List of Oz (TV series) characters
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The characters of Oz, fictional characters on the television series about prison life, are a diverse mixture of inmates from various gangs and prison staff.
|Character:||Portrayed by:||Appears in seasons:|
|Augustus Hill||Harold Perrineau||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|The socially astute narrator of the show. Paralyzed from the waist down because of a Police encounter before he was arrested/convicted for being a crack addict in which he overcame of being during his time in Oz, Hill also engages as a ally of the Homeboys, especially Burr Redding (His Step-father); however, he later distances himself from them in his attempt to stay clear of drugs in lieu of his addiction. Hill's narrations often offer philosophical perspectives on given situation, frequently dealing existential concepts and the nature of death. Although he dies at the end of season 5, he remains on the show throughout season 6 as a partial narrator alongside other dead characters.|
|Tobias Beecher||Lee Tergesen||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|A former middle class lawyer in denial about his alcoholism, Beecher is convicted of driving whilst intoxicated that results in the death of a young girl. Thrown into the deep end in a super-max prison and forced fend for himself, Beecher quickly learns he is out of his league. Not being street-savy, Beecher is quickly taken advantage of by Aryan inmate Schillinger who dominates him, rapes him and sexually humiliates him during Season 1. Around this time, Beecher also becomes addicted to drugs to cope with the harsh reality of his surroundings, befriending Irish inmate Ryan O'Reilly. After reaching breaking point, Beecher attacks Schillinger and leaves his eye badly damaged. By the end of the first Season, Beecher has become self-sufficient to a degree and is no longer a gullible pushover. His character undergoes the most drastic changes throughout the seasons, during which he becomes a drug addict and falls in love with Keller, a first for Beecher in encountering homosexuality. His relationship with Keller (both toxic and intoxicating for him) and blood feud with Schillinger is the series' dominant story arc, beginning in the first episode and being resolved during the series finale, when he accidentally kills Schillinger in an acted fight in a performance of MacBeth. By the end, Beecher is free of all his enemies, Keller having arranged for all remaining Aryans to be wiped out by a chemical release, which causes the entire prison to be evacuated.|
|Vernon Schillinger||J. K. Simmons||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|The leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, Schillinger commits atrocities against other inmates because of race, sexual orientation, or overall weakness, and often takes pressure by not just bullying and harassing, but also raping them and mostly being turned into his personal sex slaves, most notably former cellmate Beecher, who soon became his main rival through-out the series, and sometimes granted help by Beecher's lover, Keller (who is also a long-time friend of Schillinger), to take him down. Schillinger remains a pivotal figure and antagonist, known for his brutality and pursuit of vengeance against his former cellmate, the central arc of the series. During the series, Schillinger goes as far as to murder Beecher's wife and kidnap his two children, killing his son. In response, Beecher retaliates by hiring Chucky Pancamo to arrange a hit on Schillinger's older son who committed the murder. Schillinger's younger son Andrew also arrives in Oz, where their strained relationship is established and where the troubled youth rebels against his father and sides with his mortal enemy Beecher. Andrew's drug addiction gets the better of him, and is ultimately killed by Schillinger by default who, aware of his addiction, smuggles drugs into solitary confinement. Andrew dies of an overdose as a result, Schillinger later commenting that "My son is dead to me". In the final season of the show, Schillinger is double-crossed by Keller and accidentally killed by Beecher during a production of the play Macbeth, cursing Keller with his last breath when he realises his betrayal.|
