The BEST Episodes of Oz

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2020

Network: HBO

OZ is set deep inside the Oswald Maximum Security Prison, in an experimental unit known as Emerald City. Em City focuses on prisoner rehabilitation over public retribution. There's one set of rules from the outside looking in, and another once you're inside. Every group - Muslims, Latinos, Italians, Aryans - stick close to their mutual friends and terrorizes their mutual enemies.

A Game of Checkers

#1 - A Game of Checkers

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Aug 25, 1997

Beecher is released from the hole and Schillinger is left eyeless and weak. A riot breaks out after two white punks get into a fight over checkers. Frustration, sexuality, hate, revenge, racism all rear their ugly heads, causing the violence to escalate. Finally, after several prison officers are taken hostage, tear gas is thrown into the Emerald City and the SORT team arrives, guns blazing.

star 8.04
682 votes
Writers: Tom Fontana
Napoleon's Boney Parts

#2 - Napoleon's Boney Parts

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 21, 1999

The hack ain't comin' back, and everyone's trying to figure out who did the deed; especially Schillinger and Said. McManus hires a new officer Sean Murphy who's also a friend of Tim's. Despite Glynn's reservations, an inmate boxing program is is created and inmates get psyched for the competition. While closely shaving Hill, Coyle gives the gruesome details of his crime, which include the death of an infant and the discovery of indisputable evidence to his claim. Disgusted, Hill decides Coyle should pay and gives the info to Warden Glynn. Adebisi gets approved to work in the AIDS ward. While Howell and Wittelsey converse about McManus, he appears with bad news for Wittelsey. Meanwhile, Schillinger's son Andy has been arrested and is due to arrive to Oz any day. Keller, stir-crazy from being in protective custody, goes back to Em City with painful results. Alvarez begins deteriorating now that his medication has been eliminated.

star 7.99
487 votes
Directors: Matt Dillon
Writers: Tom Fontana
Variety

#3 - Variety

Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 10, 2002

Said returns from the hole ready to apologize to White. The inmate variety show takes shape with Busmalis as MC and White the featured performer. Robson's painful teeth force him to the dentist, something he secretly fears. The dentist recommends gum replacement surgery. Alvarez wants to give his dog to Rivera the Oz guard he blinded. Cyril's trial looms and Ryan's worried. Redding continues to search for culprit that gave Hill the drugs. Poet, in an attempt to hide the truth from Redding convinces Busmalis to tell Redding that one of the Italians did the deed. This results in Redding having DeSantos poisoned. Chucky's condition worsens and out of fear, he summons Sister Peter for spiritual help. Meanwhile, Sister Pete starts looking for Guenzel's attackers only the 3 who know (Said, Beecher, Schillinger) refuse to divulge.

star 7.96
321 votes
Directors: Roger Rees
Writers: Bradford Winters, Tom Fontana
Wheel of Fortune

#4 - Wheel of Fortune

Season 5 - Episode 5 - Aired Feb 3, 2002

Said and Arif go to Warden Glynn about Lalar's murder. Angry and full of rage, Said then confronts White about passing drugs. Unsatisfied with White's response, Said beats White severely, which gets Said thrown in the hole. Chucky Pancamo's condition worsens. On orders from Schillinger, Winthrop gets into a fight with Guenzel. Schillinger goes to with a deal, he'll let Beecher work for him delivering mail to Keller if Beecher has Guenzel transferred to Gen Pop so Schillinger can have him. Keller discovers the feds have compelling evidence linking him to one of the past murders. Meanwhile, Howell makes her move on Keller, Rebadow's ship comes in...for someone else and Hill becomes gravely ill.

star 7.94
344 votes
Directors: Terry Kinney
Writers: Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana
Plan B

#5 - Plan B

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Aug 18, 1997

A recovered Said ostracizes Huseni Mershah for turning his back on him when he was dying--and orders all the Muslims to cast him out. Impressed by Said's power, Groves decides to kill Glynn in his honor, but ends up stabbing and killing an officer by mistake. Condemned to death, Groves chooses the firing squad as his form of execution. Meanwhile, Schibetta is still being fed ground glass by O'Reilly and Adebisi, and ends up hemmorhaging. Beecher, transformed by prison life, finally gets revenge on his nemesis, Schillinger.

