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White Inmates


Piper Elizabeth Chapman
"Trust no bitch."
Played By: Taylor Schilling

"I was somebody with a life that I chose for myself and now, now it's just about getting through the day without crying. And I'm scared. I'm still scared. I'm scared that I'm not myself in here and I'm scared that I am."

A bisexual woman who is sentenced to 15 months in prison for helping her former girlfriend Alex Vause smuggle drug money in Europe, some 10 years previously. The series shows Piper's journey through the prison system, beginning with her rough first week, during which she accidentally makes several enemies and struggles to adapt to life on the inside, as well as reuniting with Alex.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Surprisingly—given how Chapman's appearance stands out in prison holding the Hollywood standard of beauty—averted. The real life Piper is the only one of the original main three (her, "Alex" and Larry) who shares definite physical resemblance with the on-screen character based on her.
  • Analogy Backfire: Piper is very skilled at this due to being well-educated and well-informed, and possibly owing to her narcissism.
    • Black Cindy compared her to Inspector Gadget when she provides proof that the transistor radio that she nicked during her absence from the Litch had her prison number on it. Her meticulousness showed when she reacted negatively by being compared to that character when she said that he was never a good detective and would never have gotten anything done without his stuff.
    • After Suzanne briefly interrupts her intimate moment with Vause in the chapel while consoling her after Tricia's death, she teased them by singing "Vanilla and vanilla swirl" she muses that it may not be a swirl when they're of the same flavor.
    • Larry angrily tells Piper that it extremely difficult for him to live in their house that still has a lot of her stuff and tells her that "It's like living in a sarcophagus." Piper acquiesces to Larry's resentment and anger but added insult to injury when she said that it's supposed to be mausoleum and not a sarcophagus to which Larry yelled at her for her callousness. Bonus points to Larry for saying that Piper is not the sun while he is the moon hence undermining his capacity as a person in regards to her.
  • Anti-Hero: Obviously, since she is the main character of a series which takes place in a prison.
  • Author Avatar: Of Piper Kerman.
  • Badass Boast: Gives one to Soso.
    "We are not friends. I am not your safety blanket. I am not your new Meadow. And, I definitely don't need your advice. I am a lone wolf, Brook. And a vicious one. Don't make me rip your throat out with my teeth."
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Chapman seems like nice enough lady, but there's certainly a very dark side to her. She even spends some time commenting on how should feel worse than she does over actions, and fears what this makes her. She's prone to some introspection about whether prison made her colder, or if she was always that way.
    "I'm scared that I'm not myself in here and I'm scared that I am. Other people aren't the scariest part of prison, Dina. It's coming face-to-face with who you really are. Because once you're behind these walls there's no where to run, even if you could run. The truth catches up with you in here Dina and it's the truth that's going to make you her bitch."
  • Bookworm: Piper is one of the few characters after Rory Gilmore whose show's fan base made the critics and the viewers intrigued as to what is in her reading list. It is mentioned by Alex that this is one of the things that attracted her to Piper, with Vause having veritable taste in her reading material herself.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • A sheltered, upper middle class white girl being thrown in a cage with psycho lesbians, murderers, and religious fanatics? It was an inevitability.
    • Even worse in Season 4 when Maria has a swastika branded on her arm for associating with neo-Nazis, as well as framing her for the panty business. Piper gets burned again so the swastika is now made to look like a window. At that point, it was more Break the Haughty though.
  • Break the Haughty: What Maria and her gang does to Piper and her panty business in Season 4.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Her trying to sell Soso to Boo for a blanket is played for laughs, especially her underwhelmed reaction when a shocked Soso calls her out on it.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Much of Piper's change in behavior to that of a typical inmate is a result of her own actions after entering prison.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Not to an extent some other prisoners suffered, but it's there. Piper had to spend most of her adolescent years plainly aware that her parents didn't love each other. When she was 13, she caught her father kissing another woman while she was sneaking out to see Dazed and Confused with a friend; when she tried to tell her mother about it, her mother ignored her husband's infidelity and instead punished Piper for seeing an R-rated movie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She can be quite sarcastic and tends to do it with wooden facial expressions.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Piper is very selfish and overtime uses her bisexuality to her advantage to get what she wants. She is willing to cheat with as many partners (male or female) to deal with some circumstances or gain the upper hand and "take back her power". And not afraid to give handjobs to the male prison guards for food.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Piper's main problem. Let's start with the fact that she just took Alex at her word in Season 2 about not testifying, then starting a white power group.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: Arguably Piper's whole arc is full of this. For example, starting a panty-selling business? Probably not a great idea with a prison corporation breathing down your neck. Starting a white power group to cover up said business? Horrible idea. (As she does later figure out.)
  • Ditzy Genius: She's more book smart than most of the other inmates, but definitely not street smart, especially compared to Alex. She's very thoughtless and careless.
  • Fish out of Water: To say that soap-selling Pablo Neruda- and Robert Frost-studying Piper doesn't fit in to the prison frame of mind easily is... an understatement.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: By Season 4, while she's allowed to sit with Red and Co., it's pretty clear that no one really likes her or goes out of their way to invite her to social events anymore, since she got Drunk with Power over her panty business. By Season 5, everyone except Alex's default attitude towards her is exasperation and annoyance.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Went from being a yuppie white girl to a cold-hearted Godfather of a prison panty empire, going so far as to frame Stella, her then-interest, for contraband after discovering the latter stole her money. Alex notes this when Piper starts talking about finding ways to covertly distribute money to her employees.
    • Continues this into Season 4, hiring muscle and starting a white power group to achieve her goals. She does regret the second one though.
  • Granola Girl: Attempted to be this out of prison, adopting different diets and setting up a soap company.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Invoked. Although Piper does try to be a Nice Girl at first, this mostly seems like a projection by Healy and Suzanne among others, as Piper becomes less nice as she has to fit in at prison.
  • In-Series Nickname: In prison, she acquires several other nicknames throughout the series.
    • "Crazy Eyes" calls her "Dandelion" because she is tall and blonde.
    • "Pennsatucky" refers to her as "College".
    • Tricia refers to her as "Brain" because she is more educated than most of the inmates.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Frequently. While her current situation is hardcore by the standards she's always lived with, most of her concerns in prisons are seen as First World Problems by the rest of the inmates.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Becomes this in Season 2, looking into the prison's financial irregularities under the guise of starting a newsletter.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: In season 6, she gets the idea to write a memoir about her experience in prison. She is released from prison by the end of the season.
  • It's All About Me: Not nearly to the extent of her best friend Polly, but she definitely displays qualities of being self-absorbed, a flaw that Alex constantly reminds her of. It isn't that she doesn't care about other people or their problems, more that she gets so wrapped up in her own drama that she has tunnel vision.
    • In the first season, she was engaged to Larry and had an affair with Alex due to loneliness, telling both of them that she loved them and ended up breaking both of their hearts; she inadvertently twists the knife by trying to run back to Alex once Larry breaks up with her for good. In the second season, she complains that her hurt feelings should be in the forefront when Polly and Larry get together once she and Larry break up despite the fact that she has feelings for Alex and spent the second season growing more distant from Larry. Moreover, part of the reason she gets Alex thrown back into prison is because she wants Alex back with her. Piper's feelings are certainly valid; she just doesn't have a good track record with putting her partner's before hers.
    • Nichols has to call her out on this in the second season, when Piper cares more about getting a visit from Alex than she does about Red getting hospitalized.
    • Larry also calls her out on this during the Valentine's Day episode.
    Larry: That makes you the sun? You're the center of the solar system and I'm just the dead hunk of rock?
    • She continues this trend throughout Season 3 and 4, only beginning to lose these qualities after the collapse of her business and getting a swastika burned into her arm.
  • Jerkass: Becomes this more and more throughout season 3, especially in regards to her callous and self-absorbed behavior with Alex.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She gradually gets better after her Jerkass Realization in season 4, and is much more pleasant in season 5 and 6.
  • Lack of Empathy: Slowly evolves into this. In the second season she's so far gone she tries to pimp Soso out for a blanket and doesn't even seem to understand why the other girl is shocked and appalled, instead 'excusing' her actions by saying that 'is so fucking cold in prison'. This increases in season 3, to the point of mocking Alex for being rightfully scared that Kubra will have her killed. She realizes this in Season 4 and attempts to fix her relationship with Alex and her bunkmate.
  • Manipulative Bastard: By her own admission, Piper comes to realize that she is manipulative, but she uses her talents in the pursuit of saving her own ass masterfully, making back cream to smooth things over with Red, re-opening the track after accidentally leading to Watson getting sent to solitary, and all but coercing Fig to get her a marriage form.
  • Mark of Shame: Gets a swastika burnt into her arm in retribution for creating a white power group and framing Maria for her panty business. She gets Red to burn it into a window to fix it.
  • Masochism Tango: With Alex. For how often the two lie, cheat, backstab, breakup and makeup, show a callous disregard for the other's feelings, and even ruin each other's life since, by Season 3, both Alex and Piper have gotten the other thrown in prison even though the other was making a life outside, one would think they would get tired and pick another dance partner. They finally patch things up in Season 4, and get engaged at the end of Season 5
  • Misery Builds Character: Getting jumped and branded by Maria's gang makes her much nicer in the second half of season four than she had been for a long time. From then on she shows more interest in other people's lives, and sympathy for their struggles, than perhaps any time in the series.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Goes into this after her plan to run Maria out of business turns into a white-supremacist group...which was not what she intended.]
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Even when Piper tries to do good, she can't help messing it up; her articles about being in prison backfire, and so does her attempt to comfort Red by telling her that her store is in business when it's been shuttered.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The very last scene in Season 1 is of a desperate Piper repeatedly punching a downed Pennsatucky in the face after the latter assaulted her with a sharpened wooden cross with intent to kill.
  • Noodle Incident: The Season 3 finale indicates that her sentence was extended at some pointnote , but it's never stated whether this was for her brawl with Pennsatucky, her act of perjury in Kubra's trial, or something else entirely.
  • Official Couple: With Alex from Season 3, though it's not solidified until Season 4 after she cheats with Stella.
  • Only Sane Woman: At least she thinks of herself that way. For the first few weeks this might even have been true, but prison life soon turns her as antisocial as most other inmates.
  • Out of Focus: In Seasons 2-4 she's still important, though she no longer dominates the main plot. In Season 5 her role is noticeably reduced and peripheral to the main plot until the last few episodes.
  • Pet the Dog: She has a few such moments such as when she comforts Soso when the latter is crying in her bunk.
  • Reality Ensues: Piper loves the fear and respect (she thinks) her panty business affords her as "the top bitch" in Litchfield, until that same power makes her a target for tougher, more experienced bitches who want to usurp it.
  • Sanity Slippage: Implied; we still have no idea whether the chicken or the voice Piper heard in SHU are real. In the Season 2 premiere, Piper starts talking about her painting made of rotten egg yolks, Thirsty Bird, among various other incidents during Season 2. Vaults straight into Nightmare Fuel. Though, it is shown in Season 3 that the chicken is real and gets in and out of the prison through a hole in the fence.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: In Season 3 with her panty-selling business.
  • Skewed Priorities: She has a pretty bad habit of not thinking long term. In "The Chickening", after going through a lot of trouble to set up a conference call regarding her and Polly's business, she drops it so she can chase after the legendary chicken. When the other inmates begin to resent her after she gets a furlough to see her dying grandmother, she tries to give it back and needs to be reminded that her grandmother is dying.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Suffers this hard in season 4. She sets up one prisoner to be transferred to max for stealing from her panty business and acts like it makes her the coldest, baddest bitch who ever went to prison. As Maria tells her, things won't go well when an "actual hard-ass bitch decides to call [her] on it". She does, and they don't.
  • The Sociopath: While Piper doesn't commit (overtly) villainous acts during the first three seasons, her profile is starting to fit the bill more and more:
    • She does not only gradually become unable to take other people's emotions and situations into account, she has trouble grasping the fact that they may exist (at least until someone else spells it out for her). And she is largely unaware or in denial about her Lack of Empathy.
    • At one point (namely when cheating on Alex with Stella) she just decides she is not going to feel remorse for her immoral actions. Just because.
    • She starts displaying a tendency for lying and manipulation, which admittedly probably has been implanted in her by her family upbringing.
    • Her need for stimulation and inability to truly commit to people really raises its ugly head when she dumps Alex for Stella, literally because Stella is new, hot and interesting, and Alex with her depression and (justified) fear for her life has become tiresome for Piper.
  • Teacher's Pet: A prison version.
    • She is a CO's pet, as Healy goes out his way to play favorites with her by not punishing her for being responsible for the chicken hunt (though several other inmates, who took part in it, suffered consequences), choosing her as a WAC representative and granting her a furlough which was 'the first miracle ever seen' by another character. To be fair, Piper doesn't really crave any special attention from him and the furlough was a result for something else than Healy's favoritism, but it doesn't come unnoticed by others and occasionally makes her an object of resentment.
    • She attempts this in Season 4 with Piscatella. It works for a bit when she tattles on Maria's gang and gets Maria framed for the panty business, but eventually Piscatella gets fed up with her.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Gets colder during the second season after getting transferred back. Soso is annoying, but threatening her after she needs comfort and trying to trade her to Big Boo for a blanket definitely shows how far she's come since the first season.
    • She gets much worse in the third season. She is generally much more comfortable by lying and using people than before. She cheats on Alex—without the justifications of feeling overwhelmed and meeting a long lost love, which she may have had when cheating on Larry. This time she just thinks that the terrified-for-her-life Alex is boring and Stella is hot so it's okay. She also executes a petty revenge on a girl who was just representing everybody's interests in having some profit from their contribution to Piper's panty business (long story) and delivers the mother of Disproportionate Retribution to another girl who has stolen from her. It's safe to say that by the end of the season she may count as a Villain Protagonist.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After being brutally attacked and having a traumatic tattoo scarred on her arm, Piper realizes what an asshole she's been and does this.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: While she does have her genuine trauma and problems, the show makes it very clear that she's a whiny white-girl-privileged person compared to the more minority women, and plays her complaining for laughs. As Larry notes, she also has a nasty tendency to stick her foot in her mouth when nervous.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: Although becoming less uptight in prison, Piper is still pretty uptight, and was even more so in her backstory, when she loved the wild drug-dealing Alex.
  • Villain Protagonist: In season 3 and early season 4. By the end of the Season 3 she isn't actively villainous in a sense of wanting to harm anyone (who hasn't crossed her first, that is), she has hit the heights of Lack of Empathy and isn't hesitant to crush anyone who gets on her bad side. She isn't even present at the final heartwarming scene when the other inmates visit the lake; the last we see of Piper this season is her alone, power-drunk and content with being in a prison, giving herself a vanity tattoo. Throughout Season 4, we see the ramifications of her trying to be a badass and top prison bitch. The rest of the inmates either don't care, don't take her seriously, or want to bring her down. Plus, she inadvertently starts a White Power movement. She gets better.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Polly.
  • White Anglo-Saxon Protestant: Self-admitted. She also claims it comes with great tradition of Stepford Smiling.


Alex Pearl Vause
"Heroin was the best girlfriend I ever had."
Played By: Laura Prepon

"I had grand plans. Now, I can't even get past the swirling darkness in my brain long enough to land on anything."

A former drug smuggler for an unspecified international drug cartel. Years prior to the beginning of the series, she took a sexual interest in Piper after meeting her in a bar, and gradually integrated her into the drug trade while they traveled the world living in luxury. Vause once convinced Piper to smuggle cash through customs at an airport in Europe, the crime for which Piper is doing time.