|Ryan O'Reily||Dean Winters||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Ryan O'Reilly is an Irish-American inmate and one of the central characters in the show. O'Reilly is characterised by his machiavellianism, doing what ever it takes to survive through double-crossing, manipulation and betrayal. Despite his meek physical stature, O'Reilly is a respected member within Emerald City for his lucrative drug connections and seemingly infinite resources and favours to call upon. Compared to Othello's Iago by show creator Fontana, O'Reilly is responsible for almost every death in the first season. During the first season, O'Reilly approaches Beecher for parole advice and has Beecher take a look at his case. Around the same time, O'Reilly introduces Beecher to drugs that begins the latter's addiction and dependency in the first season. O'Reilly and Beecher remain friendly throughout much of the first and second season, relying upon one another as allies. In the second and third seasons, Ryan's obsession with Dr. Nathan becomes destructive after she helps him through his battle with breast cancer, with O'Reilly ordering his mentally challenged brother Cyril to kill Dr. Nathan's husband. Later, he kills Irish inmate Keenan for raping Dr. Nathan. By the end of the series, a romantic relationship exists between the two of them. O'Reilly also finds purpose again for his own life sentence at Oz by taking care of his sick father, who abused both himself and Cyril in their youth, and who is also an inmate at Oz and who regrets his own life's actions though he misses the opportunity to see Cyril before his execution.|
|Bob Rebadow||George Morfogen||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|An elderly inmate serving life for murder. He was originally sentenced to death, but in 1965, he survived a botched electric chair execution when the power went off and his sentence was commuted. He is fantastically intuitive (some think as a result of the botched execution), which in the first couple of seasons he explains by nonchalantly saying "God told me"; later he begins doubting the source and veracity of his insights. His grandson's battle with leukaemia makes him look for ways to find a cure. To raise the funds he asks a guard to buy him a lottery ticket and he wins with God's numbers only to be thwarted by the guard failing to share. By the time the guard had second thoughts, his grandson dies. When he is later smitten with the prison librarian, he finds out she has breast cancer and hardens his heart fearing the pain of another death. He comes around after being awakened by the admonition of a young inmate whom the librarian had also reached and to whom she later reads books through the door of the "hole".|
|Kareem Said||Eamonn Walker||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Kareem Said is a a charismatic Muslim leader with a powerful voice and a conviction that other people's racism will absolve him. In the first season, Said spends much of his time converting other inmates to his cause, even many of the Homeboys, much to the anger of Adebisi. In the end of Season 1, he orchestrates a riot with the Muslims and takes charge of Emerald City. A series of negotiations take place at the start of Season 2, where Said demands more rights for his fellow African-American inmates for his perceived mistreatment of his brethren. The riot is ultimately foiled by the withdrawal of many drug addicts, particularly Adebisi and the Homeboys. Warden Glenn agrees to more prisoner gym time and the return of TV privileges in return for ending the riot. Throughout much of the series, Said's friendship with Beecher plays a crucial role in the latter's survival, Said twice saving Beecher from the Aryans. Said also helps Beecher with his appeal and cope with the guilt over his part in killing Schillinger's older son. A power struggle occurs between Said and Adebisi, both joined in their stance for more rights of African Americans, and Said temporarily abandons his faith for the purpose of brokering peace. However, the enraged and deranged Adebisi attacks Said when he suspects a coup brewing. Said is responsible for the death of Simon Adebisi; however, it was ruled self-defense. He is shot and killed by Lemuel Idzik, played by Joel Grey, who kills him because of a conversation over a cup of coffee that ruined Idzik's life many years before. Said's own demons trouble him throughout and he makes the best deals he can for his followers and eventually for the good of any person, including Omar White, who is for all intents and purposes, a lost cause.|
|Miguel Alvarez||Kirk Acevedo||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|An in-and-not leader of the Latino inmates in the prison, Miguel Alvarez has a family background of Latino Gang-life, with his father Eduardo also having served in Oz prison, getting his tongue chop-off by another inmate who was then murdered with having his heart cut out by Alvarez's grandfather Ricardo (Who also serve in Oz for Armed Robbery) in revenge, which led to him to spend life in solitary confinement until his death in the first season. It is here where Alvarez meets both him and his father for the first time of his life. Alvarez is considered as one the most violent inmates by far to ever serve in Oz as he serves the most time in solitary confinement save for Omar White. His first major internal offence occurs during his attempt to redeem himself in the prison's Latino gang after new leader Raoul Hernandez (or "El Cid") demands Alvarez demonstrate his