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Oz: Season 04 ()

As season four of Oz begins, the experimental unit at Oswald State Correctional Facility known as "Emerald City" is not living up to manager Tim McManus' (Terry Kinney) hopes. Ever since he set up the unit, wherein convicts are given more freedom of movement, extra privileges, and the opportunity for advancement, McManus has been frustrated that his good intentions have not paid off in wholesale rehabilitation. In fact, things seem to have gotten worse, with too many murders and suicides occurring within the unit. Hoping to alleviate the situation, McManus' head guard, Murphy (Robert Clohessy), suggests that all the cons -- including those in solitary -- spend an hour each day indulging in healthy recreation. Again, however, the plan fails when a killing takes place during that special hour. With more episodes this season than in previous years (16, compared to the usual eight), Oz is able to devote extra time to a plethora of subplots. One of these involves convicted murderer Shirley Bellinger (Kathryn Erbe), who after losing her unborn baby under suspicious circumstances is sent back to death row. Also, a group of illegal aliens sequestered in Emerald City is the catalyst for a rash of violence; Warden Glynn (Ernie Hudson) runs for lieutenant governor; an attempt to film a documentary in Oz ends in disaster; Busmalis (aka "The Mole") (Tom Mardirosian), manages to break out of prison, only to be recaptured as he stands outside the home of his favorite TV star; crooked evangelist Rev. Cloutier (Luke Perry) is tossed into the unit; and infirmary doctor Gloria Nathan (Lauren Velez) is raped. Tensions continue to mount as McManus is fired and convict Miguel Alvarez (Kirk Acevedo) escapes (these plot twists were designed to allow Acevedo and his co-star Terry Kinney to take leaves of absence to appear in other projects); new unit manager Martin Querns (Reg E. Cathey) cuts a sinister deal with drug-dealing con Adebisi (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje) to put a lid on the violence; fired guard Clayton Hughes (Seth Gilliam) tries to assassinate Governor Devlin (Zeljko Ivanek); a plot is hatched to frame wheelchair-bound convict Hill (Harold Perrineau Jr.) for a crime he hasn't committed; the children of inmate Beecher (Lee Tergesen) are placed in jeopardy thanks to orders from the "inside"; and incarcerated Muslim leader Said (Eamonn Walker) settles accounts with an old enemy. The season ends with a cliffhanger, sparked -- literally -- by a deadly gas explosion. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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