star 7.94
633 votes
Directors: Darnell Martin
Writers: Tom Fontana
Famous Last Words

#6 - Famous Last Words

Season 4 - Episode 16 - Aired Feb 25, 2001

Hill gets caught in a deliberate attempt to frame him for drug possession. To fight back, he gets some medical info that leads to Supreme's demise. Redding thanks Hill and offers to bring him back to the crew in return. Hill thanks Redding but refuses. The Colonel's attempt to kill Morales backfires. The tides turn on Cloutier who is first stripped of his position in his church and then endures his followers turning against him. After Hughes takes over the solitary ward, Glynn goes in to try and calm him down. Hughes tries to kill Glynn but gets killed himself. Frustrated, hurt and helpless, Glynn transcribes his letter of resignation to his secretary. Murphy offers to be McManus' teammate in the final basketball game. McManus appears on the tv game show and loses in the first round. White gets returned to solitary for starting a fight with other inmates. When McManus confronts him about it, White goes into a rage and stomps McManus. The news of Beecher's parole enrages Schillinger who immediately order's Beecher's murder. Later, Schillinger and Robson try to ambush Beecher in the library only they are shanked by an enraged Said. After talking with his mother, O'Reily decides to change up. He goes to Glynn to warn him of the bomb Connolly plans to detonate. The common room is cleared only for Connolly who holds the bomb as it's timer counts down. The bomb doesn't go off and Connolly's taken by the SORT team. Meanwhile, a guard lights a cigarette in the kitchen causing a major explosion.

star 7.90
421 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: Sean Whitesell, Tom Fontana
Escape from Oz

#7 - Escape from Oz

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Aug 31, 1998

Wittlesey is transferred to Gen Pop and replaced by Karl Metzger, a Nazi. Mack and another Aryan try to escape through Busmalis and Rebadow's tunnel but the tunnel collapses and kills the two Aryans. Hill gets the idea of escaping Oz by hiding in a coffin. Sippel re-enters Oz because he can't deal with life on the outside, but Schillinger crucifies him -- literally. Alvarez gouges out Rivera's eyes and is put in solitary for life. Needing a blood transfusion for Rivera, Dr. Nathan finds that only O'Reily has the same blood type; he agrees to donate in exchange for getting his brother Cyril near him. Keller and Schillinger reveal their sordid plan of deceit to Beecher while breakingv both his arms and legs. Fortune teller Kipkemei Jara gives Adebisi hope of a new life; but he is murdered by Wangler on orders from Antonio Nappa. The grief this causes Adebisi lands him in the psych ward. Said is pardoned by Governor Devlin, but refuses choosing to return to Em City instead.

star 7.89
581 votes
Writers: Tom Fontana
God's Chillin'

#8 - God's Chillin'

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Jul 21, 1997

Friction grows in the wake of two deaths--first Ortoloni and now Johnny Post--so Wiseguy leader Schibetta, Muslim leader Said, and Homeboy Jefferson Keane are brought together by Warden Glynn, who tells them to keep their boys quiet or else he'll lock the prison down. The tension increases following a visit from Governor Devlin, who was responsible for the ban on smoking and conjugal visits. Meanwhile, Keane has found God--just as a couple of Latinos with a grudge find him.

star 7.87
754 votes
Writers: Tom Fontana
Impotence

#9 - Impotence

Season 5 - Episode 8 - Aired Feb 24, 2002

Robson returns from solitary to discover he's been kicked out of the "Brotherhood" and moved to another cell. McManus tells Glynn he'll write a letter supporting Alvarez's bid for parole. Problem is, Alvarez attacks one of the parole board members and gets thrown back into solitary. Dr. Nathan's guilt worsens as Chucky slips into a coma from the septic infection. Schillinger tells new inmate Cutler he has to kill a black inmate to join the "Brotherhood" and Cutler selects Said as his victim. White's gets this information and goes to protect Said only they get into a tussle and Cutler almost dies. Rebadow gets to go see his dying grandson only to have to return later for the boy's funeral. Busmalis gets a letter from Norma who wants to visit. She does and brings surprising news. Beecher moves to make a confession during the interaction session. The result? Schillinger gets convicted of rape and is transferred to solitary indefinitely. Father Meehan touches a nerve with Ryan and forces him to acknowledge a childhood incident that scarred Ryan for life. A stabbing intended for Redding, claims an innocent inmate instead.

star 7.86
372 votes
Directors: Alex Zakrzewski
Writers: Tom Fontana
The Truth and Nothing But...