qualities. Alvarez does so by cutting out a respectable prison guard's eyes, who is in-fact an ex-gangster that was once rivals with Hernandez. After returning from solitary, Alvarez resumes as Hernandez's second-in-command. This, however, does not last long as Alvarez turns against his comrades during a drug smuggling incident. Alvarez is sent back to solitary for murdering a fellow Latino who was hired to kill him, and was then nearly killed by another Latino named Louis Bevilaqua on orders from Hernandez, but failed due to the intervention of psychotic inmate William Giles who stabs Bevilaqua in the neck. Giles, however, also accidentally stabs Alvarez in the process. Alvarez briefly escapes from prison with the help of Busmalis who was mopping the Prison's hospital, but is eventually recaptured, and returns straight back to solitary. Upon being released again, new things about the Latinos in Em City have changed, mainly with the new leader Enrique Morales who has Hernandez killed in a "Murder-for-Hire" incident carried-out surprisingly by Rebadow, and set-up new rules. Though Morales has nothing against Alvarez, the gang Lieutenant Carmen Guerra or "Chinco" still harbours resentment for Alvarez's betrayal, and hires another member to murdered him. This fails, Alvarez taking the limit of slashing the assassin's throat instead, and is once again sent back to solitary. After being released again, Alvarez is permanently forbade from joining under Morales' order, due to killing another Latino after he asks to join again. Alvarez chooses to forget about it, and decides sincere attempts to change his ways in ever hoping for parole, supported by McManus, and makes a tenuous peace with Eugene Rivera, the former CO Alvarez blinded. Taking part in a guide dog training course, Alvarez trains a dog for Rivera. Alvarez later attempts to make parole, but is thwarted by one of his own kind (a Latino board member) who takes over the parole board and makes it clear that Alvarez will never be released from Oz in spite of his attempts to better himself. Enraged, Alvarez attacks the board member and is sent back to solitary. Upon another release, he loses heart about being freed and returns to drugs and is swallowed up again by Oz by the end of the series.|
|Cyril O'Reily||Scott William Winters||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Ryan O'Reily's brain damaged and mentally-challenged brother (Who was almost severely mentally incapacitated in a gang-related fight with Ryan), who was incarcerated after blindly following Ryan's orders to murder the husband of Dr. Gloria Nathan, with whom Ryan is obsessed. Through-out his time in the prison, as his brother does what best to take care of him, he also often guarded Ryan from danger upon other Inmates, and due to his personality and lack of Intelligence and inability to understand certain situations, he's a target of bullying by others, referring him as names like "Retard" or "Tard" for short, and is even often threaten to be sexually assaulted, in which he already experience upon his arrival by Schillinger and the other Aryans when he was originally placed in Unit B, but was eventually transfer to Em City all thanks for Ryan so that he can stay closed to him. He kills an inmate out of self-defense of his brother, but gets sent to death row and is finally executed, after a long legal battle.|
|Chris Keller||Christopher Meloni||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|A bisexual serial killer and psychopath who preyed upon gay men in the outside world while hiding his sexual orientation through a series of marriages. Perhaps the most amoral figure in the entire milieu, he is a master of emotional manipulation and only seems to really enjoy himself when those who care about him are made to suffer. His relationship with Beecher is also a big part of many episodes. His only real emotion is his love for Beecher which elated and torments him. He takes the rap for the murder of Schillger's son to protect Beecher and is moved to another prison. Keller returns when the ruse is discovered. Beecher does finally get paroled and helps Keller get off death row. The increased interaction with Beecher convinces Keller that he can't exist without Beecher and he purposely screws up Beecher parole so that he is returned to Em City. Keller arranges for a real knife to be used by Beecher in MacBeth so that Schillinger is killed. When Keller arranges for his return as Beecher' cell mate, Beecher tells Keller that he is no different that than drugs or alcohol to him and that Keller is toxic to him. Knowing he can't live without Beecher but that Beecher can't exist with Keller in his life, he sacrifices himself for Beecher by throwing himself off the top level of Em City after a last forced embrace and declaration of love for Beecher in the show's finale episode. Like all things Keller, his sacrifice is double edged because at first glance he made it look like Beecher might have thrown Keller to his death but Beecher's reaction was clearly despair and this lights the half smile on Keller's face at the moment of his death. Keller's last act of wiping out the Aryans ultimately saves Beecher's life and sets him free.|
