Simon Adebisi

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Simon Adebisi is a fictional character played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on the HBO dramatic series Oz. Adebisi serves as one of the main characters in the first four seasons. After the first half of season four, his character was killed off the show so Akinnuoye-Agbaje could film the movie The Mummy Returns.[1]

Adebisi was one of the most feared and powerful inmates in Oz. A notorious drug dealer, addict, killer, and rapist Adebisi was greatly feared by inmates and guards until his death in the midseason finale of season 4.

Character overview[edit]

Prisoner #93A234. Convicted May 2, 1993 - Murder in the first degree. Sentence: Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Simon Adebisi is serving a life sentence without parole for beheading an undercover cop with a machete. An extremely muscular man, he can physically intimidate many of his fellow inmates. As one of the leaders of the Homeboys (The Black Gang in Oz), Adebisi is considered one of the prison's most dangerous inmates, and becomes one of the most recognizable characters on the show. He is well known for his trademark tilted hat, which Akinnuoye-Agbaje suggested was inspired by the "Area Boys" of Lagos, Nigeria.

Adebisi is of Nigerian - specifically Yoruba descent - and speaks with a strong accent, but had been in America for about 15 years prior to his incarceration. Despite being portrayed as short-tempered and hedonistic, Adebisi later is shown to be capable of engineering and executing long-term plans through intellect and manipulation.

History[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Adebisi began as a minor character; a lieutenant of Jefferson Keane. Following Keane's execution in Episode 4, Paul Markstrom takes over the Homeboys until Adebisi and Kenny Wangler kill him when it is discovered he is an undercover cop. Adebisi then takes over and partners in the drug trade with the Italians. Italian Mafia boss Nino Schibetta saw him as the best drug player among the black inmates and respected his leadership skills. Unbeknownst to Schibetta, Adebisi and Ryan O'Reily intend to take over the drug trade and began putting crushed glass into Schibetta's food to slowly kill him. In the Season 1 finale, Adebisi, along with O'Reily, Kareem Said, Miguel Alvarez and Scott Ross, is a leader of a riot in their prison unit (known as "Emerald City"). He is taken prisoner by the other inmates, however, when he is incapacitated due to heroin withdrawal. In that episode, it is revealed that Adebisi's imprisonment seems to have swept the previous governor out of office and gave Governor James Devlin his opening to reinstate the death penalty.

Season 2[edit]

Adebisi continues to suffer severe heroin withdrawal in solitary during the post-riot lockdown. However, he is able to maintain control of the Homeboys when Emerald City reopens. Nino Schibetta's son Peter comes to Oz and learns that Adebisi is responsible for the death of his father, and is himself poisoned by Adebisi. Schibetta swears revenge and tries to kill Adebisi with help from Chucky Pancamo. Adebisi is able to defend himself against the two and knocks out Pancamo and then brutally rapes the semi-conscious Schibetta.[2] As a result, Schibetta, traumatized by the rape, begins losing his mind and is transferred to the psych ward.

However, two distractions held Adebisi's attention: first, his crush on death row inmate Shirley Bellinger, who flirts with him through notes before rejecting him upon discovering that he is black. Secondly, his heroin addiction is out of control. The Italian Mob, seeking revenge for Schibetta's rape, takes advantage of this when new inmate and Mafia boss Antonio Nappa gets Adebisi put into drug rehab through his staff connections. Adebisi is deposed as the head of the Homeboys and cut out of the drug trade through the help of Nappa's former friends. Another Nigerian Yoruba prisoner, an elderly man named Kipekemie Jara, comes to Oz, and begins to rehabilitate Adebisi, but at the same time the stress of the change brings on schizophrenic visions and severe psychosis. The Italians and the blacks consider Jara a threat, so they kill him. The shock and trauma of the event triggers a nervous breakdown in Adebisi and he is moved to the psych ward, placed in a cell right next to Peter Schibetta.

