Oz - Season 1, Episode 1 - Rotten Tomatoes

The Routine


Episode Info

The premiere episode of HBO's Oz, directed by Darnell Martin (I Like It Like That), gives viewers an idea of the kind of graphic violence and deviant behavior they can expect from the series. Augustus Hill (Harold Perrineau), a wheelchair-bound convict, serves as the narrator, providing a dark philosophical overview to the action. He introduces many of the characters, giving their names, serial numbers, crime, and sentence while a brief flashback of the crime plays. Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen) is out of his element, even in the seemingly safer experimental rehabilitation unit known as "Emerald City," run by well-intentioned control freak Tim McManus (Terry Kinney). Beecher is a former attorney who has been sentenced to 15 years for vehicular manslaughter. Beecher is introduced to his sponsor, Dino Ortolani (Jon Seda), a hot-tempered thug who's connected to Oz's resident Mob boss, Nino Schibetta (Tony Musante). Every new prisoner in "Em City" gets a sponsor, who's supposed to help him adjust, but Ortolani has no use for Beecher, so when Beecher's cellmate, Simon Adebisi (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje), starts shaking him down, he's on his own. Vern Schillinger (J.K. Simmons) takes an interest, suggesting Beecher ask McManus for a transfer to another cell. Beecher gratefully takes Schillinger's advice, and ends up bunking with him. Then Beecher finds out that his new cellmate runs the Aryan Brotherhood. "You're mine now," Schillinger tells him. He later burns a swastika tattoo into Beecher's buttocks. Ortolani, meanwhile, has his own problems. A hood he shot, Ryan O'Reily (Dean Winters), gets sent to Oz, but Schibetta warns Ortolani against taking revenge. Ortolani also beats a gay prisoner who comes on to him. The cagey O'Reily convinces the gay man's brother, the leader of Emerald City's gangbangers, Jefferson Keane (Leon), to team up with him to arrange for Ortolani's murder.


Betty Buckley
as Suzanne Fitzgerald
Reg E. Cathey
as Martin Querns
Anthony Chisholm
as Burr Reading
Robert Clohessy
as Off. Sean Murphy
Carl DiMaggio
as Off. Len Lopresti
John Doman
as Col. Edward Galson
Sean Dugan
as Timmy Kirk
Christopher Meloni
as Christopher Keller
Rick Fox
as Jackson Vayhue
Joel Grey
as Lemuel Idzick
Ray Iannicelli
as Off. Roger Breese
Zeljko Ivanek
as Gov. James Devlin
Brendan Kelly
as Wolfgang Cutler
Tom Ligon
as Alvin Yood
Patti LuPone
as Stella Coffa
John Lurie
as Greg Pender
Tom Mardirosian
as Agamemnon Busmalis
Ellen McElduff
as Elenor O'Connor
Milo O'Shea
as Dr. Frederick Garvey
Blayne Perry
as Samuel Gougeon
Larry Pine
as Arnold Zelman
Sandra Purpuro
as Catherine McClain
Blake Robbins
as Off. David Brass
R.E. Rodgers
as James Robson
Kristin Rohde
as Off. Claire Howell
Otto Sanchez
as Carmen `Chico' Guerra
Paul Schulze
as Off. Rick Heim
Philip Scozzarella
as Off. Joseph Mineo
Jon Seda
as Dino Ortolani
Evan Seinfeld
as Jaz Hoyt
Lou Sones
as Steve Dawkins
Thomas G. Waites
as Henry Stanton
Joel West
as Glen Shupe
Scott William Winters
as Cyril O'Reily
Steven Wishnoff
as Tony Masters
Michael Wright
as Omar White
Emanuel Yarbrough
as Clarence Seroy
David Zayas
as Enrique Morales
Chuck Zito
as Charles Pancamo
Granville Adams
as Zahir Arif
Dena Atlantic
as Floria Mills
Tim Brown
as Off. Jason Armstrong
Bobby Cannavale
as Alonzo Torquemada
Antoni Corone
as Frances Urbano
Eamonn Walker
as Kareem Said
Lee Tergesen
as Tobias Beecher
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