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The HBO series "OZ" is almost set entirely in "Oswald Penitentiary." It is a prison experiment where inmates are granted or supposed to be granted more freedoms than in other prisons. It is one of the most "adult" shows to ever air on television. The show consistently shows extreme violence often including rape, nudity including full frontal nudity, and coarse language.

"OZ" is narrated by the character Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau). Before most episodes and frequently after episodes he talks directly to the audience. He is also shown living throughout the prison and interacting with other characters.

The show has a claustrophobic feel to it. There are rarely any images of people going outside or existing outside of the prison. The staff is usually only shown while they work. The employees are also shown at times to be more violent and sadistic than the prisoners they are supposed to be guarding.

Many of the prisoners in the show are divided into groups of gangs based on ethnicity or affiliation. There are few "lone wolves" but those that wish to exist alone are usually killed or made to work for one of the prison gangs. There are a few exceptions involving the most intelligent and those that have proven themselves to be capable of great violence.

The character Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergensen) is one character tricked from the onset to become an underling of the white supremacist group. He was once an attorney before he killed someone in a drunk driving crash. Vern Schillinger (J.K. Simmons) plays his foil and throughout the series they are constantly scheming against each other.

Other primary characters on the show include Tim McManus (Terry Kinney) who envisioned the experimental prison and is constantly fighting for its survival with Warden Leo Glynn (Ernie Hudson). Rita Moreno plays Sister Peter Marie Reimondo and is a character of conscience. Eamonn Walker plays Muslim leader and political activist Kareem Said.

HBO
6 Seasons, 56 Episodes - Canceled
July 12, 1997
Drama
8.8/10
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Oz Full Episode Guide

  • Querns makes a return to Oz as a warden. As Howell learns that she's pregnant, Rebadow unsuccessfully petitions to artificially inseminate Norma. Vahue returns to Oz to talk to young prisoners and has a reunion with Brass. Alvarez receives bad news from the parole board. The mystery behind what really happened to Cloutier is revealed by Hoyt to Ray. Meanwhile, Idzik's death penalty sentence is overturned; Dr. Nathan lends her support to Ryan on the day of Cyril's execution; and the production of Macbeth is held, but Schillinger's fate is the same as the character he plays.

  • Omar White sponsors Idzik as he transfers to Em City. Glynn realizes a connection between Johnson and Loftus, which brings up more details surrounding Loewen's death. Robson continues with his rape counseling. The inmates support the O'Reilys as Cyril's execution nears.

  • An investigation into Said's death begins. Beecher uncovers more information about Keller's case, which leads to the overturning of Keller's sentence and he is returned to Unit B. Rebadow's relationship with the librarian becomes more complex when he learns she's sick. Meanwhile, Hoyt's sentence is overturned; new inmate Jahfree Neema arrives at Oz; White returns to Em City after making a deal with Glynn; and Dr. Nathan finds that Martinez was suffocated.

  • Devlin scrambles to find a win-win solution to his pardoning issues when Loewen threatens to go to the press. Beecher says his goodbyes to Keller and is later released from Oz. Redding moves to telemarketing, opening up the kitchen, which Glynn gives to Pancamo. Meanwhile, Morales dies due to liver failure; Glynn learns why inmates are dying due to poisoning; Hoyt thinks he saw the devil while dealing with the guilt of killing Kirk; and Said is shot by a reporter.

  • As Beecher is granted parole, Mayor Wilson Loewen arrives at Oz, which, in turn, creates a twist in the feud between Schillinger and Beecher. The mystery behind why inmates in solitary confinement are getting sick is solved by Dr. Nathan.

  • McManus comes across a box with Hill's memoirs of his past 6 years at Oz. Alvarez and Schillinger are transferred out of solitary to gen pop, and once Alvarez returns, McManus has him try to work things out with Guerra. Meanwhile, Rebadow gets some much needed cheering up when he is transferred to the library and meets Stella Coffo, the librarian; Kirk, who claims to be possessed, is transferred to death row; Suzanne Fitzgerald puts together an inmate production of Macbeth; Schibetta returns to Gen Pop; and Oz is placed on lockdown following race riots taking place outside of the prison.

  • Hill begins to recover from his drug-induced illness, which stirs up more friction between Redding and Morales. McManus finds a donor for Rebadow's grandson. Robson is removed from the Brotherhood following a rumor surrounding his gums. Meanwhile, Keller returns from Benchley.

  • The Oz Variety show is held and Omar White has the honor of the finale. Cyril's trial begins, but gets off to a rocky start. Mukada convinces Hoyt to rat out Kirk. McClain walks out on Beecher and Keller.

  • Beecher grows suspicious of Schillinger's new found kindness. Said's sponsorship of White is damaged when Said learns he's dealing. Rebadow learns the results of the lottery. Kirk is transported back to Oz after his time at Benchley Memorial. Hoyt is moved to death row.

  • Inmates Hill, Alvarez and Penders are allowed to train seeing-eye dogs. McClain agrees to represent Keller, which adds to the complicated triangle between Beecher, McClain and Keller. Hill turns to drugs when he is unable to cope with his mother's death. Redding is put in control of the cafeteria.

  • Morales and Alvarez reach an agreement, bringing a truce to their feud. As his grandson's condition worsens, Rebadow turns to his last resort to get the money to help him -- the lottery. Now out of the hole, Schillinger's first plan of action is seeking revenge on Pancamo. Schibetta tries to make a move on Schillinger, but gets raped in the process. Keller makes his return to Oz.

  • Montgomery tries to blackmail O'Reily, but his plan doesn't go as he had hoped. Brass returns to work in Emerald City as Suzanne Fitzgerald does her community service by teaching music to the prisoners. Meanwhile, Schibetta returns to Em City; Kirk orders Burns to kill Cloutier, but instead Cloutier has a vision that tells him to murder Kirk and Hoyt.

  • During the last year, a gas explosion damaged or destroyed most of the prison. Now, a year later, the inmates are able to return to Oz and are able to visit their loved ones for the first time in a long time. Meanwhile, Alvarez returns to solitary; Arif tells Glynn that Ryan O'Reily killed Kennan; and the bus transporting the visitors has an accident.

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