In the 'Emerald City' experimental unit of Oswald State Penitentiary, we meet some of the diverse inmates who exist in a pecking order of Gangbangers, Latinos, Muslims, Westies, Aryans and Wiseguys. No clear-cut leader emerges--with the possible exception of Kareem Said, a Muslim author who preaches non-violence and abstinence. Said's arrival doesn't prevent a short-fused Mafia inmate named Dino Ortolani from ticking off just about everybody--a habit that ends up burning him.
With Schibetta and the prison brass in a race to uncover Ortolani's killer (for very different reasons), we see how inmates react to visits both from their wives and (in one case) family members who are also in prison.
Friction is growing in the wake of two deaths--first Ortoloni and now Johnny Post--so Said, Wiseguy leader Schibetta and Gangbanger Jefferson Keane are brought together by Warden Glynn, who tells them to keep their boys quiet or else he'll lock the prison down. The tension increases following a visit from Governor Devlin, who was responsible for the ban on smoking and conjugal visits. Meanwhile, Keane has found God--just as a couple of Latinos with a grudge find him.
Governor Devlin has reinstated capital punishment in the state; and the first Oz prisoner scheduled to die is Jefferson Keane, who killed a Latino in a skirmish set up by the CO's. Before he's executed, Keane donates a kidney to his ailing sister, then turns down lawyer-turned-inmate Tobias Beecher's offer to take up his defense. After Keane's death, Richard L'Italien--slaughterer of women--is executed by lethal injection after he makes a startling admission.
The infiltration of drugs into Oz has reached unprecedented levels, and the undercover efforts of McManus and Glynn to find out who's smuggling the drugs in have backfired in a deadly way. Despite a lockdown in the Emerald City, drugs continue to trickle in--and the blame shifts from prisoners to corrupt officials.
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