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Kareem Saïd

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Kareem Saïd
Oz character
File:Kareem Saïd.jpg
First appearance"The Routine" (episode 1.01)
Last appearance"Sonata da Oz" (episode 6.03)
Portrayed byEamonn Walker
AliasGoodson Truman (birth name)
TitleID 97S444
OccupationPrisoner, imam
Significant otherMarilyn Crenshaw (ex-fiancee)

Search Kareem Saïd on Amazon.

Kareem Saïd (pronounced sai-EED) is a fictional character played by British actor Eamonn Walker on the American television show Oz.[1]

Saïd is one of the most powerful prisoners in Oz with considerable influence and control of a large portion of the inmate population and outside prison with ties to community leaders and media contacts.

Character overview[edit]

Prisoner #97S444. Convicted June 6, 1997 – Arson in the second degree. Sentence: 18 years, eligible for parole in five. Later, found not guilty of one count of murder in the first degree, and pled guilty to two counts of attempted murder and sentenced to an unknown period of time.

Saïd (born Goodson Truman) is a devout Muslim and Black nationalist who was imprisoned for blowing up a white-owned warehouse. Saïd immediately took charge of the Muslim prisoners, who sometimes chafed at both his extreme moral code and his apparent violations of those same standards.

Saïd is one of the most powerful prisoners in Oz with considerable influence and control of a large portion of the inmate population. Saïd is also a very powerful figure outside of prison with a network of fellow Muslim leaders, a large political influence and numerous contacts in the media. Saïd and the other Muslims renounce themselves from smoking, alcohol, foul language, abnormal sex, drug smuggling, and drug use, because these things strongly violate their religion.

Season 1[edit]

Upon his arrival in Oz, Saïd takes control of the Muslim group, making himself one of the most powerful prisoners, held in high regard by the 78% majority of non-white prisoners. He is immediately viewed as a threat by the Aryan Brotherhood, Italian Mafia, and the black gangsters. The Homeboys, who sell drugs, oppose Saïd's moral prohibition against drugs. Saïd is not intimidated and one of his fellow Muslims (at Saïd's insistence) repeatedly punches him in the head to prove himself tough in front of the Homeboys' leader, Jefferson Keane. When he is diagnosed with a heart problem, fellow Muslim inmate Huseni Mershah, who opposes Saïd's philosophy of non-violence, allows him to have a heart attack so that he may take control of the Muslims. Saïd exposes Mershah and casts him out. Mershah attempts revenge by telling Warden Leo Glynn and unit manager Tim McManus that Saïd is stockpiling weapons and planning a riot. Glynn orders a shakedown. All the inmates who are found with drugs or weapons blame Mershah, and he commits suicide in protective custody.

After cannibalistic inmate Donald Groves murders Officer Smith, many CO's are suspended for attacking inmates, and a sympathetic new CO leaves a gun in Saïd's laundry. Saïd is shown with the gun after the riot breaks out. However, he is only shown firing it once to gain the inmates' attention, and threatens notorious Homeboy inmate Simon Adebisi after he starts going through heroin withdrawal.

The riot is eventually broken up by the S.O.R.T. team and the prisoners are transferred to General Population until the investigation is over. It is discovered during the investigation that Saïd's gun was used to shoot Tim McManus. It is thought that he shot McManus until it is discovered that he threw the gun away when the S.O.R.T. team arrived, and it was picked up by the Biker leader Scott Ross.

Season 2[edit]

This season starts off with law school dean Alvah Case investigating the riot, while Saïd is put into Solitary, along with O'Reily & Adebisi, the riot leaders. When Tim McManus lets him and the rest of the inmates back into Emerald City, they both state their grievances but maintain mutual respect for each other. Afterwards, the Muslims serve as a watchdog group, waiting to expose prison mismanagement. Saïd uses his legal knowledge to help Augustus Hill and even Aryan leader Vernon Schillinger fight their legal battles for hopes of reduced sentences. Saïd is eventually offered a pardon by Governor Devlin, in an attempt to gain favor among the Muslim voters. Saïd initially agrees to accept, however, once the offer is presented he refuses it and returns to Oz, leaving Governor Devlin humiliated.

