Season 1 (1997)
The first season of Oz starred Ernie Hudson as Warden Leo Glynn, Terry Kinney as Emerald City Unit Manager Tim McManus, Harold Perrineau as inmate and narrator Augustus Hill, and Eamonn Walker as new inmate and devout Muslim Kareem Saïd.
It is also starred Kirk Acevedo as Latino inmate Miguel Alvarez, Edie Falco as correctional officer Diane Whittlesey, Rita Moreno as prison counselor Sister Peter Marie Reimondo, Tony Musante as inmate and Mafia boss Nino Schibetta, Leon Robinson as inmate Jefferson Keane, J.K. Simmons as inmate and Aryan Brotherhood leader Vernon Schillinger, Lee Tergesen as new inmate Tobias Beecher, Sean Whitesell as cannibalistic inmate Donald Groves, Dean Winters as manipulative Irish inmate Ryan O'Reily, and B. D. Wong as the prison chaplain Father Ray Mukada.
Recurring guest stars included Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as inmate and Homeboys gang leader Simon Adebisi, Rick Fox as inmate and former basketball star Jackson Vahue, Goodfella Mike G as inmate and Schibetta's right hand man Joey D'Angelo, Stephen Gevedon as biker inmate Scott Ross, Craig muMs Grant as inmate Arnold "Poet" Jackson, Zeljko Ivanek as Governor James Devlin, Tim McAdams as inmate and Homeboy Johnny Post, George Morfogen as long-term inmate Bob Rebadow, Steve Ryan as corrupt Officer Mike Healy, Lauren Vélez as prison doctor Gloria Nathan, and J. D. Williams as homeboy inmate Kenny Wangler.
Season 1 chronicled the spiritual and political journeys of many of the characters as they descend into insanity, rise and fall politically, and seek redemption. The season showed how the different gangs fight each other as well as the prison system, culminating in a riot in which the inmates take over Emerald City.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Theme|
|1||1||"The Routine"||Darnell Martin||Tom Fontana||July 12, 1997 (1997-07-12)||Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary|
|In Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary (called Oz for short), Tim McManus opens Em City, an experimental unit that is different from all the cell blocks in Oz. We get a glimpse of daily routine life within Oz itself. Former lawyer, Tobias Beecher is jailed for DUI and finds it difficult to adjust to prison life. After being roomed with one of the most dangerous inmates, Simon Adebisi, Beecher is saved by Aryan inmate, Vernon Schillinger - only to find that things go from bad to worse. Muslim Kareem Said arrives and says that he now runs Oz. Another inmate, Dino Ortalani, makes enemies fast and ends up getting burned, a move that is perpetrated by one of his enemies on the outside, Ryan O'Reily.|
|2||2||"Visits, Conjugal and Otherwise"||Nick Gomez||Tom Fontana||July 14, 1997 (1997-07-14)||Sex|
|The death of Dino Ortalani sparks numerous outbursts from the Italians and the gangsters. Beecher gets a conjugal visit from his wife but has to ask Schillinger for permission first. Jefferson Keane wants to marry; Prison Chaplain, father Ray Mukada consoles Miguel Alvarez on the arrival of his unborn child with the help of his grandfather. Nino Schibetta finds Ortalani's killer, who is one of Keane's henchmen, Johnny Post, and the Governor ends conjugal visits.|
|3||3||"God's Chillin'"||Jean de Segonzac||Tom Fontana||July 21, 1997 (1997-07-21)||Religion|
|Intensity between the gangsters and Wise guys ensues after the death of Johnny Post. Glynn warns Schibetta, Keane, and Said to keep the peace or he will lockdown the prison. Keane finds solace with Said and O'Reily tries to him down for his protection. Alvarez feels that God is punishing him by giving his born child a bad liver and will probably die; he decides to cut himself up as a result.|
|4||4||"Capital P"||Darnell Martin||Tom Fontana||July 28, 1997 (1997-07-28)||Capital Punishment|
|Governor Devlin reinstates capital punishment with Keane being the first man executed. Tobias Beecher tries to redeem himself by trying to appeal on his behalf but Schillinger forces him to stop. O'Reily plays a double agent by being loyal to both sides to cover up his own dirty business. Alvarez finds sorrow and peace after the death of his son. Sister Peter Marie is fired for protesting against the death penalty but is rehired again.|
|5||5||"Straight Life"||Leslie Libman & Larry Williams||Tom Fontana||August 4, 1997 (1997-08-04)||Drugs|
|The drug epidemic grows as the efforts of the staff, trying to stop it, fail. Schibetta sides with the gangsters and offers them a deal, only to find out that one of them is not who he says he is and so plugs him up. Diane Whittlesey meets an old friend and joins him in smuggling cigarettes to make ends meet. Said is diagnosed with hypertension but refuses to take his medication. An anonymous tip leads to one of the officers getting arrested for smuggling drugs into Oz. McManus and Sister Pete find out that Beecher has found a new addiction to kill his pain; Sister Pete tries to get him into counselling but with no luck. Schillinger decides to give him a makeover.|
|6||6||"To Your Health"||Alan Taylor||Tom Fontana||August 11, 1997 (1997-08-11)||Health|
|The staff realize that they are not dealing with senior inmates very well, so decide to give them a senior citizens unit, with no success. McManus starts behaving strangely and is somewhat permanently attached to Em City. Rebadow decides to leave with God's aid but fails. Ricardo Alvarez has Alzheimer's, and Mukada and Sister Pete debate that he should be released. Schillinger grows tired of Beecher and decides to get rid of him. O'Reily gives Beecher PCP and he takes a stand against Schillinger. O'Reily and Adebisi know that Schibetta is driving a wedge between them, so they come up with a plan to kill him. Basketball star Jackson Vahue comes to Oz and Augustus Hill, whose role model he is, tries to win his respect, but Vahue gets him to take drugs to prove his loyalty. Said succumbs to a heart attack and Huseni Mershah, who does not share Said's enthusiasm, decides to let him die.|
|7||7||"Plan B"||Darnell Martin||Tom Fontana||August 18, 1997 (1997-08-18)||Unplanned events|
|Following his heart attack, Said banishes Huseni Mershah, but Mershah tells Glynn and McManus about Said's plans to start a riot. Following a shakedown, he is transferred out of Em City, where he is labeled an outcast, and commits suicide later on. Donald Groves, who wants to follow Said, decides to kill Glynn, but by accident kills an officer in the process. While Groves is awaiting execution, the guards brutally beat the inmates for retaliation. Hill admires a cellist, Eugene Dobbins, and through this decides to find a role model other than Vahue. O'Reily and Adebisi take down Schibetta. Beecher manages to stand up to Schillinger by attacking him in the gym and defecating on his face.|
|8||8||"A Game of Checkers"||Jean de Segonzac||Tom Fontana||August 25, 1997 (1997-08-25)||Revolution|
|After months of tension, a riot breaks loose in Em City, started by two inmates playing a game of checkers. McManus goes in to trade himself for a couple of wounded hostages and the Governor decides to take back Em City by force.|
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