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Simon Adebisi

Simon Adebisi is a character played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje on the HBO dramatic series Oz, set in an experimental prison unit.

Character overview

Prisoner #93A234. Convicted May 2, 1993 - Murder in the first degree. Sentence: Life imprisonment without the possibly of parole.

The leader of the Black gang in Oz (dubbed the "Homeboys"), Adebisi was considered one of the prison's most dangerous inmates, and became one of the most recognizable characters on the show. Some of his visual characteristics were his muscle shirts, stereo headphones, and the knit hats he wore far back up on his shaved head. On the show, he portrayed one of the fiercest, most powerful, and most violent inmates inside of Oz, feared by virtually everyone in the prison.

Adebisi is a native of Nigeria, of the Yoruba people, and speaks with a strong accent, but had been in America for about fifteen years prior to his incarceration. Little is known of his life as a free man. Even his marital status is conjectural: in a scene where he is in restraints in the prison infirmary, he tells Dr. Nathan that "the last time a woman tied me up like this, I married her!" However, since Simon was heavily sedated at the time (courtesy of Miguel Alvarez) it is possible he was not being serious. In season 1, Adebisi signs up for a conjugal visit, for which (according to Sister Peter Marie) marriage is a requirement.


Season 1

Adebisi began as a minor character; a lieutenant of Jefferson Keane (Leon Robinson). When Keane died in Episode 4, Adebisi became the leader of the Homeboys gang, after he and Wangler kill Paul Markstrom, taking the drug trade from the Italians with the help of Ryan O'Reily (Dean Winters). The Italian Mob boss Nino Schibetta saw him as the best drug player amongst the black inmates and respected his leadership skills. Unbeknownst to Schibetta, Adebisi and O'Reilly have a mind to take over the drug trade and are putting crushed glass into food to slowly kill him. In the Season 1 finale, Adebisi, along with O'Reily, Kareem Said, Miguel Alvarez and Scott Ross, was a leader of the riot in Emerald City. He was himself taken prisoner by the other inmates, however, when he was incapacitated due to heroin withdrawal. In that episode, it was revealed that Adebisi was serving a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for beheading an undercover cop in 1993, an act that seems to have swept the previous governor out of office and gave Gov James Devlin his opening to reinstate the death penalty.

Season 2

Adebisi continued to suffer severe heroin withdrawal while in solitary during the post-riot lockdown. However, he was able to maintain control of the Homeboys when the renovated Em City reopened. Nino Schibetta's son Peter Schibetta came to Oz and learned that Adebisi was responsible for the death of his father Nino, and was himself poisoned by Adebisi. Schibetta swore revenge and tried to kill Adebisi with the aid of Chucky Pancamo. Adebisi was able to defend himself against the two and knocked Pancamo out with a heavy kitchen tool and a large can of peaches. He then sodomized the semi-conscious Schibetta. As a result, Schibetta, traumatized by the rape, began losing his mind and was transferred to the psych ward. Adebisi freely used the slur "guinea" towards the Italian Mafia to show him he was not afraid of them.

However, two distractions held Adebisi's attention: first, his crush on Death Row inmate Shirley Bellinger, who flirted with him through notes before rejecting him upon discovering that he was black.

Secondly, his heroin addiction was out of control. The Italian Mob, seeking revenge for Schibetta's rape, took advantage of this when new inmate Antonio Nappa got Adebisi put into drug rehab through his staff connections. Adebisi was deposed as the head of the Homeboys and cut out of the drug trade through the help of Nappa's former friends. Another black prisoner, an elderly man named Kipekemie Jara, came to Oz, and began to rehabilitate Adebisi, but at the same time the stress of the change brought on schizophrenic visions and severe psychosis. The Italians and the blacks considered Jara a threat, so they murdered him. The shock and trauma of the event triggered a nervous breakdown in Adebisi and he was moved to the Psych Ward and was placed in a cell right next to Peter Schibetta.

