Oz

Season 1 Episode 8

A Game of Checkers

0
Aired Monday 11:00 PM Aug 25, 1997 on HBO
9.2
out of 10
User Rating
106 votes
2

EPISODE REVIEWS
By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

EDIT
A riot breaks out in OZ when two men argue over a game of checkers, and the violence spreads. Various CO's and staff members are taking hostage by the prisoners. Tear gas is thrown into the Emerald City and the SORT enters with guns blazing.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • What a way to end the season! "A Game Of Checkers" is truly the climax of season 1...

    10
    In this episode, the situation in Oz boils over and the prisoners take control of Em City. It is interesting to see the prisoners be divided into groups, when Kareem Said forms a council, consisting of Ross, Adebisi, O'Reilly and Alvarez. The inmates take 8 prisoners and make a list of demands. Kareem Said is the only one with a gun, so he is considered a threat by the other inmates. It doesn't take long for Adebisi to run out of heroin and as he starts stirring up trouble whilst looking for drugs, he and his group are tied up, leaving just Ross, Alvarez and O'Reilly to deal with Said. Augustus manages to convince Jackson Vayhue to take the wounded cello player out of Em City. Tim McManus puts his own life in danger, when he trades himself for two wounded prisoners. The already chaotic situation goes from bad to worse, when Governor Devlin orders a SORT Team to take back Oz and basicaly gives them the green light to shoot at anything that moves. If this show were still on TV, the level of curiosity at the end of the episode would be simply unbearable.moreless
  • This episode concerns an allmighty cell block riot that the first season was building up to. It is exactly the kind of spectacular episode it is appropriate to end a season on.moreless

    9.4
    To review this episode you have to briefly go back a few steps. Both the prisoners and the prison staff have been mentioning a potential riot all through the season. In fact Kareem Said tells McManus and Glynn that he could take the prison any time he wanted. This has built up the expectation to the viewer that something major is going to go down in the season finale. It doesn't dissapoint. The riot kicks off within the first 10 minutes off the epsiode and the way it develops is very believable, starting off as a scuffle over a game of checkers (the game the title refers to), other inmates get involved, the CO's try and break it up and one of them gets hit, from there in all hell breaks loose. The prisoners eventually take control of em city with several CO's as hostages. The way the central characters react is reflective of their demeanour throughout the season. Kareem for example forms a prisoner commitee and suggests a list of demands, Adebesi is just basking in the 'fun' of it all, Ryan O'Reilly surprisingly does not try and use the situation to his advantage and is an effective mediator between the gangs and Augustus Hill attempts to help out an injured man he has befriended. What starts off as joy for the prisoners quickly spirals downhill as first of all their demands are not appearing to be met, then the homeboys start to fiend for some drugs as they haven't been coming in due to the riot. Shortly after this the lights go out and the muslims, who have been effectively overseeing the operation realise the riot team is coming in to take back the prison. They order the CO hostages to be put in a line in front of the gate just as the tear gas rains in and music plays as the team rushes in firing in all directions.



    The epsiode was fast paced with plenty of action, really getting your heart racing as the action unfolds.moreless
Ernie Hudson

Ernie Hudson

Warden Leo Glynn

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Sister Peter Marie Reimondo

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Vernon Schillinger

BD Wong

BD Wong

Father Ray Mukada

Lauren Velez

Lauren Velez

Dr. Gloria Nathan

Dean Winters

Dean Winters

Ryan O'Reily

Zuill Bailey

Zuill Bailey

Eugene Dobbins

Guest Star

Bob Colletti

Bob Colletti

White Punk #1

Guest Star

Murphy Guyer

Murphy Guyer

Officer Eddie Hunt

Guest Star

Stephen Gevedon

Stephen Gevedon

Scott Ross

Recurring Role

James Palacio

James Palacio

Fiona Zonioni

Recurring Role

Steven Wishnoff

Steven Wishnoff

Tony Masters

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Prisoners featured

      Vernon Schillinger convicted October 21st 1992 aggravated assault in the first degree. Sentence: 8 years. Up for parole in 5. (prisoner # 92S110)

      Robert Rebadow convicted September 9th 1965, murder in the first degree. Sentence: death, commuted to life. (prisoner # 65R814)

      Simon Adebisi convicted May 2nd 1993, murder in the first degree. Sentence: life in prison without the possibility of parole. (prisoner # 93A234)

    • When have you known O'Reily to tell the truth?

    • O'Reily tells Adebisi he's been off drugs since his time in the hole. The episode where he went to the hole was 1.5 (Straight Life). However, in that episode, AFTER he gets out of the hole, he is seen getting high with Beecher. Looks like the writers forgot about that little incident in this episode.