#10 - The Truth and Nothing But...

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 14, 1999

In addition to the name change to "Oswald State Correctional Facility," more changes abound. Newbies Coyle, Kahn, and Ricardo arrive and partner up with Wangler, Said, and Hernandez respectively. Adebisi's "recovery" prompts a return. Clayton Hughes, son of a past Oz guard who came through the ranks with Glynn, asks Glynn to hire him. Meanwhile new Officer Howell, gets friendly with McManus. A managed health care company takes over Oz's infirmary, to Dr. Nathan's disgust and Alvarez's detriment. Cyril O'Reily still has nightmares about being raped by Schillinger and Ryan schemes on revenge. Said develops an unlikely alliance as he starts a hunger fast in response to McManus rejecting his request for food in his cell during his holy season. Keller confesses his part in setting up Beecher and is immediately taken into protective custody. Beecher gets some oh-so-sweet revenge.

star 7.84
557 votes
Directors: Nick Gomez
Writers: Tom Fontana
Straight Life

#11 - Straight Life

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Aug 4, 1997

The infiltration of drugs into Oz has reached unprecedented levels; and the undercover efforts of McManus and Glynn to find out who's smuggling it in backfires in a deadly way. Despite a lockdown in the Emerald City, drugs continue to trickle in--and the blame shifts from prisoners to corrupt officials.

star 7.83
684 votes
Writers: Tom Fontana
Laws of Gravity

#12 - Laws of Gravity

Season 5 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 13, 2002

Alvarez and Guerra come up with a new way to settle their beef -- Guerra will stab Alvarez in the shoulder without killing him. Morales questions Guerra's decision to do this while he attempts to grieve for his sister. Rebadow gets more bad news about his grandson which prompts him to search for alternatives. Montgomery asks for more hush money from Ryan so Ryan devises a plan to have Montgomery eliminated. Officer Brass returns to Oz to get facts on who attacked him. Ellie O'Connor arrives as the Governor's liaison to Oz only past memories of her failed marriage to McManus return. Schibetta returns and Schillinger shanks Pancamo after learning that he had Hank killed. McManus makes an offer to Said and White to hopefully curb White's erratic and sometimes bizarre behavior. Ryan's mom, Suzanne Fitzgerald comes to Oz to instruct inmates in performance arts.

star 7.83
382 votes
Directors: Rob Morrow
Writers: Sean Whitesell, Tom Fontana
Cuts Like a Knife

#13 - Cuts Like a Knife

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired Jan 28, 2001

Despised by both the Latinos and the gangsters, Alvarez snaps and kills another Latino inmate. He's then returned to solitary. McManus continues to argue the problems of the drug experiment. Cyril sudden physical aging scares Ryan. Inmate Wick, one of the bikers who's taken the drug dies suddenly while talking to Hoyt. After officially joining the Muslims, Tidd attempts to kill Said, but decides not to after his conscious gets to him. Still out of control and unpredictable, White stabs McManus in an effort to gain the respect of the other inmates. Johhny Basil gets visited by his former partner who's still angry at him. Supreme Allah returns to Oz and immediately draws Redding's ire. Redding then tells Hill that Allah tipped the cops off, causing Hill's arrest. Hill then confronts Allah about this and Allah beats Hill. Father Ray and Rev. Cloutier finally meet. Schillinger finds out about Hank's death and immediately swears revenge. Keller tells Schillinger that he had Hank killed so Vern won't go after Beecher's family. Keller then gets transferred out of Oz to stand trial in Massachusetts.

star 7.82
431 votes
Directors: Steve Buscemi
Writers: Tom Fontana
Good Intentions

#14 - Good Intentions

Season 5 - Episode 7 - Aired Feb 17, 2002

Redding discovers that Busmalis lied about DeSantos. Furious, he confronts Morales and the confrontation gets the two of them thrown in the hole. Cyril gets convicted of the murder and Ryan tells the attorney not to appeal. Meanwhile Sister Pete, Father Meehan and Suzanne Fitzgerald meet to devise another plan in Cyril's defense. Rebadow fumes over not getting the lottery money. Mc Manus' offer to search Oz's databases reveals an inmate with the same blood history as Rebadow's grandson. Rebadow meets the man only to be rejected by him. The rumor of Robson's replacement gums coming from a black patient prompts Schillinger to consult with Aryan Nation leader. The result? Robson gets banned from the Aryans.

