The first and only woman to be incarcerated at Oswald. She was sentenced to die for murdering her daughter; she drove her car into a lake with her daughter in the back seat, then swam out as the car sank, leaving her daughter to drown. She swears it was an accident, but that it nevertheless "had to happen".
While she keeps mostly to herself and has a shy, charming demeanor, she shows some signs of psychological instability; shortly after her arrival, she exposes herself to fellow prisoner Timmy Kirk and prostitutes herself to inmates and guards alike in return for preferential treatment. She believes she is doing God's will, and it is suggested that she is a devout Christian.
- Affably Evil: Despite her utter insanity and the fact that she murdered her only child, Shirley is remarkably friendly and charming.
- Alas, Poor Villain: When she sees the noose when she is about to be executed, she starts to realise that the end is actually near and she starts to weep and beg for her life.
- Cute and Psycho: With her folksy, humble manner and soft-spoken demeanour it's easy to forget that Shirley murdered her daughter.
- A Death in the Limelight: Her last two episodes shed a lot more light on her backstory and character.
- Face Death with Dignity: Subverted. She calmly walks out of her cell to her execution, but when she sees the noose, she (quite understandably) panics, tries to flee, breaks down weeping, and begs God for mercy and forgiveness. Far from being used to portray her as a coward, it's a deeply human and tragic moment.
- Domestic Abuse: It's shown that she received it from her husband, mentioned that she was raped by her father-in-law, and implied that she also got beaten by her father.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Shirley tends to soften her language, which makes her foul mouthed moments even funnier.
- Head-Turning Beauty: She is very attractive indeed... and she knows it.
- Manipulative Bitch: Shirley uses her sexuality and intelligence to manipulate many of the men around her, including Schillinger.
- Not So Stoic: When she sees the hanging rope for her execution she, quite understandably, starts to panic.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Richie Hanlon and Nat Ginzburg, both of whom are gay.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: She's openly racist and turned down Adebisi for being black. He doesn't take it well. She does, however, seem to have a thing for Moses Deyell.
- Precision F-Strike: She uses the word "shit" in her television interview, then immediately freaks out that it means the clip can't be used on TV.
- Rape as Backstory: Shirley claims that she was raped by her father-in-law, and the daughter she killed was the product of the rape. It's unclear if she's telling the truth or just trying to get a rise out of her husband.
- Ripped from the Headlines : The character's crimes (and racist attitudes) are based on those of Susan Smith, who drove her car into a lake and drowned her children.
- Southern Belle : Part of her persona as The Vamp , mentioned below.
- Stepford Smiler: She talks brightly about her own upcoming death.
- The Smurfette Principle: Shirley is the only female inmate seen in the entire series. Justified as the show takes place in a men's prison and the circumstances that have brought her to Oz are unique.
- Tears of Fear: When she's being executed.
- The Vamp: She has no problems with using sex as a weapon to get what she wants.
- Villainous Breakdown: Shirley has been consistently calm, soft-spoken and accepting of her sentence...until she actually sees the rope. She proceeds to freak the hell out (as you would) and has to be dragged to the noose.
- Villainous Friendship: She got on pretty well with Vernon Schillinger, the leader of the Aryans. Didn't stop her from suggesting to Richie Hanlon a method to get Schillinger on death row as well.
The oldest inmate on the show and a prominent member of "The Others", the group in Oz which generally stays away from trouble and gang related warfare. His age as well as experience in Oz makes his interactions with several other inmates dynamic; some see him as a mentor, others a survivor, and a few a vulnerable old man.
- Alliterative Name : Robert Rebadow.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
- When two of the Aryans discover their escape tunnel and intimidate them into handing it over, he and Busmalis booby trap it so that the Aryans get buried and suffocate.
- Hernandez also found this out the hard way.
- Butt-Monkey: Quite a bit but he always seems to recover.
- The Cuckoolander Was Right: He's generally regarded as crazy due to claiming to talk to God. Not only does he often given very good advice and guidance, but he sometimes shows knowledge he couldn't possibly have known otherwise.
- Cool Old Guy: Part of how he survives in a hell-hole like Oz is that he's so damn likable that no one wants to mess with him.