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: In real life, the woman upon whom the character is based looks like this. From this lady, to Laura Prepon. Although in the book, it's mentioned repeatedly that she is not conventionally attractive, but was appealing because of her charm and extravagant lifestyle.
  • Adaptation Name Change: She is called "Nora Jansen" in Piper Kerman's memoirs.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Rarely shows sincere emotion to anyone beyond Piper, has black hair (with blue streaks and occasional Bettie Page bangs in flashbacks), and is described by Larry at their first meeting as 'tall'.
  • Betty and Veronica: The "doing X on a beach in Cambodia with three strangers in drag" Veronica to Larry's Betty.
  • Bookworm: The only character whose reading material is comparable to Piper with eclectic tastes from Mark Twain's work, international authors such as Haruki Murakami up to Jorge Luis Borges on her bookshelf as seen when Polly was invited to her apartment for a party.
  • Break the Haughty: Getting thrown back in prison, and killing someone sent by Kubra, made her much more vulnerable.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Manipulating Piper into joining an international drug ring, naming Piper in her indictment and lying about it, and ultimately cutting a separate deal with the prosecutor for release for her testimony after convincing Piper to lie under oath. The last one burns back though, as the case collapses thanks to a screw-up by the prosecutor, and she is forced to live in fear of retribution. Piper then betrays her back, revealing her plan to skip parole and gets Alex arrested again. Stopped when both of them work past their issues in seasons 3 and 4.
  • Closet Key: Alex is this for Piper.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Alex grew up in a poor single-parent household, constantly teased by the wealthy children at her school and never knowing her father. When she finally got to meet him as an adult, she found out that he was a drug-addled, womanizing rock musician who was more impressed that his daughter turned out with "a great rack" than anything else.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Best summarized with her first non-flashback appearance, where she walks up to Piper after having not seen her for five years in the prison Piper more-or-less believes Alex is responsible for putting her in while Piper is having a breakdown and deadpans, "I'm guessing now's a bad time to say hi."
  • Disappeared Dad: Her father was a "rock god" her mother romanticized an encounter with; when she met him as an adult, he mostly talked about how awkward it would have been if they'd accidentally had sex while complimenting her breasts, much to her shock and disappointment.
  • Easily Forgiven: For naming Piper when she got caught and, later, extending Piper's sentence.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: In flashbacks and in Season 1, and while she sometimes trades on it after returning to prison, she becomes less so.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Growing up, she was called Pigsty by the Alpha Bitch and her posse.
  • Expy: Of Catherine Cleary Wolters.
  • First Girl Wins: She is the first lover seen involved with Piper at the start of the series (flashbacks and all) and ends up married to Piper after everything in the series.
  • For Want of a Nail: Alex's thoughtlessness in letting one of her drug mules go alone got her caught.
  • Hidden Depths: She's initially depicted as a manipulative sociopath who exploited Piper and wrecked her life, and it's a long time before we're given a good reason to think differently. "Fucksgiving" implies that she's secretly insecure and probably has abandonment issues, while "Tall Men with Feelings" shows that Piper really did break her heart, and at just about the cruelest moment possible.
  • It's All About Me: Alex tends to think of her own needs first, considering others to be secondary.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Unlike Piper, she exclusively prefers women, and like Piper she's traditionally feminine.
  • Mamas Girl: Alex adored her Struggling Single Mother, Diane, and is devastated when she dies in her backstory.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Especially noticeable in her relationship with Piper, although she more or less grows out of it once she kills Aydin.
  • Official Couple: With Piper, although only really starting from Season 3 when she's back in prison, and it gets solidified in Season 4.
  • Prison Rape: She threatens Pennsatucky with this, although she doesn't mean it.
  • Properly Paranoid: Double Subverted. Initially it seems like she is right about Lolly being sent by Kubra to kill her. She is wrong. Then, however, it's revealed that one of the new guards is working for Kubra, who very much wants to kill her.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Psycho is overstating it, but she's pretty depraved. She threatens Pennsatucky with Prison Rape, and she's pretty cavalier about naming Piper in her indictment, but it later gets played with before being finally subverted when more details of her and Piper's relationship are revealed.
  • Put on a Bus: Quite literally in Season 2. After testifying against her drug dealer acquaintance in the premiere, she is released from prison, albeit with great restrictions to the point where she never leaves her house, and doesn't appear again until the last 4 episodes of the season.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Luschek describes her as 'the hot one' of her and Pipe, and the dark hair and pale skin combination does undeniably work for her.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Literally with Piper at the start of season 3.
  • Street Smart: Vause may not have a college education and though she is largely self-taught and not as theoretical as Piper but can have good conversation with just about anyone on books and literature, she is very observant, perceptive, good at reading people and has excellent practical intelligence. Piper went through great lengths to make Red's lotion to make amends but Vause only had to rub Red's feet for 45 minutes and she was able to eat just the next morning whereas Piper got her reward after a few days. Vause is Piper's intellectual equal whereas Piper is more bookish and creative, she is more efficient and practical.
  • Tsundere: Towards Piper, she has "harsh" as her main setting, but she can also be pretty controlling towards her when she needs to.
  • These Hands Have Killed: After killing Aydin (Kubra's hitman) by suffocation, she goes through a long period of guilt and paranoia, almost confessing to the crime in the end. In season 5, she confesses that she's killed someone to about 20 inmates, but doesn't give specifics.
  • Vague Age: Piper, according to the storyline, met Alex "ten years ago," when the former was in her early twenties (although already a college graduate). When Polly meets Alex, she says the latter is thirty and has too much money for her age. Which would make her at least forty by the time of the show, which she does not look like. Either Alex has aged extremely well, or Polly was being mean (their actors are only four years apart in age).


Galina "Red" Reznikov
"I worked with the Russian mafia. We make the Italians look like guppies."
Played By: Kate Mulgrew & Xenia Leblanc

"The second you're perceived as weak, you already are."

A prison trustee who runs the prison's kitchen as the Master Chef and is the behind-the-scenes leader of the prison's white population. In her earlier life, she and her husband ran a restaurant and got involved with the Russian mafia. Red drew the ire of the mob bosses by punching one of their wives in the chest (rupturing a breast implant), but later impressed the same boss by offering sound advice that allowed her to swiftly climb the ranks of the organization. Red is feared and respected by most of the prisoners, and has a lot of influence with Healy. She is the closest to Nicky, with whom she has a mother-daughter relationship, and is always accompanied by Norma and Gina who cater to her needs and work with her in the kitchen.

  • The Baroness: Rosa Klebb edition, as the sexless Russian powerhouse of the jail's kitchen—reconstructed prior to her incarceration, where she fails to make the connections with the Mafiya wives, but impresses the men with her cunning. Lampshaded in season 5, when Flores even calls her a "Bond villain".
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: She was a little off her rocker in Season 5 due to taking a bunch of unprescribed behavioral meds, but her theory that Piscatella had broken into the prison and kidnapped her friends was correct!
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Red and her husband both wound up involved with the Russian Mafia while struggling to keep their small supermarket afloat, and eventually wound up in debt to them after Red lost her temper and punched a mobster's wife, rupturing her breast implant. When a guard's dismembered body turns up in the garden, Piscatella immediately suspects her - not because she was in charge of the garden, but because the police found five dismembered frozen corpses in her home.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Tit Punch" which shows her backstory. "The Tightening" is another, showing her youth in Russia.
  • Death Glare: Known to have a look that "makes [people]'s ass leak".
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: When one of her sons comes to visit with a black eye and swollen cheek, because his wife slocked him with a sock full of nickels, she brushes him off, saying he must have done something to deserve it. She frequently takes the side of her sons' wives/fiancées, no matter how terribly they treat her boys.
  • The Dreaded: No one wants to mess with Red.
  • Fiery Redhead: Her red hair matches her tough and domineering personality.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: She has one over her right cheek after being slocked by Vee in season 2.
  • Husky Russkie: Tough as nails and Russian.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Her scheme to get back the kitchen in the end of Season One literally backfired, causing Red's best friend to be set on fire.
  • Humiliation Conga: She has her status as head of kitchen revoked after Pornstache leaks her smuggling operation to the prison administrators. Made worse when the food under Gloria, the new Latina head of kitchen, turns out to be delicious. Red attempts to sabotage the kitchen operation in her absence but ends up accidentally burning Gina and losing Norma's trust. Finally she loses her food privileges in the same way as she subjected Chapman at the beginning of the series.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Twice in one piece of dialogue. Firstly she tells Piper not to be racist, and instantly says all black inmates are on heroin. Then she says that all Spanish are crazy and superstitious before stating that she wants to eat the smartest chicken to absorb its power.
    "Those Spanish probably won't even eat it, just cut her throat and drink her blood, or something else superstitious. All I wanted was to eat the chicken that is smarter than other chickens and to absorb its power. And make a nice Kiev."
  • I Did What I Had to Do: When Healy gets mad at her for pretending to be into him in order to get extra prison favors, she retorts that as a prison counselor and prisoner he has all the power while she has none, and she's not ashamed to use whatever means she has to to stay afloat in there.
  • I Have No Son!: She cuts off her old prison family when they throw her under the bus, Frieda included, by saying she was the one who had the bunker. Especially Frieda so she could get into Florida.
  • Important Haircut: In season 6 she gets her previous semi scalping by Piscatella fixed into a blonde and grey do with only the red tips remaining, signifying her joining up with Carol's posse.
  • Iron Lady: Outwardly tough and intimidating, but to those she cares about, she shows a more caring and vulnerable self.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Red says she was once quite attractive, and laments the effects that age has on her looks. Flashbacks reveal she was indeed quite a pretty young woman.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She might be a very stern woman, but she takes care of her underlings, helps junkies beat their addiction, and is distraught at the death of Tricia.
  • The Mafiya: Ironically, she and her husband were initially forced to help the mob carry out errands to repay a debt, but she eventually proves herself to be a very shrewd and cunning criminal and becomes a respected member of the organization in her own right.
  • Meaningful Name: Her real last name, Reznikov(a), is of Jewish origin and is essentially the Russian translation of "Kosher Butcher". It makes sense she'd be running the kitchen.
  • The Mentor: She plays this role for Piper of all people, after becoming her bunk-mate in season two.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Mentally more than physically. Growing up in a Communist regime does that.
  • Mugging the Monster: Gone Horribly Right, when Red lures Piscatella into the prison. He kidnaps her and her family one by one, locks them up and proceeds to torture them. They're only saved by the sheer miracle of Frieda having a secret bunker under the room Piscatella chooses.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She's distraught after Tricia is found hanged, believing she drove her to suicide.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: She winds up on the receiving end from two of them in Season 2, both at the behest of Vee.
  • Odd Friendship: She bonds with Flores in season 5 while looking for dirt on Piscatella.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: She's known as 'Red' to both staff and inmates.
  • Parental Substitute: For Nicky, who calls her "Mama", "Mommy" and when Piper admits confusion, flat-out says she sees Red as "a mother figure", as she's estranged from her own mother.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Poor Tricia. Red didn't help her hide her withdrawal symptoms because she hoped the prison would launch an investigation to root all drugs out of the prison, and turned her back on Tricia after she got out of SHU just to teach her a lesson. Unfortunately, she didn't tell Nicky or Tricia this, which leads to Nicky telling Mendez how Red smuggles in contraband out of spite, which leads to Mendez strong-arming Red into including drugs and Tricia into taking them, which leads to Tricia overdosing and dying.
    • In Season 6, her unnecessarily vague message about the "tall one" being killed leads Piper to assume she means Alex is dead (Red meant Piscatella), leading to Piper abandoning Red.
  • Power Hair: Red has bright... red spiky hair to go along with her tough, not-to-be-messed-with attitude.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In season 6 she had the chance to finally see her grandkids in visitation, but soon as she passes by Frieda who had come from testifying in Taystee's trial, she strangles her and gets thrown into the SHU for the rest of the season.
  • The Rival: She's one to Vee for control of the prison in Season 2.
  • Scars Are Forever: After the slocking she gets from Vee, Red now has one on her right cheek.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: She develops dementia in Season 7, partially triggered by her time in the SHU.
  • Supreme Chef: Not while in the prison—most of the inmates seem agreed that Gloria's food is better—but outside she apparently made some pretty good Russian food.
  • Team Mom: A very stern example, but Red serves as a distinctly maternal figure who straightens out and regulates the behavior of several girls by taking them under her wing.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The general and very well-justified opinion of other inmates in season 5 when Red decides to lure Pistacella into the prison. And succeeds.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: She has always been one of the most intelligent characters, until season 5 and 6 where she makes quite a few stupid decisions, bordering on Too Dumb to Live. Deconstructed in season 7, as she is suffering from dementia.
  • Traumatic Haircut: She receives one from Piscatella in season 5, with patches of flesh carved off as well.


Nicole "Nicky" Nichols
"I'm like a bloodhound for oblivion."
Played By: Natasha Lyonne

Chapman: What are you doing?
Nicky: [stops drilling a hole in the wall] It's uh, an art piece representing the futility of blue-collar labor in a technological age. And vaginas.

A former drug addict, now Red's most trusted assistant, Nicky has a loud mouth. She swiftly befriends both Piper and Alex, expressing curiosity about what happened between the two of them outside of prison. Her mother, a wealthy socialite, lived in a separate house and Nicky was raised by a nanny. This was what initially led to Nicky's drug addiction. Upon arriving in prison, Red had helped her through her worst bouts of cold turkey. For this reason, Nicky now looks up to her as a mother figure, to the point where she actually refers to her as "mom" in the presence of other inmates.

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Nicky is a sparky and funny person (when she's not on drugs), with three alliterative names.
  • Blatant Lies: When Red offers to help her detox again, Nicky brushes her off, blithely stating she's already decided to quit cold turkey, she's already gone through the vomiting stage, and she's decided to just keep busy (with crossword puzzles and shit) to keep her mind off drugs. She then briskly walks to her dealers for more.
  • The Bus Came Back: In Season 4, she gets released from maximum security and returned to the prison proper.
  • Butch Lesbian: Zig-zagged. She's not very feminine in personality nor appearance—has wild hair and isn't overly concerned with personal appearance—but thanks to being played by Natasha Lyonne, she still has natural good looks and has no problem attracting the likes of Morello.
  • The Casanova: Female version. She even enters a competition with Big Boo to see who can have sex with the most women, and Nicky comes close to winning before they declare a tie.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To Lorna in her more delusional/unstable moments.
  • Creepy Uncle: She refers to her Uncle Pete as one.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Nicky spent her entire childhood in a separate house from her parents, raised exclusively by her nanny and ignored by her wealthy socialite mother. She became a drug addict as a teenager, eventually leading to a near-fatal bout of endocarditis, and had to go through a hellish detox period when she was sent to prison. She's been to rehab at least seven times. In season 6, Nicky makes a comment about going to her "Uncle Pete's" house and mentions some "bad touching", implying she was sexually abused by him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nicky is probably the most brutally and wonderfully sarcastic character on the whole show. Only Big Boo comes close.
    (On the SHU)"It's like the Hamptons, only fuckin' horrible."

    "I'd made a terrible mule. I would've done all of your drugs."