star 7.82
347 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: Bradford Winters, Tom Fontana
Visits, Conjugal and Otherwise

#15 - Visits, Conjugal and Otherwise

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Jul 14, 1997

With Schibetta and the prison brass in a race to uncover Ortolani's killer (for very different reasons), we see how inmates react to visits from both their wives and, in one case, family members who are also in prison.

star 7.82
845 votes
Directors: Nick Gomez
Writers: Tom Fontana
To Your Health

#16 - To Your Health

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Aug 11, 1997

Three generations of Alvarezes--all prisoners at Oz--are united when the partiarch, Ricardo, is found face down in his cell, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Meanwhile, Tobias Beecher, who as the neo-Nazi Schillinger's "girlfriend" has been forced to wear women's clothes, flips out after taking PCP and sends Schillinger to the hospital with an eye cut. Other inmates aren't exactly the picture of health, either. Mob boss Schibetta has stomach pains caused by ground glass intentionally mixed in with his food, and Muslim leader Kareem Said has a heart attack after refusing to take medication for high blood pressure.

star 7.81
630 votes
Directors: Alan Taylor
Writers: Tom Fontana
Dream a Little Dream of Me

#17 - Dream a Little Dream of Me

Season 5 - Episode 3 - Aired Jan 20, 2002

After recovering from his shank wound, Alvarez gains a follower. Busmalis starts a letter writing campaign to get "Miss Sally's Schoolhouse" back on the air. Rebadow finds a way to raise the money for his grandson's treatment. Jia Kenmin returns to Oz after recovering from the coma induced by a blow from Cyril. After Schillinger's released, Redding and Morales form a pact to eliminate the Italians from the drug trade. Schibetta makes a move on the Aryans only it backfires with terrifying results. Kirk continues planning ways to kill Cloutier. After carrying out messages he "received" from Cloutier, Hoyt confesses to all his past murders. Cloutier makes a move that mystifies everyone.

star 7.81
382 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: Sean Whitesell, Tom Fontana
Capital P

#18 - Capital P

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Jul 28, 1997

Governor Devlin has reinstated capital punishment in the state; and the first Oz prisoner scheduled to die is Jefferson Keane, who killed a Latino in a skirmish set up by the Co's. Before he's executed, Keane donates a kidney to his ailing sister, then turns down lawyer-turned-inmate Tobias Beecher's offer to take up his defense. After Keane's death, Richard L'Italien -- slaughterer of women -- is executed by lethal injection after he makes a startling admission.

star 7.80
737 votes
Directors: Darnell Martin
Writers: Tom Fontana
You Bet Your Life

#19 - You Bet Your Life

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired Aug 30, 2000

After the press conference shooting incident, Glynn pulls out of the race. When a corpse is found in the laundry room, Querns demands Adebisi find out who did the deed. Soon Browne's corpse is also discovered and Querns gets worried. Querns's investigative efforts point to Supreme Allah as the culprit only Supreme's really being framed for the two killings by O'Reily and Keller. Hill pays big when he tells Mobay he knows he's undercover and Mobay comes clean about his involvement in Oz's recent crimes. Considering the words of Cyril, Sister Pete decides to remain in the Order. On death row, Deyell delivers some payback after Miles goes on another racist tirade. Vern finds out he's going to be a grandfather. Said moves in with Adebisi in order to get some proof of Adebisi's rowdy behavior. Simon finds out and delivers a tape of one of Adebisi's "parties" to Said hoping to "gain his trust" as a "brother" Said turns the evidence over to McManus. The result? Querns gets fired, McManus is reinstated and Adebisi and his cronies get moved to Unit B. Enraged about these new developments, Adebisi and Said struggle in the pod and one of them becomes Oz's latest murder victim.

star 7.75
565 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: Tom Fontana
Orpheus Descending