|Simon Adebisi||Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje||1, 2, 3, 4|
|A gigantic, deranged maniac of Nigerian descent; incarcerated for decapitating a police officer with a machete. His flirtations with insanity and religion are transient, and similar to the Aryans, he later-on carried a somewhat racist belief towards Whites, believing their responsible for any cruel events towards his people (A part of his Insanity), especially Em City Manager McManus, and made it all a huge event in the first half of the fourth season, and similar to Schillinger, he sometimes like to sexually abused weaker inmates, most notably Kenny Wangler. Eventually Adebisi remains one of the most powerful inmates within the walls of Oz, until his death when he is killed by Kareem Said.|
|Arnold "Poet" Jackson||muMs da Schemer||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|An African-American crook and a poet, which is why he granted his ego, he is known for being the only Inmate to get be paroled early because he have made fame after publishing a book he wrote while serving in Oz, which features poetry that he also performs (Mainly in the prison's cafeteria), which was all a sign of a changed life. But eventually he got himself violating it when he continues his drug addiction that started while in his time in Oz. Upon returning, knowing their would be no possibility of being paroled early again, he became a full-fledged member of the Homeboys (A gang, who at first, wasn't impress of his talent, and often likes to mocked him, especially Kenny Wangler, a younger inmate who eventually regret his actions towards him) in Em City, which started small with only him, Adebisi, Wangler, and Pierce. Even though Wangler and Pierce were eventually murdered by the hands of a Caucasian inmate who was armed with a Pistol and Adebisi being ultimately killed by Said, Poet survived to see the gang grow beyond their fates, which moved-on to Redding part of the gang, who like Poet, survived till the series finale, which means he became the remaining leader, and poet soon becoming the Lieutenant. Poet was even once accepted to be the leader in the aftermath of Adebisi's death, but serves poorly or according to Redding did a "Shit job" which lead the leadership passing-on to him instead.|
|Kenny Wangler||J. D. Williams||1, 2, 3, 4|
|One of the youngest inmates in Oz, Wangler is locked-up for murder. Wangler exhibits the qualities of a juvenile delinquent: cocky, hot-headed and sadistic. It is revealed he is mistakenly already a father and is uneducated with being illiterate and without knowing any life skills such as parenting, shown in the third season during his interacactions with his crying son and not knowing how to react. He often bullies and intimidates other inmates despite his age and size, including his fellow African-American cellmate Poet (who he eventually made peace with) and the elderly Rebadow. He is good at making businesses within the Homeboys, mainly with selling drugs, and often makes good business ventures with O'Reily and the Italians. He has a Love–hate relationship with the Gang's in-and-out leader Adebisi, and their relationship goes further in the second and third seasons where Adebisi treats Wangler as his subordinate. His usual prison routine of intimidation ends up being his downfall when inmate Guillaume Tarrent, a bullying target of Wangler and his fellow Homeboys, murders him and his associate Pierce with a pistol.|
|James Robson||R.E. Rodgers||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|As the Lieutenant of the Aryan Brotherhood, Robson is similar to their leader, Schillinger, as he enjoys harassing others that are not of the brotherhood. He is just as brutal, willing to kill anyone without provocation. He is convicted for murdering a black man whom he spotted walking with his girlfriend. Over the course of the show, Robson evolves from a secondary character into a central character with a storyline of his own. His lack of oral hygiene becomes his undoing in Season 5 when his Arabic dentist transplants a black man's tissue into his gums as a cadaver in response to his racially charged comments. Upon discovery, the rest of the Aryans, including Schillinger, cast him out. Desperate for protection from the many non-white inmates and enemies he has, Robson becomes a willing prag of Wolgang Cutler, who rapes and sexually humiliates him in front of other inmates. Robson eventually breaks free of Cutler's slavery over him, as he tricks him into trying erotic auto-asphyxiation that results in Cutler's death. Robson's role in the Brotherhood returns, but not long after he begins