Oz (TV series)

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Name: Oz
Creator: Tom Fontana, Bradford Winters, Sunil Nayar, Sean Jablonski, Sean Whitesell
Date(s): July 12, 1997 – February 23, 2003
Medium: Television Series
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: at IMDb
at Wikipedia
Official Website
Art by K9: The caption reads "Keller, Beecher and Schillinger in their never ending spiral of love, hate, pain, and death"

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Oz is an American drama television series set at a fictional men's prison created by Tom Fontana, who also wrote or co-wrote all of the series’ 56 episodes. Oz premiered on July 12, 1997 in HBO and ran for six seasons until the series finale aired February 23, 2003.

Tom Fontana, the main writer - as portrayed in 1999 by Sugaree in Contraband Oz

Canon Overview

The Oswald Maximum Security Penitentiary - abbreviated as Oz - is the setting for a gritty narrative drama concerning the inner workings of prison: the trials and tribulations of hardened criminals mixed in with the odd white-collar felon, corrections officers, and all of the daily support staff (medical doctors, administrators, priests and psychologists). The main focus is on an experimental unit known as Emerald City, which, instead of traditional cells with bars, features "pods," which are cells separated by and enclosed in Plexi-glas. The emphasis in Em City is on rehabilitation, education and learning responsibility during incarceration, as opposed to pure punishment.

The show offers scathing social commentary and has been likened to a testosterone-fueled soap opera including dozens of intersecting story lines following inmates and staff alike.[1] It's also well-known for keeping its characters layered and multi-dimensional, and for forcing viewers to see past inmates' crimes; it's an odd feeling rooting for the sociopath, but Fontana's writing portrays humanity in each prisoner, and it's difficult to discount that connection.

The three main character-driven story arcs, that connected throughout all of the seasons, belong to Ryan O'Reily (Dean Winters), Miguel Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo), and Tobias Beecher (Lee Tergesen). Each man's story of survival involves multiple attempts at redemption.

The show has a ensemble cast, including Ernie Hudson, Harold Perrineau Jr., Eamonn Walker, Rita Moreno, Betty Buckley, Kathryn Erbe, Evan Seinfeld, Kristin Rohde, David Zayas, Robert John Burke, Bobby Cannavale, Reg E. Cathey, Joel Grey, Luis Guzman, and Zeljko Ivanek.


There are a number of popular pairings in the fandom, including Miguel Alvarez/Father Ray Mukada (B.D. Wong) and Tim McManus (Terry Kinney)/Sean Murphy (Robert Clohessy), though the main focus tends toward the canonical pairing of Toby Beecher/Chris Keller (Christopher Meloni), with appearances by antagonist Vern Schillinger (J.K. Simmons), who is both Beecher and Keller's arch-nemesis.

Other rarepairs include Ryan O'Reily/Miguel Alvarez, Ryan O'Reily/Cyril O'Reily (played by Scott William Winters, Dean Winters' brother in real life), Ryan O'Reily/Toby Beecher, Alvarez/Keller, Simon Adebisi (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje)/Ryan O'Reily, Beecher/Schillinger, Ryan O'Reily/Dino Ortolani (Jon Seda), and Diane Whittlesey (Edie Falco)/Dr. Gloria Nathan (Lauren Velez).

Notable Fanworks

Fanfiction for Oz runs the gamut from fluffy schmoop to angsty darkfic and everything in between. AUs are particularly prevalent, with many crossovers with shows such as Law & Order: SVU or Wanted (TNT). While slashfic is the norm, there are plenty of gen offerings and a tiny but expressive femslash corner.


  • Poison, and the sequel, Grace of God are influential Beecher/Keller stories by geneticallydead.
  • Chrysalis by geneticallydead is also Beecher/Keller.




Oz vids also run the gamut, although the majority tend to be focused on the Beecher/Keller relationship. However, many vidders are dedicated to all of Oz, and therefore all of Oz's characters, and their vids reflect this with gen, character-driven pieces, crossovers, etc. Naturally some are traditional slash vids that focus on the sizzling chemistry between characters, while some focus on the crippling isolation of prison, its many injustices, and the filter of an internal social strata lens.

