Bellinger as seen in her crime flashback.
|First appearance||"Great Men" (episode 2.03)|
|Last appearance||"Works of Mercy" (episode 4.04)|
"See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Smell No Evil" (episode 6.02) (As Spirit)
|Reason/Cause||Executed by Hanging|
|Date of Conviction||December 6, 1997|
|Date of Death||August 2, 2000|
|Relatives||Katie Bellinger (Daughter, deceased)|
|Episode Count||17 Episodes|
|Portrayed by||Kathryn Erbe|
Character Summary[edit | edit source]
Prisoner #97B642. Convicted December 6, 1997 - Murder in the first degree. Sentence: Death.
Shirley Bellinger is the first and only woman to be incarcerated at Oswald, sentenced to die for murdering her daughter; she drove her car into a lake with her daughter in the back seat then swam out as the car sank, leaving her daughter to drown. She swears it was an accident, but that it nevertheless "had to happen."
While she keeps mostly to herself with a shy, charming demeanor, she shows some signs of psychological instability; shortly after her arrival, she exposes herself to fellow prisoner Timmy Kirk, and essentially prostitutes herself to inmates and guards alike in return for preferential treatment. She is very polite with everyone and hardly gets angry or swears, but has deep racist beliefs as evidenced by her having called Adebisi a racial slur once. It is suggested that she has a strong Christian faith and is doing God's will.
She is based on real life child murderer Susan Smith.
Along with James Robson, Bellinger is one of two regulars that never lived in Emerald City. During her time on Death Row, the regular characters that have made some sort of contact with her are Leo Glynn, Tim McManus, Sister Peter Marie, Father Ray Mukada, Dr. Gloria Nathan, Diane Whittlesey, Simon Adebisi, and Vernon Schillinger.
Plot Summary[edit | edit source]
Season 2[edit | edit source]
She also exchanges a series of pornographic letters with a "secret admirer" from within her cell block. When her pen pal turns out to be fellow inmate Simon Adebisi, she rejects him because he is black, sending him off with a racial slur.
Season 3[edit | edit source]
In the third season, Bellinger is joined by Richie Hanlon. She asks for Hanlon to expose himself to her and she does not care if he is a homosexual. Bellinger and Hanlon grew close, and she is even seen making a sweater for him. When Bellinger sees Hanlon and Vernon Schillinger get into a growling match, she gets worried and asks Hanlon why the two men hate each other. Hanlon explains to her that Schillinger is the reason that he is on death row. Willing to help Hanlon, she tells him to go to the judge and say that both he and Schillinger killed Alexander Vogel together. Before Hanlon goes to see the judge, they say their goodbyes. Before lights out, she sees an empty cell assuming that Hanlon got his death sentence overturned. She unknits the sweater that she made for him, realizing that she will never see him again.
Bellinger loses her final appeal, and is apparently at peace with her impending death, even enlisting the help of Tim McManus, who tells her that Hanlon has been murdered and promises her that he will find out who did it. Bellinger chooses hanging as her method of execution. She even tells McManus that she's on his side of the sexual harassment suit against Claire Howell.
Soon after, however, she learns that she is pregnant by an unknown father. As prison psychiatrist Sister Peter Marie examines her, and Bellinger tells Sister Pete why she killed her daughter: she says that she saw "orbs of fire" surrounding her and even saw a plate levitate. She insists that she has to die. Sister Pete recommends to Governor James Devlin that she be institutionalized. Devlin then commutes Bellinger's death sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Furious, Bellinger tells Reimondo that she betrayed her and demands an abortion or she will kill "this monster inside of me". As Sister Pete is telling her that she will be sent to the Connelly Institute for the Criminally Insane and will be under 24 hour watch, Bellinger screams that Satan is the father of her child, and that she is "the Virgin Mother".
Season 4[edit | edit source]
After miscarrying the baby under mysterious circumstances, Bellinger returns to Oz. As she is walking on death row, she notices that there are three new inmates and that one of them was in her old cell. She asks inmate Nat Ginzburg if he will switch cells with her and he strictly says no. She also begins to have sex with guard Len Lopresti.
As her execution date nears, her ex-husband, Zeke, visits her and offers forgiveness. Angered, she tells him that she killed their daughter because she was raped by his father and that Katie was actually Zeke's half-sister. Furious, Zeke punches her in the face, knocking out a tooth.
Her execution date arrives, and she assures everyone around her that she is ready to die. She talks to Moses Deyell and Ginzburg one last time, telling them that she woke up with a crick in her neck and her final meal was a SlimFast milkshake. As Warden Leo Glynn and Father Ray Mukada arrive, she tells Glynn that Lopresti comes into her cell every night and has sex with her (which Lopresti denies) and tells Mukada that the father of her child was Satan in the form of a mailman (Mukada confronted Vernon Schillinger about this and Vern denies it). As she is led to the gallows, however, her survival instinct kicks in, she begs and pleads stating that she really does not want to die yet and she violently resists her guards. She is eventually subdued, however, and executed as planned.
After Death[edit | edit source]
Shirley returns later in the Season 6 episode, See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Smell No Evil, where she co-narrates with Hill.
Kill Count[edit | edit source]
- Katie Bellinger: Drove their car into a lake causing her to drown. (1997)
Jefferson Keane - Richard L'Italien - Donald Groves - Shirley Bellinger - Richie Hanlon - Moses Deyell - Mark Miles - Nat Ginzburg - William Giles - Chris Keller - Cyril O'Reily - Jaz Hoyt - Timmy Kirk