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Headscratchers / Oz

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  • Why was James Robson let back in the Aryan Brotherhood? I got the impression that he was being let back in for killing Wolfgang Cutler. But him being Wolfgang's prag wasn't what got him kicked out in the first place - it was him having a black man's gums. Vern didn't want to kick him out, but according to the gang's charter, he had to. Sure, James tried to cut them out, but he pretty much failed. Why would anything be different after Wolfgang's death?
    • Schillinger had a soft spot for Robson, hence him trying to get one of his white power superiors to give him a reason to overlook the whole transplanted gums thing to keep Robson around. Plus, Robson didn't fully rejoin; killing Wolfgang simply restored Robson to his role as Verne's go-to assassin; his standing within the Brotherhood is left vague, though I would assume that Verne simply used his power as leader to give Robson protection from any future reprisals from his fellow Aryans.
  • How the hell do the prisoners get/stay so beefy? Sure, they have the gym for the actual exercise part but their lunches always consist of a piece of fruit, a small sandwich, a carton of milk and a small fruit drink. No way is that enough nutrition to pile on the muscle...
    • Especially since they're only allowed 30 minutes at the gym.
    • They could always train in their cells, push-ups and the like. They have the time.
    • Don't you need to do proper compound exercises like deadlifts and squats i.e. requiring proper equipment to be built like characters like Adebisi and (in later seasons) Said?
    • Look at real prisoners. They manage to get quite built with only crude exercise equipment and prison food.
    • We also see a prison canteen in a few episodes. They can likely buy snacks there, as well as having them smuggled in.
    • This is actually Truth in Television. Many prisoners can't do much other than exercise as activity with food and drugs being in limited amounts which means many especially drug-addicts having beefy bodies when they exit the prison due to the limited amount unhealthy stuff can be obtained.
  • Kinda curious how Bradford Winters was a major writer/producer on the show, and his real-life brother Dean played Manipulative Bastard Ryan O'Reilly, who almost never failed to twist everyone to his will, and even got the girl in the end, and other brother Scott played Cyril, who while retarded, was able to fight off and even kill men far bigger and stronger than he was (Hamid Khan, Jia Kenmin). Plus, the two of them got some of the beefiest acting parts in the series, in addition to getting tons of screen-time. They were good in their roles (Dean nails the role of Ryan dealing with Cyril's impending execution), and O'Reilly did end up screwing his brother in the end, but it really came across as nepotism.
    • I thought Dean Winters did an amazing job playing Ryan. As for Cyril harming people bigger and stronger than him, first take into account that he is a Golden Gloves boxer. Add in that people with mental retardation (as well as people on psychoactive drugs) have far less control over themselves in a rage. The standard brain will instinctually prevent the muscles from using their full possible strength in order to keep you from damaging yourself.
  • Dr. Prestopnick gets quite a few mentions over the seasons. But has anyone ever seen him?
    • Actually, we see him when Doctor Nathan is on leave following her rape
    • He's also seen in Season 1 discussing blood pressure meds with Said
    • And again in Season 2 when Ryan introduces him to his wife
  • How does Beecher see after he smashes his glasses? What, does he just get contact lenses or something?
    • And if he did get contact lenses, surely something like that would be pretty easy to steal in the cutthroat environment of Oz? Get one of the Bikers to sneak into his cell, it's something Schillinger would definitely do.
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    • Not everyone who wears glasses/contacts strictly needs them. A person's vision can be below the norm but still good enough to function without corrective aide if necessary. Then, there's people who only need glasses for one specific thing such as reading/driving but get into the habit of always wearing them.
  • Why would someone like Guillaume Tarrant be sent to a maximum security prison for a crime like destroying a statue? The guy was soft, introverted, and unlikely to cause any problems.
    • Short answer? "It's Oz." The show never even pretended to be realistic.
    • Two notes:
      • 1. It's likely that the harshness of his sentence would have been a result of his "concealment of a deadly weapon" charge rather than the vandalism.