to have haunting memories of his rape carried-out by Cutler, which reminded him of being raped by his own abusive father as a child. Reflecting on his past, Robson begins to see much of his actions in Oz as a result of his conditioning. After being diagnosed as HIV positive, Robson confesses that he had brought much of the actions on himself for his cruelty in the past, and he decides to turn against the Brotherhood. Robson allows himself to be raped on purpose by black inmate Clarence, whom he later tells him he is HIV positive. Disgusted in his actions and labelling him a race traitor, Schillinger expels Robson who leaves Emerald City and eventually becomes the only member of the Aryans to ever survived, despite choosing to leave and giving up on their lifestyle.|
|Shirley Bellinger||Kathryn Erbe||2, 3, 4, 6|
|Known as the first and only woman on the prison's Death Row for murdering her daughter by driving into a river, in which gained her notification by the male inmates, often selling sex and exposing herself to them, most notably Timmy Kirk, Moses Deyell, and Richie Hanlon (Despite surprisingly being homosexual). A devout Christian, she often shows common devout traits like rarely swearing and knowing which is sinful, and it's a possibility she maybe a believer of Christian Identity (A racist belief within Christianity) because of her rejection towards Adesibi for being African-American, and even prove it with a racial slur, although this never been proven due to her personal relationship with fellow Death Row Inmate Deyell, who is also black, and was the last person she made friends with before she was executed by hanging. Despite her death, much like Hill, she came back in spirit in the sixth season to help narrate one of the episodes. Like Robson, she was only one of the few main inmates who never was put in Em City.|
|Omar White||Michael Wright||4, 5, 6|
|White is an African-American drug addict who murdered a key witness against his cousin in front of her daughter's eyes. White proves to be very troublesome throughout his stay at Oz, most of which ends up with him in solitary confinement. Unit Manager Tim McManus believes he can help White until he messes up for a last time in Season 5 where he ends up in solitary again. White is eventually killed by fellow inmate Lemuel Idzik. Omar is violent (Sometimes against his own will) and has never lost a fight to anyone in Oz besides Said, who attacks him after Omar swears at him.|
|Agamemnon Busmalis||Tom Mardirosian||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|Since early childhood, he had a strange fascination with digging. Outside of prison, he was known as "The Mole," having been an expert at digging tunnels to commit various robberies. He has never been with a woman sexually, and is a huge fan of the children's show Ms. Sally's Schoolyard. Every time the inmates are watching the show, Busmalis can be heard saying "This is the best Miss Sally ever." He is a childish old man, who has led a life as a loner and outcast. He was named after the mythological Greek king, Agamemnon.|
The corrections officers (COs) are mostly white (predominantly Irish and Italian) with many black and some Latino officers. The warden, Leo Glynn, is African-American and started his career as a CO at Oz. Most of the COs come from lower socio-economic classes. Some are amoral and prone to corruption. The main unit manager, Tim McManus, is the only authority figure who has not started off as a guard and this therefore gives him a different point of view about how to deal with the inmates. The rest of the non-correctional staff, such as Dr. Gloria Nathan and psychologist Sister Peter Marie ("Sister Pete") Reimondo, have a much more humane view of prisoners, and often push Glynn and the others to see the inmates as human beings. Overall, different factions within the staff are almost always at odds, trying to manage internal problems while keeping the public calm regarding the way the prison is being managed.
- Warden Leo Glynn played by Ernie Hudson. A conflicted person trying to maintain law and order in an often chaotic environment. He does what he can to manage every conflict present in Oz. Sister Pete calls him "the best man for the worst job." Appears in episodes 1–55.
- Tim McManus played by Terry Kinney. A naive liberal idealist who forms Emerald City for purposes of making a perfect prison where rehabilitation and conflict are resolved. Often seen as weak for supposedly soft approaches to dealing with the inmates, he still manages to come out on top of many situations. Appears in episodes 1–26 and 28–56.
- Sister Peter Marie played by Rita Moreno. A psychologist and nun, she is the main force of good inside of the prison and often is helpful to McManus, Father Ray Mukada and Dr. Gloria Nathan in whatever conflict they are trying to solve. Gave serious thought to leaving the church after developing feelings for Chris Keller.