    "I'm like Icarus, whose wings melted before he could fuck the sun."
  • Dramatic Irony: After spending three months in Max and three years clean, the audience sees Nicky finally gives into her temptation to take heroin again right after Judy King arranges to have her moved back to minimum security.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Heroin has seriously messed up her life.
  • The Hedonist: Nicky is strongly motivated by enjoyment, which she divides between sex and, primarily, drugs.
  • The Gadfly: Frequently trolls Piper and Alex (mostly Piper, as she is more receptive to being baited) to gain information on their past.
    Nicky: She said you were a squirter.
    Piper: I don't—that's-once! It happened once! It took us both by surprise!
    Nicky: Wow! I was kidding, but good to know!
  • Friends with Benefits: With Morello, though Morello later cuts off the benefits. She later has a brief fling with Brook Soso. While in Max, she forms an equally brief relationship with Stella Carlin which Nicky herself ends due to Stella's continuing drug habit.
  • Hopeless Suitor: To Lorna, romantically if not sexually. In season 5 she even pulls a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy by helping Lorna to reconcile with her husband.
  • It's All About Me: Whenever she's hooked on heroin, she'll do whatever it takes to get her fix. Flashback episodes show that she's willing to lie, use, and abandon anyone and everyone just to get her next hit. (For example, she let a friend get arrested for their collective delinquent behavior, asked her mom to borrow a few hundred dollars to bail him out, spent the bail money on heroin instead, then told him over the phone that she couldn't get the bail money while smoking the heroin she spent his bail money on.) In Season 4, several characters call her out on caring more about heroin than them.
  • The Lad-ette: She has a personality of a frat boy and happily engages in such activities as banging contests.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: In her backstory. Nicky had lots of (junkie) friends, but a void seems to have been left by the neglect of her mother.
  • Messy Hair: Nicky's hair is unruly and wild… always. Until her makeover in Season 5.
  • Meta Casting: The scar on her chest? It's real. Natasha Lyonne really did have heart surgery a few years back, and it really was from a bacterial infection resulting from use of a dirty needle.
  • Mommy Issues: She hates her mother for choosing to live in a different home as she was growing up because her new husband didn't like kids. Nicky was subsequently raised by a nanny.
    "I always miss you until you're here. Then I realize the mom I miss must have been someone I invented when I was a kid."
  • Nice Girl: Extremely caring and protective of her friends and anyone who is close to her.
  • Parental Neglect: Nicky was raised by a maid.
  • Princess in Rags: Apparently came from a wealthy family and used to travel the world. Alex comments that she would be exactly the kind of person she'd target.
  • Put on a Bus: Nicky is sent to maximum security after Luschek rats her out for drug possession. She returns in Season 4.
  • Rape as Drama: While in maximum security Nicky is raped by a female guard in exchange for heroin. Although Nicky technically consented to the act, the woman being a guard and using her addiction against her is clearly an abuse of power and legally considered rape.
  • Suddenly Sober: Despite detoxing just days before, very little is mentioned in Season 5 about her just coming down and she's hardly tempted at all, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that a riot has broken out in the prison, a guard has been shot, and they're all likely to get more time on their sentences.
  • Those Two Girls: With Morello, initially.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The loudmouthed, snarky Tomboy to sweet, cheerful, always dolled up Girly Girl Lorna.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Spending months in Max and getting re-hooked on heroin did not help her temperament.
  • Wham Episode: "Empathy Is a Boner Killer", third episode of Season 3. Nicky gets ratted out for possession by Luschek and is sent to maximum security.


Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett
"I'm just a simple woman doin' the work of the Lord."
Played By: Taryn Manning

A former drug addict who frequently preaches about God, Tiffany suffers from very bad teeth. She was sent to prison for shooting an abortion clinic worker in broad daylight. The local press believed that it was because of her religious beliefs—leading to her receiving funding, support and even a fan base from religious right groups—but her actual motivation was because the worker had made a snarky comment about Tiffany's having had five abortions at the clinic, and Tiffany reacts violently to people "disrespecting" her. Tiffany's religious rants are often laced with racism and hostility.

  • Anyone Can Die: Overdoses on heroin in Season 7
  • As the Good Book Says...: She frequently justifies herself with (often incorrect or out of context) quotes from the Bible.
  • The Atoner: In Season 2, she tries to turn over a new leaf. And again in Season 5, when she wants to own up to her mistakes and be decent during the riot.
  • Ax-Crazy: In season 1, Pennsatucky is utterly batshit insane. She shot an abortion clinic worker for 'disrespecting' her.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Boo is shocked that Penn knows of the word "hijab", implying that Penn has studied Islam. Turns out she knows the term from a bigoted pastor who used it in an anti-muslim hate speech.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Her Heel–Face Turn is accompanied by getting a new set of pearly white teeth.
  • Becoming the Mask: Prior to prison (prior even to her trial), Tiffany was a nihilistic meth-head on her fifth abortion who murdered a nurse solely for "disrespecting her", and was misinterpreted by pro-lifers as one of their own. She quickly bought into her own press and became a legitimate holy warrior.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Of the first season, with Healy. She's the most openly antagonistic toward Piper.
  • Blackmail: After she's transferred back to Litchfield, during a visit from Linda, she uses some sensitive information on her to get transferred to Florida.
  • Book Dumb: She's uneducated which becomes tragically deconstructed in the final season, when she reminds her father and her classmates calling her "stupid" in the past.
  • Character Development: Begins the series as a fanatical religious fundamentalist who despises gay people, transgender people, non-whites, Catholics, Buddhists, etc. In later seasons she goes on to become best friends with Big Boo (a butch lesbian), helps Nicky (a Jewish lesbian) through detox, and befriends Suzanne (a black lesbian). She also goes from a volatile woman with violent mood swings to a much more even tempered woman who is typically friendly to her fellow inmates.
  • Churchgoing Villain: In the first season, and very militant about it.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Becomes this to the childlike and unstable Suzanne in the last two seasons.
  • Con Artist: Even after her Heel–Face Turn, she's still collecting money from the extremist Christians who think she shot the nurse to support the pro-life cause.
  • Corrupt Hick: A "white trash" woman who murders an abortion doctor simply for saying one rude word to her, and runs a group of fellow bitchy hicks in prison. Gradually gets subverted or played with through Character Development, though she still has a pretty loose moral compass.
  • Crisis of Faith: She has a brief one after being in the psych ward.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: She grew up in a pathological family where she was taught from an early age that rape was normal, among other things.
  • Deep South: Comes from a "redneck" type of community from there
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Or rhetorical questions. Pennsatucky is… not a clever woman.
  • Drugs Are Bad: She has lost almost all her natural teeth to methamphetamine addiction, and it's implied that she miscarried the one child she decided not to abort, due to drug use. She also relapses in Season 7 after (wrongly) thinking she failed her GED exam, ultimately dying in the process.
  • Egocentrically Religious: At first. Pennsatucky clearly only took on fundamentalist beliefs so she can get a lower jail term for killing an abortion doctor, and she has a very blatant It's All About Me interpretation of the Bible.
  • Establishing Character Moment: While not her first moment on screen, her first episode with extended screen time starts off with her being forced to carry her own cross out of the chapel.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She shot one person who "disrespected" her and tried to kill another and for a time acted like a violent psychopath condemning anybody on her way to hell. But she can't bring herself to rape a man with a stick despite being his victim.
  • Foreshadowing: Her fellow prisoners joke she should get new teeth for Christmas; that very Christmas she gets them punched out of her head by Piper. She gets them replaced early in Season 2 with shiny new ones as an incentive by Healy to keep her quiet about his inaction toward said beatdown.
  • Framed for Heroism: She goes through a villainous variant in her backstory (see Villain with Good Publicity). She gets hailed as a hero by a Christian fundamentalist group, who assume that she murdered an abortion doctor because of her religious convictions. They have no idea that she actually killed the doctor over a petty argument, and that she was going to the clinic to get an abortion herself (her fifth abortion, in fact) when it happened. Her conservative Christian lawyer is happy to keep the charade going, knowing that Pennsatucky is a much better pro-life poster child if her followers don't know the truth.
  • Friend Versus Lover: Expresses some resentment towards Linda for her relationship with Big Boo, describing Boo as her best friend and criticizing Linda for straining that friendship.
  • The Fundamentalist: Pennsatucky is viciously and aggressively religious, although she often misses the point of the very sermons she espouses.
  • Good Feels Good: In Season 4, after she's assigned to be the water lady for the prisoners digging in the trenches, she finds that she likes the work because she feels like she's making other people's day better by bringing them water when they're hot and tired, while their sincere thanks warms her. This leads her to help Nicky detox when she's going through withdrawals, even giving her puke bags and buckets.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: She's had five abortions (and a miscarriage which may have been related to drug use), and regrets them. She was in the clinic for abortion #5, but remembers a conversation she had the night before with her boyfriend/husband/whatever the hell he was, and pulls the IV out. She takes his gun and shoots the nurse that was tending to her because of a snarky comment the nurse made about how many abortions Ms. Doggett has had. The pro-lifers protesting outside the clinic believe she did it to support their cause though. As a result, they give Pennsatucky legal aid and support during her trial and while she is incarcerated for the shooting. Shortly thereafter, Pennsatucky became The Fundamentalist. During the Mother's Day episode, she is seen making little cross memorials out of Popsicle sticks, with names on them. Big Boo convinces her that by aborting them, she spared them miserable lives and spared the legal system more criminals to deal with, and that pulls her out of her funk.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: During the first season. Healy helps her grow out of it toward the end of the second season.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Over the course of Season 2, she makes a concerted effort to turn over a new leaf and in Season 3 she largely succeeds. She's still casually racist and homophobic, but she's no longer as hateful, virulent or murderous. Over time she eventually sheds her prejudices too after becoming friends with LGBT inmates or those of color.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: After being "born again" she became militantly anti-gay. A lot of her dislike for Alex and Piper stems from this. However, over she sheds this, becoming friends with Boo, who's a very butch lesbian.
  • Hidden Depths: You couldn't be blamed at first for thinking she's a flat paranoid-fundamentalist stereotype. If you read between the lines, though, it looks like she's just desperate to be liked and respected by others, and simply pursued that end in horribly wrongheaded ways because of her mental instability. Season 2 shows that she might be self-aware enough to realize this and course-correct. Season 3 delves into her harsh upbringing, developing her further as a person, and she's shown to be a friendly nice person underneath that.
  • Holier Than Thou: Despite being a crazy, meth-addicted killer Pennsatucky looks down on the other inmates who she doesn't consider sufficiently holy.
  • Honor Before Reason: In Season 5, she shoots off Leeann's finger and lets Coates escape. The inmates put her on trial, and Boo miraculously convinces the jury to let Penn go. Despite this, Penn decides to repeatedly proclaim her guilt, resulting in her getting locked in the porta potty for a good portion of the season.
  • Important Haircut: At the end of Season 2. It shows her commitment towards her being The Atoner.
  • Innocent Bigot: Definitely not innocent in the first season, but leaning that way in the third, if her cheerful dialogue how crack is "for coloreds — sorry, African Americans" is any indication.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Subverted, but she sees herself this way. One of the inmates even calls her out for this.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: During Season 2 she actually makes a few good points when people tell her to stop screaming and cursing with her cohorts, furiously retorting that she is expressing her frustrations in an open, healthy alternative to violence.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: The message she has received from her mother at the tender age of 10-years-old: you will get raped from time to time, just hope it will go fast. She takes this to heart, and we see her do exactly this twice when men rape her.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Finds out to have dyslexia in the final season and it's the reason why she was always struggling with academics. Sadly, this leads to her tragic death when she believes she failed her exam.
  • Messy Hair: And not in a fashionable, Unkempt Beauty way.
  • Misery Builds Character: As Boo tells her, Pennsatucky is "one of the few people made better by coming to prison."
  • Nice Girl: From season 3 onwards, she's one of the nicest characters. She even becomes sort of a "big sister" to Suzanne and is very patient around her.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: In early appearances she seems to just be an idiotic fuck-up, and she is… but that doesn't mean she isn't extremely dangerous, as Piper learns.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • She gradually develops a sincere and strong friendship with Big Boo, who's her antithesis, to the point of them being Heterosexual Life-Partners by Season 5. She also develops one with Healy, who she bonds with over their shared distrust of lesbians. In Season 4, she helps Nicky withdraw from drugs.
    • Occurs again in season six when she and Suzanne become a quasi detective duo. Pennsatucky seems to genuinely like Suzanne and she, in typical Suzanne fashion, is happy to have the company of anyone.
  • Parental Neglect: Her mother forced her to drink an entire bottle of mountain dew to make her hyperactive in front of the family social worker and thus receive more money to help with her 'problem child'.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Aside from being homophobic, she's also fairly racist. Over time though, she gets more friendly with people of color and LGBT inmates, shedding this.
  • The Power of Hate: Pennsatucky initially embodied this trope, hating everyone, especially queer people and people of different races.
  • Rape as Drama: She has suffered at least two rapes at the hands of men that we know of.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: During her brief time on the run in season 6 she puts on a very convincing disguise as a young boy.
  • Sweet Tooth: Pennsatucky is revealed to adore Mountain Dew and Double Fudge Chocolate ice cream, which her mother stuffed her with. She's also shown accepting candy in return for sexual favours.
  • The Talk: When she got her first period at age 10, she was completely unaware of what was happening to her, as (not believing that a girl that young could begin to menstruate) her mother had not told her anything. She thought she was dying. After getting over her initial shock, her mother explains that she's not dying, this is a normal process...and also that boys only want one thing, and will stop at nothing to get it, and she'll just have to take it and hope it goes quickly because that's normal too. Pennsatucky is raped at least twice in her life.
  • This Means War!: When Piper turns down a baptism (in a dirty sink) as a way to make peace, Pennsatucky matter-of-factly states, "That's it. She disrespected me. Now I've gotta kill her."
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In Season 2, particularly the latter half. She joins Healy in an effort to be calmer, more positive, and less bigoted. She's even better in Season 3, where she may be one of the prison's nicer inmates at that point.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: In the final season, she'd have gotten a happy ending if she'd just waited for her GED test results to come back instead of assuming she failed.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Downplayed and for a certain value of 'good'; Pennsatucky regularly gets fan-mail and had a throng of pro-life extremists at her trial because she murdered an abortion clinic doctor (though not for the reasons they think she did). Note that her admirers are hardly pillars of society. Even Pennsatucky is a little off-put by their "fire and blood"-esque ravings.
  • Villainous Friendship: With Healy, though their friendship strengthens when they both become less villainous.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In one of her more humanizing moments, Pennsatucky gives a fairly understated What the Hell, Hero? to Piper after her gas-lighting and the subsequent torment she underwent.
    Do you realize that you almost ruined my life? I mean, do you? You made the Almighty God into a joke, and a joke ain't nothing to me. A joke didn't write me letters up in here, and a joke didn't give me hope so I could do my time and make something out of it.


Lorna Morello
"It's like the less time you got, the slower it goes."
Played By: Yael Stone

A hyperfeminine and often racist Italian-American inmate, still hopefully planning for a wedding whose fruition is mocked by her fellow inmate, friend, and casual sex partner, Nicky Nichols. She speaks with a strong accent that inexplicably mixes regional features from both New York City and Boston.

