Tobias Beecher is a fictional character in the HBO television series Oz created by Tom Fontana and portrayed by Lee Tergesen. An inmate of the Oswald State Correctional Facility's Emerald City Unit, he serves as a primary protagonist throughout the series.
Tobias Beecher is an inmate of Oz's Emerald City unit, a former lawyer having been convicted of a drunk driving vehicular manslaughter incident of a minor. Upon entering Emerald City, he is imprisoned along with the sadistic Simon Adebisi, only to be tricked by Vernon Schillinger into switching bunks with him, leading to him being branded with a swatstika and made into Schillinger's sex slave. When Schillinger attempts to have him killed by the black inmates, wearing a confederate flag t-shirt, he turns on the former, blinding him in one eye temporarily and humiliating him in front of the other inmates. Following this incident, he becomes one of the most brutal prisoners, feared and revered by his fellow inmates, and known for his brutal attacks on anyone who would harm him. His greatest enemies include the Aryan Brotherhood, especially Schillinger, who set out to destroy him throughout his sentence. His greatest allies include Chris Keller, Kareem Said, Tim McManus, Sister Pete Marie, Bob Rebadow, and Ryan O'Reilly.
Why He Rocks
- Despite his aforementioned brutal streak, he's not one of the most evil prisoners in the show, in fact quite the opposite. He had been a victim of circumstance rather than an evil person, having accidentally killed someone in a drunk driving incident, and desires only to survive his stay in prison, though he also makes plenty of friends. Even his judge, who was all fire-and-brimstone at his trial, admits that his sentence was far too cruel for his crime.
- He starts out the series as a naive and extremely vulnerable inmate, which leads to Schillinger taking advantage of that and making him his indentured sex slave, though he grows much stronger over time and becomes a mortal enemy to Schillinger, and a powerful one at that. He also will attack anyone who tries to abuse or exploit him as well, becoming much more self-sufficient and less prone to victimization.
- He's probably one of the most tragic characters of the entire series, having lost his freedom in an honest accident and becoming a target for a lot of conspiracies, especially by the Aryans, having plenty of disturbing stuff happen to him despite becoming more self-sufficient and even rather brutal. Examples include the death of his wife, son, and father, as well as a great deal of physical and emotional pain that he personally has to endure.
- He has great chemistry will many different inmates who he considers his friends, like Augustus Hill, Chris Keller (his boyfriend), Ryan O'Reilly, and others, with plenty of great conversations that provide moments of levity from the otherwise disturbing subject matter of the series.
- Despite his brutality in the prison, he's a very loving father to his children, and a loving figure to his whole family, including his wife even after she divorces him.
- He's responsible for plenty of awesome moments throughout the series, especially against prisoners who would abuse him.
- He destroys the lipstick Schillinger forced him to wear, then breaks the window to his and Schillinger's cell, blinding him in one eye for his attempted murder of him. He then goes a few steps further and beats him in the gym before taking a dump on his face. Disgusting, yes, but well deserved on Schillinger's part.
- As a former lawyer, he tries to get Jefferson Keane off Death Row for a kill that was actually in self-defense, though Schillinger ruins it.
- When Robson tries to rape him, he retaliates by literally biting off his penis.
- After he's released from the hospital after Keller, Schillinger, and Metzger's attack on him, he goads Keller into ratting them out, then literally claws Metzger to death for attempting to kill him.
- He goads Schillinger into trying to murder him, only for him to reveal that was all part of his plan to get his parole denied and his sentence increased.
- After Schillinger tries to get Hank off scot-free for the murder of his son, he conspires with the Italians and has him murdered, cutting off Schillinger's remaining familial ties to the Aryan beliefs.
- He speaks in Cramer's defense when it's discovered his jury was homophobic and biased, making him one of the only characters released on Parole who stays out of Oz.
- He befriends Andrew Schillinger instead of making him a sex slave like Schillinger did to him, and for Andrew's own heinous crimes, tricks Schillinger into killing him.
- He's probably given the most character development in the series, like how he goes from a victim to a defender, but then takes up a friendship with Kareem Said and even converts to Islam, trying to make amends even with his own enemies, though this ends up backfiring against Schillinger.
- Lee Tergesen is wonderful in the role, playing his character extremely well even as he changes personality over time.
- He doesn't participate in Schillinger's riot against the African-American inmates, and he and Said are some of the only interracial characters who remain friends afterwards.
- He gets somewhat of a happy ending when the Aryans are effectively wiped out by a package containing a virus that kills them and forces an evacuation of Oz, removing all of his remaining enemies and possibly giving him a chance of finally getting out of prison.
- He can often be seen as a butt monkey at times, even as the series goes on, despite his growth into a survivalist.
- He can often be a little too tragic, especially with the murder of his son, father, and his wife's "suicide" (which might've been orchestrated by Schillinger). He also gets out on parole only for Keller to mess that up, putting him back in Oz, then killing himself and framing him for his "murder" when he rejects him, which might put him on death row. We never really get a happy ending for him despite all the pain he's gone through, and he's never really released from prison (although, it's implied that with the final incident at Oz, that he might get a reprieve).
- The part where he defecates on Schillinger's face, while satisfying, is also quite disgusting.
- The part where he bites off Robson's penis, while thankfully offscreen, is extremely disturbing nonetheless.