- Evil Feels Good: After Rebadow murders Hernandez, he claims he's never felt more alive.
- Fake Guest Star: Appeared in every single episode but was always listed as a guest star.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Busmalis.
- The Man They Couldn't Hang: He survived an execution in the electric chair, thanks to the Great Northwest Blackout of 1965 causing a power surge just as his executioner threw the switch.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: See The Cuckoolander Was Right.
- Nice Guy
- Odd Couple: With Busmalis.
- Only Sane Man
- The Old Convict: The oldest, in fact.
A bank burglar who tries numerous times to escape OZ and strikes up a friendship with Rebadow.
- Berserk Button: Had his only violent outburst in the series after he is denied the right to have a child with his wife.
- Catchphrase: "This is the best Miss Sally ever."
- Manchild: Likely the oldest fan of Miss Sally's Schoolyard in the world. Unlike the other inmates, his interest in the show extends far beyond the well-endowed hostess.
- Nice Guy: Nicer even than Rebadow.
- Nice Hat: His fishing hat.
- Odd Couple: With Rebadow.
- Tunnel King: Utilized for robbing banks; his reason for being in Oz (and modus operandi for several escape attempts).
A quiet and thoughtful Russian inmate, who previously worked as a hitman.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: He's extremely deadly, despite not uttering a word until his very last appearance.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He gets sent to solitary and then just disappears. A deleted scene reveals that he was killed by a woman posing as a State Department employee.
- Drunk on the Dark Side: Seems to be the quintessential cold-hearted assassin until revealing his Freudian Excuse to a fellow Mafiyoso, his stoic facade finally melting into murderous glee (the last thing we see on his face).
- The Dreaded: Stanislofsky is terrified of him. As soon as he's out of earshot, Stanislofsky warns everybody who will listen about how dangerous he is.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He wears glasses and is one of the coldest and most emotionless inmates on the show.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: Making a shank out of the temple pieces of your glasses definitely qualifies.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: He racks up the largest kill count of anyone in Oz, yet doesn't get killed or otherwise harmed for any of the crimes done inside or out of prison and is transferred away unscathed...only for him to end up with his just desserts in the form of an offscreen stealth killing like he was so fond of committing himself.
- The Mafiya: He's affiliated with the Organizatsiya, but it's not revealed if he's a full member or just hired muscle.
- Nerves of Steel: Even when being threatened, he shows absolutely no fear.
- Professional Killer: He's the Russian Mob's most famous and successful hitman.
- Put on a Bus: Thrown out of Em City and out of sight, forever.
- Stoic Spectacles: His glasses send off a very cold and distant vibe.
- The Stoic: Rarely shows any emotion at all and it creeps everyone out.Busmalis: "I tried to talk to him the other day, he just sat there and said nothing... He creeps me out."Rebadow: "Yeah, me too."
A quiet young inmate sent to OZ for killing and eating his parents. He possesses all the qualities that would normally make him a target of stronger inmates, but the disturbing nature of his crime combined with a creepy, solitary demeanor means he's left alone by others.
- Alas, Poor Villain:He is killed right after he begins to experience guilt for the first time in his life.
- Affably Evil: Calm, polite, friendly and utterly homicidal.
- The Atoner: After being confronted by the mother of the guard he murdered, Groves breaks down in tears.
- Axe-Crazy: What exactly were you expecting from a guy who killed his parents and ate his mother? This is somewhat downplayed throughout most of the first season, until inspired vaguely by Kareem Said's criticism of the warden and mostly by whatever's going on in his head, he tries to kill the warden, instead killing a guard
- Beware the Quiet Ones
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Exactly what goes on in Groves' head is a complete mystery.
- Cute and Psycho
- Deadpan Snarker
- The Dreaded: Downplayed. He's not exactly feared by the other inmates, but because of the disturbing nature of his crime, he is left alone despite being young and introverted.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Groves killed his parents and ate his mother. He was saving his father for Thanksgiving.
- Psychopathic Manchild: The first thing he did after knocking his parents out? Change the T.V. to cartoons.
- Pet the Dog: He tells Beecher how he can meet Keane.He does this without gaining anything and it comes off as a genine attempt at friendly advice to another inmate.