Season 3[edit]

Saïd enters this season with the intent to sue the state for brutality during the Season 1 riot. Saïd grows attracted to Scott Ross' sister, Tricia Ross, which is witnessed by Aryan leader Schillinger. Schillinger creates tensions between Saïd and the other Muslims when he informs them of Saïd's romantic feelings for a white woman.[2] This leads to public humiliation of the Muslims and Saïd is removed as leader and replaced by Hamid Khan. Saïd's mentoring of white inmate Tobias Beecher is also opposed by his followers. Hamid Khan is permanently brain damaged in a boxing match against Irish-American inmate Cyril O'Reily. Meanwhile, Augustus Hill testifies against inmate Malcolm Coyle for the brutal murder of an Italian-American family. Kenny Wangler and the Homeboys seek to murder Hill, but Saïd convinces the Italians, Latinos, and even the Aryans to protect Hill, since every leader is a family man, and as such will benefit from Coyle's conviction. The Italians, led by Antonio Nappa, go one step further by murdering Coyle as a way of telling the Homeboys to back off from Hill, which they do. As Saïd helps Beecher forgive various inmates to alleviate his personal guilt, a fight breaks out between Saïd, Beecher, and the Aryans who see an opportunity to eliminate both Saïd and Beecher. Khan and the other Muslims defend the two from the Aryans along with White inmate Chris Keller who ends up hospitalizing Schillinger while protecting Beecher. As Beecher and Schillinger go to the hospital, Saïd, Khan, and Keller are sent to Ad Seg (short for Administrative Segregation) where CO Len Lopresti, an Aryan Brotherhood sympathizer, puts a rat in Saïd's cell. Afterwards, Homeboy leader Simon Adebisi starts polarizing black inmates against white inmates as Oz's racial tension is at an all-time high. As Adebisi organizes the Black inmates, Saïd is the only one amongst them who tries to prevent a race riot.

Season 4[edit]

After Hamid Khan is taken off life support and dies, Zahir Arif takes over leadership of the Muslims, and Saïd offers no opposition. Arif naively buys into a plan by Adebisi to get an African American to replace McManus. Saïd questions but does not oppose Arif's motives. They are successful and a Unit Manager named Martin Querns is hired. In the meantime, Saïd helps a gay inmate, Jason Cramer, get a new trial by finding evidence that he was convicted for his sexual orientation. Saïd wants him retried for his crime and found guilty for what he did, but he regrets this when Cramer goes free altogether. When Arif realizes that Adebisi has double-crossed him and that Emerald City is out of control, Arif begs Saïd to lead the Muslims once again. Saïd accepts, but only because he is disgusted by the way in which Adebisi and his followers are ruining Emerald City. Schillinger tells McManus, who is now running Unit B, that Adebisi has turned Emerald City into a "ghetto"; all the guards, with the exception of Claire Howell, are now black, white inmates are scarce, and drugs are rampant. Saïd says at the same time that "A bad system ran by blacks is the same as a bad system ran by whites." Saïd agrees to help McManus take down Querns and Adebisi alike and, when Querns is fired, Adebisi makes an attempt on Saïd's life which backfires with Saïd killing Adebisi in self-defense.

