Season 6 Episode 6

A Day in the Death...

Aired Monday 11:00 PM Feb 09, 2003 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
81 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Keller is rejected by Beecher and strikes up an alliance with Schillinger. Idzik is transferred to Em City, where he has an unusual request for Omar. Glynn gets closer to who murdered Mayor Loewen as the feds seem to lose interest. One of the infirmary staff has a suspicious record of deaths. Cutler's widow visits Alvarez again. Redding has a plan to get the homeboys out of bookbinding and back under his control. Cyril's execution is set for today... will he get a reprieve?moreless

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  • Gut wrenching, infuriating, and exhilarating

    If you were to ask me in season 1 if I liked Ryan O'Reilly, I would've said no so quick you thought it was an olympic sport. 5 seasons later I'm floored to his character, and the love he has for his brother. It's impossible to hate Cyril, especially when he says things like "flufferstuffer". When Cyril's fate was murky, I screamed at my screen, crying hideously as if I were Ryan, and wanting to punch someone, anyone who could allow him to die, could allow Ryan O'Reilly to metaphorically die with him. I shouted more cuss words than a veteran sailor and plotted ideas of the Mayor finding another Clayton. However, at the end, amidst the solidarity of the other prisoners in OZ and the call, I knew what relief was. This show is amazing for showing me that men truly evil can have moments of greatness AND can be pitied during times when karma comes calling. I'll never look at inmate documentaries or headlines the same way again.moreless
  • The relationship between Ryan and Cyril O'Reilly was always a focal point of the show for me, and nowhere is that relationship more strongly addressed than in this episode, "A Day In The Death". For my money, this episode is one of the show's strongest.moreless

    There was a lot going on in this episode, between Beecher, Keller, and Schillenger; between Rebadow and the librarian Stella; and between Burr Redding and Arif, over their troubles in the telemarketing and book-binding businesses, respectively. But the episode draws its greatest strength from the last segment, the segment dealing with the O'Rielly Brothers, and Cyril's impending execution. Cyril was slow because of Ryan, he was locked away in Oz because of Ryan, and now he was on death row because of Ryan, (Cyril had killed fellow prisoner Li Chen as he made an attempt on Ryan's life). Ryan, along with Father Meehan among others, had been fighting to save Cyril's life, but as the date of Cyril's exucution drew closer, hope began to fade.

    Hands down, this episode features the most genuine interaction between the brothers, and it really shows how much Ryan cares for his brother. This episode also features some of the most wrenching moments the series produced throughout its run.

    The scenes with Ryan in the cell with Cyril, taking what seemed to be his last minutes with his brother, fighting to hold back his own tears, as Cyril enjoyed his last meal, unaware of his impending fate, were perhaps the most emotional, and most memorable I've seen on television. The raw emotion was palpable, as Joan Armatrading's "Save Me" played us through the closing moments of the sequence: the prisoners in Em City pounding on the doors and walls of their cells as Ryan passed through; Cyril being strapped into the electric chair, unaware of what was really happening; and Ryan so thankful when the miracle came through.

    One of the show's best segments, in my opinion.

    As always, narrator Augustus Hill leaves us with a question or two that cannot be so easily answered. Questions about the rightness and wrongness of executing a man with the mind of a child. Is the killer with the mind of a child truly responsible for his action, and if he's not, who is? Seems it's up to society to make that call.

    But, as Hill said in closing, perhaps we, as a society, are no further along than the galactic equivalent of a third grader.moreless
  • Beecher's back. Surprise!

    Absolutely heartbreaking. I first found it depressing when Beecher was ushered back into OZ, although you kind of had to know Beecher wasn't finished being in the show yet. Keller may have Beecher back in his life, but it's not the happy reunion he had expected.

    But the true focus of this episode is on Cyril O'Reilly, whose pending death date draws nearer. Ryan comforts his brother as the day approaches, attempting to stay strong. No spoilers (not really.)