Season 3

Adebisi came out of the psych ward pretending to be a changed man. To prove he was sane, he defended Peter Schibetta, the man he raped, from an attacker in the psych ward. This move convinced the Italian Don Antonio Nappa that a potential change in heart from Adebisi could prove useful for the Italian mobsters. This was all a ploy however as he took a job in the AIDS ward as a means of obtaining blood from AIDS patient Robbie Gerth to prick Nappa undetected with an HIV-infected needle. When Dr. Nathan confirms that Nappa is HIV positive, he is sent to the AIDS ward, and Pancamo assumes leadership among the Italians. From here Adebisi gets back into full swing ready to take control of the Homeboys once again.

Meanwhile, Kenny Wangler is leading the gangstas, who no longer trust Adebisi. Adebisi approaches Pancamo about becoming partners in the drug trade. Pancamo initially refuses because he is still angered about the beating Adebisi gave him and Schibetta. However, when Adebisi points out that he could be "a strong ally," Pancamo realized that Adebisi is the best black inmate to work with in the drug trade and was willing to work with him as long as he took Wangler down. Adebisi then showed his sincerity with a plot to depose current black gang member Wangler by burning the skin of Wangler's homies, Poet and Junior Pierce, while Wangler is away at a funeral. When Wangler arrives back in Oz he is locked in as Adebisi's podmate. Sharing a cell with Wangler, Adebisi practices various African "warrior training" activities such as hog tying Wangler naked, exposing his anus. Whether or not Wangler was raped is unclear, but several of their fellow inmates did not doubt it. Adebisi went one further with Wangler forcing him to accuse Unit Manager Tim McManus of sexual harassment. As described in the journal of Augustus Hill, Wangler was far more likely to be a victim of sexual assault from Adebisi than McManus, but the claim hurt McManus as he was already facing a sexual harassment suit. As a result, McManus' credibility is put at further risk.

He begins to formulate a plan to take over Emerald City and make it "all black." The first step is to convince the impressionable Correctional Officer Clayton Hughes to help his African American counterparts behind bars as opposed to keeping them locked in. Adebisi told him that his father had also died in Oz (Jara) and then convinced Hughes that a white inmate murdered his father in a racially motivated fashion. Hughes after seeing a few white officers state racist statements starts accusing other black staff members, including Warden Leo Glynn, of betraying their own people and working for an oppressive white-run system. Adebisi's second step involved rallying the Black inmates as a means of taking over the prison. He engineers a plan which results in the hacks throwing Hill in the hole. He exploits the perceived racism of the white officers in order to incense the black inmates to riot. Despite opposition from Muslim inmate Kareem Said, the Black inmates led by Adebisi begin shouting "Set Hill Free" and start physically confronting both the White inmates and correctional officers. Glynn fearing for a riot locks Oz down into the new millennium and then fires Hughes for being sympathetic to Adebisi's cause. Hughes however leaves Adebisi with a gun on his last day of work as New Year's Eve approaches.

Season 4

Upon the end of the lockdown Adebisi created a tense situation by holding the smuggled gun in his pod claiming that it will help get a Black man to run Emerald City. He then manipulates Warden Glynn to let Poet, Pierce, and Wangler back into Em City claiming that the racial situation will rest easier getting them back around him. When Wangler asks why Adebisi isn't using the gun, he claims that their goal to get a black man to run Emerald City will be accomplished better if another inmate uses the gun. Adebisi then notices that the three of them led by Wangler harass and bully a new white inmate, a Frenchman named Guillaume Tarrant, who is a solitary loner unfit to handle the stress of prison life. Seeking revenge for the death of Jara, Adebisi then leaves the gun under Tarrant's mattress. The next time Wangler tries to bully Tarrant, Tarrant pulls the gun and kills him, Pierce, Lou Rath, and officer Joseph Howard, all four of whom are black before turning the weapon on himself. With four blacks including one correctional officer dead at the hands of a white inmate, Adebisi's goals are accomplished (In the journal of Augustus Hill, it is claimed that with the death of Officer Howard, Adebisi figuratively hit the jackpot) and his plan is set in motion as Glynn fires McManus for overlooking the gun smuggling incident. Raoul Hernandez informs on him, convinced that the Latinos will move to aid the Whites. Hernandez tells Glynn that Adebisi used the gun to stir up racial tension and that it was given to him by Hughes. Adebisi and Pancamo agree that it is time for El Cid to die, and use new inmate Enrique Morales to kill Hernandez and take his position as "El Norte"'s gang leader. Meanwhile, a new inmate named Desmond Mobay, who is supposedly Jamaican, wants in with the gangsters. Mobay is actually a narcotics detective named Johnny Basil who wishes to bust the drug trade in Emerald City. Adebisi suspects this and opposes having Mobay join as a member their crew. But Mobay comes though and passes every initiation test successfully, eventually gaining their confidence, especially that of Pancamo.