      • 2. The statue seems like it would have belonged to someone with the right amount of money/influence to organise Guillaume's charges to be trumped up. It's not unthinkable.
  • Considering that Em City's main philosophy seems to be built around rehabilitation, what was the point of Burr Redding being placed there? He was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole... Not much reason for self-improvement when you can't move, is there?
    • Mc Manus mentions at some point in the first season that he likes to have "lifers" (like Adebisi, Hernandez, or Ortolani) in Em City to try and get them to find some purpose in their incarceration.
      • It's actually the very first episode- I think it's when he's talking to Glynn about why he wants Groves in Em City. But it's the first ep.
      • Burr was also specifically placed there to stop the rest of the Homeboys from degenerating as they were under Poet's leadership.
    • Most of the characters were doing "hard time," and some even had no possibility of parole. Mc Manus was trying to give the characters purpose while in prison, to create an example from the program that might be applied to other prisoners. A lot of funding for programs is based on being able to show funders some "success." Of course, the success rate in Oz varied.
  • The Padraig Connelly plot. Just what the hell?. It might've *just* worked in the early seasons, but it really doesn't fit in 2001. Connelly and O'Reilly talk about The Troubles as if it's still ongoing, when the Good Friday agreement in 1998 put an end to it, and even before then hostilities had gradually wound down for the majority. And building the bomb in Emerald City? Just what was it supposed to accomplish? I DON'T UNDERSTAND!
    • Northern Ireland's status wasn't settled for everyone by the Good Friday agreement. The bomb was probably introduced as something crazy enough for even O'Reilly to say "let's take it down a notch" and look halfway reasonable (see Bradford Winters headscratcher above).
    • This was one of the plans for the end of the show. Fontana wasn't sure if HBO was going to renew the series after season 4. The cliffhanger was intentional. It was also used as a DeusExMachina to explain why the prison looked different, the show having moved to a new filming location for seasons 5 and 6.
  • Why are the Oz books linked here from literature? :o
  • Why, in the name of Adebisi's gravity defying hat, are there no security cameras in the popular murder spots? The gym and the kitchen for example. People keep getting killed and otherwise assaulted in there, having cameras in place would at least narrow the suspects down. Or how about the showers in Emerald city? Violence, sex and violent sex goes on there all the time too. And sex between prisoners is supposed to be a big no-no in EM city, so why not actually supervise the prisoners properly? It can't be because of prisoner privacy, they are already forced to change clothes and take shits in glass pods where the COs can plainly see them.
    • In-universe explanation is most likely because they have no money. But Oz seems to be a magical place (pun intended) where all sorts of things happen yet are rarely commented on (Luke Perry's very high profile prisoner is walled up and no one seems to care, Beecher kills a guard with his fingernails and the other COs act like he just never showed up to work, visitors are shanked, people are set on fire and so many other things that would have sent the place on permanent lockdown).
    • Most of the guards are corrupt, and just let murders happen if you bribe them or whatever. It stands to reason that if there were cameras in those areas that the same corrupt guards either turn the cameras off, or delete the footage.
  • It's sort of handwaved in the series, but seriously, Shirley Bellinger? Why was she in Oz at all, when she should have been in a women's prison, death row or not?
    • Female prisons rarely have the facilities for Death Row (women have been less than 1% of all executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976).
  • Why are the prisoners, in most cases dangerous criminals, allowed access to lighters? Shouldn't they be contraband? Or is this a 90s thing where that was allowed and the rules are different now? Although I still don't see why they would be allowed access to fire.
  • Why was Miguel Alvarez up for parole? He killed two people, blinded a guy, and escaped from prison. In real life, parole wouldn't even be a consideration after only five years.
  • Why wasn't Beecher killed on sight for killing a child? Admittedly, he did it by accident, and it wasn't a sexual crime, but my understanding of the Aryan Brotherhood in US jails is that child killers are marked for immediate murder as soon as they go into jail?
    • It's people who intentionally hurt children that draw the ire in prisons. Beecher was drunk, but killing the girl was still an accident.

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