    A 10-star episode without a doubt. Anyone who'd felt a little left out by the 5th season will surely be re-hooked with this amazing 6th season.moreless
  • another day in the life of inmates at the ozwald state penetentary, this day consists of an execution, and other daily prison going-ons

    this show is a perfect example of how deep you can get emotionally in a charachter when givin the right suddle motivation, it was a gradual decent into loving the O\'Rielly brothers but once you got hooked, it was over, and this was an amazing, revealing, and heartbreaking look, at how bad prison can really be
Scott William Winters

Scott William Winters

Prisoner #98P204 Cyril O'Reily (episodes 11, 13-56)

Ernie Hudson

Ernie Hudson

Warden Leo Glynn (episodes 1-55)

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Sister Peter Marie Reimondo (1997-2003)

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Prisoner #92S110 Vernon Schillinger (1997-2003)

BD Wong

BD Wong

Father Ray Mukada (episodes 2-46, 49-56)

Lauren Velez

Lauren Velez

Dr. Gloria Nathan (1997-2003)

Michael J. Burg

Michael J. Burg


Guest Star

Jon Seda

Jon Seda

Dino Ortolanti

Guest Star

Peter Francis James

Peter Francis James


Guest Star

Blake Robbins

Blake Robbins

Dave Brass/Dave Brass (Season 4-6)

Recurring Role

Joel Grey

Joel Grey


Recurring Role

Patti LuPone

Patti LuPone


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • Father Mukada recites the 23rd Psalm from the King James Version of the Bible. This is an error; Roman Catholic clergy are permitted to use several different translations in their duties, but the KJV isn't one of them.

    • Prisoner featured

      Samuel Gougeon, convicted August 5th 1997. Manslaughter. Sentence: 19 years, up for parole in 10. (prisoner # 97G141)

  • QUOTES (18)

    • Augustus Hill: It's a widespread agreement that retarded people are less accountable for their crimes than people of average intelligence. But if so, someone or something has to be held accountable, has to pick up the slack, has to take the rest of the blame, right? After all, these victims still die heinous deaths, and families still grieve. If the retarded person is not fully at fault, than who, or what, shares the responsibility? God? Human nature? Society? Maybe the question is: who isn't to blame?

    • Barber: (cutting Cyril's hair) Homey, you put Repunzel to shame.

    • (Discussing which method is best for Cyril's execution)
      Dr. Nathan: Well, I was wondering if maybe the electric chair wouldn't be the better way to go.
      Ryan: The chair? Why not just feed him to the fucking lions?

    • Redding: Suppose you wouldn't want to trade that service spoon for a telephone, O'Reily? Come on over and join our company.
      Ryan: Yeah, that'd be a dream come true, pissing off strangers at dinnertime.
      Redding: Ain't no money in the kitchen.
      Ryan: That's why my middle name is 'subsidize'.

    • Ortolani: Accidents are the fifth leading cause of death. But you know as well as me, there's no such thing as an accident. That's just some bullshit word we used instead of blaming ourselves, because no matter what damn lie you've been told, we're the leading cause of death. Mankind. And there's no cure for us.

    • Ortolani: Cancer. The scariest fucking word in the English language, and the second leading cause of death. It might be a zodiac sign, bur more likely, cancer will eat your insides up. You know why it's so fucking scary? 'Cause the word itself is a cancer. Just the idea of it can infect you. The stress of it can spread through your spirit. The fear can turn into the disease.

    • Ortolani: Breathtaking. That's a nice way to describe someone or something, right? What the fuck's so good about having your breath taken? Respiratory disease clocks in at number four on our little hit parade and for good reason, 'cause regardless of who takes your breath away, be it four packs a day or just one chick, you're dead just the same.

    • Murphy: Alvarez, you got a surprise visitor.
      Alvarez: My girlfriend Maritza?
      Murphy: No, one Cathy Jo Cutler.
      Alvarez: She's the...
      Murphy: Wolfgang Cutler's grieving widow.
      Alvarez: Right. Well, that's good. Now I can figure out why he left me all his shit.
      Murphy: (mumbling to himself) Yeah, good luck.

    • Sister Pete: Alright. Let's imagine that you could do it over, the visit with Liesel. What would you do differently?
      Robson: I'd talk. Hug her. Yeah. Stroke her hair, but not put her hand inside my pants. What the fuck was I thinking?

    • Johnson: What's up, Perry?
      Perry: There's something I need you to do.
      Johnson: Kill Willie Brandt?
      Perry: Yes. And Leo Glynn.

