Oz: Season 6 (2003)

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Overall Rating 87%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,084
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Connections: Oz

The daily lives of prisoners in Emerald City, an experimental unit of the Oswald Maximum Security Prison where ingroups - Muslims, Latinos, Italians, Aryans - stick close to their mutual friends and terrorize their mutual enemies. --TMDb
Review by Chad
Added: August 29, 2012
So, here we are at the end of Oz. Season six was the last of the episodes, and as I was tearing through them, I felt myself getting more and more sad that my time with the show was once again coming to an end. I tried slowing down and I purposefully stretched them out to make it last just a little longer, but I couldn't put it off forever... and thus, here we are, with the final episode of the final season having just wrapped up on my television screen. I have to admit that I almost shed a little tear when all was said and done, and I'm not talking about the dramatic execution that took place in the finale (which did make me a little misty).

As always, there will be spoilers for the previous season, so if you haven't already seen it, you might want to reconsider reading this if you don't want it to be ruined. After the accidental and tragic murder of Augustus Hill in the previous season's finale, it is discovered that he was writing memoirs about his time in Oz. McManus gives them to Said and Redding, and Said decides that the best way to honor his memory would be to publish them as a book. Sending them off to a publisher and having them do the work isn't an option, so Said decides to set up a book-binding business in Oz with the inmates serving as the employees. It's not as easy as it sounds, as he will soon discover.

Beecher gets paroled, gets Keller off of death row, and in a show of gratitude, Keller frames Beecher and has him sent straight back to Oz all because he missed him and was getting jealous of him being free on the outside. More problems arise between the two with Schillinger being right in the middle, as always, and their long history will finally come to an end at the prison presentation of Macbeth. The mayor comes to Oz as a prisoner after it comes to light that he murdered two little black girls in a racial attack, and after it is also discovered that he has some dirt on the governor, he is mysteriously killed. Gee, I wonder who set that up? Cyril's days on death row are coming to an unfortunate end, while Ryan, his mother, and Dr. Nathan do everything they can to get his death sentence overturned. All this and too many shocking moments to count.

Shocking moments is definitely one way to put it. The writers knew that this was going to be the last season for whatever reason, and thus, they had no problems with killing off major characters and putting together some jaw-dropping moments that would not have flown in previous seasons. The show has always had surprises, but during the previous five seasons, you sort of knew who would be sticking around for the long haul. You knew that this new guy or that support character probably wasn't safe, but the man listed third in the credits? You knew he'd more than likely pull through whatever was thrown his way. That goes right out the window in this season, and it leads to some damned shocking (and more than a couple of tear-jerking) moments.

The writers also used a healthy mix of new material and resolution to wind this show up. There's plenty of new storyline arcs and a couple of new characters to spice things up, but there is also a strong emphasis on wrapping up some of the long-winding story arcs and rivalries that developed over the previous five years. There is nothing worse than a show ending with loose ends, and thankfully, this one didn't do that. I'm sure that the fanatics could point to some minor bit from a previous season that wasn't explained, but I didn't notice a single question that went unanswered, and there wasn't one "important" character who didn't get their time to shine and their turn to wrap their character up in some way. This really was a textbook example of how to wrap a show up when it's not coming back for another season.

It almost feels redundant to talk about the rest of the season after writing the previous five reviews. The stories are all phenomenal, as usual, the performances turned in by all of the actors are all brilliant, as usual, and there is never a dull moment to be found... as usual. For a show that I dedicated fifty-six hours of my life to over the course of the last month or so, that is a huge accomplishment. Not once during the entire run did I find myself twiddling my thumbs, checking the clock, or contemplating calling the marathon off.

It saddens me that there will never be another new episode of Oz and that I've now watched the final episode of this run, but on the other hand, I'm glad that it went out on such a high note. There's nothing worse than a great show that goes downhill and is cancelled on a sour note, but this last season was just as strong as the first. Again I ask: if you haven't already seen it, what in the hell are you waiting for? 10/10.
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