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Season 1 Episode 1

The Routine

Aired Monday 11:00 PM Jul 12, 1997 on HBO
out of 10
User Rating
146 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

We're introduced to the newest crop of inmates to enter Oz. Miguel Alvarez is promptly stabbed in the chest while waiting to enter Oz, a harginger of things to come. Tobias Beecher is a naive, pale and hopelessly out of place lawyer accused of killing a little girl while driving intoxicated. Donald Groves is a cannibal who ate his mother (he was saving his father for thanksgiving) and Kareem Said an outspoken and much-respected Muslim leader who tells the warden and McManus upon his arrival that "as of today, I run Oz."moreless

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  • Amazing!

    This show will make you laugh, cry, and even anger you and disgust you.
  • The pilot episode of OZ.

    Great pilot. Gives you a taste of the characters and what's to come. Also gives you look at the style of the show.

    It's interesting to watch these episodes from the start and seeing what develops. Tobias Beecher is such a nerd and flake you feel sorry for him. Especially when you realize what's to come to for him. Lee Tergensen shows off a lot of great acting as the show goes on.

    The pilot captures the real prison experience to a tee. It also shows you the abuse on a physical and mental level. Again Beecher is a fine example. He comes so innocent and gets transformed like the other inmates into a vicious thug.

    On to this episode, it introduces to several major character like Said, Beecher, Schillinger, Tim McManus, The Warden and so on.

    The trademarks of the show are here including the hard hitting and often hilarious commentary by Harold Perrineau as the paralyzed Augustus Hill.

    This show really was one of the hottest shows on HBO.moreless
  • Extraordinary

    Wow. Just wow. This show has an extraordinary begining, a pilot that reveals from the start, his hard essence about the life in prison: brutal, dangerous, uncensored, animalic, it's another world, a jungle. But yet, with all this stuff that easily horrors you in a minute, it's also captivating you, without even know it. At the end, you want to see more.

    This episode it's unmercy (you'll see later, the other ones will make no exception) and reveals a part of what should you expect in the next stories. It brings you at a whole other level (personaly, I was awfully deep into the action) and shocks you when you don't expect it. You will not even sense how fast time passes as you watch it. It's incredible I tell you! Amazing episode, what can I say.moreless
  • great start to the series. a series that u can really get hooked up in

    great start to the series. the no smoking rule is inforced. tobias, grooves and kareem come to emerald city and ryan o'reilly comes to oz. dino ortilani kills sanchez who was dieing from aids. he gets the crap beat out of him by the hacks for it. o'reilly and keane arrange for post to get into the hole and he burns dino alive. tobias' first incounter with adebisi is very un pleasent so in hast to get out he makes the wrong decsion. he moves into verns pod. were vern makes him his prag. he also burns a swastica on his butt. very good start to the series.moreless
  • A great start

    Well i've just found this to down load and watched the first episopde. It has taught me to be good and not end up in Oz. There is a very disturbing aray of inmates and looks like it will promise more. The ending where the good fellow is burnt alive makes the ending one of the most horriffying ends i've ever seen in a pilot. Just when you think your getting to know someone! and he did kill the aids victim out of mercy and not malace. Oh well hope the next one the sorry is about dos'nt end up dead at the end or you won't be able to make any new friends.

    Enjoy I am!!moreless
Ernie Hudson

Ernie Hudson

Warden Leo Glynn

Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno

Sister Peter Marie Reimondo

J.K. Simmons

J.K. Simmons

Vernon Schillinger

Lauren Velez

Lauren Velez

Dr. Gloria Nathan

Dean Winters

Dean Winters

Ryan O'Reily

Harold Perrineau Jr.

Harold Perrineau Jr.

Augustus Hill

Jose Soto

Jose Soto

Emilio Sanchez

Guest Star

Philip Scozzarella

Philip Scozzarella

Officer Joseph Mineo

Guest Star

Jon Seda

Jon Seda

Dino Ortolani

Guest Star

James Palacio

James Palacio

Fiona Zonioni

Recurring Role

Steven Wishnoff

Steven Wishnoff

Tony Masters

Recurring Role

Leif Riddell

Leif Riddell

Mark Mack

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (9)

    • When Dino Ortolani is in Tim McManus' office after he beats up Billy Keane in the shower, if you look behind Dino you can see in the reflection a crew member holding up the boom mic.

    • When Dr. Nathan leaves the employee break room, you can see the Em City laundry room behind her.

    • After Ortolani gets his hand bandaged and visits McManus, the bandage and the wound disappear in the next scene and aren't seen again for the rest of the episode.

    • During Poet's recitation, he noticeably looks into the camera twice.