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Invoked. She sees Toy Story as a movie about a cowboy who's king of the castle, but then an astronaut comes in and tries to take over, so the cowboy tries to murder him, but then the astronaut is taken hostage by an evil psychopath, so the cowboy has to rescue him, then they become really good friends. Rosa eventually breaks the stunned silence with, "You've got one fucked-up perspective on the world, kid."
  • Ambiguous Situation: It's unclear if she's serving time for fraud, or her more serious crime of stalking and attempted murder. She's shown being prosecuted for her crimes against Christopher and his fiancée, but the inmates refer to her fraud charges more often. Given that she's in minimum security, it's more likely she was convicted on fraud charges.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Believes this, and after reaming Vinnie out because she believed he was cheating on her, tells the other inmates that they're going to start trying for a baby. In fact, when she discovers that she is in fact pregnant, Nicky and Vinnie attribute it as Lorna hallucinating to invoke this trope. At least, until 12 pregnancy tests prove her right.
  • Basement-Dweller: Before going to prison, she was living at her parents' home.
    • Justified in that Lorna is Italian and it's common in Italian culture for people to live with their parents until they get married and begin living with their spouse in their own house.
  • Berserk Button: Season 5 has hers being called crazy or insane.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Morello seems to be the sweetest inmate, but she's in prison for extremely serious crimes and is dangerously delusional.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Initially she appears to be just a ditzy fashion-lover, but she's revealed to be a much, much darker example when it turns out that she was totally delusional about her relationship with Christopher, trying to kill both him and his fiancee with a car bomb.
  • Con Artist: Gets her pen-pals in Season 3 to put money in her commissary account, and gets Vinnie to beat up Christopher by telling him that he's been writing her creepy letters.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: She turns up to really be pregnant in season 5.
  • The Cutie: Is sweet and friendly to everyone, holds idealistic views about love and marriage, has a cute face, cute fashion sense, petite body and a voice of a cartoon animal. It's only when we learn about her back-story, we find out she is also…
  • Cute and Psycho: …a delusional stalker who's tried to kill her "fiancé"'s real girlfriend. Discussed in-universe by a couple of Spanish inmates in Season 5.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Morello seems to avert this at first; she's engaged to be married to Christopher, and was sent to prison for the relatively harmless crime of running a mail-order scam. But as we eventually find out, Morello is dangerously delusional, and she was never in a relationship with Christopher to begin with. They went on one date, and after he broke things off, she began relentlessly stalking him, culminating in her attempted to murder him and his fiancee with a bomb.
  • The Ditz: There are in fact only two Boras in the locale Bora Bora, but Morello is not the sharpest screwdriver on the wall.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: To Vinnie in Season 3.
  • Friends with Benefits: With Nicky, though Morello later cuts off the benefits.
  • Heel Realization: Eventually is forced to accept the fact that she is legitimately delusional.
  • Hypocrite: She's fairly racist and one time rants about how Mexicans come to America and "steal our jobs" …only her accent and view of the USA suggest she or her family are quite recent immigrant themselves.
  • Here We Go Again!: After getting over Christopher and moving onto Vinnie, she once again starts having violent delusions. This time it's about Vinnie cheating on her with her sister just because they hung out like she asked and they didn't seem to hate it, while at the same time maintaining a delusion that she and Vinnie are planning to have a baby, despite the two never talking about it and not being allowed conjugal visits. It turns out that she really is pregnant, due to their one time together, which the guards allowed as this was their wedding night.
  • Humiliation Conga: Her arc in Season 7 is either this or Karma Houdini Warranty. It starts Lorna finding out from Vinnie that their child died of pneumonia, which causes her to smash through her Despair Event Horizon. After that she convinces herself that their baby is still alive and that Vinnie has kidnapped him, prompting him to get a divorce. Shes continues to deny what happened, lashing out at inmates and COs, and ultimately gets transferred to Florida.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Although Lorna has a very screwed up idea of what love is, this is also true of her.
  • In Love with Love: One can get the impression that Lorna cares more for the idea of Christopher and marriage than the reality of both. It's entirely right.
  • In-Universe Nickname: The Hispanic girls call her Lorna la Loca after Christopher reveals her delusional disorder during the visit. The nickname sticks, and she hates it.
  • Karma Houdini: Morello is this several times over. First, the fact that she is in a minimum security prison means that she was likely convicted of mail fraud, and skated on the much more serious crime of attempted murder that she stood trial for. She also manages to avoid any repercussions for escaping prison, breaking into the home of the man she stalked and the woman she tried to kill, and stealing or destroying several of their possessions. And as of the end of season three, she has not faced any consequences for arranging to have the same stalking victim violently beaten by several men, falsely claiming that he was writing her offensive letters. She also gets to fulfill her marriage fantasy with the man she deceived into assaulting Christopher.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Her Humiliation Conga in Season 7 could also be considered this
  • Large Ham: During the Nativity Play, as Mary.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Dates several men through a pen-pal service.
  • Mad Bomber: Put under her stalkee's fiancée's car.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: In the prison shower and chapel with Nicky, and later in the visitor's room (against a vending machine, no less!) with Vinnie. Justified because, well, she's in prison. The guards look the other way when she has sex with Vinnie, but only because it's their wedding night, and they've made an allowance for it just this once.
  • Manipulative Bitch: She sends her boyfriend to beat a man who's been sending her sexually harassing messages. At first we can think she's referring to a creep that has visited her earlier and fits the description, but it turns out to be yes, you guessed it, Christopher. Vince had no idea he attacked an innocent man, much less that is was his girlfriend earlier stalkee whose car she'd bombed. Then again, it's unclear if it was calculation or the product of a next delusion from Lorna's side.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: At first, she looks like sexy comic relief with a funny accent. But then there's the scene in which she goes to Christopher's house while he's out, and takes a bath wearing his fiancée's wedding veil. Yes, it's horrifying as it sounds.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: During, a phone call with her sister, wherein it is revealed that her "fiancé" Christopher is getting married to another woman nearby, her usually sweet, high-pitched, and chipper voice drops into a harsh, lower register as she threatens to choke her romantic rival. What makes the situation even more serious is that it's likely a psychotic episode brought on by Christopher's marriage, considering she is in fact a dangerous and highly delusional stalker, and was never married to Christopher-or even dating him—in the first place. Also after Nicky is sent to Max. While previously cheerful, well-groomed, and well-made up all series, she completely forgoes all makeup and hair care for a few episodes after Nicky is sent away because she can't stop crying. It's a testament to how much Nicky meant to her and how utterly dismayed she is that she's gone.
  • Opposites Attract: Aside from both being goofy, on paper she and Nicky have next to nothing in common. Their upbringings and world views clash in almost every way.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Despite being one of the most genuinely sweet people in the prison, she is pretty casually racist and only seems to interact with other white inmates. She does have very sweet moments with Suzanne (black) and Rosa (Latina), though.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: While her idealism about romance and sometimes child-like attitude seem like just personal quirks in S1, S2 makes apparent, that Lorna is in some aspects mentally stunted at being a teenage girl capable of going to a very, very extreme lengths to land herself a fairy-tale prince.
  • Raised Catholic: She grew up in a traditional Italian-American family, and was raised in the faith. She still wears a cross necklace, though she doesn't seem to be currently practicing.
  • Reality Ensues: See Making Love in All the Wrong Places. Lorna ends up pregnant from her tryst with Vinnie in the prison lobby.
  • Reluctant Psycho: When Christopher visits the prison to tell her that he'll kill her if she ever comes near his family again, she admits to Nicky that there is something really wrong with her.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Christopher comes to see her in prison and furiously calls her out on her stalking behavior, she is distraught and berates herself for Loving a Shadow. While she is correct in saying he's not the man she thought he was, she says so because she believes that he cruelly yelled at her for no reason, not because he's frustrated that she stalked and harassed him for months/years, tried to kill his real fiancée in the past, and broke into his house and vandalized his and his new bride's stuff from prison. Justified in that she is certifiably delusional regarding their relationship, but still.
  • Seemingly-Wholesome '50s Girl: Invoked; Morello's lipstick and hairstyle call to mind the Fifties, but (unfortunately) so do her attitudes towards other races (thanks to West Side Story, of which she is enamored).
  • Situational Sexuality: She's ostensibly straight, and is consumed with fantasies about a fairy tale relationship that culminates in a perfect handsome husband with a litter of children around her ankles in a suburban paradise. She's also has sex with Nicky while in prison initially, though she breaks it off in time.
  • Stalker with a Crush: It turns out this is the extent of her relationship with Christopher. They went on one date, and she started stalking him and, eventually getting sent to jail for planting a bomb under his actual fiancée's car.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The sweet, cheerful, always dolled up Girly Girl to Nicky's loudmouthed, snarky Tomboy.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: When she was making her First Communion (so about 7-8 years old), she refused to consume the Communion wafer because it was bread, and she was concerned that bread would make her fat.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In Season 5, she convinces Suzanne and all the other inmates that their psychological problems can be handled by the brain and willpower, and refuses to give any of them their medications. We don't see how this effects the population at large, but Suzanne starts freaking out more and more the longer she's off her meds. Of course, Lorna is mentally ill too, so how much she can be held responsible for those actions is up for a discussion.
  • White-Collar Crime: Morello scammed mail-order companies (but it's possible that she didn't even get caught on it, as she was also tried for setting a bomb under someone's car).
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Or the closest she can get in prison, believing her fiancé will stick around despite him having only visited her once. However, in reality, she was never engaged at all and is actually a crazy stalker.
  • Yandere: A scary but still tragic one.

    Big Boo 

Carrie "Big Boo" Black
"Ain't no party like a Big Boo party."
Played By: Lea DeLaria

A prison inmate and lesbian, she has had several "wives" during her incarceration.

  • Age-Gap Romance: All of her lovers and girls in who she is interested in appear to be much younger and conventionally hotter than her.
  • Back for the Finale: Briefly appears in the finale but has only one line.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: In Season 5, after all the guards and staff have been taken hostage during the riot, Big Boo swipes Caputo's three piece suit for most of the season and utterly rocks It. Is. Glorious.
  • Berserk Button: Anyone, anyone criticizing her looks. She manages to fake being a newborn christian in front of a homophobic reverend, up to the point where he asks her to hide her "Butch" tattoo.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: While feeding Little Boo some peanut butter, she gets the idea to have the dog lick it off more... intimate areas offscreen. Either she had a moment of What Have I Done, or Little Boo was taken away from her. All she says about it is "It got weird."
  • Butch Lesbian: She even refers to herself as a 'diesel dyke'.
  • Chewbacca Defense: See below in Insane Troll Logic.
  • Dating Catwoman: Or rather, sleeping with Linda from MCC.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Of a legendary kind. Not really a surprise; her actress Lea DeLaria is a famously snarky comic.
  • Demoted to Extra: She only has one appearance in season 6 to show where Linda ended up with the prisoners splitting up after the riot.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She cannot bring herself to carry out the plan to rape Coates in revenge for Pennsatucky, despite being the one who came up with that plan.
    Boo: I have done some questionable things in my life, but the foreign-object-ass-rape of a drugged man is one I have yet to cross off my list!
  • Everything's Precious with Puppies: Her dog, Little Boo, whose arrival marked a softening in Big Boo's attitude.
  • Fat Bastard: Played with. At first, Boo seems like a straight example, backstabbing and snitching on her friends, but Boo eventually reveals herself to be kinder than that.
  • Has a Type: Boo seems to like "femme" lesbians from what we've seen.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Averted. Boo is an atheist because she lacked a religious upbringing, and she claims to have "seen nothing" when she electrocuted herself as a teenager.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Subverted. After lots of talk about how Boo messed with one of her girlfriends on their last day to keep her in and a significant shot of Boo holding the missing screwdriver with a wicked gleam in her eyes on the day Mercy is released, one of the last shots of the episode is Boo... masturbating with the screwdriver.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: In Season 4, she makes it clear to Donuts that if he ever hurts Pennsatucky again, she will make him regret it.
  • Insane Troll Logic: She uses this to win Pensatucky's trial in Season 5. She trolls the witness and the jury with an absurd Saved by the Bell reference.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Telling Tricia that Mercy would dump her as soon as the latter gets out of prison turns out to be right.
    • Telling Penn that she was in no position to raise healthy children.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She is capable of many dishonorable deeds, including snitching on her friends and messing with someone's release date, but looks out for those she cares about and is furious when she learns that Pennsatucky has been raped by a guard.
  • Kavorka Man: One of the rare female examples. She is not exactly beautiful or particularly nice to people, but in her who-can-screw-the-most-women competition with Nicky, she manages to tie her for points. Also notable are the two very attractive women she is shown with in her "flashback" episodes.
  • Odd Friendship: With Pennsatucky of all people. Big Boo is a hedonistic Butch Lesbian who delights in her sardonic sense of humor, while Pennsatucky is a Holier Than Thou militant fundamentalist. They nevertheless begin a genuine friendship although neither silence their contrasting opinions and personalities.
  • Pet the Dog: Her entire friendship with Pennsatucky is this, particularly after she Pennsatucky is raped and Big Boo goes into full Mama Bear mode.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Boo seems to be a proponent of this. While she'll attack people based on personal vendettas, she's able to reel it in or scheme if she senses a roadblock.
  • Put on a Bus: Quite literally at the end of season 5. She only appears briefly in season 6 in FCC Cleveland, confirming that she was transferred to Ohio with several other Litchfield inmates post-riot.
  • Raised Catholic: She was, although her sexuality turns her against it very fast.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A nonfatal example. She sells out Red's contraband pipeline to Vee in Season 2, assuming she'll get a piece of the pie. Vee tells her she "doesn't like snitches" and leaves her in the cold.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Boo is educated and snarky, and seems to have little patience for the shenanigans from the other inmates, unless she finds them amusing.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: She wears a white wifebeater the vast majority of the time.
  • Tattooed Crook: She is plastered with visible tattoos.
  • Tomboyness Upgrade: Flashbacks as a teenager shows her as an Unwillingly Girly Tomboy to please her mother, though her father knows about her true masculine ways. After her mother's death, she always keeps her butch appearance because she doesn't need to pretend anymore.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: She appears to have a particular fondness for salted corn on the cob, even going so far as to smuggle corn and salt shakers out of the mess hall.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Pennsatucky in the third season. They constantly say to each other things which would be offensive in any other context, but they have each other's backs.

Black Inmates


Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren
"I am not crazy. I am unique."
Played By: Uzo Aduba

"Sometimes people just don't want to play with you, and that's okay."

