A series chronicling the daily activities of an unusual prison facility and its criminal inhabitants.

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Top Rated TV #54 | Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 14 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
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 Warden Leo Glynn (56 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Vern Schillinger (56 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Tobias Beecher (56 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Ryan O'Reily (56 episodes, 1997-2003)
George Morfogen ...
 Bob Rebadow (56 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Tim McManus (55 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Sister Peter Marie Reimondo (55 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Augustus Hill (55 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Kareem Said (51 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Poet (49 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Dr. Gloria Nathan (48 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Zahir Arif (48 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Agamemnon Busmalis (47 episodes, 1998-2003)
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 Miguel Alvarez (48 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Father Ray Mukada (46 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Chucky Pancamo (46 episodes, 1998-2003)
Philip Scozzarella ...
 Officer Joseph Mineo / ... (46 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Cyril O'Reily (45 episodes, 1998-2003)
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 Chico Guerra (40 episodes, 1998-2003)
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 Chris Keller (38 episodes, 1998-2003)
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 Officer Sean Murphy (38 episodes, 1999-2003)
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 James Robson (36 episodes, 1998-2003)
Kristin Rohde ...
 Officer Claire Howell (35 episodes, 1999-2003)
Carl DiMaggio ...
 Officer Len Lopresti / ... (34 episodes, 1999-2003)
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 Jaz Hoyt (33 episodes, 1998-2003)
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 Simon Adebisi (32 episodes, 1997-2000)
Timothy L. Brown ...
 Officer Jason Armstrong (32 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Governor James Devlin (27 episodes, 1997-2003)
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 Tony Masters (27 episodes, 1999-2003)
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 Enrique Morales (26 episodes, 2000-2003)
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 Timmy Kirk (26 episodes, 1998-2003)
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 Burr Redding (23 episodes, 2001-2003)
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 Officer Diane Whittlesey (23 episodes, 1997-2000)
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 Kenny Wangler / ... (23 episodes, 1997-2000)
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Storyline

Oz chronicles life inside an experimental cell block in the Oswald Maximum Security Correctional Facility: Level Four called Emerald City. Under unit manager Tim McManus and Warden Leo Glynn, the inmates in Em City all struggle to fulfill their own needs. Some fight for power; either power over the drug trade or power over the other inmate factions. Others want money, either through slinging 'tits' (drugs), gambling or other scams. Others, Corrections officers and inmates alike, simply want to survive long enough to make parole or even to see tomorrow. The show gives a no-holds-barred account of prison life with all the plots, subplots and conflicts given context and explanation by the show's wheelchair-bound narrator, Augustus Hill. Written by Michael Hofer

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Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 July 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kylmä rinki  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (53 episodes) | (season 4 finale) | (season 2 finale)

Sound Mix:

(1997-1998)| (1999-)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Even though it is never stated where the show takes place, it is hinted to be around the Buffalo, NY area. A Buffalo Bills helmet is seen in Glynn's office and Officer Diane Whittlesey mentions a "Chevy plant" (possibly referencing GM's Tonawanda plant in Buffalo). Also, series creator, Tom Fontana's hometown is Buffalo. Tim McManus tells a story to Kareem Said about the Attica prison riots during the season 1 finale. Attica, NY is fairly close to Buffalo. Maybe referencing that McManus is close to home. Most of the flashbacks that show what landed certain characters in Oz take place in New York City, proven by the look of the environment and during the flashback of Chris Keller, you see an actual NYC squad car behind the generic squad car that is pursuing Keller on a bike chase. Meaning that Oz could be a state prison located on the other end of the state from NYC. And last but not least, some believe that Oz is a reference to Attica prison Prison Chief, Russell Oswald. Ironically, even with all the little hints about New York State in the show, the state flag of Delaware is in the lobby of Oz. Thus, throwing the viewer off of an exact location of Oz. See more »

Goofs

Miguel Alvarez - The large black-and-white rose tattoo on the back of the character's hand, throughout the course of the series, alternates between being on his right hand and on his left. See more »

Quotes

[repeated line]
Agamemnon "The Mole" Busmalis: This is the best Miss Sally ever.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Slim Shady Show (2001) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Do NOT pass go, do not travel down this "Yellow Brick Road"...
2 February 2000 | by (Arlington, VA.) – See all my reviews

...if what you want is the usual depiction that passes for prison life in a dramatic format. No SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION here, folks, no benevolent GREEN MILE guards or saintly supernatural inmates. OZ tells it like it is, and baby, it ain't pretty.

Using at times a sense of hyper-realism, (in the narrations of the excellent Harold Perrineau, who serves as the show's conscience and Greek chorus), OZ shows us both the profane and profound aspects of prison life that we good, law-abiding citizens don't like to think about. We have the "authorities" to take care of that, don't we?

Exceptional art, no matter what the medium, has the ability to move us, make us think, make us feel both things we embrace and things we reject. The power this show has to polarize viewers into two different camps--love it or hate it--is proof enough that Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, the forces behind HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREETS, have fashioned something we haven't seen the likes of in a very long time.

I would strongly suggest that anyone who has not yet seen it give it a try, if you have HBO. Then I dare you to tear yourself away from it. It's rare television that makes you sit up, take notice, and actually care about even the minor characters in an ensemble such as this, no matter how heinous their crimes, or how street-and-battle-hardened their exteriors.

Augustus Hill, Simon Adebisi, Tobias Beecher, Vern Schillinger, Chris Keller, Jefferson Keane, Ryan O'Reilly, Kareem Said, Nino Schibetta, Bob Rebadow, Tim McManus, Warden Leo Glynn, Sister Peter-Marie, Father Ray, Officer Diane Wittlesey and all the others will imprint themselves on your memory and stay there, until you can't wait to find out what happens next.

A blend of black humor and outright horror, cutting commentary and the basest brutality, it is one of the very few shows being done now that can reveal the most majestic qualities of the human spirit. The ongoing struggle to resist surrendering to impulses and urges that cause the evil that men do, in the one place you would least expect to find any light--in a sea of human misery and darkness.


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