Over the course of the season Adebisi, with the help of Zahir Arif, is able to persuade outside community leaders to pressure Glynn into hiring a black man to replace McManus. Glynn is running for Lieutenant Governor, and sees that hiring a black man to run Em City is likely to gain him more support from the regisitered African American voters. Eventually, Glynn does indeed hire a black man for the job named Martin Querns. Querns, himself an ex-drug dealer, was told to rid Emerald City of violence and racial tension. Querns told Adebisi that he and his followers could do whatever they wished as long as they prevented any violence. Head CO Sean Murphy, an ardent supporter of McManus, was appalled by Querns' system, especially because it made Adebisi, Pancamo, and Morales the trustees. Murphy questions Querns' motive in transferring all of the Aryan and Biker inmates out of Em City. Querns fires Murphy and instates a black officer Travis Smith as the head CO of Emerald City. Querns later recommends that Glynn transfer all of the guards loyal to Sean Murphy out of Em City. Glynn allows Querns to transfer all of the white guards with the exception of Claire Howell, who hated McManus. All of the new guards transferred into Em City are black, as are all of the new inmates. However, none of these inmates are Muslim. This angers Arif, who had helped Adebisi get a black man to run Emerald City in the first place. The new inmates are also all loyal to Adebisi who now becomes the most powerful and influential inmate in the prison, and is given free rein by Querns as long he suppressed violent incidents. Adebisi now has the freedom to satisfy all his vices, installing a curtain in his cell and creating his own version of "paradise", although he could not escape the fact that he was still in prison. In time, the Christian and gay gangs, both predominantly white, are replaced by black inmates, and soon the Italian and Latino inmates are deprived of the drug trade. When these two groups are sent to Unit B, two of Adebisi's lieutenants, Poet and Supreme Allah, are named trustees to replace Pancamo and Morales.

Said, the re-instated leader of the Muslims, and Vernon Schillinger, leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, are greatly concerned about the effects of Adebisi's leadership in Em City under Querns. Said believes that Emerald City is rapidly becoming an inferno in which black inmates are being mentally poisoned, while Schillinger fears that the black "ghetto" that Querns and Adebisi have created in Em City will eventually spread into every other unit in Oz. Said pretends to join forces with Adebisi with the covert intention of bringing him down. Said learns of Adebisi's video recordings of drug parties held in his cell, and resolves to find a way to supply Glynn with this damning evidence of Querns' misconduct, the warden will fire Querns and have Adebisi transferred into general population.

Adebisi accepts Said's request to move into his cell and voluntarily gives him a video tape to "test his loyalty." However, Said's loyalty is called into question after fellow Homeboy Leroy Tidd learns of the minister's plan to destroy Adebisi. Eventually the tape finds its way to the warden and Querns is immediately dismissed. When the reinstated prison governor Tim McManus announces Adebisi's transfer from Emerald City, Adebisi is enraged and storms into his cell to kill Said with a knife. The two of them struggle and the altercation ends when a pool of blood is seen staining the surrounding white curtain. Adebisi emerges from his cell, apparently victorious, before revealing his fatal injuries by spitting up blood and falling to the floor. Said comes out behind him with the bloody knife in hand, having killed Adebisi in self-defense.

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