  • QUOTES (30)

    • Hill: (narrating) Yeah, who cares who lives or dies in prison? We read the names in the morning paper and they mean nothing to us. They're faceless. Truth is, we don't wanna put a face on 'em. We don't want to know who they really are. Because then it might hit too close to home, and home is what it's all about, right? Making a home no matter where you are, no matter who you are. At the end of the day, everybody wants somewhere to rest, somewhere to lay their bones, even if it's in a land called Oz. Yeah, like Dorothy says when she wakes up in her own bed back at Aunt Em's, "There's no place like home." There's no fucking place like home.

    • Ross: Stand in a straight line. When they come in, you get hit first. Any last words?
      McManus: Suck my dick.
      Ross: If only there were time.

    • Hill: (narrating) They say, It don't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game. I call bullshit on that. It's all about winning, brother. That's the object of the game.

    • Ryan: We're out of heroin.
      Said: Good.
      Ryan: Says you. Adebisi and his pals are starting to fiend. This is gonna get real ugly, real fast.
      Said: When and if that happens, I will be ready.

    • Said: (to McManus) You wanna save this place, right? And I wanna destroy it. Brick by hypocritical brick

    • McManus: If we don't resolve this, you and me, soon, people will die. You could die.
      Said: I am willing to lay down my life for change. Now, those deaths at Attica, they brought real changes with real reforms. But everybody's forgotten the lessons of your little hometown. Time to wake this country up again, my brother.

    • Said: (to McManus) No, it's not! Because even the best prison wouldn't be good enough. I'm gonna try one more time with you, McManus. Now, I am not saying that the men in Oz are innocent. I am saying they are not here because of the crimes that they committed, but because of the color of their skin, the lack of education, the fact that they are poor. You see, this riot is not about getting smoking back, conjugal rights, it's not even about life in prison. It's about society taking responsibility. It's about the whole horrid judicial system. And we don't need more prisons, bigger prisons, better prisons, we need better justice. Now what can you do about that?

    • McManus: Oh, fuck. Oh, Christ. I gotta see Said. I wanna talk to Said.
      Alvarez: I dunno.
      McManus: Please, Miguel.
      Alvarez: I like this. I like it when you beg, McManus

    • Officer Hunt: This is all your fucking fault, McManus.
      Officer Wittlesey: Shut up, Eddie.
      Officer Hunt: No, Goddammit! If I'm gonna die, at least I want the bastard that got me whacked to know it.
      Father Mukada: How can you blame Tim?
      Officer Hunt: How? Cause all this Emerald City bullshit. Cause Tim thought he could help these cocksuckers. I've seen you in action, man. I've seen you fumble the fucking ball every single play. I just hope if we do die, I get to watch you go first.

    • Glynn: Most of these demands are harmless. Bring back conjugal visits, smoking...
      Devlin: Yeah, well, I reject all their demands. I won't negotiate with animals.
      Glynn: Then how do you expect me to end the situation?
      Devlin: The old-fashioned way. By force.

    • Glynn: There are to be no reprisals or repercussions to any inmate involved in the riot.
      Gov Devlin: Jesus Christ! Why don't they just ask to go free?

    • (reading the list of demands)
      Glynn: They want to speak directly to the media, uncensored.
      Devlin: We'll put 'em on right after Seinfeld.

    • Ross: McManus, I don't think you fully grasp your current position here. We don't have to let any of them go, or you.
      McManus: You taking me prisoner? You gonna go back on your word?
      Said: We have all intentions of fulfilling our part of the bargain.
      Ross: Why should we?
      Said: Because if we lie to them, we become just like them.

    • McManus: Are these two ok?
      Father Mukada: They'd be better off in a hospital.
      McManus: How 'bout the rest of you?
      Officer D'Agnasti: We're fine.
      Officer Hunt: No thanks to these cocksuckers.
      McManus: Diane?
      Ross: No one touched her, if that's what you mean.
      McManus: Was I talking to you?
      Ross: Watch your mouth, McManus. You ain't king shit around here no more.

    • McManus: As a condition for giving them food, we tell them they have to let me check on the hostages.
      Devlin: You're going in there voluntarily?
      McManus: Yeah!
      Devlin: You're even stupider than I thought.

    • (the phone rings and Glynn answers it)
      Glynn: Yes? Ok. That was Hofmeister, the rioters want food.
      Devlin: There's no reason to give them anything.
      McManus: Oh, yeah! Let's starve 'em out.

    • Father Mukada: Miguel, you gotta do something.
      Alvarez: Yeah, I know. I been working as an orderly in the prison hospital so...
      Officer Hunt: Oh! So what, now you're an MD all of a sudden? All you're good for is cleaning up shit.