A mentally unstable inmate who develops an obsession with Piper. Suzanne is a lesbian who, according to Healy, has been a problem in the past, with a violent history.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Portrayed as this to Piper in the earliest episodes of the show, before her character became more developed.
  • Accidental Murder: The reason Suzanne is in jail: she tried to make friends with a little kid and took him back to her house, but when she wouldn't let the kid leave, he got scared, ran out on the fire escape, and fell to his death.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Suzanne is clearly meant to be mentally ill, but no specific disorders have been mentioned (though she does have some symptoms of schizophrenia and some impulse control disorders). This show is also one few cases where this trope is very much not Played for Laughs.
  • Beauty Inversion: With her creepy stare and wild haircut, Crazy Eyes is seen within the show as one of the most terrifying-appearing characters. This is what Uzo Aduba actually looks like in real life.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Vee is able to manipulate Suzanne to such a high degree basically because she was the first person to treat her with kindness and respect in the prison.
  • Butch Lesbian: She's a lesbian, and she has a distinctly masculine aspect about her. She's definitely not in the least bit feminine.
  • Character Tic: As seen in her page image, she has a habit of making the old "two eyes" gesture at random moments, as if to say "I've got my eye on you". She finally explains it to Piper in "Fool Me Once": it's her way of signaling to the guards that she has her behavior under control, and that she doesn't need to be sent to the psych ward (as she has been many times before). Suzanne also has a habit of hitting herself in the head when she gets agitated or feels that she has messed up somehow.
  • Characterization Marches On: She was introduced as a predatory lesbian who had had a number of prison wives in the past (to be fair, that description came from Healy), who behaved decidedly sexually around Piper, and not only there. Her orientation isn't brought up at all in the second season and in the third we learn that Suzanne is actually a virgin and thus is anxious about having sex when a (very) willing would-be prison wife appears.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Justified, she is a Mood-Swinger and often acts like a child, because she suffers some kind of mental disorder.
  • Creepy Good: She is friendly and well-meaning, but so weird that Piper is fully excused for being scared of her. Unfortunately, Suzanne is also vulnerable to bad influence, so the "good" part is less accurate in the Season Two.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Suzanne often tries to express what's really going on to people, but she really can't communicate well.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Suzanne has struggled with mental illness ever since she was a child, and she was treated like an outcast by nearly every child her own age that she ever met. Her adoptive parents, while loving, seemed to be in denial over the fact that their daughter may have had special needs.
  • The Dragon: To Vee in season 2.
  • Dumb Muscle: Suzanne considers herself this for Vee.
    Suzanne: She's the brains. I'm the muscle.
  • Excrement Statement: One of her earliest character-defining moments involved her casually urinating on Piper's bunk floor shortly after Piper had turned down her advances. Although in this case, it's ambiguous whether she meant it as an insult or as just another sign of affection.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After she comes under Vee's influence, she replaces her Bantu knots with similar braids.
  • Friend to All Children: As an adult, her fun and energetic nature made her likable with children, though it helps that Suzanne has something of a child's mentality, herself.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: While her exact disorder is not defined, it leaves her with a low tolerance for frustration.
  • Happily Adopted: Subverted. Her Caucasian parents are shown to be loving and supportive if a little overbearing. Hovever, their constant encouragement to do great left a violently repressed resentment from the extreme pressure given her, and it's also implied that they were in denial about Suzanne being different from the other kids, as exemplified when a mother of Suzanne's younger sister friend protested about the ten-years-old Suzanne being brought to a party for six-year-olds. While Suzanne's adoptive mother did defend her daughter to another mother, it's clear that the other woman wasn't objecting to Suzanne being black, but instead reasonably suggesting that a girl who had hit puberty didn't belong at a sleepover for 6-year-olds. Perhaps Suzanne's parents overcompensated for the fear of their daughter being rejected for her skin color, while neglecting other aspects of raising a healthy child, such as encouraging her to have friends of her own age. There's also the fact that they seemed to delegate their parenting responsibilities towards Susanne onto their younger daughter once she reached adulthood, ignoring that Susanne, while capable of holding down a job required more supervision and care than a 22 year old could provide her.
  • Hidden Depths: Apparently has a deep appreciation of Shakespeare (she's read Coriolanus and Measure for Measure), she's been shown writing poetry, and she's likely taken some ballet classes, shown in her (Played for Laughs) talent show audition. The episode "Tall Men with Feelings" deconstructs her rather comedic role in the show so far, as she talks about how horrible the conditions in the psych ward are, how angry she gets about her own lack of self control, and how much it confuses and hurts her that people call her "Crazy Eyes". Basically, she is legitimately mentally ill and needs help, not prison. This is, unfortunately, Truth in Television for the American prison system today. This Frontline documentary is, at the date of editing, 10 years old, but no less true today than it was then. The video still works, despite site appearances.
  • Insane Equals Violent: She hallucinates, is sometimes delusional, and can be very violent; she's in prison for accidentally killing a child.
  • In-Series Nickname: In the early seasons, she was almost always referred to as "Crazy Eyes." Following widespread complaints from fans and disability advocacy groups that the nickname was offensive, however, this was dropped at the start of Season 4.
  • Large Ham: Especially when declaring Shakespeare to a tour group of young delinquents. But her gestures and expression are generally very dramatic and once she even managed to pee on the floor in a hammy way.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Surprisingly, her (white adoptive) parents seem to be quite wealthy and she had no friends except her sister.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Her (platonic) love for Vee and her romantic love for Piper makes her act even more impulsively and cruelly in the beginning.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: She starts writing a fanfic-style saga about sex and aliens. It becomes wildly popular, eventually leading to an In-Universe Why Fandom Can't Have Nice Things.
  • My Beloved Smother: Her mother is this to her.
  • Noodle Incident: Played with. She mentions a traumatic violent episode with her neighbor, never touching on it again, but giving further credit to her instability. However, this is implied to be the Accidental Murder that landed her in prison.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: She's capable of violent emotional outbursts. In defense of Vee, she beat Poussey down, nearly breaking her ribs. When provoked in a high stress situation, she also beat Kukudio to a pulp.
  • Oedipus Complex: Gender-flipped. She is very attracted to Piper but later, when she hallucinates about her mother, she believes that Piper is her mother. They look somewhat similar and behave similarly.
  • Perpetual Smiler: And her smile looks positively psychotic, if not quite a Slasher Smile.
  • Scary Black Woman: Played with. At first, she's a straight example, then it becomes clear she has many layers and a surprisingly soft side, but she's still scary because she can and will beat people up. Then it becomes clearer that her 'scariness' is more a matter of perspective.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Is her name spelled "Suzanne" or "Susanne"? Both tend to be used interchangeably.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: As shown when Piper uses her to deflect unwanted attention. She quickly starts shouting that Piper is her wife.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Toward Piper, who she locks onto pretty quickly. Gets one to herself in season 3, when her erotic fiction takes off.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: A tragic example. As of Season 2 under Vee's "parenting", Crazy Eyes has gone from mentally unstable but well meaning to actively malicious. While somewhat unhinged, Crazy Eyes wasn't particularly violent in Season 1. Once she becomes Vee's enforcer, she starts to physically beat and humiliate the people Vee sics her on. Of course, this is all under Vee's influence and manipulations.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After her character got more developed and she breaks free of Vee's influence after Vee's death, it's clear by Season 3 onwards that she wants to do the right thing, although she's still very easy to manipulate.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Vee acted as a friend and motherly figure, but to her, Suzanne was decidedly a pawn to be used and thrown away when necessary.
  • Womanchild: Rogers describes her thought-process as similar to a child's, as she responds to positive and negative reinforcements in a similarly infantile fashion.
  • Yandere: A pretty unhinged case, obsessing with Piper to the point of following her everywhere and acting cruelly when spurned. She gets over it after a while however.


Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson
"The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean place."
Played By: Danielle Brooks

"So there I am, topless, sitting in this bulldozer in like a construction site. BBQ sauce all over my titties, and I'm like, “What the fuck… again?"

An inmate and the black representative on the WAC, she works in the prison library and sports a weave made of blond hair given to her by Piper.

  • Acrofatic: Despite her larger body type, she does an impressive splits in Season 2's "You Also Have A Pizza."
  • Badass Bookworm: Taystee becomes especially badass in Season 5 after Poussey's death, and she loves books.
  • Best Served Cold: Rather than take personal revenge on Cindy for lying that she killed Piscatella, Taystee opts to do perhaps something even worse by informing Cindy's daughter of the truth about her parentage, destroying any chance of going back to her old life after getting paroled.
  • Big Fun: She is big, fat, energetic and always ready to goof around.
  • Black and Nerdy: She works in the prison's library (which she can navigate perfectly) and is very protective of Harry Potter books. It's also implied that she read Ulysses (or tried to, at least). Season 2 flashbacks show she is incredibly talented at calculating business transactions on the spot in her head.
  • Broken Bird: After Poussey's death.
  • Burger Fool: In a flashback Season 2, we see she held a fast food job in the past.
  • Character Development: From a goofy Big Fun, to crack-selling "Well Done Daughter" Girl, to the care-taker and informal leader of her group. By Season 5, her work during the riot to see justice for Poussey's death and better conditions provided for all inmates has led her to become a natural leader and one of the few leader figures in prison to operate on noble causes.
  • Chronic Villainy: Shortly after being given early release, she returns to prison towards the end of Season 1 because she found civilian life miserable and extremely difficult to survive in.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Often tries to be this to Suzanne, but any of the black girls can take this role.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Taystee was trapped in the foster-care system until she was 10, and she got pulled into drug-dealing by her manipulative surrogate mother figure Vee. When she's briefly released in Season 1, it becomes clear that Vee is the closest thing in the world that she has to family.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She can be pretty sarcastic, and her and Poussey's take-down of 'white people politics' is a masterpiece.
  • Driven to Suicide: In Season 7 firstly as the result of finding out that the courts don't even consider her appeal to be worth hearing, and then later on after the one ray of hope that she does get — Suzanne's testimony — is dashed after her lawyer tells her that any remotely competent prosecutor would utterly destroy any credibility that Suzanne would have as a witness. However, on the first occasion she loses her nerve and is unable to go through with it, and the second time she ends up finding Pennsatucky's own body first, distracting her long enough for other events to eventually restore her will to live.
  • Foil: To Piper. They're the first two characters we see, and their backstories end up being almost mirror images of each other. Piper grows up privileged and lets Alex drag her into the drug trade so she can have a wild, adventurous life; Tasha grows up poor and lets Vee drag her into the drug trade because Vee's "family" promises her a stable domestic life.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Poussey. Well, on Taystee's part.
  • The Heart: In Season 5, she consistently brings up Poussey and that everything they do should be to honor her.
  • Heartbroken Badass: After Poussey's death in Season 5, Taystee goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge solely to honor her.
  • Hidden Depths: She's a lot smarter than her attitude makes her appear. Several characters note she's become an informal legal expert and counsel to the other prisoners. Subverted when she's paroled, as she has no idea how to use these valuable skills on the outside.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Taystee is straight, which means she can't reciprocate her best friend Poussey's feelings.
  • Important Haircut:
    • She styles her distinctive bouncy mane of curls into much more conservative cornrows soon after Vee reenters her life, forcing her to face some of the darker aspects of her past that she'd rather ignore.
    • In a minor example, she has her hair straightened in one episode of the third season; by Danita, showing her abandonment of Sophia.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Season 5. After getting the promise of having all of the possible demands of the prisoners met in season 5, her Revenge Before Reason streak concerning Bayley leads her to abandon the negotiations, which combined with the untimely release of the hostages by Maria leads... well, straight to hell.
    • Her penchant for revenge hits her at the worst possible moment once again in Season 7, when after discovering that Cindy hid the truth about Piscatella's death, she sends a letter to Cindy's family explaining the as-yet undisclosed situation regarding Cindy's sister actually being Cindy's daughter. This leads to Cindy leaving home shortly after the discovery. Later, Taystee is told Suzanne's testimony wouldn't be enough on its own, due to her unique mindset making it easy for a prosecutor to get any testimony from her thrown out. Due to her involvement in blowing up Cindy's family out of revenge, her lawyer is unable to make contact with Cindy to get her to provide testimony instead.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: To the point that even the guards know her only as "Taystee", and Suzanne only learns her name in the fourth season.
    Guard over PA system: Inmate Tasha Jefferson to the warden's office. aside Who is Tasha Jefferson? Oh, Taystee! Taystee, go to the warden's office!
    Suzanne: Your name's Tasha?
  • Only Sane Woman:
    • In the third season. Between: Poussey descending into alcoholism, hunting squa-coons (yes), crying over smutty novel and joining a cult; Suzanne becoming a prison-famous writer because of creating said novel, dealing badly with Vee's disappearance and generally being, well, Suzanne; and Cindy and Watson antagonizing other prisoners and being as unhelpful as usual, Taystee raises to the Team Mom of her group.
    • In the fifth season, too. Although she does participate in the riot, she remembers Poussey and makes sure she is remembered throughout.
  • Revenge Before Reason: In the riot and in Season 7, when she gets Cindy kicked out of home, which means she can't get the testimony she desperately needs.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: Taystee is heterosexual and doesn't have any interest in being 'gay for the stay', but she still declares her love for Poussey and lists being with her as one of the reasons she wanted to go back to prison in the first season.
  • Sad Clown: Miss Claudette points out that she uses humor to make everyone miss how concerned she is about life outside of prison.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Arguably the sassiest in a prison with no shortage of such characters.
  • The Scapegoat: Ends up taking the fall for Piscatella’s death thanks to CERT setting up the prisoners, with the first episode of Season 7 establishing that she was sentenced to life without parole. Somewhat unusually, this is a case of her being scapegoated for something that she's only indirectly responsible for rather than completely innocent of, as things would never have gotten to the point where Piscatella got killed if she hadn't blown off the state's offer on the grounds that it didn't include a guarantee that Bayley would be jailed for his part in Poussey's death.
  • Team Mom: Reluctantly takes this role in Season 3, though she doesn't realize it until near the end.
  • Theme Naming: With Poussey. Jefferson and Washington.
  • Those Two Girls: Never far away from Poussey.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Poussey.
  • "Well Done, Daughter!" Girl: Her relationship with Vee, and Miss Claudette susses this as a common pattern for Taystee.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gives one to Caputo when she finds out that he hasn't called the morgue to remove Poussey's body from the cafeteria floor, or the police to begin any sort of investigation, or even Poussey's father to notify him of her death.


Poussey Washington
"My name is Poussey. Accent à droite, bitch."
Played By: Samira Wiley

"We all in here because we took a wrong turn going to church!"

A prison inmate, she has been in prison for two years at the start of the series and has four years left. Poussey is a good-natured jokester and is often seen with her best friend "Taystee" (whom she helps out in the library).

