HBO’s acclaimed prison drama returned for its third season on July 14th, 1999 and there are a few changes afoot. For starters, the name of the prison is changed to Oswald State Correctional Facility Level 4. Glynn is still the warden, McManus is still the unit manager of Emerald City, and most of the other Correctional Officers, prison staff, and main prisoners are still around. There are a few new additions to the cast, most notably Seth Gilliam as Clayton Hughes, Kristin Rohde as Claire Howell, and Phillip Casnoff as Nikolai Stanislofsky. Hughes and Howell are new Correctional Officers. Hughes father was also a CO at Oz and he died in the line of duty. Hughes makes it his mission to find out who did it and why. Howell is feisty, manipulative, and develops a dangerous crush on McManus. Stanislofsky is a Russian contract killer who purposely got incarcerated to pull off a hit.
There are a few major storylines that unite the 8-episode season. The first involves a boxing tournament between the different factions in Emerald City. The tournament stretches throughout most of the season and sets up a lot of drama and tension amongst the prisoners. Tobias Beecher and Vernon Schillinger continue to hate each other and scheme to break the other. Beecher gets the advantage when Schillinger’s vulnerable son gets incarcerated in Oz. Muslim leader Kareem Saïd starts to lose his power and loses control of the Muslims, effectively isolating himself in a place where you don’t want to be alone. Adebisi seems to go crazy for a while, but then he goes back to being a badass after a few episodes. Miguel Alvarez remains an intriguing character.
There are simply too many characters and plot points to cover, so I’ll be lazy and not talk about them. I’ll just say that Oz is an awesome show and leave it at that. You should watch it. Especially since I’m watching it for the first time and I have nobody to talk about it with. That’s the worst part about watching a show that’s been out for so long. There’s nobody to geek out with. Nobody cares anymore, and it’s frustrating because they should.
Critically Rated at 14/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young