- Diane Whittlesey played by Edie Falco. A CO, raised in poor conditions and uneducated, who is faced with managing several issues at home, a relationship with McManus, and being fair to the inmates. Appears in episodes 1–18, 20–24.
- Father Ray Mukada (BD Wong) is a Catholic priest who often provides spiritual counsel to many of the inmates, especially Miguel Alvarez. He graduated at the top of his class at the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was initially serving under Cardinal Francis Abgott (Gavin MacLeod) who called him his "Great Yellow Hope". Abgott's extremely conservative views clashed with Mukada's more idealistic ones. After disagreeing with the Cardinal a few times too often, he was transferred to Oz, which "extinguished" his career as a priest. He works alongside Sister Pete, trying to help the prisoners in Oz. Although Father Ray Mukada and the Christian group have some issues about religion in the series, Father Ray still tries his hardest to make life in Oz a little easier for the inmates. He has been noted for several attempts to straighten up the inmates from drug addictions, murders, etc. He is still the main religious authority in Oz. Although it was forced upon him, he appears to grow into the role of a spiritual guide over time and firmly believes that his work is important. Appears in episodes 2–46, 49–56.
- Dr. Gloria Nathan played by Lauren Velez. A prison doctor who leads the prison hospital in providing care for several of the inmates within Oz. A good person, she deals with conflict all the time, whether it is from the inmates such as Ryan O'Reily, or state medical boards. She manages to come out calmly throughout any conflict.
- Claire Howell played by Kristin Rohde. A female CO, she is extremely unstable and prone to sadistic sexual violence. She has sexual relationships with several staff members and inmates in order to dominate them. She eventually begins to change after learning that she is pregnant, probably by Carlos Martinez. Appears in episodes 17–39, 41–56.
- Sean Murphy played by Robert Clohessy. An Irish-American CO, Murphy is the staff member most trusted by McManus. A fair and confident officer, Murphy maintains order to the best of his ability in Oz while doing what he can to support McManus' ideology. He is more honest and competent than the other guards and Warden Glynn also holds him in high regard. Appears in episodes 18–55.
- Clayton Hughes played by Seth Gilliam. A young and conflicted African American officer, Hughes is very close to Glynn. Hughes' father was Glynn's best friend and was killed while working as a CO when Hughes was seven years old. After being convinced by Adebisi that his father's murder was racially motivated, Hughes becomes a Black Militant and attempts to murder the governor. Hughes is sent to Unit-J in Oz which is meant for ex-cops and ex-correctional officers. In Unit-J he kills Desmond Mobay aka John Basil. Then he is sent to Solitary, where he gets "accidentally" killed when attempting to assassinate Leo Glynn.
- Karl Metzger played by Bill Fagerbakke. A white supremacist guard who took over Whittlesey's position in Emerald City after she was transferred to General Population. He is secretly a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, and once did a favor for two Aryans by forcing Busmalis and Rebadow to give up their cell, which contained a tunnel. Tim McManus found out that he has connections with the Aryans, but could not do anything about it before Metzger was killed by Beecher.
- Martin Querns played by Reg E. Cathey. A jaded and results-oriented black man, Querns is hired by Glynn after pressure by community leaders and the black prison population, led by Adebisi, to hire a black Unit Manager to replace McManus. Querns, as told through a conversation to Adebisi, is only different from the black inmates in that he has been smart enough to have never been arrested for dealing drugs. The complete opposite of McManus, he believes that drugs are good for the prisoners because they subdue them until they are incapable of any discipline problems. He runs Emerald City by making Adebisi and his partners in Oz's drug trade the main trustees, allowing them to do all the drugs that they wish as long as no violence occurs in Emerald City. Kareem Said and McManus completely oppose this which leads to his firing. His efficiency, however, gets him promoted to the position of warden at another state correctional facility and he transfers back to Oz following the death of Leo Glynn.