    • Even though the Emerald City shower room is visible, the one Ortolani goes to is completely different and never seen again. The reason why is that shower scene is from the original presentation to the studio and was never re-shot.

    • In the scene where Schillinger talks to Ortolani watching TV, Ortolani is watching "Felix The Cat".

    • Crime Flashbacks

      Tobias Beecher slams into Kathy Rockwell while driving drunk. (the first crime flashback)

      Kareem Said blows up a white-owned warehouse in a black neighborhood.

      Dino shoots Ryan after he and a friend emerge from a bar.

    • Prisoners featured

      Prisoner # 97B412 Tobias Beecher convicted July 5th 1997, driving while intoxicated, vehicular manslaughter. Sentence: 15 years, up for parole in 4.

      Prisoner # 97S444 Kareem Said aka Goodson Truman convicted June 6th 1997, arson in the 2nd degree. Sentence: 18 years, up for parole in 5.

      Prisoner # 96C382 Dino Ortolani convicted December 12th 1996, murder in the 1st degree, assult with a deadly weapon. Sentence: life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

    • Ryan tells officer Healy that his 'brother says hi' but, as far as we know, Cyril is already brain-damaged by this point. Fontana has pointed out this as a mistake in the audio commentary on this episode.

  • QUOTES (29)

    • Healy: Well, you're brother's a fag, Keane. They say it runs in families. Are you a fag, too?
      Keane: Why don't you suck my dick and find out?

    • Ortolani: How come you're not volunteering over at the women's prison? How come you're in here shaking your tits in front of 1400 guys?
      Dr. Nathan: Trying to meet men, I'm tired of the bar scene.

    • Schillinger: You hearing this shit?
      Ortolani: Yeah.
      Schillinger: Yabba dabba doo. This fuck Said is a threat. You tell Schibetta we gotta stick together on this one.
      Ortolani: See me riding a bicycle?
      Schillinger: What?
      Ortolani: I ain't a messenger boy. You got something to tell Nino, tell him yourself.

    • Sister Pete: McManus, we gotta talk.
      McManus: About what?
      Sister Pete: About sex.
      McManus: Sister, you're insatiable.
      Sister Pete: And you are not that funny.

    • Healy: (to McManus) Oh, come on, man. What kind of fairy dust have you been snorting? These stupid fucks aren't gonna go work for fucking Microsoft.

    • Adebisi: (to Beecher) I won't be fucking you, prag. At least, not tonight.

    • Rebadow: You're right.
      Beecher: About what?
      Rebadow: Genevieve. She's thinking about divorcing you. In fact, she's having lunch with your old law partner to talk her through.
      Beecher: How do you know my wife's name?
      Rebadow: God told me.

    • Beecher: Hey, Dino. How ya doing?
      Ortolani: Hey, look pal, I know I'm supposed to be some kinda bro, but the headline reads: I don't give a shit about you.
      Beecher: That's fine, Dino. Okay.
      Ortolani: Hey, let me give you a slice of advice. Get yourself a weapon. Anyone tries to fuck with you, take 'em down.
      Beecher: Anything else?
      Ortolani: Yeah, don't smile. Ever.

    • Hill: (narrating) In Oz, the guards lock the cages and walk away and the predators rise, take control, and make the rules. But in Em City, the guards are with us 24 hours a day. There's no privacy. Everybody sees what everybody's doing. Eyes everywhere. McManus' eyes. See, in Em City, retribution gives way to redemption. Timmy boy believes he can save every one of us, from each other, from ourselves, from the system that dumped us in here. Only thing he don't get is, you gotta want to be saved.

    • Wittlesey: Tobias Beecher, Dino Ortolani.
      Ortolani: I really have to do this?
      Wittlesey: Cut the shit, it's your turn.
      Beecher: Hello.
      (Beecher extends his hand but Ortolani rejects it)
      Ortolani: Beecher, huh? I'm guessing you ain't Italian. What're you in for? Shaving strokes off your golf score?

    • Rebadow: Hi, I'm Bob Rebadow.
      (Groves takes his hand and licks it)
      Rebadow: Nice to meet you too.

    • (To Beecher, Markstrom and Groves)
      Wittlesey:: In Emerald City we got rules, got a lot more rules than anywhere else in Oz. Your cell is your home, keep it clean, spotless. You are to exercise regularly, attend classes, go to drug and alcohol counseling. You are to work in one of the prison factories. You are to follow the routine. We tell you when to sleep, when to eat, when to piss. There is no yelling, no fighting, no fucking. Follow the rules, learn self discipline, because if you had any self discipline, any control over yourselves at all, you wouldn't be sitting here now. Questions?