- The Stoic: He wears the same facial expression constantly, and is otherwise unflappable.
- Not So Stoic: His most outrageous display of emotion is when the mother of his victim tells him she forgives him, prompting Donald to break down in tears.
- The Quiet One
- Villainous Breakdown
A celebrity pro basketball player incarcerated for assault.
- Broken Pedestal: Big time. Poor Augustus Hill is swiftly disabused of his hero worship.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: He initially comes off like a celebrity who's impatient and harried by constant attention. Underneath that, though, he actually is a selfish, petty asshole.
- Kick the Dog: He's gratuitously horrible to Eugene Dobbins, a harmless and nonviolent inmate who just wants to play the cello.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He's a complete douchebag to Augustus Hill in the first season. A few seasons later, when Vahue comes up for parole, Augustus secretly contacts his victim. She testifies at the hearing, and Vahue's parole is denied... meaning he'll be in jail long enough that he has no hope of ever having a pro career again.
- Pet the Dog: During the riot, he tries to help Eugene Dobbins, albeit after Hill desperately pleads with him, and gets beaten by the COs for his trouble.
- Put on a Bus: To Gen Pop. It occasionally comes back.
- Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Vahue once scored 58 points against the Chicago Bulls, a fact that is brought up reverently by nearly every character who interacts with him.
- Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: He tries to defend himself to Hill by pointing out that he helped Dobbins during the riot, while of course failing to acknowledge that he'd been a bullying Jerkass to the man up until that point (and on top of that, had to be talked into helping).
- Took a Level in Kindness: A massive one shown in the Series Finale. Vahue is out on parole and his career is back on track. Rather than return to his old lifestyle, he starts doing charitable work with the prisoners at Oz.
Desmond Mobay/Johnny Basil
An African American police detective, he is an undercover narcotics officer working under the false identity of Desmond Mobay and trying to bust the drug trade in Oz. "Mobay" is a Jamaican who wishes to work for the gangsters within Oz.
- Bald of Awesome: Failure or not, it takes stones to go undercover in Oz, especially for a rookie.
- Becoming the Mask: He gradually becomes a heroin addict and Adebisi's number 1 dealer, completely indistinguishable from any other Homeboy.
- Butt-Monkey: The poor guy is in way over his head in Em City. He refuses to acknowledge this simple fact until things have already gone horribly, horribly wrong.
- Descent into Addiction: He's forced to use as part of his initiation, which kicks off a serious habit.
- Fatal Family Visit: It takes him a long time to overcome his shame and be able to face his wife and son. Naturally, it's only as he finally agrees to see them that Clayton Hughes randomly shanks him.
- The Mole: Working undercover with the Homeboys just like Markstrom before him. Unlike Markstrom, however, Basil never really gains their trust.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Basil's ordered to kill someone in order to progress in the ranks of Adebisi's group. He's also being blackmailed by a fellow inmate who knows he's a cop. No points for guessing how he deals with both problems at once...
- Redemption Equals Death: He eventually confesses to his various crimes, and then is killed while in custody.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He stops his investigation cold to confess to the murder of another inmate.
A middle-aged former sheriff sent to OZ for assaulting a suspect.
- Big Eater: He's almost always seen eating, and never eating a little bit. He knocks Howell down a flight of stairs for the promise of more and better food.
- Cool Old Guy: One wonders if he really needs to be in the cop Cell Block at all.
- Deadpan Snarker: He speaks almost entirely in witty one-liners.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: How he puts Claire Howell out of commission.
- Nice Guy: So much that even inmates who detest cops genuinely like him.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Unleashes one on some punk he was interrogating, which is why he was sent to OZ.
- The Sheriff: He was this before he was sent to OZ.
A Death Row racist who killed his entire family. Twice.
- Dirty Coward: He hides on his bunk when the warden comes to talk to him about his execution.
- Evil Is Petty: When he can't commit murder, he settles for intense racism, homophobia and just being a very unpleasant person.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Deyell, Bellinger, and Ginzburg get along well enough on Death Row, but Miles goes out of his way to be an asshole to everyone.
- Hate Sink: He has no redeeming qualities at all.
- Hidden Depths: One day, he decides to paint a self-portrait on his wall. By the time he's strangled by Moses, it's looking really good.
