Dino Ortolani
First appearance "The Routine" (episode 1.01)
Last appearance "A Day in the Death..." (episode 6.06) (Spirit)
Reason/Cause Murdered by Johnny Post
Prisoner No. 96C382
Aliases None
Gender Male
Age 27 (Deceased)
Date of Conviction December 12, 1996
Date of Death July 13, 1997
Affiliations The Italians & The Mafia
Spouse Jeanie Ortolani (Widow)
Children 2
Relatives Paolo Ortolani (Father)
Maria Ortolani (Mother)
Nino Schibetta (Uncle, deceased)
Angie Schibetta (Aunt, deceased)
Peter Schibetta (Cousin, deceased)
Kill Count 2
Episode Count 4 Episodes
Portrayed by Jon Seda
"Being popular has never been a big concern of mine."
Dino Ortolani[src]

Dino Ortolani was the false protagonist and primary Italian inmate featured in Oz. He was a Story Arc character and Ryan O'Reily's main antagonist in the pilot episode. Portrayed by Jon Seda.

Character Summary[edit | edit source]

"Prisoner number 96C382, Dino Ortolani. Convicted December 12, '96 - One count murder in the first degree, assault with a deadly weapon. Sentence: Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole."
The Narrator[src]

Ortolani is a member of the Italians in Em City, and a made man in the Mafia. Dino is a strong, fearless, and violent Italian man who is one of the most feared inmates in Oz given his short temper and getting into fights. He initially appears as the sponsor of Oz's true protagonist — Tobias Beecher. Beecher's story line isn't covered as much in the pilot, so it isn't completely clear that he is the protagonist in the beginning. Ortolani receives significantly more screen time in the final segment of the episode, which leads the viewer to believe that Ortolani is the main character.

Ortolani is actually the main antagonist of Ryan O'Reily in the pilot. As seen in Ortolani's crime flashback, he is sent to murder O'Reily, who is the leader of a rival gang to the Mafia. Ortolani's trouble making downward spiral in Oz helps his nemesis O'Reily gain the upper hand on him, which results in his demise at the end of the pilot.

Plot Summary[edit | edit source]

Season 1[edit | edit source]

Dino Ortolani is a short tempered Italian man that runs the kitchen for Italian mob boss and uncle, Nino Schibetta. He dislikes the black inmates unconcerned with the fact that they constitute the majority of the kitchen staff. Ortolani is a sponsor for Tobias Beecher, a lawyer who is incarcerated for vehicular manslaughter. Ortolani shows no interest in Beecher and makes it clear to him that they aren't friends. However, he does give Beecher some tips on surviving in Oz. He is hated and feared by most of the staff and the inmates but is somewhat admired by Vernon Schillinger (the feeling is not mutual). Ortolani and the Wiseguys are playing cards and Joey D'Angelo, a soldier for the Italians joins them. Joey tells Dino that Ryan O'Reily is alive and coming to Oz. He schemes to finish what he started on O'Reily. However, Nino tells him to not do anything unless he gives the order. Meanwhile a homosexual inmate, Billie Keane decides to make a move on Ortolani. Dino is extremely homophobic and severely beats Billie. Ortolani is subdued by several officers who have trouble putting him down. After knocking out several officers and scalding one of their faces with hot water, Ortolani is finally beaten to submission. This incident enrages Billie's brother, Jefferson, the leader of the Homeboys gang, who plots to have Ortolani killed in retaliation.

Tim McManus lets Ortolani know that every prisoner and guard in Oz either hates him or is scared of him (or both), something he does not seem to mind. So, as punishment for beating up Billie he sends him to work in the AIDS ward, hoping to teach him a lesson in tolerance. While he serves time in the AIDS ward, Ortolani develops an infatuation for Dr. Gloria Nathan.

Ortolani killing Sanchez.

Although Ortolani is initially appalled by the AIDS patients, he begins to like one of them, Emilio Sanchez. Sanchez eventually asks Ortolani to help him die and end his suffering. While Dino is thinks about Sanchez's request, he see's his ex-rival, Ryan O'Reily. O'Reily begins to provoke him and Dino beats up O'Reily and attempts to drown him in the toilet. However, he doesn't do it and let's him go. Dino is on the verge of a mental breakdown and is seen by Muslim leader, Kareem Saïd. Dino tells Saïd he's got all the answers. Saïd replies by saying, "No not all. But some." Ortolani gets up and says to Saïd "It's too bad your of the wrong color." and proceeds to walk away. Ortolani makes up his mind and decides to kill Sanchez out of mercy. He disconnects Emilio from his life support and smothers him. The prison alarms go off and the guards put a beating on Ortolani in the hallway. McManus tries to stop them but fails and they proceed to beat him. Ortolani is then thrown in the hole filled with rage. McManus and Dr. Nathan come in to his cell and Ortolani is violent and unstable. McManus holds down Ortolani while Dr. Nathan sedates him with drugs to calm him down. Dino is heavily unconscious and begins to settle down. Keane then gives the order to have Johnny Post kill him. O'Reily uses his connections to allow Post inside the hole, and pours flammable liquid onto the sedated and restrained Ortolani and sets him on fire, burning him to death.

Ortolani is portrayed as a callous temperamental bigot seething with hatred and anger, but he occasionally revealed some positive characteristics. Throughout the episode, Ortolani is seen to feel some admiration for new inmate Kareem Said, whom he watches during his lectures to the Muslim inmates. It is suggested by Rebadow during his interrogation with Lenny Burrano that God told him that Dino Ortolani wanted to kill himself for being in prison for the rest of his life, away from his wife and kids. By smothering Sanchez and allowing himself to be placed in the hole, he knew this would happen.

Later, during the riot of Em City, Ortolani appears in a hallucination had by McManus.

Season 6[edit | edit source]

Ortolani's ghost returns to co-narrate an episode with Hill.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season 1

Season 6

Kill Count[edit | edit source]


  • Unnamed Man: Shot to death. (1996)
  • Emilio Sanchez: Suffocated to death. (1997)

Gallery[edit | edit source]

The Italians

Antonio Nappa - Chucky Pancamo - Nino Schibetta - Peter Schibetta - Dino Ortolani - Frank Urbano - Salvatore DeSanto - Joey D'Angelo - Don Zanghi - Mario Seggio

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