth Skipp Sudduth ...  Lenny Burrano6 episodes, 1997-1998 O.L. Duke O.L. Duke ...  Paul Markstram6 episodes, 1997 Arija Bareikis Arija Bareikis ...  Tricia Ross6 episodes, 1999-2000 Pepa Pepa ...  Officer Andrea Phelan6 episodes, 2000-2003 Edward Herrmann Edward Herrmann ...  Harrison Beecher6 episodes, 2000-2003 Michael Rivera Michael Rivera ...  Pablo Rosa6 episodes, 2003 Joel West Joel West ...  #99S917 Glen Shupe
Sours: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118421/fullcredits
Oz - Officer Claire Howell Ultimate Compilation

There has been a slew of television shows that have impacted the hip-hop community and stood the test of time, but few have left viewers on the edge of their seat like the HBO original series Oz, which gave listeners a realistic fictional account of life in the penal system. Created by Tom Fontana, Oz, which premiered on July 12, 1997, takes place in the Emerald City unit at the Oswald State Penitentiary, a fictional level 4 maximum-security state prison that houses the most ruthless criminals.

Following the life and times of inmates like Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen), Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), Vernon Schillinger (J.K. Simmons), Miguel Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo), Ryan O'Reily (Dean Winters) and Simon Adebisi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Oz became one of the more riveting and influential TV shows of its time, with an unfiltered look at the harsh realities that prison inmates deal with on a daily basis. In addition to touching on the violence, corruption, addiction, and sexual assault that dictates the flow of power in prison, Oz was also notable for embracing the hip-hop community, with rap stars like LL Cool J, Master P, Treach, Lord Jamar, and Method Man all making appearances on the show.

In 2001, Avatar Records even released a soundtrack inspired by the show, with contributions from artists from all coasts, further strengthening the show's standing within the hip-hop community. The first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced by HBO, Oz would run for six-seasons and be one of the more successful television dramas of its time, paving the way for The Sopranos, The Wire, Breaking Bad, and other shows that would follow in its wake.

With 15 years having passed since the series finale aired on February 23, 2003, read below for 11 characters from Oz that struck an unforgettable chord with the hip-hop community.

11. Andrea Phelan

The lone African-American female correctional officer, Andrea Phelan (Sandra "Pepa" Denton) is the supervising officer on Unit B, which housed members of the Aryan Brotherhood during the show's last three seasons. Although her screen time is relatively sparse, Andrea Phelan exudes a no-nonsense attitude and commands the respect of the inmates and her fellow correctional officers alike.

10. Curtis Bennett

Curtis Bennett may have only been featured in one episode of Oz, but the fact that the character was played by none other than Master P makes him even more memorable. Convicted of sex-trafficking, Bennett would inform Aryan Brotherhood leader Vern Shillinger that Carrie, the mother of his son's child, was a prostitute and speculate that the grand-daughter, Jewel, may not be his - leading Schillinger to threaten Bennett's life. It would ultimately be discovered that Bennett was, in fact, telling the truth about Carrie's history as a prostitute; however, paternity tests would prove that Jewel was Schillinger's biological grandchild.

9. Jiggy Walker

In prison, your anonymity can often mean you can make up a persona and be anyone you want, which is what inmate Jiggy Walker (LL Cool J) did during his tenure at Oz. Convicted of second-degree murder and an admitted drug-dealer, Jiggy Walker would claim to fellow prisoners that he has sold Governor James Devlin narcotics in the past, going as far as repeating those accusations publicly in several interviews. In the end, it would be proved that Walker had completely made the story up in an attempt to get respect and attention, and would never be heard from again.

8. Malcolm Coyle

During Oz's third season, an inmate by the name of Malcolm Coyle (Treach) would make his way into Emerald City, causing a stir between the Italians and the African-American factions. Convicted of grand larceny and armed robbery, Coyle, a friend of Kenny Wangler, would get himself in hot water after revealing the details of an unsolved murder he committed to fellow inmate Augustus Hill, who would go to Warder Glynn with the information, resulting in Coyle being convicted and sent to death row. However, the Italians would get to Coyle before the needle ever could, making him yet another casualty of the prison politics in Oz.