Season 3[edit]

Adebisi comes out of the psych ward pretending to be a changed man. To prove he is sane, he defends Peter Schibetta from an attacker in the psych ward. This convinces Antonio Nappa that a potential change in heart from Adebisi could prove useful for the Italian mobsters. This is all a ploy, however, as Adebisi takes a job in the AIDS ward as a means of obtaining blood from AIDS patient Robbie Gerth to prick Nappa undetected with an HIV-infected needle. When Dr. Nathan confirms that Nappa is HIV-positive, he is sent to the AIDS ward, and Pancamo assumes leadership of the Italians. From here Adebisi gets ready to take control of the Homeboys once again.

Meanwhile, Kenny Wangler is leading the Homeboys, who no longer trust Adebisi. Adebisi approaches Pancamo about becoming partners in the drug trade. Pancamo initially refuses because he is still angered about the beating Adebisi gave him and Schibetta. However, when Adebisi points out that he could be a strong ally, Pancamo agrees to work with him as long as he gets rid of Wangler. Adebisi then shows his sincerity with a plot to depose current black gang member Wangler by burning the skin of Wangler's allies, Poet and Junior Pierce, while Wangler is away at a funeral. When Wangler arrives back in Oz, he is locked in as Adebisi's cellmate. Adebisi practices various African "warrior training" activities such as hog tying Wangler naked. Adebisi then forces Wangler to accuse Unit Manager Tim McManus of sexual harassment. The claim hurt McManus, as he is already facing a sexual harassment suit from Claire Howell, putting McManus's credibility at further risk.

Adebisi begins to formulate a plan to take over Emerald City and make it "all black." The first step is to convince the impressionable Correctional Officer Clayton Hughes to help his African American counterparts behind bars as opposed to keeping them locked in. Adebisi tells him that his father had also died in Oz and then convinces Hughes that a white inmate murdered his father. Hughes, after seeing a few white officers make racist statements, starts accusing other black staff members, including Warden Leo Glynn, of betraying their own people and working for an oppressive white-run system. Adebisi's second step involved rallying the Black inmates as a means of taking over the prison. He engineers a plan which results in the prison guards throwing Augustus Hill in the hole. He exploits the perceived racism of the white officers in order to incense the black inmates to riot. Despite opposition from Muslim inmate Kareem Said, the black inmates led by Adebisi begin shouting "Set Hill Free" and start physically confronting both the White inmates and correctional officers. Fearing a riot, Glynn locks Oz down into the new millennium and fires Hughes for being sympathetic to Adebisi's cause. Hughes however leaves Adebisi with a gun on his last day of work.

Season 4[edit]

After the lockdown, Adebisi creates a tense situation by holding the smuggled gun in his cell. He manipulates Warden Glynn to let Poet, Pierce, and Wangler back into Em City claiming that the racial situation will rest easier getting them back. When Wangler asks why Adebisi isn't using the gun, he claims that their goal to get a black man to run Emerald City will be accomplished better if another inmate uses the gun. Adebisi then notices that the three of them led by Wangler harass and bully a new white inmate, a Frenchman named Guillaume Tarrant, who is a solitary loner unfit to handle the stress of prison life. Intending to eliminate Wrangler, Adebisi leaves the gun under Tarrant's mattress. The next time Wangler tries to bully Tarrant, Tarrant pulls the gun and kills him, his friend Junior Pierce, Lou Rath, and officer Joseph Howard before turning the weapon on himself. With four blacks including one correctional officer dead at the hands of a white inmate, Adebisi's goals are accomplished and his plan is set in motion as Glynn fires McManus for overlooking the gun smuggling incident. Raoul Hernandez informs on him, convinced that the Latinos will move to aid the Whites. Hernandez tells Glynn that Adebisi used the gun to stir up racial tension and that it was given to him by Hughes. Adebisi and Pancamo agree that it is time for Hernandez to die, and use new inmate Enrique Morales to kill Hernandez and take his position as El Norte's gang leader. Meanwhile, a new inmate named Desmond Mobay, who is supposedly Jamaican, wants in with the gangsters. Mobay is actually a narcotics detective named Johnny Basil who is sent in to bust the drug trade in Emerald City. Adebisi is suspicious and opposes having Mobay join as a member their crew. But Mobay comes though and passes every initiation test successfully, eventually gaining their confidence.