- Officer Mike Healy (Steve Ryan) A disgruntled and corrupt officer, Healy has a very low opinion of both the inmates and Unit Manager Tim McManus. Healy is friends with inmate Ryan O'Reily and is a friend of Ryan's brother. Healy and O'Reily run a drug operation in Oz. When Mafia boss Nino Schibetta sees that Healy is competing with him in selling drugs, he makes a deal with O'Reilly. O'Reilly is told he will be a permanent ally of the Italians if he shuts down Healy's operation. Knowing the politics of Oz, O'Reilly gets inmate Ronald Pokelwaldt to alert the COs of a drug deal going on between Healy and O'Reilly where the two are immediately arrested. When Healy is fired and charged, O'Reilly refuses to testify spending a month in the hole, but makes sure his scheme shall never be discovered by ratting Pokelwaldt to the hacks, who hospitalize him. He recovers fully and quickly, however, as he attends a drug-counseling session shortly after his beating with no signs whatsoever of any trauma.
- Stella Coffo (Patti LuPone). The librarian of Oz. Adored by Robert Rebadow (who works with her in the library), she is reserved in returning his affection because of his reaction to her breast cancer diagnosis.
- Suzanne Fitzgerald (Betty Buckley) is inmate Ryan O'Reily's biological mother. Musical arts teacher at Oz.
- Joseph Howard is an elderly African American correctional officer. He appears briefly in Season four where he is killed by inmate Guillaume Tarrant in a shootout.
- Joseph Mineo (Phillip Scozzarella )is an elderly Italian American CO. He is one of the few COs who is seen in every season. He is taken hostage in the Em City riot where he is savagely beaten by Miguel Alvarez and is then traded along with officer Armstrong in exchange for Tim McManus. He is often seen around Em City breaking up fights and counting inmates.
- Jason Armstrong (Timothy L. Brown) Armstrong is a tall muscular CO who is mainly seen breaking up fights and patrolling. On the most part he is a good honest CO. He is one of the hostages in the Em City riot where he is seriously injured and is traded along with Joseph Mineo in return for Tim McManus
- Eddie Hunt (Murphy Guyer) is a CO who appeared in the first season of Oz. He was one of the officers on the firing squad who executed Donald Groves. He was a hostage during the Em City riot where he was killed by the SORT team.
- Vic D'Agnasti (Douglas Crosby) is a muscular CO and back-up sort team member. He appears in all six seasons and is one of the hostages in the Em City riot. Crosby was also one of the stunt coordinators for the show.
- Governor James Devlin played by Željko Ivanek. A right-wing politician, Governor Devlin represents all extreme mechanisms of law and order to make society "crime free." He passes several acts to minimize prisoner rights and increase law enforcement spending. Disliked by several staff members and the vast majority of the inmates, Devlin eventually is in a sea of controversy once a city mayor whom he was politically involved with is sent to Oz for conspiring to commit a racially motivated bombing.
- Perry Loftus played by Christopher Jackson. Governor James Devlin's assistant. He plays an instrumental role in orchestrating the murder of Wilson Loewen.
- Alvah Case played by Charles S. Dutton. Law school Dean; he investigates the prison riot after season one and, in season four, runs for governor against Devlin.
- Jeremy Goldstein played by Scott Cohen. An FBI agent who visits Oz once in the first season to investigate the murders of inmates Dino Ortolani, Johnny Post, and AIDS patient inmate, Emilio Sanchez. He experiences Anti-Semitism during his visit but manages to piece together the story.
- Pierce Taylor played by Robert John Burke. Another FBI agent who often visits Oz (starting in the fourth season) to investigate murder cases. Generally very effective at his job, but insensitive to the needs of inmates. He essentially replaces Jeremy Goldstein
- Miss Sally's Schoolyard (Miss Sally played by Whitney Allen) is a puppet show that the inmates enjoy watching because Miss Sally has large breasts.
Due to Emerald City's unconventional configuration and routine, each new inmate is given a sponsor to help acclimate. Inmates are generally paired with sponsors of similar nationality, background, race, and/or religion, to help acclimate, with the help of someone with similar interests and beliefs. Specific requests for current Emerald City prisoners to be paired up with inbound inmates have occasionally been made and granted. Below is a list of inmates and sponsors.
- Gary Richard Edgerton and Jeffrey P. Jones, The Essential HBO Reader (University Press of Kentucky, 2008), 54.