The Aryan and Biker inmates wish revenge on the Muslims and other black inmates for Adebisi's transformation of power in the first half of the season. Both groups, however, focus on the Muslims and constantly torment them. They even hire a black inmate, Leroy Tidd, who was an acquaintance of Adebisi's, to murder Saïd. When Tidd converts to Islam and follows Saïd as Salah Udeen, he is killed by the Brotherhood while protecting his new Imam. Schillinger and James Robson taunt Saïd, and Saïd uncharacteristically resorts to violence, responding to Robson's racial slurs with "You want to see the nigger in me?!", severely beating him while Arif knocks out Schillinger. They later call a truce, but Saïd threatens Schillinger when the Aryan plots to interfere with Beecher's parole application. After his parole is denied, Schillinger taunts Beecher, and Saïd defends him by stabbing both Schillinger and Robson while stating "Adebisi lives".

Season 5[edit]

While in the isolation unit, Saïd agrees to plead guilty to the attempted murder of both Schillinger and Robson. Later, prison psychiatrist Sister Peter Marie Reimondo arranges an interaction session with Schillinger, Saïd, and Beecher to prevent a war between the Muslims and Aryans. The Aryans instead go to war with the Italians when it is discovered that Chucky Pancamo is responsible for the murder of Schillinger's son Hank. Schillinger is assisted by Robson in an attempt on Pancamo's life. Later, disgraced Italian Peter Schibetta asks Saïd to help him murder Schillinger, but Saïd refuses.

McManus asks Saïd to help the disgraced drug addict Omar White to become a better person due to concerns for Saïd's sanity. Saïd is later angered when Muslim convert Ahmad Lalar is murdered by Robson, and Warden Glynn does little to convict him. In an interaction session when bringing up the subject of homosexuality, Schillinger and Saïd denounce it as a "perversion." However, when Schillinger agrees, Saïd points out that Schillinger himself indulges in sodomy, having previously raped Beecher and the mentally handicapped Irish inmate Cyril O'Reily among others. When Schillinger denies this, Beecher angrily attacks him during the interaction session. Later, Saïd brutally attacks Omar White when he is caught dealing drugs for Burr Redding to inmate Reggie Rawls and Saïd is sent to the hole as a result. White, however, remains drug-free and is successful in a singing program created by Suzanne Fitzgerald. Saïd and McManus are the first to congratulate White for coming through. Later, when the Muslims question Saïd's motives in helping White, he admits that he has been using several inmates to preserve his own image, and to killing Adebisi, a man who mocked everything he stood for. After hearing that Aryan initiate Wolfgang Cutler plans to kill Saïd, White attacks and nearly kills him. Saïd argues with McManus that he should not be sent to solitary confinement, to no avail.

Season 6[edit]

This season takes place six months after last season's finale, where Augustus Hill dies protecting Redding from being stabbed. Saïd is asked in an exit letter to publish Hill's journal, and he decides to see it through. In the meantime, Redding is in mourning for the loss of his friend Hill, and lets the Homeboys get out of control, attacking various inmates with drug addictions. Saïd demands that Redding take control of his men, and as a result, Redding takes them out of the drug trade and gets them to participate in a telemarketing business. As Saïd sets up the book publishing business, he meets a man posing as a news reporter, Lemuel Idzik, who shoots Saïd twice in the chest in the meeting room. As he dies, Saïd tells his friend Zaher Arif not to harm the shooter. The reason why Saïd was killed was so that Walker could film the movie Tears of the Sun.

Murders committed[edit]

  • Simon Adebisi – Stabbed in self-defense, after Adebisi slashed his face, then about to stab Saïd to death but failed.


Kareem means noble or generous in Arabic.


  1. Worley, V.B.; Worley, R.M. (2018). American Prisons and Jails: An Encyclopedia of Controversies and Trends [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 429. ISBN 978-1-61069-501-5. Retrieved 23 May 2019. lthough Oz certainly addresses social and racial inequality through numerous characters, particularly the Muslim and black nationalist character of Kareem Saïd played by Eamonn Walker who brings Shakespearean voracity to the role, a white privilege perspective ... Search this book on
  2. Bish, Joe (June 7, 2017). "Twenty Years of 'OZ': The Show That Changed TV Forever". Vice. Retrieved 5 July 2017.

External links[edit]

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