  • Accidental Murder: The poorly-trained Bayley accidentally kills her as he tries to fight off a manic Suzanne.
  • The Alcoholic: Begins to slip into this in Series 3 after all the books in the library are burned, leaving her with little else to do as her feelings of isolation whilst incarcerated catch up with her.
  • Bald Woman: She keeps her hair cut extremely short. In flashbacks she has a short mohawk.
  • Bookworm: She spends a significant amount of time in the library. After her death, the inmates created an art installation out of books in her honor.
  • Bury Your Gays: After the events of season 4.
  • Butch Lesbian: Downplayed. Poussey is a lesbian and her looks — even by prison standards — and mannerisms are conventionally unfeminine, but she still appears rather androgynous than butch and apparently doesn't identify as a latter.
  • Cant Get Away With Nothing: Poussey's attempt to calm Suzanne down during Season 4's protest gets her killed.
  • The Cassandra: In season 2, she realises early on what a horrible person Vee is, and spends much of the season trying and failing to convince the others. Even when Taystee gets kicked out of the group, she blames Poussey (whose actions got her kicked out by proxy) rather than Vee.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: While growing up as an Army brat, Poussey fell in love with a German girl at the military base where her father was stationed, but was forced to leave her against her will when her father was transferred. It was heavily implied that her girlfriend's homophobic father tried to have her "reeducated" to stamp out her homosexuality.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Her backstory is explored in You Also Have a Pizza.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually more playful snark than the deadpan kind but she has her moments.
    Flaca: "I use my time very efficiently. I'm almost never late."
    Poussey: "She was late today."
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Both in present day and in her flashback. Often leads her to confront her problems violently.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Poussey tried to befriend Vee, for Taystee's sake, but gave up when she found out about the heroin.
    • Leaves Norma's cult due to their needless bullying of Soso.
  • Gargle Blaster: She makes toilet hooch for fun that's described tasting like "Kool-Aid, ketchup, old fruit, and mouldy bread."
  • Go Out with a Smile: While her death itself was a frightening moment, the season closes with a flashback of her life outside the prison. The last shot we see of her character is her looking directly into the camera and smiling.
  • Hidden Depths: Among other things, she speaks fluent German.
  • Incompatible Orientation: She is revealed to have romantic feelings for Taystee, who is straight.
    • Downplayed between her and Brook. While the two have a close relationship, Brook is reluctant to reciprocate sexually, still conflicted about her orientation. However this doesn't stop them from being together and even confessing their love to each other.
  • It Is Pronounced Tropay: She's very insistent that her name is not pronounced 'pussy.' Accent à droite, bitch! Despite this very quotable line, she does not spell it "Poussé"...and the town in France after which she is named is Poussay. Who knows.
  • Just Friends: Accused by both Vee and Nicky of this trope being Poussey's end in her relationship with Taystee, but it's not really accurate, as she's genuinely her friend. Although the assumption that Poussey has a crush on Taystee is still correct.
  • Kill the Cutie: To such a degree that after her death all of the inmates seem a little upset and even MCC workers whine how they cannot paint her as a violent criminal, as even her prison photo looks adorable.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: More like a pretty teenage boy than a butch dude, but her hairstyle, boyish figure and behavior and no make-up result in this.
  • The Lost Lenore: To Soso after the events of season 4.
  • MacGyvering: Poussey's standup-pee apparatus, which she decides to call "The Stand and Deliver."
  • Military Brat: Her father was a high-ranking military officer.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Her mother died while she was in prison.
  • Nice Girl: Goes out of her way to help to organize Mother's Day party, tries to defend Soso from being bullied by the fellow cult members and is civil to Suzanne, considering what went between them in the second season.
  • Only Sane Woman: The only one in her group to realize Vee's true nature in the second season. She also becomes this among the Norma's cult's members (admittedly the standards of sanity weren't very high here), noticing their growing fanaticism and calling them out on bullying Soso.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Seems to have accepted the implications of Incompatible Orientation by the third season, but is still not fond of the concept. When Taystee declares that whatever future awaits for them outside of prison, she'll be there for Poussey, the latter declares that it's not enough.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Her death is an accident, but it shows how out of control the situation in Litchfield has become.
  • Tempting Fate: Towards the end of season four, she starts making plans about what to do when she gets out of prison, asking Judy King for a job and planning her relationship with Brook. Naturally, she dies at the end of the episode.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In the aftermath of her beatdown, Poussey stands up to Vee. "You're like a pedophile without the sex."
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship: With Taystee. More romantic from Poussey's side.
  • Schoolgirl Lesbians: In her teenage years, as shown in flashbacks.
  • Theme Naming: Same as Taystee.
  • Those Two Girls: With Taystee, then while she was out, with Black Cindy.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Downplayed. She may have been in prison for a reason, but it was not a violent offense. Plus she was the friendliest inmate- kind to everyone. Yet she dies young in prison- and not as a direct result of anything wrong she did.
  • Too Happy to Live: As much as you can get in prison. She gets a girlfriend, meets her favorite celebrity, makes plans to work for her when she gets out, and then dies.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Taystee, though the two really are close.

    Black Cindy 

Cindy "Black Cindy" Hayes/Tova
"Bitch! If grateful paid the bills we'd all be Bill Gates."
Played By: Adrienne C. Moore

  • Abusive Parents: Her father was a fundamentalist Christian who instilled the fear of God into Cindy for taking a single bite out of her dinner during evening prayers.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Of all the girls who didn't know the difference between their 'pee hole' and 'main coochie hole', her case is the most glaring, because she's given birth.
  • Becoming the Mask: Claims that she is Jewish in order to obtain the higher quality kosher dinners at meal time. However, she finds that she actually likes the faith, and at the end of the season, converts to Judaism.
  • Big Fun: She is big, fat, loud, playful and never tired.
  • The Big Guy: She is the biggest, the loudest and most boisterous among the black girls, and unlike Taystee, who also has smarts, Cindy is getting by exclusively on those qualities.
  • The Bully: Give Cindy a little bit of power, and she'll be an asshole about it. Her behaviour as a pretend CO to the hostages in season 5 would make Mendez proud.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Sometimes to Suzanne, especially in season 5 when she tries to calm her down after the riot.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: For as obnoxious, self absorbed and pushy as she is, there's probably only one instance in either season where it isn't Played for Laughs. This is largely what keeps her from coming off as antagonistic as the likes of Pennsatucky or Mendez.
  • Converting for Love: ...of food. At least initially, after she discovers that kosher meals are much better than the slop being served in prison. Though after studying up on Judaism, she seems to really take to it.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Her daughter is being raised by Cindy's mother and thinks she's Cindy's little sister.
  • Fat Bastard: Especially in Season 5 and 6, when she pretends to be a CO for the guards, and backstabs Taystee.
  • Fountain of Memes: In-Universe. Between being in a staged May–December Romance with Judy King, and sipping on a latte in the background during a video of Caputo's forced statement, she's gained quite an internet following/meme status.
  • Greedy Jew: Although she is greedy before her conversion to Judaism, too.
  • Hidden Depths: Remembers enough of her religious education to help Piper interpret Pennsatucky's threat at the end of season 1.
  • Hypocrite: For all her frequent bringing up slavery when she has a conflict with white people, she buys Judy King as a slave from the neo-nazis in season 5, and continues to treat her as such. Admittedly, it's very much a Kick the Son of a Bitch case, but still.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Constantly tries to use spurious arguments related to slavery to justify her actions, which Taystee calls her out on late in season 3.
  • It's All About Me: Particularly when the prison is in danger of flooding: "If it comes down to swimming, I'm gonna save myself. I will stand on a bitch's head."
  • Jerkass: Even before going to prison, Cindy was (and is) a remarkably unpleasant person. Outside of prison, she had a legitimate job as a TSA agent that she used to sexually harass people and outright steal. In prison, she's a self-absorbed bully.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In Season Four, she and the other black inmates try to get a picture of her high-fiving Judy King. What they get is a picture of Judy fleeing in terror as Cindy chases her with an upraised hand, like she's "about to slap a bitch." Judy, for her part, thought Cindy and the picture-taker were there to beat her up for her leaked racist puppet show.
  • One Steve Limit: Averting this is why she's black Cindy in Litchfield. (White Cindy is seen briefly in the second season.)
  • Overreacting Airport Security: Her job before she went to prison.
  • Plucky Girl: The lengths she's ready to go to get herself a kosher meal are truly impressive.
  • Professional Slacker: Which Vee calls her out on.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: As part of Vee's crew. She doesn't really care about right or wrong as long as she's getting paid. She pulls a Heel–Face Turn when Vee threatens to stab her with a broken mop handle.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: A possible interpretation of her fate. She throws Taystee under the bus to save herself, but Taystee gets revenge by revealing the truth about her sister/daughter, and Cindy leaves home under a dark cloud.
  • Sad Clown: As Vee points out, Cindy is always goofing around because she's given up on more serious life accomplishments.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Cindy is outspoken and has an extremely loud and brash attitude.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of the second season, when she sees Vee's true colors.
  • Sit Com Archnemesis: To the Muslim inmate assigned to her cube, thanks to her new Jewish faith. They bond over their efforts to get a picture with Judy King.
  • Smug Snake: Particularly when she's working for Vee.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After converting to Judaism in late Season 3, she's slightly less of a self-absorbed bully than before.

Hispanic Inmates


Gloria Mendoza
"I don't trust any of you crazy bitches. You both fuckin' scorpions."
Played By: Selenis Leyva

Red's opposite number among the Hispanic and Latina inmates, though with no organized crime connections. She is a mother of four. She organizes domino games and looks out for the other inmates, either by giving advice or by performing Santeria spells (which she refers to as "Catholic plus") for them. She is often critical of Daya's inability to speak Spanish but still accepts her as one of her own.

  • Adult Fear: All of her actions in season 5 are motivated by finding out her son is in intensive care.
  • Ascended Extra: Mostly a side character in the first season, but in Season 2, she gets a flashback episode showing her background and arrest, and she has a rivalry with new inmate Vee.
  • The Conscience: She tries (and tragically fails) to play this role for Daya, and later on for Luschek as well. The latter pays off for her in the final episode, when Luschek finally does something selfless to keep Gloria from getting extra time.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Gloria was trapped in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend while raising four children. She was arrested for a food-stamp scheme just as she finally made plans to escape her boyfriend and skip town.
  • Death Glare: She has a very withering stare.
    Sophia: I think a nice faux-hawk will give that 'don't fuck with me' vibe, you know?
    Gloria: I mostly use my face for that.
  • Determinator: She is dead set on straightening her son Benito's behavior, despite the limits being in prison inflicts on her.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Although Sophia was clearly out of line with her treatment of Gloria and blaming latter's son for all what went wrong with the former's, Gloria giving her silent support to Aleida running around the prison and spreading transphobic rumor around Sophia, resulting in Sophia getting jumped on by some inmates and subsequently getting sent to SHU was even worse. She comes to realize it by the end of the season.
  • Domestic Abuse: An absolutely heartwrenching case.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: She arguably gets the happiest ending out of all of the main characters, but she has to endure several major scares and a brutally long stay in the SHU before getting to that point, not to mention the awful things she went through before even coming to prison.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Aleida. Their friendship is one of Aleida's few humanizing qualities, and Aleida asks Gloria to look after Daya when she's paroled.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: A somewhat grounded example: Gloria is a believer in Santería, which she describes as "Catholic plus"; before going to prison, selling Santería supplies and spells was part of her business (she owned a convenience store, and her aunt made the spells and sold them through her). At the end of her flashback episode, her abusive boyfriend Arturo dies a Karmic Death while trying to steal the fraud money Gloria had saved up, all while a statue of St. Anthony, who represents strength, justice, and protection, is eerily seen in the background. Other characters like Maria are skeptical towards it. Still, after she helps Norma hex Vee, Vee loses all her support, tries to escape, and gets run over by Rosa. Is it supposed to be coincidence?
  • Hypocrite: Often lectures Daya about taking responsibility for her actions and not blaming her mother for her mistakes, but almost never calls Aleida out despite Aleida causing much more harm than Daya ever did, and openly blaming everyone but Aleida for Aleida's actions.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Especially in Season 5, when she discovers that her son is in intensive care.
  • Mama Bear: She clearly adores her children, but is in no position to parent them, though she still tries hard.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Gloria's candles work a little too well in important matters.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: She begins to feel remorseful after Sophia is sent to SHU for her protection, following Aleida spreading transphobic rumors for revenge on Gloria's behalf.
  • Odd Friendship: Level-headed, responsible Gloria with selfish, irresponsible Aleida.
  • Only Sane Woman: One of the most rational and reasonable characters of the show, especially compared to the people she hangs out with.
  • Parental Substitute: She starts to become one for Daya in season 2, who she genuinely seems to like and care for. This sets off some jealousy from Aleida. She's also something of a mother figure to Flaca.
  • Parents as People: She adores her children and is very stern with them, mostly because she doesn't want them ending up like her.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Aleida's Red.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: In the kitchen. Even after she catches Gina and Norma trying to sabotage things, she keeps them because they are familiar with the area and reminds them that Red lost her domain on her own; they don't need to go down with her.
  • Spicy Latina: Downplayed, but it's clear that she is very badass and not to be messed with.
  • Supreme Chef: Much to the horror of Red and her crew, the food under her reign is delicious (by prison standards, at any rate).
  • Team Mom: Of the Latina women, she is the most reliable one and holds the most authority.
  • White-Collar Crime: She's in prison for fraud, specifically merchant-side welfare fraud (as owner of a bodega, she allowed welfare recipients to pay for alcohol and cigarettes with food stamps).


Dayanara "Daya" Diaz
Played By: Dascha Polanco

A young Puerto Rican inmate, Aleida's daughter who was responsible for looking after her sisters and brothers before and after her mother was incarcerated. She was incarcerated sometime after her mother, and didn't grow up speaking Spanish, which initially makes her scorned by the other Latina inmates.

