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The Best Episodes of Oz

Every episode of Oz ranked from best to worst. Let's dive into the Best Episodes of Oz!

The daily lives of prisoners in Emerald City, an experimental unit of the Oswald Maximum Security Prison where ingroups - Muslims, Latinos, Italians, Aryans - stick close to their mutual friends and terrorize their mutual enemies.

Genres:CrimeDrama
Network:HBO

Top Episode Highlight

The best episode of "Oz" is "A Game of Checkers", rated 9.2/10 from 2810 user votes. It was directed by Jean de Segonzac and written by Tom Fontana. "A Game of Checkers" aired on 8/25/1997 and is rated 0.2 point(s) higher than the second highest rated, "You Bet Your Life".

  • A Game of Checkers
    9.2/10 2,810 votes

    #1 - A Game of Checkers

    Season 1 Episode 8 - Aired 1997-08-25

    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.

    Director: Jean de Segonzac

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • You Bet Your Life
    9.0/10 2,240 votes

    #2 - You Bet Your Life

    Season 4 Episode 8 - Aired 2000-08-30

    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.

    Director: Adam Bernstein

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • A Day in the Death...
    8.9/10 2,165 votes

    #3 - A Day in the Death...

    Season 6 Episode 6 - Aired 2003-02-09

    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.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana

  • Plan B
    8.8/10 2,377 votes

    #4 - Plan B

    Season 1 Episode 7 - Aired 1997-08-18

    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.

    Director: Darnell Martin

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • A Cock and Balls Story
    8.8/10 2,151 votes

    #5 - A Cock and Balls Story

    Season 4 Episode 1 - Aired 2000-07-12

    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.

    Director: Adam Bernstein

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • A Town Without Pity
    8.8/10 2,105 votes

    #6 - A Town Without Pity

    Season 4 Episode 7 - Aired 2000-08-23

    Ryan and Howell get frisky. After leaving the hole and apologizing to Busmalis for the stabbing Rebadow suffers an attack due to a brain tumor. Busmalis reacts by doing what he does best--start another tunnel. Unbeknownst to the doctors and everyone else, Cyril's recovering psychologically more than he can actually show. Arif confesses to Said about his own demons and asks for forgiveness and help. Said plots with McManus to end Querns' and Adebisi's control. Hank Schillinger beats the kidnapping rap and once Beecher finds out, he plots with Pancamo for revenge. After Keller reveals his plot to kill him, Eli Zabitz asks Schillinger for protection. Schillinger agrees but sends Robson to eliminate Zabitz instead. Hughes, now raging beyond sensibility, makes an attempt on Devlin's life at a press conference. Keller and Father Ray have an intense discussion about Beecher.

    Director: J. Miller Tobin

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Famous Last Words
    8.8/10 2,028 votes

    #7 - Famous Last Words

    Season 4 Episode 16 - Aired 2001-02-25

    In the Season Four finale, Hill discovers where his true allegiances lie. Redding's plot to use the Colonel against Morales has an unexpected outcome. Cloutier runs into trouble from his church on the outside and his parishioners in Oz. White gets a little too close to McManus. Beecher's agony about his parole hearing leads to a shocking climax.

    Director: Adam Bernstein

    Writer: Sean Whitesell, Tom Fontana

  • Escape from Oz
    8.7/10 2,304 votes

    #8 - Escape from Oz

    Season 2 Episode 8 - Aired 1998-08-31

    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.

    Director: Jean de Segonzac

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • The Truth and Nothing But...
    8.6/10 2,095 votes

    #9 - The Truth and Nothing But...

    Season 3 Episode 1 - Aired 1999-07-14

    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.

    Director: Nick Gomez

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Cuts Like a Knife
    8.6/10 2,007 votes

    #10 - Cuts Like a Knife

    Season 4 Episode 12 - Aired 2001-01-28

    O'Reily regrets getting Cyril involved with the trial drug when it starts taking effect. Meanwhile, Giles's request for an unusual method of execution creates controversy and the Chinese refugees are deported...but not before plotting revenge on Morales.

    Director: Steve Buscemi

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Variety
    8.6/10 1,994 votes

    #11 - Variety

    Season 5 Episode 6 - Aired 2002-02-10

    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.

    Director: Roger Rees

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Sonata de Oz
    8.6/10 1,959 votes

    #12 - Sonata de Oz

    Season 6 Episode 3 - Aired 2003-01-19

    Schillinger has a disappointing visit with his "hero", Mayor Loewen. Glynn has to face up to the truth when Oz loses its first prisoner to toxic poisoning. Down in solitary, Officer Brass gets some quality one-on-one time with Morales. Cyril undergoes a round of unusual therapy, and Said gets more than he bargained for in leading the Muslims into a new business venture.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana

  • Exeunt Omnes
    8.6/10 2,275 votes

    #13 - Exeunt Omnes

    Season 6 Episode 8 - Aired 2003-02-23

    Oz is in upheaval following the return of Martin Querns. Meanwhile, Howell and Robson each receive troubling news, Mukada answers an unsolved mystery, and the O'Reilys struggle to make amends. Finally, the prison production of 'Macbeth' ends with a staggering final act.

    Director: Alex Zakrzewski

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • The Routine
    8.5/10 3,103 votes

    #14 - The Routine

    Season 1 Episode 1 - Aired 1997-07-12

    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.