    • Hill: (narrating) Greaseball, cracker, mick, spic, kike, gook, nigger. Words, words are weapons but I'd rather have a Mach 10 anytime. Some inmates say that violence is the worst thing we gotta face. For me, the worst thing is the great yawn. How do you fill day after dull ass day? We got these routines that are supposed to give our lives order and meaning. But I'm here to testify that I'm less afraid of getting shanked in my back than the routine. Cause the routine, man, the routine will kill you.

    • D'Angelo: He ate his mother.
      Schibetta: Get out of here.
      D'Angelo: So I heard. He killed her, then chopped off her head and smothered it in onions.
      Ortolani: What, no garlic?
      D'Angelo: He had his father in the freezer.
      Schibetta: Sick fuck. What the fuck is 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.

    • Said: 78% of the population at Oswald State Penitentiary are men of colour, and the ratio is at last count, one officer to every nine prisoners. We can take this prison anytime we want to.
      Glynn: You can take it, but you wouldn't be able to keep it.
      Said: That remains to be seen.
      Glynn: Are you telling me that you intend to start a riot?
      Said: What I'm tellin you is, as of today, I run OZ.

    • McManus: Your celebrity status doesn't buy you any extra advantages here, all my prisoners are equal.
      Said: How ironic? To, finally be equal in a place where you don't have the freedom to enjoy it.

    • McManus: In Em City we treat each other the way we would like to be treated, we treat each other with respect.
      Said: And what happens when one of us does not respect the other?
      Warden Glynn: There's violence.
      Said: Then prison life isn't all that different from the outside world.

    • Officer Healy I'm telling you Leo, fucking McManus is out of control. He tells me yesterday that his thinking of starting a quiet time. You ready for this? Everyday, for one hour the cons gotta sit in silence. I mean, what's next, milk and cookies, arts and crafts?

    • Augustus Hill: They call this the penal system, but it's really the penis system, it's about how big, how long and about how hard. Life in Oz is about the size of your dick, and anybody who tells you different, ain't got one.

    • Schillinger: Like my tattoos? I'm going to get you one.
      Beecher: No, thanks.
      Schillinger: Oh, yeah, I'm going to brand you myself.
      Beecher: Livestock, gets branded.
      Schillinger: Yeah, livestock, that's what you are, my livestock, beacuse now Tobias, your ass belongs to me.

    • Schillinger: Your not a Jew are you?
      Beecher: Me, Jewish? I don't even like Barbara Streisand.

    • Whittlesey: There's something in the air, and it ain't love.

    • Beecher: What now?
      Rebadow: We go to our cells, and they count heads, and lock us up for the night.
      Beecher: It's five o'clock, what I'm supposed to do, what time is lights out?
      Rebadow: Ten p.m
      Beecher: What do I do for five hours?
      Rebadow: Try to keep breathing.

    • Hill: What'd you do on the outside?
      Tobias Beecher: I was a lawyer.
      Hill: I hate lawyers, almost as much as I hate cops.

    • Augustus Hill: Tim McManus, created an experimental unit inside Oz, a new approach to the prison problem. Some call is Emerald City, to me, it's a concentration camp.

    • Warden Glynn: Let me ask you something McManus, and don't take this the wrong way...
      McManus: What?
      Warden Glynn: Are you out of your fucking mind? Groves is a demented sociopath, without a shred of remorse.
      McManus: Well maybe.
      Warden Glynn: He ate his parents, he killed them, carved them and he ate them. What the fuck do you think you can do for him?
      McManus: I want to teach him table manners.

    • Augustus Hill: Oz is hard times, doing hard time.

    • Augustus Hill: Oz, that's the name of the street for the Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary. Oz is retro, Oz is retribution. You wanna punish a man? Separate him from his family, separate him from himself, cage him up with his own kind.

    • Nathan: (to Tim McManus) Thanks for shackling me with Dino Ortolani. Not only can't he keep his hands off my fanny, he's got the bedside manner of Atilla the Hun.

  • NOTES (5)

    • The first scene shot for the series was Ortolani in McManus' office. During the scene Jon Seda hit the glass window and busted it, cutting his hand. The scene had to be reshot and Seda's bandaged hand incorporated into the show.

    • The character of Adebisi was originally a more generic thug-type character. When Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje got the part, it was changed to reflect his Nigerian heritage.

    • Some cast members that played prisoners have noted that, throughout the series, if you showed up late to the set, your punishment would be that your character would either die or be raped the next week.

    • A small clock is featured at key moments. To date, this technique has never been used since.

    • Lauren Velez and Jon Seda worked together previously, as husband and wife in Darnell Martin's 1994 film, "I Like It Like That", which also featured Rita Moreno and Jose Soto.