  • A Match Made in Stockholm: Averted in that her relationship with Bennett is consensual (to the extent it can be) and not coercive.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: A milder case than most, but she has a rather full figure and feels 'not that hot' because of it, and all of the men she's been with comment how attractive they find her specifically because of it.
  • Break the Cutie: She stares off as an Unwitting Pawn in her family's crimes, but being abandoned by Bennett and everything she endures in prison makes her a much harder and meaner person.
  • Buxom Is Better: Her bust size gets a great acclaim from the men who are interested in her.
    Caesar: How come your boobs are so big when your mom's are so small?
  • Chekhov's Skill: Or lack of skill... She's the only Latina inmate who isn't fluent in Spanish. This isolates her from the rest of the group (including her mother) in earlier seasons. Though when Humphrey attempts to appeal to her by speaking Spanish, it only antagonizes her further, resulting in her Wham Line.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Daya was criminally neglected by her mother Aleida—as were all of her younger siblings—and had to spend most of her childhood with a house full of drug-dealers. Even when Aleida was busted from drug-dealing and sent to prison, she apparently barely gave a second thought to leaving her children motherless, instead accusing Daya of trying to steal her boyfriend.
  • Dating Catwoman: Well, fucking a guard in sheds and broom closets, anyway.
    Aledia: Jesus, what is it with you and guard fucking?!
  • Disappeared Dad: It's mentioned that Daya's father abandoned her when she was just two.
  • Dude Magnet: Throughout the show, Bennett, Pornstache, and Daddy fell in love with her, and she once had a relationship with her mother's boyfriend.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: She was already a Dude Magnet, and in season 6 even a woman falls for her from the moment they first meet.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: She ends up shooting a C.O. and running the riot. In Season 7, it now extends to taking over D Block after Daddy's death.
  • Give Her A Normal Life: She wants to put her baby up for adoption so she'll have a better life than Daya or her siblings had, but Aleida ultimately talks her out of it. She doubles down on this in Season 5, when she decides to bow out of her daughter's life to go to Max.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted. Shortly after finding out that she's pregnant, she asks Gloria to use her Santería to make her an abortion potion. It makes her so sick she vomits for days, but it turns out to be a trick by Gloria and Aleida to teach her a lesson, and she resigns to keep the baby.
  • Honey Trap: Daya turns herself into one for Pornstache, so Bennett won't get in trouble for knocking up an inmate.
  • Heritage Disconnect: She gets mocked for being a Latina who can't speak Spanish.
  • Honor Before Reason: Daya pressures Bennett to come forward as the father, especially after he gets promoted (which means more money for her and the baby) even though doing so would get him fired, sent to prison, and labeled a sex offender, which in turn would make it harder for him to find legitimate work after getting released. She also tells Delia the truth about her son not being the baby's father, even though she knew that doing so would (likely) cause her to withdraw her offer to give the baby a better life than Daya and her family could.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!:
    • She could have become a professional artist had she not been forced to take care of her many siblings and then get involved with Cesar's drug trade due to her mother's criminal neglect (and later incarceration).
    • After losing the gun and thus her place in the riot, she retires to the yard and begins painting a large, very well done mural of Bennett.
  • Intimate Artistry: One of the signs of her heart is her art.
  • It's All My Fault: After Bennett leaves, she blames herself.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: She shoots C.O. Humps when he's on his knees with his hands in the air, softly begging for mercy. Of course, since he's an utterly sadistic, sociopathic Asshole Victim who terrorized the inmates for weeks, illegally brought the gun in himself, and had instigated the riot with his own vile treatment of the inmates in the first place, the scene feels oh so satisfying. Tragically deconstructed later, when his injuries ultimately lead to his death, and Daya has to take the fall.
  • Kill Him Already!: When she gets a gun in the final moments of Season 4 and has CO Humphrey at her mercy, the mob of inmates egg her on to pull the trigger.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Daya unknowingly becomes this for Pornstache after he's sent to prison. His love for her and hope for being with her and the baby after he gets out are the only things keeping him going in there.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: This is how she frames Pornstache as the father. Being the mother, she can't hide her pregnancy forever. However, getting caught having sex with another man shortly after showing signs can make it look like he's responsible so her beloved won't get punished. It's not like the prison would extend the money or effort to DNA-test her baby.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Daya's reaction when Maritza and Flaca tells her that she's probably going to Max for a long time for shooting Humphrey.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Getting knocked up in an all-women's prison where conjugal visits aren't allowed and intimacy with a guard is illegal, she has to hide her pregnancy for as long as possible to avoid getting her beloved (CO Bennet) arrested.
  • No Pregger Sex: Averted. She and Bennett remain very sexually active after her pregnancy comes out.
  • Nerd: Well, the closest to that as she could get given her background; she has some anime-style drawing books from the beginning, draws cute things for Bennett on her notes to him, and becomes the cartoonist for the prison newsletter. You get the feeling that if she had a more stable childhood, she'd have been a full-on anime geek with a DeviantArt account.
  • Out of Focus: Throughout Season 4, she barely appears except to talk to her mother and some of the other Latina inmates. This makes her retrieval of CO Humphrey's gun and the implications of what she can now do in the final moments of Season 4 and her shooting Humphrey and gang-banging in season 5 that much more surprising.
  • Put on a Bus to Hell: At first it was just implied she'd headed to Max, for a lengthy sentence. The Bus Came Back the following season, as a result of the show's entire setting being moved to Max.
  • Promoted to Parent: For her siblings, due to her mother's neglect.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Her shooting of Humphrey is implied to be due to the resentment she has towards Bennett and Mendez. While Humps is no saint, her issues are less with him personally rather than COs in general.
  • Sanity Slippage: In Season 5, when she takes the gun.
  • The Scapegoat: In season 5, she's ultimately the person who takes the fall for Humphrey's death. While she did shoot him, the wound was actually non-fatal even with the minimal level of medical care that was on-hand. It was Kukudio's blowing bubbles into his IV line which caused an ultimately fatal stroke, but she subsequently dies from her own injuries, and no-one else (asides from Suzanne, who chances are no-one would believe even if she told them) is aware of her role in this, meaning that Daya takes all the blame. She'd still be looking at a murder conviction either way thanks to Felony Murder laws, but probably a lesser one.
  • Shrinking Violet: In the earlier season before she Took a Level in Cynic
  • The Snark Knight: After Bennett abandons her, she becomes this.
  • Situational Sexuality: Despite never having once showed the slightest bit of interest in other women, and even having acted with mild revulsion when other prisoners have tried to proposition her, in Season 6 she gets into a relationship with Daddy. She justifies this by pointing out that seeing how she got a life sentence for her part in Humphrey's death, it means her options essentially boil down to either getting involved with another woman, or never being in any sort of relationship ever again.
  • Slowly Slipping Into Evil: It starts with her constant criticism of her admittedly abusive mother in Season 4, although it really takes off once she shoots Humphrey during the riot, and only gets worse from there, culminating in her running an entire block of Max by herself.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Daya straddles the line between this and Took a Level in Jerkass in regards to her interactions with Aleida in season 4. Notably, Aleida is hopeful and optimistic about getting out of prison and starting a nail salon business, while Daya chews her out for being unrealistic and unprepared] But this is really evident in the finale, where she grabs Humphrey's gun and aims it at him, calling all COs "pieces of shit".
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Big-time in Season 7; with the Denning Sisters having killed each other in the previous season finale, followed by Daddy dying from an overdose, Badison being transferred to another prison, and Hellman's plan to have Alex sell drugs for him quickly falling apart, she fills the resulting power vacuum and becomes far worse than her mother ever was, at one point making an all-too-serious threat to castrate the prison's GED tutor unless he agress to smuggle contraband in for her.
  • Uncertain Doom: The last time we see her, she's in the middle of being strangled by her mother. Dascha Polanco herself wasn't sure what happened to Daya at first, but the show's writers clarified to her that she did survive.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Before she came to prison and in Season 1. It doesn't last.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: She and Aleida really don't get along at first, but Daya's pregnancy brings them closer together. Daya mostly wants Aleida to act like a mother instead of the selfish woman she's been acting like.
  • Wham Line: "I don't fucking speak Spanish!"
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: For someone who's in prison, has already banged her mother's boyfriend and was raised by Aleida, anyway. Daya believes in The Power of Love, refuses to sleep with men for profits and is convinced that she and Bennett can overcome any obstacles and become a family. She's wrong.


Marisol "Flaca" Gonzales

Played By: Jackie Cruz
""How Soon is Now" is, like, an eighties anthem."

One of the Hispanic inmates, she is shown to be rather misinformed, if not totally dim at times, genuinely believing that black people cannot float due to their bone density. This leads to Maritza stating that her head is full of "caca" and Aleida referring to her as "Flacaca". She appears to be a goth, wearing gothic makeup and being obsessed with such bands as The Smiths and Depeche Mode.

  • Ascended Extra: Mostly a background character and Maritza's other half in first two seasons, Flaca finally gets a flashback episode and a more prominent role in the third one.
  • Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: With Maritza. The two are very close and share a kiss at one point, only to immediately laugh it off.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Always ready with a snide remark during a confrontation, and has plenty of banter to share with Maritza.
  • Disco Dan: Despite being born in '92, she loves The Smiths and Depache Mode. She's also pretty caught up in the early 2000s scene/emo subculture, despite that being out of fashion by the time the show is set.
  • The Ditz: Less so, but she is still immature and thought that black people had different bone density.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Downplayed. Like Maritza, she's very vain and girly, and she's actually the one who convinces Maritza to film a makeup tutorial with her and start their own Flaritza beauty guru Youtube channel. She also can be aggressive and sarcastic, and used to be a goth teenager.
  • Hidden Depths: Working on the newsletter shows she has a very firm grasp of English grammar. She also seems to have a lot of knowledge of art history, which she attributes to how "she used to bone her art teacher".
  • Hipster : As shown in Season Three.
    You know when I'm wearing that apron? I'm wearing it ironically.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: In "Bora Bora Bora" it's humorously implied that she's in prison for illegally downloading media. Flashbacks in season 3 show that Marisol is actually in prison for selling fake LSD—as in "paper she had dampened with water"—at her school, which led to a kid injuring himself. As an aside, yes this is a crime, as any first-year law student will tell you.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "I may sound kinda dumb, but my dumbness is highly cultivated to make me more attractive to insecure men."
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Flaca" is actually a nickname, and a term used to refer to skinny women.
  • Perky Goth: In high school, she was gothic girl, and still considers herself one in prison. Despite this, she loves to laugh and joke around.
  • Schemer: Between her fake acid scam and organizing the workers in Piper's panty ring, Flaca can be pretty plucky and resourceful.
  • Sexy Secretary: She tries to pull this off during the mock job interview.
  • Spicy Latina: The other inmates agree that Flaca only got so far in the interviews due to her good looks.
  • Those Two Guys: With Maritza, and together, their banter makes up a good bulk of the show's comedy relief.
  • Too Clever by Half: Her drug fraud seen in the backstory was actually pretty well thought for a high school standard and the Insane Troll Logic she was prepared to engage if someone were to complain was rather impressive. It actually went a little too well and backfired, landing her we know where.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: When exploiting Bennett for contraband, she tries to get him to buy porn for her. But she wants gay porn since she finds it hotter and doesn't want to exploit women.


Aleida Diaz
Played By: Elizabeth Rodriguez

Daya's incarcerated mother. She was involved with a man who had her cutting and bagging drugs in her kitchen. In flashbacks, it is shown that she had little concern for her children and was obsessed with her boyfriend. She says during a visitation that she took a fall for him and is upset that he won't visit her.

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Aleida's actress, Elizabeth Rodriguez, is only two years older than Dascha Polanco, the actress portraying Aleida's eldest daughter, Daya.
  • Abusive Parent: Aleida has visited every kind of abuse upon her children save for the physical. She held a meth lab in her children's home, ignores (and verbally abuses) her children, and tells her oldest daughter it's basically her responsibility to take care of four other kids.
  • Alpha Bitch: More like Alpha Bitch all grown up. In prison she makes frequent jabs people's looks, spreads rumors, and pettily excludes people.
  • Characterization Marches On: In the pilot episode, she's framed as a powerful leader within the Latina group, who like Red has prison "daughters". This is quickly dropped, and while Aleida has some respect and authority within the group, people tend to defer to Gloria.
  • Commuting on a Bus: After being released from prison, she spends most of Seasons 4 and 5 appearing on talk shows or trying to manipulate Daya.
  • Deadpan Snarker: While rarely deadpan, she is not afraid to use sarcasm to show her disdain for things and people she doesn't like.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She objects to Daya's involving her younger siblings in her selling drugs activities.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Whenever Aleida tries to act selflessly, it ends up hurting people even worse than when she puts effort into being evil. In flashbacks, she's baffled that Daya values her friendship with Claire and wouldn't throw it away to make a move on a boy she's not even interested in.
  • Evil Matriarch: Initially presented as an incredibly neglectful and irresponsible parent. She does make some progress in her relationship with Daya once she finds out that she's pregnant, at which point she does begin to act like an actual concerned mother. However, even this is a result of her It's All About Me attitude; her concern is largely due to her fear of Daya abandoning her entirely and leaving her without the ego boost that being a parent gives her.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Not exactly a good person and always willing to do morally questionable things for herself, but still doesn't want her children to be involved in drugs and other crimes.
  • Foil: To Delia Powell, George Mendez's mother. Both are grandmother figures to Daya's unborn baby and are invested in her future. While Delia is a kind, polite, loving woman who provided a good upbringing for a difficult child who turned out to be a sadistic rapist, Aleida is a cold, selfish, verbally abusive and neglectful mother whose daughter turned out to be a decent person despite her horrible upbringing. Both women want to help raise Daya's baby in part to atone for their past mothering mistakes. However, while Delia still largely puts the baby and baby's family's well-being above her own, being willing to compensate Daya and Aleida to help them get back on their feet and raise the baby after finding out it's not her son's, Aleida continuously uses the baby for her own ends; initially agreeing to have Delia adopt the baby just to get compensation money, then later reneging on providing the baby with a better life when she realizes that keeping it means she can raise it to adore her like Daya and her siblings.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Decided not to take Daya back to summer camp (even though it was the happiest she had ever been) and convinced her to abandon the art, dreams, and friends she made there because Aleida was jealous that Daya was happy with anyone/anything else besides her.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: She flies off the handle at the slightest insult.
  • Has a Type: As lampshaded by her daughter in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, she has a tendency to date bald men.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: She is close friends with Gloria and spends most of her time with her in prison.
  • Hot-Blooded: She's constantly angry and spiteful.
  • It's All About Me: Aleida is concerned largely with Aleida.
    • As she says to Gloria, she grows tired of her kids but enjoys them when they're younger because it's like having 'fans' whose unconditional love and worship give her an ego boost.
    • Ordered her kids to travel 3 hours on a bus to see her in prison just to ask if her boyfriend's cheating while verbally berating them for thinking she cared about the events in their lives.
    • Left Daya at summer camp when she begged her mother, crying to not leave her. While a previous conversation with her own mother shows that Aleida ddid so because she honestly thought it was for Daya's good, instead of explaining this to Daya she told her that she was dumping her at camp so she could have personal time.
    • Forced Daya to throw out her art and abandon her dreams in an attempt to make her more like Aleida, to satisfy her ego.
    • In season four, she discards Daya's wish to give the baby up for adoption and lies to the prospective mother that the baby died so she'll stay in their family, and thus Aleida would have a new generation of an adoring fan.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: In terms of her mothering style. A few flashbacks reveal that part of Aleida wants to be a good mother to Daya and grandmother to Daya's baby and provide them a better life than she had (sending Daya to camp so she can make friends and hobbies, send the baby to a loving and affluent adoptive home), while part of her is incurably selfish and wants to keep them poor and dependent on her so she can get the ego-boost of small children adoring their mother/grandmother. Said flashbacks show her struggling between doing what's right for the child and what's right for her. Unfortunately, the "Hyde" part of her always wins.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: She does genuinely care about her children's well-being, to the point where she considers them the only good thing she ever did. But as you begin to think she's just done something out of maternal love for Daya, it often turns out to be just as much to suit Aleida's selfish needs.
  • Mama Bear: Despite her own shortcomings as mother, she would do anything to protect her daughters, even beating up Eva's drug dealing boyfriend and telling him to stay away from her.
  • Manipulative Bitch: This was already shown in the first two seasons, but the third season shows flashbacks to Daya's childhood, where Aleida would manipulate Daya into thinking the only time she was happy was with her.
  • My Beloved Smother: Aleida alternates between this and neglectful mother.
  • Never My Fault: Blames Gloria completely for Daya shooting the C.O. and confessing to the crime, arguing that nothing about Daya's predicament relates to her at all and is entirely due to Gloria not keeping a close enough eye on her after Aleida is paroled.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: She doesn't want her daughters to do the same illegal stuff she did in the past.
  • Parents as People: Aleida is part a mother who loves her children, part a selfish bitch. The second part is more visible for most of the time.
  • Pet the Dog: After the conflict with Daya, when she sees how badly Daya wants to keep the baby, she lies to Delia and tells her that the baby was stillborn.
  • Playing Gertrude: She doesn't look that much older than her daughter, which makes sense, since their actresses are only two years apart. Elizabeth Rodriguez was 33 at the time the show aired, and if Aleida is her age, it's still plausible the character became pregnant as a young teen only 14 or 15. Although a flashback of the young Aleida with the newborn Daya indicated that it wasn't the case, and also one dialogue suggests that Daya is 24 in the third season; bringing us back to the conclusion that Aleida's youthful appearance is truly absurd.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: In Season 3, her transphobic rumors about Sophia lead to her getting jumped and eventually put in solitary. And she doesn't even seem to have any remorse for it.
  • Put on a Bus: In Season 4, Aleida gets out early because of good behavior. At the end of season 4, she's still out of prison.
  • Silver Vixen: Aleida is very beautiful and, as Delia Mendez-Powell noticed, does not look like a grandmother at all. Being younger than most grandmas probably helps.
  • Single Mom Stripper: One scene implies she was possibly a prostitute. It's not really played for sympathy, though.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: While struggling to get back on her feet in season 6, she winds up in a pyramid scheme selling dietary supplements. It only starts making her money when she uses her products to smuggle drugs into max.
  • Spicy Latina: Aggressive, Hot-Blooded, and aware of her good looks, as she often wears revealing clothes when she is out of prison.


Maria Ruiz
Played By: Jessica Pimentil

A pregnant inmate who acts as the Hispanic and Latina representative for WAC. When she goes into labor she is taken to a hospital, and later returns to the prison after having her newborn taken away from her, which elicits extreme sympathy from her fellow inmates.