- Jerkass: Interestingly, he's one of the only people seen on death row not to be even vaguely sympathetic.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: He killed his family and got off with only ten years in an institution after pleading insanity. But when he got remarried and killed his new family, the trick didn't work the second time, and he got sent to death row.
- Karmic Death: Gets strangled to death by Moses Dyell after calling him "Negro" one too many times. Even better, Moses punches right through the self-portrait he's so proud of.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: About half of his dialogue consists of throwing racial slurs at Moses.
- Villainous Breakdown: Has a particularly pathetic one right before he has to choose his method of death, hiding under his blanket and crying like a baby.
A remorseless Death Row inmate who reveals himself to be a Serial Killer.
- Affably Evil: He's so easy-going and charming, it's hard not to like the guy, even after he reveals the true extent of his crime.
- Ax-Crazy: Double Subverted; He is a remorseless murderer, but he seems perfectly sane and rational. And then we find out he's responsible for the death of just over 3 dozen women.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Averted. Upon being told that he is going to be executed for killing one women, he reveals the name of another women he killed. Not stopping there, he recites the names of another 37 women he's murdered, that no one ever knew about.
- Companion Cube: A purple yo-yo.
- Expy: Appears to be one to Ted Bundy, a charming, charismatic, intelligent man who just so happens to be a serial killer. Like Bundy, L'Italien exclusively targets women, and his body count is similar.
- He-Man Woman Hater: He exclusively kills women, but claims to love them...he believes that when you love someone, they possess you. He will not be possessed.
- Serial Killer
- Straw Misogyinst: Seems to have no real reason for hating women except to be a Hate Sink. One of the few thigns he mentioned as being a trigger for him, he was wrong on (the Bohemian Grove to this day doesn't admit female members). It was the California Supreme Court (not the US Supreme Court) that ruled against them and it was only realted to female employees, not members.
- Villainous Breakdown: When he's executed, he halts his flippant attitude and shows fear.
A clever and cunning Russian Jew.
- Best Served Cold: Poor Richie Hanlon never sees Stanislofsky's retaliation coming.
- The Chessmaster: Even outfoxed Ryan O'Reilly; the only character to do so.
- A Date with Rosie Palms: By Claire Howell and his last one.
- Deadpan Snarker: Deadpan everything, really. But snark is his forte.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Has a girlfriend he seems to care about, and who cares very much about him in return.
Stanislofsky: (as Richie Hanlon is bleeding out) I lied, Alexander Vogel was my friend.
- There's also Alexander Vogel, a friend of his. He actually "avenges" his death by killing Richie Hanlon, not being aware that the latter is innocent and that the real perpetrators are Schillinger and Mark Mack.
- Face Death with Dignity: Nikolai is smart enough to know that being on Ryan O'Reilly's bad side is a death sentence. Yet, he is remarkably calm about it, not doing much more than having a rabbi prepare his way and saying goodbye to his girlfriend.
- Faux Affably Evil: Like O'Reily he knows when to turn up the charm to get his way, best seen with Hoyt and Pancamo.
- Affably Evil: On the other hand, he can a good fellow to hang around with if you're no threat or use to him, he gets along quite well with Busmalis, Rebadow and even Hill.
- Foil: To O'Reily. Both are lone wolves and part of a minority in prison (Nikolai is Russian, O'Reily is Irish), both of them are a combination of The Chessmaster and Manipulative Bastard, both of them are ruthless, both of them quickly adapt to life in Oz and are rather successful in their attempt at survival.
- Foreshadowing: He mentions that all he wants is a hot bath. He finally gets one... and it's used to kill him.
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: Has a tendancy to do this, either to punctuate his sentences or to sound smart and/or mysterious/menacing. Needless to say, it can be quite funny to watch.
- Truth in Television: Immigrants often pepper their second language with words from their original language, especially idioms that are difficult to translate quickly.
- The Gulag: He was imprisoned in one prior to immigrating to the U.S.
- Honey Trap: Pulls one on gay inmate Richie Hanlon in the showers. Stanislofsky goes in for a kiss, and instead cuts Hanlon's jugular with a razor blade he'd hidden in his mouth. He's also the victim of one from Howell, who electrocutes him in the bathtub after giving him a handjob.
