Jeremiah Cloutier

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Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier is a fictional character on the HBO prison drama Oz, portrayed by Luke Perry.

Character overview[edit]

Prisoner #00C966. Convicted December 27, 2000 – Embezzlement and petty larceny. Sentence: nine years, up for parole in five.

Cloutier came to Oz in Season 4 when he is caught embezzling funds from his church. In prison, Cloutier continues his role as preacher and converts other prisoners to Evangelical Christianity. After disagreeing with a convert named Timmy Kirk, Cloutier is subjected to violence from the Biker gang and ends up with third degree burns across the majority of his body. From there the Bikers take and hide his body again, where he then dies. Cloutier was one of the few Inmates not to engage in violence. His commitment to his faith earns him the respect of Kareem Said, who asks his assistance in resolving the feud between the Aryans and Muslims.

Season 4, Part 2[edit]

Cloutier arrives in Oz and immediately begins religious services for Oz's Protestant inmates. On the outside he was a famous and well-respected pastor and as a result Warden Glynn allows him to work in the Chaplain's office while in Oz. He begins usurping control of the Christian inmates, engaging in a "competition of souls" with Father Ray Mukada, a Catholic priest who serves as Oz's Chaplain.

Cloutier attempts to counsel Aryan leader Vern Schillinger into focusing on the birth of his granddaughter, and turning away from a life of hatred and brutality. However, members of the Aryan Brotherhood warn Cloutier to back off; they don't want to lose their leader. Cloutier then successfully converts Biker Jim Burns and Irish inmate Timmy Kirk (who was a Catholic altar boy). With Cloutier poaching prisoners and constantly challenging the Catholic faith, bad blood develops between the two men.

Soon Timmy Kirk's religious convictions become more and more zealous and he begins to use his new faith as justification to physically attack other inmates who don't share it. Cloutier is appalled at this behaviour, which shows Mukada that Cloutier is in fact true to his faith. With the help of Muslim leader Kareem Said and a local Rabbi, the four hold an ecumenical service. Said, who also begins to see Cloutier's sincerity, asks him for a favor. Carl Jenkins killed inmate Leroy Tidd at the behest of James Robson (Said was the actually target of the killing), but refuses to implicate Robson. Said asks Cloutier to convince Jenkins to reveal Robson's role in the attempted assassination of Said and the murder of Tidd. When Robson and Schillinger discover Jenkins plans to turn Robson in, they threaten Jenkins, who subsequently takes his own life.

Schillinger, who had been receiving counseling from the pastor, allows Cloutier to escape vengeance in this matter with a warning not to interfere with Brotherhood business. When the war between the Muslims and the Aryans gets ugly, Glynn has Cloutier calm Schillinger and his Aryan troops. Kirk, meanwhile, is still causing trouble and as a result, Cloutier casts him out of the congregation. To get revenge, Timmy enlists the help of Jaz Hoyt and the other bikers. Hoyt humiliates Cloutier by stealing his towel while he is in the shower, forcing him to walk back to his cell naked. Later, Kirk, Hoyt, and others trap Cloutier inside the wall of the cafeteria, burying him alive. At the end of Season 4, there is an explosion in the cafeteria which Cloutier survives.

Season 5[edit]

Even though Cloutier is in the hospital and badly burned and disfigured, this does not stop Kirk from trying to kill him. Hoyt is haunted by a vision of Cloutier in which Cloutier tells him to kill Kirk. One day, when Dr. Nathan and Father Mukada go to Cloutier's hospital room, they discover that he has disappeared.

Season 6[edit]

No explanation was ever given for his disappearance and he was never seen or heard from again until the final episode of the series when Jaz Hoyt reveals Cloutier's fate: he had been carried off by the bikers and sealed into another wall. After discovering Cloutier's body, Father Mukada re-seals the wall, telling no one what he found. Hoyt had earlier succeeded in brutally murdering Kirk while on Death Row, and is himself later murdered by another Biker in retaliation for revealing Cloutier's killing.

Trivia[edit]

In the DVD audio commentary for season four, series creator Tom Fontana said that during the time Cloutier serves in sentence, he has committed each of the seven deadly sins and by the time he is sealed into the first wall, Cloutier is spiritually depleted.

Luke Perry also plays another character named "Jeremiah" in the series of the same name.

References[edit]