#20 - Orpheus Descending

Season 4 - Episode 14 - Aired Feb 11, 2001

McManus returns from the hospital with an ultimatum for Redding and Morales. Redding tells Hill that he's finished with him after Hill tipped a guard off. Supreme meets with Pancamo and offers to set Hill up to kill Redding. Redding and his new cellmate "The Colonel" develop an delicate alliance. McManus still commits to helping White change, even after White stabbed him. Clayton Hughes, on an emotional rampage, kills Basil. Glynn's secretary discovers him drinking heavily and she decides to drive him home. Sister Pete arranges a phone call between Beecher and Keller after she sees Beecher saddened by Keller's absence. Schillinger meets his new granddaughter but then runs into a new inmate who makes Schillinger question whether or not the baby is really his granddaughter. Said goes to Cloutier and asks him to coerce a confession from Jenkins about Robson's part in the plan to have Tidd murdered. Although it works, Cloutier gets visited by Schillinger and the Aryans and told to stay out of their business.

star 7.74
378 votes
Directors: Gloria Muzio
Writers: Sean Whitesell, Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana
A Cock and Balls Story

#21 - A Cock and Balls Story

Season 4 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 12, 2000

The lockdown ends. After Hamid Khan's body is taken off life support, the Muslim's choose Arif to lead them. Meanwhile, Cyril's having nightmares about delivering the fatal blow to Khan in the boxing match. Ryan asks Sister Pete to intervene. Murphy makes a suggestion to help ease some of the strain in solitary after another inmate commits suicide. Father Mukada plants an inventive idea in Beecher's head on how to deal with Schillinger. Shirley Bellinger returns awaiting her date with the noose. New inmate Mobay, arrives to Oz and his cellmate Hill is immediately suspicious. Gov. Devlin invites Glynn to be his running mate in the Gov's re-election bid. McManus gets an update on Wittlesey, who hasn't returned from vacation and a shootout in Oz results in four deaths.

star 7.74
597 votes
Directors: Adam Bernstein
Writers: Tom Fontana
Out o' Time

#22 - Out o' Time

Season 3 - Episode 8 - Aired Sep 1, 1999

When his plea for an expedited return to solitary goes on deaf ears, Miguel takes matters into his own hands. Glynn finds out who raped his daughter. Hill gets sent to the hole. The boxing finals match ends in tragedy. A hack makes an exit...and an impression .....by leaving a holiday gift for an inmate.

star 7.74
532 votes
Directors: Barbara Kopple
Writers: Tom Fontana
Gray Matter

#23 - Gray Matter

Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Aug 9, 2000

Things get a bit lively on death row after Shirley Bellinger's execution-- Miles begins painting a self-portrait, Ginzburg's health deteriorates from AIDS and Deyell severely injures himself. Mobay's ordered to kill someone as a final test of his loyalty and a new prisoner, whom Mobay's familiar with, makes the perfect victim. A call stirs McManus' emotions again. New inmate Supreme Allah arrives creating tension and uneasiness for Arif. On his way to his son's funeral, Beecher asks Keller an intimate question. A changed Rebadow asks for permission from Morales to kill again. After a fight with the gangsters, Cyril's put on heavier sedatives. For Ryan O'Reilly, he gets the cell phone after ratting to Hoyt and he also meets Dr. Nathan's attacker.

star 7.73
535 votes
Directors: Brian Cox (III)
Writers: Tom Fontana
The Routine

#24 - The Routine

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Jul 12, 1997

In the "Emerald City" experimental unit of Oswald State Penitentiary, we meet some of the diverse inmates who live within a pecking order of Homeboys, Latinos, Muslims, Irish, Aryans, and Wiseguys. No clear-cut leader emerges -- with the possible exception of Kareem Said, a Muslim author who preaches non-violence and abstinence. Said's arrival doesn't prevent a short-fused Mafia inmate named Dino Ortolani from ticking off just about everybody--a habit that ends up burning him.

star 7.73
1,362 votes
Directors: Darnell Martin
Writers: Tom Fontana
A Day in the Death...

#25 - A Day in the Death...

Season 6 - Episode 6 - Aired Feb 9, 2003

Idzik faces his enemies; the intrigues behind the Loewen case get more complicated; changes are made in the hospital; the Muslims run into business trouble; Rebadow and Stella get closer; and the inmates rally to support the O'Reilys.

star 7.70
307 votes
Directors: Daniel Loflin
Writers: Bradford Winters, Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana