Series Name
Oz episode
Airdate August 25, 1997
Production No. 108
Episode Guide
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The Tip

"A Game of Checkers" is the eighth episode of the first season, and the eighth episode overall of the HBO television series Oz. 


Theme [edit | edit source]

This episode's theme is revolution.

Summary [edit | edit source]

After months of tension, a riot breaks loose in Em City, started by two inmates playing a game of checkers. McManus goes in to trade himself for a couple of wounded hostages and the Governor decides to take back Em City by force. 

Plot [edit | edit source]

Narrations[edit | edit source]

Remember when your high school history teach said that: "The course of human events changes because of the deeds of great men"? Well, the bitch was lying. Fuck Caesar, fuck Lincoln, fuck Mahatma Ghandi. The world keeps moving because of you and me. The anonymous. Revolutions get going because there ain't enough bread. Wars happen over a game of checkers.

Prisoner number 92S110, Vernon Schillinger. Convicted October 21, '92. Aggravated assault in the first degree. Sentence: 8 years, up for parole in 5.

When you're playing poker, you can't let anybody at the table know which cards you have. What you're feeling, what you're thinking. You gotta develop a game face. In Oz, we were our game faces all day, and into the night. You wear your game face so much, that when you look in the mirror, you're not sure which face you're shaving.

Prisoner number 65R814, Robert Rebadow. Convicted September 9, '65. Murder in the first degree. Sentence: Death, commuted to life.

We love to root for the underdog. You know, at halftime, when one team is getting their asses handed to them and they're headed to the locker room, we say a silent prayer. We pray that when they come back, they'll turn it around, they'll score, they'll beat those cocky sons of bitches, yeah! We love it when someone comes up from behind.

Prisoner number 93A234, Simon Adebisi. Convicted May 2, '93. Murder in the first degree. Sentence: Life in prison without the possibility of parole.

They say "it don't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game". I call bullshit on that. It's all about winning, brother. That's the object of the game.

Yeah, who cares who lives or dies in prison? We read the names in the morning paper and they mean nothing to us. They're faceless. Truth is, we don't wanna put a face on them. We don't wanna know who they really are. Because then it might hit too close to home. And home is what it's all about, right? Making a home no matter where you are, no matter who you are. At the end of the day, everybody wants somewhere to rest, somewhere to lay their bones. Even if it's in a land called Oz. Yeah. Like Dorothy says when she wakes up in her own bed back at Aunt Em's, "There's no place like home". There's no fucking place like home.

Deceased [edit | edit source]

Crime Flashbacks [edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

Tim McManus refers to the Attica prison riot in 1971 and mentions 31 inmates that were killed, and 9 hostages. During the real riot, 33 prisoners were killed and 10 hostages were killed.

Production [edit | edit source]

Transcript[edit | edit source]

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