- Jewish and Nerdy: A bit of a tech genius as well as a clever criminal.
- Kosher Nostra: In a sense. He's a Russian Jew loosely associated with the Russian mob.
- The Mafiya: The nature of his relationship with the Organizatsiya is never made clear. However, it is implied that he's not on the best terms with them, as he immediately assumes that Kosygin has been sent to kill him when he arrives in Oz.
- Manipulative Bastard: He's not bad at it, but O'Reily knows better.O'Reily: You know we got a little saying in this country, maybe you've heard it before: 'You can't shit a shitter'.
- Noble Demon: Played with. He's apparently a "Thief in Law", an organization of thieves with a code of honor to only live from stealing and help thieves in need, but as The Other Wiki points out, not all (if any) member actually follow through with the code and Nikolai, a consummate liar, doesn't seem like the kind to help for the sake of it.
- Properly Paranoid: His fear of Kosygin and later O'Reily are both quite well-founded.
- Vodka Drunkenski: While not ever actually seen drunk, he keeps a stash of vodka in his cell.
- Angry Black Man: His default mood is "pissed off". Although it may have something to do with the fact that he's in jail for picking his daughter up from daycare.
- Felony Misdemeanor: See the above entry. Possibly the most ludicrous example in the entire show.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's rude and confrontational with just about everybody, but only because he resents the fact that he's forced to share living space with drug dealers and killers. In reality, he's a pretty decent guy. When Cyril O'Reilly is about to be executed, Neema's the one that organizes the prisoners to protest in solidarity.
- Malcolm Xerox: Subverted, he acts like this at first, but it's mostly a facade.
- "Reason You Suck" Speech: When Poet stupidly thinks that a former Black Panther would be the perfect candidate to take over the Homeboy's failing drug trade, Neema's response is to give him one of these. He delivers another one to Burr Redding when he tries to get friendly.
- Scary Black Man: His demeanor is pretty intimating, mostly because of his perpetual bad mood.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: To Kareem Said. Not much more than a surface similarity, since he's not around long enough to get much characterization.
- Where da White Women At?: Back in his day, he carried on a relationship with Ryan O'Reilly's mother.
A French inmate arrested for destroying a statue at an art museum, he is woefully unprepared for prison life.
- All of the Other Reindeer: He is immediately singled out for bullying, in particular over his Nice Shoes (and later the slippers he's humiliatingly stuck with after he's forced to give up said shoes).
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: Despite his sad storyline, Tarrant gets a lot of approval for taking out two of the most detestable characters on the show, Wangler and Pierce.
- Break the Cutie: Despite being a man in his 40s, this is basically his character arc.
- Cornered Rattlesnake: He's cornered by Wangler, Poet and Pierce numerous times. The final time, having been secretly slipped a gun, he opens fire.
- Despair Event Horizon: What's especially tragic about his story is that it's not the actual bullying that sends him over, it's Tarrant's own impulsive reaction to it. You can pretty much see on his face the minute he crosses it when he stops shooting, looks out for a moment, and takes in what he's done. Then one of the SORT Team members tells him there's no way out....
- Drop the Hammer: How he destroyed the statue; it's also the "deadly weapon" he was charged with concealing, which presumably bumped up his sentence.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Hilariously, Schillinger pulls this on him.Schillinger: You the guy that smashed that statue?Tarrant: Oui.Schillinger: Fuckin' sicko bastard.
- Felony Misdemeanor: His crime seems not to warrant sentencing to a maximum security facility like Oz. Arguably, this trope is intentionally used on his character to drive home the point of the corrupting influence of the American prison system (a theme made explicit in the episode) by showing how prison drives someone who's harmless and Prone to Tears like Tarrant to violence.
- In-Series Nickname: Frenchy.
- Intelligence = Isolation: He tries to get through the day reading a thick book in solitude, and pushes away attempts to socialize. It doesn't end well for him.
- Karmic Death: Snaps and deals one out to Wangler.
- Naïve Newcomer: Hardly begins to cover it.
- Prone to Tears: He's a teary mess when reporting his stolen shoes to McManus.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Tarrant's total screentime is less than 15 minutes in a single episode, but his rampage rearranges the fates of several characters, which has a domino effect on the rest of the season.
