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Inside the Emerald City: if you're catching Oz for the first time on HBO (or on the season 1 and 2 DVDs), here's a useful guide to who's who--and who's gay. (arts & entertainment).

A Tobias Beecher (played by Lee Tergesen): A lawyer jailed for killing a girl while driving drunk, Beecher has been with us since the show's beginning. At first, Schillinger turned him into his "prag" (bitch)--branding a swastika on his ass, raping him, and forcing him to cross-dress. Having fought back since, today's Beecher prefers to be Keller's consensual lover and is fighting to get him off death row.

B Vern Schillinger (played by J.K. Simmons): Head of the neo-Nazi Aryan Brotherhood and a perpetual thorn in Beecher's side. He's responsible for the murder of one of Beecher's children and suffered the loss of his own two teen sons--all casualties of their war.

C Chris Keller (played by Christopher Meloni): When introduced in season 2, Keller appeared to be Beecher's adoring guardian angel. It was a ruse; Schillinger had enlisted him to break Beecher's arms and legs. Secretly endeared, however, Keller spent the next several seasons in a fierce love-hate struggle to win Beecher's heart, at one point famously showing what Genet would call his "bronze eye" in taunting flirtation. "To me, it was never a `gay' relationship per se," says series creator Fontana. "It's two men or two people struggling to find and maintain love in an environment that completely works against them."

D James Robson (played by R.E. Rodgers): An exiled member of the Aryan Brotherhood--rejected after receiving a black man's gums in a transplant--he's currently reduced to prag and taking spoons up the rear. Yes, spoons.

Francis Winthrop (played by Andy Powers): Schillinger's latest prag, seen in the season premiere spitting out a mouthful of you-know-what. He'll do--and does--anything to become a full-fledged Aryan Brother.

Fiona (played by James Pelacio): The Gays' literal cheerleader, he's always safely on the sidelines with several other queens, including Tony (Steve Wishnoff) and Kiki (Rohan Quine).

Timmy Kirk (played by Sean Dugan): Fiery, evil redhead who flirts with Father Mukada (B.D. Wong), mainly to torment him.

Alonzo Torquiemada (played by Bobby Cannavale): A new gay prisoner who resembles Marilyn Manson. Oh, the fantasies that'll stir up!

Nat/Natalie Ginzburg (played by Charles Busch): A cross-dressing killer with AIDS, Ginzburg was hired to assassinate his cell mate, Antonio Nappa, an Italian who had been maliciously infected with HIV by another prisoner, Adebisi. Humanitarians all.

Billie Keane (played by Derrick Simmons): Openly gay Homeboy. Made a pass at a short-lived Italian and was beaten horribly.

James Cramer (played by Rob Bogue): Fought in season 3 boxing matches--something the Gays excel at on Oz.
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Author:Ferber, Lawrence
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 18, 2003
Previous Article:Prisoners of love: the men behind HBO's gritty, sexy Oz talk about the controversial show as it plows through its final season. (television).
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