7. Tug Daniels

Convicted of attempted murder after shanking Supreme Allah during a visit in retaliation for the murder of his brother, Tug Daniels (Method Man) would enter the Oz prison system during the show's fourth season and become a member of Burr Redding's Homeboys gang. However, after it was discovered that Tug Daniels was secretly working with Supreme Allah in an effort to gain full control of the drug trade, he would be brutally beaten and murdered in the prison gym at the hands of his own crew, evidence that disloyalty and deception are two of the worst sins one could commit in Oz.

6. Supreme Allah

Despite of his relatively brief tenure as an inmate at Oz, Supreme Allah (Lord Jamar) is one of the more charismatic characters on the show and quickly gains access into the underbelly of the Emerald City drug trade. A member of the Five Percent Nation of Gods and Earths, Supreme Allah ruffles feathers with Muslim leader Kareem Said due to his growing influence and favor among the prisoners, many of whom he persuades to join the Five Percent Nation. Responsible for the incarceration of Augustus Hill, Supreme Allah would pay the ultimate price and be murdered for his transgressions - a reminder of the karma that often comes to find inmates at Oz.

5. Kenny Wangler

One of the younger inmates to ever call Oz home, Kenny Wangler (J.D. Williams), who was convicted of murder, is the prototypical hard rock bred by the streets and burdened by a lack of guidance. A loyal soldier who is involved in Oz's drug trade and is cold enough to order the murder of the mother of his child, Wangler constantly shows signs of immaturity and a lack of emotional intelligence throughout the show's first four seasons, ultimately becoming a victim of his own foolish pride.

4. Arnold "Poet" Jackson

In a place where death was imminent and around every corridor, one of the few characters on Oz who managed to survive until the show's conclusion was Arnold "Poet" Jackson (muMs Da Schemer), an inmate who would be granted parole after writing an acclaimed poetry book, only to be re-incarcerated in Oz after committing a murder. More comfortable as a henchman and underling, Poet's hands would stay relatively clean in terms of bloodshed during the show's six seasons. but his mess-hall poetry readings gave Oz an added dimension and spoke to the life of the average inmate.

3. Kareem Said

Muslim leader and prison Imam Kareem Said (Eamonn Walker) was one of the more powerful characters on Oz, making his presence felt as he emerged as the defacto leader and spokesman for the inmates in Emerald City. Known for being a revolutionary and taking an interest in the lives of troubled inmates, Kareem Said was respected by the prisoners and the prison staff alike, with the latter often forced to confer with him in an attempt to maintain order and to broker peace. After murdering Simon Adebisi in self-defense during the show's fourth season, Said would become deeply conflicted and struggle with his personal demons leading up to his murder during a visit with Lemuel Idzik, who posed as a news reporter in order to get access to Said. His vision for the inmates of Emerald City was a dream deferred.

2. Augustus Hill

Oz's narrator, Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), was among the more complex characters on the show, with his sense of humanity and integrity casting him as a beacon of hope and reason in a place where such ethos was non-existent. A paraplegic, Augustus Hill would be one of many characters to battle his demons, which included a bout with drug addiction, the death of his mother, and a divorce from his wife - setbacks that would ultimately lead him down a path of self-destruction at the conclusion of the show's fifth season. Setting the tone with his opening and closing monologues and occasional intermissions, his weekly commentary on all things Oz was one of the more invaluable aspects of the show.

1. Simon Adebisi

For viewers who tuned into Oz during the show's six-season run, whenever Simon Adebisi's (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) mean mug touched the screen, you knew things had the potential to get hectic, which they usually did, as Adebisi was among the show's more ruthless and bloodthirsty characters. Known for murder, drug trafficking and sodomy, Simon Adebisi would ultimately meet his demise in ironic fashion during the show's fourth season. His character is unforgettable, and has come to define everything that Oz was about.

Sours: https://www.revolt.tv/2018/2/23/20821726/hip-hop-s-11-most-beloved-characters-from-hbo-s-classic-series-oz

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