- Smashing Art Statues Will Ruin Your Life: Tarrant's crime, taking a hammer to a statue, is almost laughably harmless compared to the crimes committed by the rest of the cast. The fact that he's not any kind of hardened criminal makes him terribly easy prey for the other prisoners, and eventually ends with him shooting four other people and then turning the gun on himself.
- The problem lies more with the concealment of the hammer (a crime) and the fact that the crime would have pissed off a lot of wealthy art patrons, who would push for a strong sentence.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Tarrant is a frail art-vandalizing intellectual who goes to tears when his shoes are taken; naturally, the sponsor selected for him is Hoyt.
- Shadow Archetype: Tarrant's character arc is essentially a shadow version of Beecher's (naive newcomer forced to learn to defend himself).
- Unwitting Pawn: To Adebisi.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Dear God this poor man is possibly the character least equipped to handle prison ever featured on the show. The other inmates treat him accordingly. When Tarrant finally does hit the breaking point he ends up with a kill count on par with some of the series regulars.
A nihilistic old man who believes all of life and existence is worthless. He murders Kareem Said and Omar White, with the intention of getting executed for that.
- Big "NO!": After his death sentence is overturned.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Everyone else considers him to be crazy.
- Death Seeker: He really wants someone to assist his suicide. After Omar White refuses to do the deed, Idzik kills him so he can go on death row.
- End of the World as We Know It: He's obsessed with the eventual and inevitable end of the universe. The fact that it won't happen for a few billion years doesn't matter.
- Mercy Kill: He asks Omar to kill him as he believes life is poinltess. When Omar refuses he kills him to get himself sent to Death Row which doesn't work.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: He believes that because everything will end billions of years later, nothing that people do can ever matter.
- Outside-Context Problem: He shows up completely randomly, motivated by an offscreen But for Me, It Was Tuesday encounter on Kareem Said's part rather than by any of the many many ongoing interpersonal conflicts in Oz, and bumps off two major characters.
Prisoner 00K251. Convicted March 22, 2000 - Second degree murder. Sentence: 25 years, eligible for parole in 10.
- Action Survivor: A villainous example. Despite rarely being physically aggressive, he survives a number of attempts on his life and is savvy enough to know who is targeting him. Its takes an allergic reaction to eggs to take him down.
- A God Am I
- Awesome Mc Coolname: Subverted as he attempts to go by "Supreme Allah," but a lot of other inmates hate him and derisively call him Kevin.
- Blasphemous Boast: His choice of nickname is clearly regarded as such by the Muslims, particularly Said. Justified: As a 5 Percenter, he literally believes he is a God.
- Disproportionate Retribution: He's in prison for killing a man who laughed at him during a dice game.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Insists on going by "Supreme Allah."
- The Friend Nobody Likes: He's loosely affiliated with the Homeboys, but even they mostly hate him.
- Full-Frontal Assault: His beatdown of Hill in the shower.
- Hate Sink: Even among a cast of criminals, he's easily one of the most purely detestable, as he pretty much acts like a smug, violent jerkass to everyone and has few if any Pet the Dog moments.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivers one to Augustus Hill.
- Undignified Death: Compared to the shankings, beatings and other arguably badass deaths that befall other inmates, he is killed by an allergic reaction to eggs.
Prisoner number 01J813, Jia Kenmin. Convicted February 2, 2001 - Possession and distribution of a controlled substance. Sentence: 15 years, up for parole in 5.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: Played straight (with perhaps a side order of Cast Show-Off, as Michael Gregory Gong is a trained dancer). Possibly justified: he's a triad gangster and his skills in martial arts could be explained by him being a "Red Pole", an enforcer who specializes in fighting.
- Armor-Piercing Question: From Wong Gonjin, one of the Chinese migrant, who asks him if he has more honor than the other prisoners in Oz. He decides that he does.