Over the course of the season Adebisi, with the help of Zahir Arif, persuades outside community leaders to pressure Glynn into hiring a black man to replace McManus. Glynn is running for Lieutenant Governor, and sees that hiring a black man to run Emerald City is likely to gain him more support from African American voters. Eventually, Glynn does hire a black man named Martin Querns. Querns, himself an ex-drug dealer, is told to rid Emerald City of violence and racial tension. Querns tells the inmates that they sell and use drugs freely as long as there is no violence. Head guard Sean Murphy, an ardent supporter of McManus, is appalled by Querns' system, especially because it makes Adebisi, Pancamo, and Morales the trustees. Murphy questions Querns' motive in transferring all of the Aryan and Biker inmates out of Emerald City. Querns fires Murphy and instates a black officer Travis Smith as the head of Emerald City. Querns later recommends that Glynn transfer out all of the guards loyal to Sean Murphy also. Glynn allows Querns to transfer all of the white guards with the exception of Claire Howell, who hates McManus. All of the new guards transferred into Emerald City are black, as are all of the new inmates. However, none of these inmates are Muslim. This angers Arif, who had helped Adebisi get a black man to run Emerald City in the first place. The new inmates are also all loyal to Adebisi, who becomes the most powerful and influential inmate in the prison, and is given free rein by Querns as long as he suppresses violent incidents. Adebisi now has the freedom to satisfy all his vices, installing a curtain in his cell and creating his own version of "paradise", although he could not escape the fact that he was still in prison. In time, the Christian and gay gangs, both predominantly white, are replaced by black inmates, and soon the Italian and Latino inmates are deprived of the drug trade. When these two groups are sent to Unit B, two of Adebisi's lieutenants, Poet and Supreme Allah, are named trustees to replace Pancamo and Morales.

At the same time, two of the few white inmates left in Emerald City, Chris Keller and Ryan O'Reily, decide to work together to bring Adebisi and Querns down. Keller murders inmates Nate Shemin and Mondo Browne, and they frame Supreme Allah. This causes Glynn to began to mistrust Querns, who in turn begins to mistrust Adebisi, who tries to force a confession out of his lieutenant and various others. Adebisi is rattled by these events and begins to distrust his own men.

Said, the re-instated leader of the Muslims, is greatly concerned about the effects of Adebisi's leadership in Emerald City under Querns. Said believes that Emerald City is rapidly becoming an inferno in which black inmates are being mentally poisoned. Noting Adebisi's distrust of his men is light of the murders, Said pretends to join forces with Adebisi with the covert intention of bringing him down. Said learns of Adebisi's video recordings of drug parties in his cell, and resolves to find a way to supply Glynn with this damning evidence of Querns' misconduct.

Adebisi accepts Said's request to move into his cell and voluntarily gives him a video tape to "test his loyalty." However, Said gives the tape to the warden and Querns is immediately fired. When McManus is reinstated as unit manager of Emerald City, he announces Adebisi's transfer out of the prison unit. Adebisi is enraged and storms into his cell to kill Said with a knife. The two of them struggle, gaining the attention of McManus, the guards and the prisoners. A large bloodstain splatters on Said's white curtains and Adebisi emerges from Said's cell, seemingly victorious and unscathed. However, he reveals his injuries by spitting out blood from his mouth and falls to the ground, dead. His death was later ruled as self-defense since Adebisi attempted to murder Said first.

Murders Committed[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2003/SHOWBIZ/TV/02/21/oz.end/index.html
  2. ^ YouTube - Oz - Adebisi vs Pancamo & Schibetta