    Director: Darnell Martin

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Unnatural Disasters
    8.5/10 2,068 votes

    #15 - Unnatural Disasters

    Season 3 Episode 4 - Aired 1999-08-04

    Andy Schillinger arrives to Oz and Vern tries to get Warden Glynn to move Andy in with him. McManus is sued for sexual harassment. Sister Pete has questions after a session with Keller. Miguel gets a directive from Hernandez. Said gets old wounds opened when his sister visits. Ryan scores another victory. Officer Hughes makes a "stunning" move on an inmate and Richie Hanlon's death sentence is overturned.

    Director: Chazz Palminteri

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Works of Mercy
    8.5/10 2,004 votes

    #16 - Works of Mercy

    Season 4 Episode 4 - Aired 2000-08-02

    The kidnapping of Beecher's children has everyone upset and Beecher inconsolable. Schillinger gets questioned and of course, claims to know nothing about the deed. Beecher decides to initiate his own investigation. Soon after, a package with horrendous contents arrives for Beecher. Meanwhile, Oz prepares for Shirley Bellinger's hanging as the death penalty protests continue. A visit from the Cardinal creates mixed feelings for Sister Pete and Father Ray. Said announces good and bad news in the state's decision for the inmates. Another Rebadow prediction comes chillingly true. O'Reily's still searching for that elusive cell phone and Dr. Nathan asks Glynn for permission to return to work earlier than expected.

    Director: Adam Bernstein

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Gray Matter
    8.5/10 1,989 votes

    #17 - Gray Matter

    Season 4 Episode 5 - Aired 2000-08-09

    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.

    Director: Brian Cox

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Revenge is Sweet
    8.5/10 2,072 votes

    #18 - Revenge is Sweet

    Season 4 Episode 11 - Aired 2001-01-21

    Robson and Hoyt tell Rev. Cloutier to back off of Schillinger. Schillinger and Beecher have their first counseling interaction session. Tidd continues to get close to Said by defending Arif in a fight. Arif goes to Said and pleads Tidd's case to accept him into their Muslim group. Busmalis requests that he and his girlfriend be married. Glynn hosts the Warden's conference and is given an update on Hughes by Querns. Glynn soon has Hughes transferred to Oz's cops unit so he can protect him. This unit is also where Johnny Basil (Mobay) is locked up. Keller's old buddy Ronnie gets close to Beecher causing Keller to get jealous. Ronnie's offered a sentence reduction in exchange for corroborating evidence of Keller's involvement in some past murders. Beecher finds this out and warns Keller, who doesn't believe him. Keller question's Ronnie about the matter and then, comes up with his own solution. Em City inmates are selected for drug testing experiment that promises to age the person quickly therefore reducing their actual time spent in prison.

    Director: Goran Gajić

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Impotence
    8.5/10 1,934 votes

    #19 - Impotence

    Season 5 Episode 8 - Aired 2002-02-24

    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.

    Director: Alex Zakrzewski

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • To Your Health
    8.4/10 2,281 votes

    #20 - To Your Health

    Season 1 Episode 6 - Aired 1997-08-11

    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.

    Director: Alan Taylor

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Secret Identities
    8.4/10 2,022 votes

    #21 - Secret Identities

    Season 3 Episode 7 - Aired 1999-08-25

    Sister Pete's anger is roused and forces her to confession. Wangler and Adebisi register a complaint to the Warden. Yet another inmate meets with demise. Bellinger enlists McManus' help. Glynn and Hughes have an important conversation. Adebisi begins sowing seeds of discontent and a fight erupts in the gym resulting in a lockdown.

    Director: Adam Bernstein

    Writer: Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana

  • Visitation
    8.4/10 1,975 votes

    #22 - Visitation

    Season 5 Episode 1 - Aired 2002-01-06

    A ribbon cutting ceremony, complete with the Governor doing the honors, signals the opening of a newly constructed Oz. Warden Glynn doesn't resign but he's more battle weary. White, Alvarez and other inmates in solitary are temporarily transferred to Em City while repairs are being made. As Schillinger and Robson recover from their wounds, they begin planning revenge on the Muslims. Conversely, Said plans to plead guilty for the attempted murder of Robson & Schillinger. The fate of Rev. Cloutier is revealed and inmates expecting visits from family members get shocking news.

    Director: Alex Zakrzewski

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Wheel of Fortune
    8.4/10 1,890 votes

    #23 - Wheel of Fortune

    Season 5 Episode 5 - Aired 2002-02-03

    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.

    Director: Terry Kinney

    Writer: Sunil Nayar, Tom Fontana

  • Junkyard Dawgs
    8.4/10 1,888 votes

    #24 - Junkyard Dawgs

    Season 6 Episode 7 - Aired 2003-02-16

    Three new inmates arrive, one of whom is close to the O'Reilys; Busmalis and Rebadow prove to be "true Romeos"; the Keller-Beecher-Schillinger triangle gets more pointed; and an awards banquet ends in a fateful discovery.

    Director: N/A

    Writer: Tom Fontana

  • Capital P
    8.3/10 2,421 votes

    #25 - Capital P

    Season 1 Episode 4 - Aired 1997-07-28

    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.

    Director: Darnell Martin

    Writer: Tom Fontana