- An earlier question from the same immigrant asks him how he could do that to people when his own parents came over the same way.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: Arguably the only person in the show to successfully use Ryan O'Reily's favorite trick — lying and using another prisoner as a tool — against Ryan himself.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He is a drug dealer, a gangster and a bastard, but when Wong Gonjin (see above) reminds him of the horrors that the latter and his companions had to go through in China (a trait they share with Jia's parents), and their efforts to escape which were in vain, Jia appears to feel guilty for not being able to help them and promises to kill Morales to avenge Bian Yixhue's murder by the Latinos' leader.
- Evil Gloating: Takes a moment to rub it in Ryan's face when it becomes clear he's gotten Cyril sent to Death Row.
- Hard Head: Averted. One particularly serious blow puts him in a coma for a long while, and eventually the residual damage from that incident is is strongly implied to be the reason he does not survive the COs' beating.
- Kick the Dog: Recalls a story to Alvarez about how he once cut a dog to pieces while petting Alvarez's dog. He admits he was joking but whether his story is true or not, the fact that Alvarez was on his road to redemption and that he was no longer associated with the Latinos, who Jia was targetting, makes this conversation qualify for the trope.
- Manipulative Bastard: On par with O'Reily. Using the fact that both him and McManus had a near-death experience to convince the latter to send him back to Em City? Check. Making Ryan believe that his friend Li Chen wanted to rape his mother so that Ryan will attack Chen and give the latter a chance to kill the O'Reily brothers? Check. Fooling a jury into believing that Chen was an innocent victim in order for Cyril to get the death penalty? Check.
- Motive Decay: His justifiable desire for revenge on Morales is quickly subsumed by his feud with O'Reily.
- Noble Demon: Played straight at first, with his desire to avenge a Chinese migrant's death, but later subverted as his grudge towards Ryan O'Reily drives him to become a much more despicable person. See Even Evil Has Standards above.
- Token Minority: The only Asian inmate after the Chinese migrants departs.
- Triads and Tongs: He's a Triad gangster.
A minor-league baseball player who gets involved with one of O'Reily's schemes.
- The Alcoholic: He would even get drunk while playing baseball.
- Batter Up!: He's in jail for attacking an umpire and a player with a bat during a game.
- Blackmail: Tries to bribe O'Reily for his silence regarding Keenan's murder.
- Impromptu Tracheotomy: Recieves one courtesy of Stanton. He doesn't die, but he loses the ability to talk.
- Jerk Jock: Even when he isn't drunk, he's pretty unpleasant.
- Shout-Out: Stanton mentions that he can't sing anymore. Criss is an occasional vocalist for rock band KISS.
- Too Dumb to Live: He tried to con Ryan O'Reily. Of course it didn't go well for him.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: When a guard harasses Penders as he trains a seeing eye dog he ends up siccing the dog on the guard. He also blows up at Nathan when given a bad medical diagnosis although he apologizes when she tells him it's treatable.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: He was threatening a man with a waved gun and it went off.
- Opportunistic Bastard: He saves Warden Glynn from Hughes at least partially for brownie points with the warden and during the drug trial plot line sues the prison when it looks like it has bad side effects even though it turned out that the others who took it dying was because of murder.
- Ambiguous Disorder: He is apparently not legally insane, but there is clearly something not right in his head.
- Cool Old Guy: A friendly, somewhat caring old man whose capable of laying out Miguel with one punch while being bullied by him..
- It's All My Fault: Blames himself for the death of CO Samuel Hughes decades ago for starting a fight Hughes died breaking up.
- The Old Convict: An aged, long serving prisoner.
- Vigilante Execution: Implied to be the circumstances behind his incarceration. The man he killed murdered Sister Petes husband, something Giles was aware of.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He has frequent outbursts of getting mad at or attacking people.
- Non-Protagonist Resolver: He's a very minor prisoner who doesn't even have his crime revealed but he's the one who tells the staff of Oz that Kelsh Killed Glynn after hearing him brag about it, potentially bringing down Devlin.
- The Alcoholic: He has a drinking problem he asks Sister Petes help with.
- Commonality Connection: He befriends fellow Vietnam vet Redding.
- Disappeared Dad: He's divorced from his wife and his daughter wants her stepfather to walk her down the aisle when she gets married.
- Heteronormative Crusader: He's quick to use homophobic slurs and state his belief gays are ruining the military.
- Old Soldier: A long serving military man who was in Vietnam.