Archives, Communities & Resources

Unit B is the fandom's current archive. The site is an automated, general-issue archive for any and all OZ fanfiction about any and all OZ characters. Crossover fanfiction between OZ and other shows/fictional media fandom entities is also accepted. This archive accepts slash, het, and gen stories rated through NC-17.[2]

Also hosted at slashcity.net, EmCity used to be the fandom's largest archive, although it was abruptly closed shortly after a flamewar erupted on the affiliated mailing list. Conflict arose over the predominance of Beecher/Keller fic, primarily because many fans believed that stories not featuring B/K or stories featuring other characters, period, weren't welcome or appreciated by the fandom. [3]

Some fans hosted their own websites for their personal Oz fanfiction, such as Brian's Oz Fan Fiction site, started in 1999 and ending in 2006.

Some fans know that flamewar by the name "the B/K wars," when approximately half of the fandom hated the Beecher/Keller pairing and felt it got too much attention. The B/K contingent split off and created their own archives, mailing lists, LiveJournal Community and so on.

Shortly thereafter, a new mailing list and archive arose: Cellblock 5. While the site is still accessible, most of the links no longer work. However, most of the fiction is accessible and can be located through Suespur's C5 List.

For a long time, most fics were posted to mailing lists: Cellblock 5, Twisted Sisterhood, and TSXF (the fic-only sister list of TS). Currently, there are several active communities on Livejournal for either posting or announcing fic and art, a drabble/flashfic community, an annual Oz Big Bang, an annual holiday fic exchange, and several other attractions ranging from Drabble Trees to the Graffixation reverse art-fic challenge. Please scroll down for additional information & links, or refer to The Great Big OZ Resource List.




Mailing Lists

  • Twisted Sisterhood archive link Description: "For fans of Chris Keller (Oz) who love him in spite of his, um, quirks. Fanfic posted to The TwistedSisterhood has a high slash (male/male) content, as does the series itself. Therefore TS, like OZ, is designed for mature audiences, and members must be over 17. By joining, you are stating that you are. Members under 17 will be unsubscribed. Please remember that TSXF is for Keller-centric, or B/K fics only. Other pairings, or stories about other characters belong on the Cellblock 5 list."
  • cellblock5 archive link Description: "Discussion and fan fiction, including slash, on HBO's OZ. Since the series is intended for mature audiences, this list also is intended for mature members. List membership is restricted to members age 17 and over. By joining, you are stating that you are. Members under 17 will be unsubscribed. ATTENTION SPAMMERS: All new members of this group are moderated. None of your spams will get through to the group and your address will be banned.archived at the C5 archive http://members.aol.com/C5Archive/ Fiction archived at Cellblock 5."
  • PodMates archive link Description: "PodMates is a UK based adults only list for the discussion of the HBO series Oz and the posting of slash fan-fiction m/m based on that series. Age statement required. Email [email protected] stating that you are over 18. "
  • Oz-UnitB archive link Description: "This list is for discussion of the HBO prison series Oz. We also welcome fic. The list aims to be an open place for the discussion/fic of all characters, rather than of a few characters only." Fic archived at Unit B.
  • Oz Fic archive link Description: "For fans of HBO's Oz. Share Oz fanfic and discuss the show in a no-flame enviornment. Constructive criticism is expected from listmembers. Feedback may be given publicly or privately. Writers may submit any type of fic, but potentially offensive material must be clearly labeled. All fic will be archived at the Wonderful World of Make Believe (http://internetdump.com/users/daltonavon/) unless otherwise specified by author. This is a restricted list. No one under 17 may subscribe."

Notes & References



  1. ^ An Overview of Oz, by Rustler, on Livejournal, Oct. 2003. Accessed April 2011.
  2. ^ Unit B, phrasing ganked directly from the main page, with permission.
  3. ^ Re: ITT: Your first and/or more memorable ship wars (Accessed Feb. 19, 2013. Thread started 2013-02-19)