    • Officer D'Agnasti: I had a uncle, owned a grocery store. One night somebody comes in and caves his head in with a case of corn flakes. Cops think it might have been the work of a...
      Hostages: ...cereal killer.
      Officer Hunt: D'Agnasti, shut the fuck up.
      Officer D'Agnasti: Just trying to break the tension.

    • Alvarez: Yo, there's a couple of hacks in there in pretty bad shape, so Said and I wanna get 'em a doctor. How do you vote?
      Adebisi: No.
      Ross: Fuck that.
      Alvarez: Yo, O'Reily, it's two to two. You gonna break the tie?
      Ross: Yeah, break the tie.
      Ryan: What's it worth to you, Alvarez?
      Alvarez: What's it worth to me?
      Ryan: Yeah. What'll you give me for my vote?
      Alvarez: Nothing.
      Ryan: Then let the fuckers die.

    • Alvarez: You see, you're so fucking naive.
      Father Mukada: Naive? I'm not naive. I'm afraid.
      Alvarez: Yeah, well, so am I, hermano. So am I.

    • Officer Wittlesey: We have to come up with a way to escape.
      Father Mukada: How?
      Officer Wittlesey: I don't know. I can't just sit here waiting to get raped.
      Officer D'Agnasti: Or killed.
      Officer Knowakowski: You really think they're gonna kill us?
      Officer Mineo: No, they're gonna invite us for tea.

    • (the inmates of Emerald City are rioting)
      Glynn: Shut down all the cell blocks immediately! Cut off the pay phones!
      McManus: What's happening?
      Glynn: Our worst nightmare.

    • Father Mukada: Jose Torres got paroled.
      Alvarez: Lucky prick.
      Father Mukada: So, I hear that you're running the gang now.
      Alvarez: Ain't listening to gossip a sin?

    • McManus: Rebadow, your factory supervisor says you haven't been to work in a couple of days.
      Rebadow: God lied to me.
      McManus: God lied to you?
      Rebadow: Yes.
      McManus: Well, why should God be so different than anyone else?

    • McManus: Say you'll stay.
      Officer Wittlesey: I got nowhere else to go.

    • Officer Wittlesey: What's going on?
      McManus: There's a rumor that you're bringing contraband into Emerald City.
      Officer Wittlesey: What?
      McManus: It's bullshit, right?
      Officer Wittlesey: Who'd you hear this from?
      McManus: Tell me it's not true.
      Wittlesey: It's not true.
      McManus: You're lying to me.
      Wittlesey: No, I'm not lying.
      McManus: I have an eyewitness, Diane, that saw you pass cigarettes to Scott Ross. An eye fucking witness.
      Officer Wittlesey: Who?
      McManus: Me.

    • McManus: You say you've changed. Why should I believe you?
      Schillinger: Trust me, McManus, you lose an eye, you get kicked in the balls, you get a face full of shit, you become a different man.

    • (Hill narrating)
      Hill: Remember when your high school history teacher said that the course of human events changes 'cause of the deeds of great men. Well, the bitch was lying. Fuck Caesar, fuck Lincoln, fuck Mahatma Gandhi. The world keeps moving cause of you and me, the anonymous. Revolutions get going cause there ain't enough bread. Wars happen over a game of checkers.

    • Said: I am willing to share the power. That is why I asked you here. You see, we can become a kind of council. We will, together, make all the decisions.
      Ross: We can talk parliamentary procedure later. How many guns do you have?

    • (during riots)
      Glynn: What's this about, Said?
      Said: If you have to ask, Glynn, we got a long day ahead of us.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Donald Groves (Sean Whitesell), Jerome Williams(Rah Rah) and Nino Schibetta (Tony Musante) have all been permanently removed from the opening credits following their deaths in the previous episode.

    • This episode features an acapella 50s-sounding version of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by The Animals during Bob Rebadow's criminal flashback.

    • Leon, Jon Seda, OL Duke, Jose Soto, Sean Whitesell, Rah Rah, and Tim McAdams receive a special appearance credit when they briefly appear as a figment of McManus' imagination.

    • Crime Flashbacks:

      Schillinger beats the drug dealer who sold to his sons.

      Rebadow's client rejects his designs, he stabs him in the neck with a fork.

      Adebisi decapitates a drug enemy, even after he identifies himself as an undercover cop.

  • ALLUSIONS (2)

    • Said: Attica.

      This is in reference to The Attica Correctional Facility. It is one of the most well known prisons in the United States, second possibly to Alcatraz. It is located in Attica, New York, a small town located midway between Buffalo and Rochester. It held many of the worst criminals of the time when it was constructed in the 1920s. A tear gas system is installed in the mess hall and industry areas and has been used to cease conflicts in these areas

    • Glynn: They want to speak directly to the media, uncensored.
      Devlin: We'll put 'em on right after Seinfeld.

      This is in reference to the popular tv sitcom of a neurotic New York stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York friends.

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