    • Yood: What, are you nuts? requesting a transfer into Gen Pop. Emerald City especially? That's where Said lived. People there loved him.
      Idzik: Not everybody.

    • McManus I've been thinkin', I wanna set up a meeting between you and Luis Ruiz.
      Alvarez: I hit the motherfucker in the face, I'm not gonna come over for afternoon tea.

    • Ortolani: The third leading cause of death is stroke, or as they like to call it nowadays, brain attack. I'm serious, that's a real medical term but who the fuck among us ain't had their brain attcked? Ain't had some part of themselves shut down, paralyzed, which forces us to keep attacking back.

    • Omar: McManus set this up, I'm gonna whack you for whackin' Said.
      Idzik: Perfect. As the clock runs out, the hands of fate are applauding.
      Omar: What does that mean?
      Idzik: I asked to be put in Em City for one reason and one reason only: to find someone to kill me.

    • Omar: (regarding Idzik) You can't bring that scumbag into Em City!
      McManus: Omar, all we got in Em City is scumbags. Including you!

    • (Keller enters the gym and walks up to Toby, putting his hands on his legs)
      Keller: Toby, there you are I've been looking everywhere for you.
      Beecher: Get the fuck away from me.(He pulls away from Keller's reach)
      Keller: I heard what you've been telling people,do you honestly think I would fuck you over just to get you back?
      Beecher: Don't play wounded puppy. I know who you are.
      Keller: Toby, I love you, I need you.
      Beecher: You're only making this worse.
      Keller: Look, you gotta believe me! I'm innocent!
      Beecher: Okay, let's say I give you the benefit of the doubt, that you didn't do it on purpose. The bottom line is: I belive you would, that you're capable of it. That's the kind of man I think you are, and I wish to God I left you on Death Row!
      (Keller walks away, heartbroken)

    • Ortolani: Not all heart disease will leave you dictionary dead, some will kill you and still leave you livin'. Yeah, we got a whole lotta walking dead in Oz.

    • (O'Reily is trying his damnest not to cry)
      O'Reily: One thing that I didn't tell you, Cyril, there's going to be other people there watching today.
      Cyril: Who?
      Ryan: Oh, let's see, the Warden, Sister Pete, Ma, Dr. Nathan and a few other people you probably won't recognize.
      Cyril: Oh. Are you gonna be there?
      Ryan: No, I want to, but I can't.
      Cyril: Why?
      (O'Reily loses it and begins to cry and cry)
      Cyril: Daddy said, it's not good for big boys to cry.
      Ryan: Yeah, well, you know what? Dad was wrong. Dad was wrong, and I was wrong. We were all so fucking wrong, Cyril. Man, I'm so sorry.
      Cyril: Did I do something?
      Ryan: No. No. Dr. Nathan, she said I got this condition, right, and the only way for me to cure myself is to cry. You know, it's got nothing to do with you. I'm sorry, don't be scared, okay?
      (Cyril farts, O'Reily and Cyril both crack up)
      Cyril: Whoops. I think I got gas from dinner.

  • NOTES (7)

    • When Beecher and Keller are in the gym, there is a reaction shot of the bearded biker looking over his shoulder as he lifts weights. This shot is re-used from when Stanton was threatening Montgomery in s5e2 "laws of gravity".

    • Sparks fly when Cathy Jo Cutler visits Alvarez. This is art imitating life as Kirk Acevedo (Alvarez) and Amie Quigley (Cathy Jo) were dating offscreen at the time.

    • One of the books Stella is shelving is Unheard America, the compilation Poet was included in in Season 2. It even has a picture of Poet on the back cover.

    • The song that is being played in the background during the scene where Cyril is about to be executed is called "Save me" by Joan Armatrading.

    • In-joke alert: One of the hospitals Nurse Carol previously worked at was St. Eligius, which was of course the name of the hospital on Tom Fontana's 80's classic, "St. Elsewhere". They also had a serial euthenasia storyline (almost as bad as Oz's), although Melinda Culea was the culprit there.
      Gloria says she also worked in a hospital in Buffalo, NY, which is Tom's hometown.

    • Dino Ortolanti, the first person killed on Oz, returns to make a few brief (very brief) comments.

    • Crime Flashback

      Samuel Gougeon shoots and kills a fellow hunter.