Oz (1997–2003)
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The Routine 

In the 'Emerald City' experimental unit of Oswald State Penitentiary, we meet some of the diverse inmates who exist in a pecking order of Gangbangers, Latinos, Muslims, Westies, Aryans and Wiseguys.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Musante ...
Sean Whitesell ...
Dr. Gloria Nathan (as Lauren Velez)
George Morfogen ...


In the 'Emerald City' experimental unit of Oswald State Penitentiary, we meet some of the diverse inmates who exist in a pecking order of Gangbangers, Latinos, Muslims, Westies, Aryans and Wiseguys.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller






Release Date:

12 July 1997 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alternate takes replacing the foul language were filmed for this episode. They were planned to be used in syndicated reruns. But during filming, Tom Fontana realized that a clean version of the series would not work and dropped the idea. See more »


When Dino is in Tim McManus' office after he beats up the guy in the shower, if you look behind Dino you can see in the reflection a crew member holding up the Boom Mic. Right when Dino is looking at the officer outside the window. See more »


Joey D'Angelo: He ate his mother.
Prisoner #95S604 Nino Schibetta: Get out of here.
Joey D'Angelo: So I heard. He killed her, then he blew off her head, smothered it in onions.
Prisoner #96C382 Dino Ortolani: What, no garlic?
Joey D'Angelo: He had his father in the freezer.
Prisoner #95S604 Nino Schibetta: Sick fuck. What the fuck's wrong with this country? In the old days, murder was murder. You killed someone, it was business. You sure as Christ didn't eat them.
Prisoner #96C382 Dino Ortolani: Times have changed, Nino.
Prisoner #95S604 Nino Schibetta: Fuck that. Times changed. Nothing changes. Nothing ever changes.
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Features Felix the Cat (1958) See more »


Oz Theme
By Dave Darlington and Steve Rosen
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User Reviews

The start of HBO's run of fantastic TV shows
27 November 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Before The Wire, before Six Feet Under, before the Sopranos, we had Oz. This first episode got me hooked. I didn't watch it when it first aired back in 1997; I started watching it recently in the year 2011, 14 years after it originally aired, and I've already decided that Oz is now one of my favourite TV shows of all time. I kind of wish I could have started watching it a little earlier. Now I know where the Wire and The Sopranos gets its HBO high quality style programming from. Though Oz is one of those shows that is actually easy to follow the plot.

So this TV show is about the daily routine of prisoners and staff in the penitentiary of Oz. Each episode looks at a particular theme of stories that affects prisoners in Oz. We have at least one person die in each episode. "The Routine" starts it all, which introduces our huge ensemble cast, where there is no protagonist, and where characters that you get to know a lot might eventually get killed off. This episode is no exception, having this crazy prisoner, who steals the episode by getting into trouble a lot, but gets killed. The show is really dark but feels realistic. The acting is fantastic, the writing is superb, and the pacing is nice and slow. It's a TV show that you'd never see anything like it before 1997.

Oz wouldn't work in any other TV channel but HBO, and probably Showtime. The show has the freedom to do anything, like have bloody violence, strong language, discrimination, and sexual references. It's unfortunate that only 8 episodes are made each season, but I guess the season with 16 episodes makes up for it.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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