  • Agent Scully: She is firmly Catholic and is skeptical about the other Hispanic inmates' belief in Santeria.
  • Arch-Enemy: To Piper in Season 4.
  • Ascended Extra: In Season 1, Ruiz was largely a background character who serviced Daya's character; an example of a pregnant inmate and what was to come for Daya. She gets a little more screen-time in Season 2 and Season 3 before becoming a major part of Season 4 and officially a main character in Season 5.
  • The Atoner: In the last season, she genuinely regrets her past mistakes and wants to reform.
  • Break the Cutie: She gives birth, but (this being prison), she has her child taken away from her. This happens for good when Yadriel breaks up with her and takes her baby away permanently. Maria understandably becomes much more spiteful, angry and bitter. The added 3-5 years to her sentence sent her over the deep end and she took up the mantle of Gang Leader and dealing hardcore drugs. Though eventually, Caputo reveals to her that Piscatella was fired before he could file in the elongation of the sentence, and Yadriel, who still loves her, brings her daughter to see her at the end of the riot. In season 6 she is given the blame for much of the riot, and has her sentence increased by 10 years. She spends much of the season conflicted between the need to be a better person to hopefully someday be released and see her child, and the stronger urge to succumb to despair and give up on ever being free.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Her flashback episode reveals that her father was a... deeply nationalistic Dominican drug-dealer and gang-banger who was very racist against Mexicans. Eventually she called him out on his racism and hypocrisy; claiming that he's so much better than Mexican drug dealers even though he's doing the exact same thing. He promptly disowned her.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: After her daughter is taken away from her by Yadriel.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In early seasons, she is often snarking about whatever idiocy that her friends are engaging in.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Yadriel is Mexican and a drug dealer, exactly what her Dominican father hates most. It's revealed that Yadriel's mother also doesn't approve of her, making their situation something of a Star-Crossed Lovers dynamic.
  • Didn't Think This Through: She ends the riot by freeing the hostages, assuming Jack Pearson would give her the same deal he’d offered Gloria. The glaring flaw in this plan was that Jack had neither the authority nor any incentive to keep up his end of said deal. Predictably, she gets extra time instead of the pardon she was expecting, and becomes universally hated by inmates as well as by the guards she tortured.
  • Everyone Has Standards: She got real hard over season 4, but the death of Poussey definitely struck a chord with her.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: While Maria's behavior could at worse be described as a Heel–Face Revolving Door, she adores her daughter with all her heart and desperately tries to get her daughter to read.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: She goes from a relatively harmless inmate to the leader of a drug-running Hispanic gang.
  • Hidden Depths: For the first couple seasons, Maria mostly goes about her normal prison business but in season 4 shows that she actually is quite skilled when it comes to business and creating an illegal dirty lingerie network. In season 5 she also pretty effectively leads the riot. Another example is Maria is shown to be very strongly religious but appears to detest homophobia, shown when Bennett seems disgusted at the thought of buying gay porn for one of the inmates and Maria pipes up, saying, "What are you homophobic or something?" Although she may have been saying this to guilt him into doing it but she frequently interacts with gay inmates and doesn't seem bothered at all by their sexuality.
  • Hope Spot: In Season 5, Caputo tells her that Piscatella never filed the paperwork to have her sentence extended. Maria immediately stops participating in the riot, and even goes as far to free the hostages in hopes of getting an early release. However, the MCC staff are quick to tell her that they have no control over her sentence, leading to an Oh, Crap! moment where Maria realizes she'll be serving her full sentence and is now hated by the other inmates for freeing the hostages.
  • Hypocrite: She gets pissed when Yadriel starts seeing another woman, despite the fact that she had been cheating on Yadriel before being incarcerated.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Maria jumps off when she decides to start running drugs with her gang and subsequently burns a swatsika into Piper's arm.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Branding Piper with a swastika seems pretty harsh, but by this point Piper has become pretty unlikeable and has done horrible things. She practically snitched on Maria and her girls, causing Maria to get an extended sentence (keep in mind this means she won't get to see her daughter for an even longer time), and she did basically start a white supremacist movement in the prison and surrounded herself with them for protection. While Piper didn't mean to do those things, fact is that she is responsible for them. Piper herself acknowledges that she deserved it in a later episode.
  • Love at First Punch: She half-accidentally punches Yadriel in the face when she first talks to him, assuming he would block her since he is a boxer. He seems to find this adorable.
  • Mafia Princess: Raised as the pampered daughter of a gang leader, but as she grew older, she became frustrated with the race wars that that life entails.
  • Morality Chain: She's well behaved in earlier seasons, and humanized by her devotion to her boyfriend and daughter. When her boyfriend takes her child away from her, and Maria's sentence is extended, she goes off the deep end. See From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Only Sane Woman: Between Maritza and Flaca's flightiness, Daya's naiveté and Flores' insanity, Maria shows the most common sense among the younger generation in the group. This comes to an end in Season 4 when she jumps off the slippery slope.
  • Opposites Attract: The extraverted, sassy, and passionate Maria is in love with Yadriel, who's most notable traits are his silence and stoicism.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • After Poussey's death, Maria has Flores send her friends flowers and ask how they're holding up. Maria still worries about them after Flores reports back, and plans on making something nice for them later. When the black inmates riot in outrage over how Caputo handles Poussey's death, Maria and her gang are the first to join them.
    • Also in the scene before Poussey's death, Piscatella throws Red, who was inhumanly kept from sleep, to the floor and Maria is the first person to help Red back to her feet.
  • Rescue Romance: She meets Yadriel for the first time when she hides a pack of drugs he dropped before he's caught by police.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: She betrays Gloria during the riot, but gets absolutely nothing out of it, while Gloria was promised to be released (the prize Maria was after). Maria was after that same thing, but got sent to max and her sentence extended.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: She tells Daya that her relationship with her mother would scare teenagers into celibacy.
  • Spanner in the Works: She doesn't know it, but her mixing up the C and D block teams makes them focus on the game instead of fighting each other, throwing a wrench in the Dennings' plan to slip into Florida and kill Frieda.
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: She resists turning her clique into a full-blown gang at first. When Piscatella treats her like a gang leader anyway and adds time to her sentence, she starts acting like one.
  • Took a Level in Badass: From a minor character to full blown Hispanic Gang leader in the span of a few episodes.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: While she initially resisted, her panty-selling group eventually turns to full-blown gang activities, with Maria as its ruthless leader, just like her father.
  • You Have Failed Me: Subverted. When Maritza deliberately gets Maria's cousin caught in order to shut down their panty/heroine gig, Maria is pissed. Maritza dares her to beat her up if she wants, but she stands by her decision. Maria doesn't retaliate further, and the matter is soon dropped.

Prison Staff


Sam Healy
"You know what you get when you try around here? Not much."
Played By: Michael J. Harney & Zachary Doran

"Lesbians can be really dangerous. It's the testosterone."

An old prison guard and supervisor who has a Master of Social Work and acts as prison counselor to Piper and several other inmates. Healy is outspoken against lesbians and has a strange personal vendetta against them, cautioning Piper at the beginning of the series not to be involved with them. He is initially presented as someone who, though rigid, avoids confrontation and so is contemptuously referred to as "Samantha" by Caputo, who feels that Healy is not tough enough on the inmates. Healy generally appears weary and often tells the inmates what they want to hear so they will leave him alone. Early on, he appears particularly sympathetic towards Piper and even acts biased in her favor. However, he increasingly dislikes her as he hears rumors of her alleged lesbian activities.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Piper, who considers him a Yandere but his feelings toward Piper (be they romantic, lustful or even fatherly) are somewhat ambiguous. Downplayed in Season 2, where his attention towards Piper seems more or less geared towards him wanting to make a difference.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Seeing his wife and her mother at the table, you are excused to think for a moment, that this is Healy with his wife and daughter, not mother-in-law and wife.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: His (maybe) crush on Piper in the first season is definitely not reciprocated. He clearly loves his Mail-Order Bride as well, but she can barely stand him. He develops a crush on Red in the third season, but she recognizes that a relationship between prison staff and a prison inmate can never be truly consensual.
  • Anti-Villain: From Seasons 2 onward.
  • The Atoner: In Season 2, Healy begins to make genuine attempts to become a better person. He's such an inherently twisted person, however, that he finds this difficult and the process usually ends up being two steps forward and one step back. Still, he gets points for trying.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Pennsatucky in the first season. In the second season, he begins settle down a little in terms of his evil-doings.
  • Berserk Button: Homosexuality, specifically lesbians.
  • Butt-Monkey: None of the inmates (besides Pennsatucky) like him, he is mocked in a comic in the prison newsletter and never even catches on it, and neither Caputo nor Figueroa seem to have much patience for his "lesbian witch hunt."
  • Character Development: In a Bus Came Back moment in Season 6, Healy has become an Anti-Nihilist, and encourages Caputo to simply accept the disappointments and frustrations in life and find happiness.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: It's eventually (and hilariously) revealed that the reason behind Healy's hatred for lesbians is that he believes there's a growing conspiracy in which lesbians take over the world through the use of genetically engineered test-tube babies, resulting in the extinction of men.
  • The Cynic: Healy may have a conscience buried somewhere deep inside, but he is so jaded and unhappy that he has lost sight of right and wrong.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: His childhood home life. Healy's mother suffered from some kind of delusions. She was abusive and neglectful in turns.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He throws Piper in the SHU for simply dancing with Alex. Even Mendez thinks it's over-kill, although Mendez's objection probably had other reasons as well.
  • Evil All Along: Healy's mild affability can make him come across as rather likable, but gradually it becomes clear that he's a deeply vindictive man who's excellent at holding a grudge. However, he realizes this and tries to make amends later, going to great length to help Lolly.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • He throws Piper in the SHU just for dancing with Alex, albeit in a suggestive fashion.
    • He takes it Up to Eleven in the first season's finale when he's willing to to let Piper die just because she has outsmarted him and caused him getting chewed out by Figueroa.
    • He gets Rogers suspended mostly because he is jealous of her being the better counselor.
  • Faux Affably Evil: At the beginning of Season 1, Healy comes across as a genuinely good-natured man who is looking out for Piper, albeit one who was somewhat incompetent and who happens to have a weird fixation on lesbians. Over the course of the first season, he loses this mask.
  • Freudian Excuse: Flashbacks to his childhood show that his mother was terrifyingly unstable, which would explain why he prefers to be around women he can control. A season four episode reveals that he hates lesbianism because when he asked his dad what a lesbian was as a kid, his dad said it was a mental disease not unlike what his mother had.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The biggest reason why he hates Rogers so much is that she proves to be a better counselor, and that the inmates like her much more than him.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Healy has anger issues stemming from his own discomfort with the world around him, his empty social life, and feelings of impotency at his job. He eventually ends up bonding with Pennsatucky over their mutual anger issues.
  • Heel–Face Turn: He undergoes this in stages, but a watershed moment for him is when he lies to protect Suzanne in Season 2, and after he comes to understand some of his more manipulative behaviour in Season 3, he devotes himself to trying to help Lolly.
  • Heroic BSoD: Has one after he realizes that Lolly was telling the truth when she confessed to murdering someone. He first tries suicide, then decides to send Lolly to psych and check into a psych hospital.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: He has a strong distaste for lesbians (and implicitly, homosexuality in general) and makes it something of a mission to steer inmates away from lesbianism.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Finally comes around to this for his wife at the end of Season 3. After spending most of the series trying to make her behave how he wants by holding over her head that he pays for everything, he agrees to help her move into an apartment with her mother so she will no longer feel like she's in a cage.
  • Mail-Order Bride: His wife is one, and she's very clearly not into him. Healy seems to be in love with her, however, and is even learning Russian to try and communicate better with her.
  • Mommy Issues: Healy has severe issues with his mother, who suffered from mental illness throughout her life before abandoning him. He still feels guilty for not helping her more when she was seemingly reaching out to him as a child.
  • My Greatest Failure: His inability to help his mother when she tried to reach out to him about her illness, which (he feels) prompted her to run away. He goes through this again when he has Lolly sent to Psyche, feeling like he failed to help his mother all over again.
  • No Social Skills: Even when he is meaning well, he usually just can't communicate right with others, ruining his efforts.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: He seems rather kindly, if incompetent and weird, until "Fucksgiving" when he loses his top and manages to intimidate Pornstache, of all people. It's a little tough to determine exactly where Healy goes from being goofy and ignorant to dangerous and hateful, but it's clear that by the last scene of the first season, where he ignores Chapman's cries for help and leaves her to a fight with Pennsatucky that he knows will likely be fatal, he's definitely crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Pet the Dog: Many times:
    • Protecting Suzanne by forging a document at the end of Season 2 after realizing she's innocent.
    • Giving Red the kitchen back even after her "Reason You Suck" Speech in Season 3.
    • Taking care of Lolly in Season 4.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: He's quite openly homophobic, even other staff members in the prison call him out and tell him to see a therapist about this. Other than that he is noticeably classist, possibly slightly racist and has more than a healthy dose of a Strawman Political in him.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 4, he checks himself into a psychiatric hospital.
  • Rejected Apology: Does this a lot. Healy is very easily offended, and once he feels he's slighted, he will hold a grudge forever. A few inmates who unwittingly lose favor with him over the series try profusely to apologize, only for him to brush them off.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the second season, Healy works on getting more in tune with his feelings and earning back the inmates' trust, with the help of a (very patient) therapist. In the Season 2 finale, he lies to help Suzanne. In Season 4, he takes another level in his treatment of Lolly.
  • Tragic Villain: His flashbacks go a long way to explaining how he became such a woman-hating freak, and engenders some sympathy for him.
  • Villainous Crush: Piper thinks he has this for her, and she may be right but his actions could be interpreted in other ways. Be it sexual, romantic or fatherly feelings, Healy seems to think of her as of a well-mannered blond, WASP-y, straight feminine ideal, and that's why he is even heart-broken when he hears about and witness her suggestive dancing with Alex.
    • He develops one for Red in Season 3, when she talks him up for his wife. When he finds out she was just pretending to get extra favors from him, he's just as mad at her as he was to Piper. Unfortunately for Healy, Red is not as much of a pushover as Piper.
  • Yandere: Fixates on Piper to the point of sending her to solitary for dancing with another girl in a perfect storm of his obsession with her and his broader 'lesbian witch-hunt issues'. It's toned down in Season 2, where they don't spend as much time together.


Joseph "Joe" Salvatore Caputo
"These are complicated ladies in a complicated place."
Played By: Nick Sandow

"You have not seen crazy until you've seen two hundred women with anger issues fighting over who's going to be the ass end of a camel."

The administrative officer at the prison. Caputo directly oversees the prison's staff, dealing with concerns and often pushing for tougher control to ensure safety. Repeatedly, Caputo struggles to balance running a tight operation in the prison while also having interest in improving conditions for inmates and staff, alike. Caputo is also adversarial towards Figueroa, whose job he wants, and also has an interest in gardening.

  • All Love Is Unrequited: Towards Susan. Although it may just be lust, he does seem pretty upset when he finds out she has a handsome boyfriend her own age. Also in his past, when his girlfriend left him for his friend (who was also the father of her child) after Caputo had quit his band and gotten a job at the prison to support her and her baby.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Quickly discovers that being the prison administrator now that Figueroa is gone is not everything he dreamed it would be.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: As the time passes, he does more and more morally questionable things, convincing himself that they had to be done. It's definitely not always the truth.
  • Big Good: In Season 2, where he's the main rival to Fig and in Season 3 when he's prison administrator. Ultimately he falls from grace thanks to his own frustration and Fig's corrupting influence, although he rebounds a little in Season 4, where he at least tries to do what he can for the prisoners. It's clear he's still the most moral member of the prison administration.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: While not in bed, even Figueroa had to comment on how big his member is, apparently known by his old classmates as "beer can". It goes further, though: in Season 3, she's sleeping with him occasionally, chiefly because he really is—and this is a direct quote—"a good lay."
    • Subverted in season five, when Linda mentions that he's actually a little too big for her.
  • The Bully: Towards Healy, who he calls 'Samantha'. It's a case of Kick the Son of a Bitch, though.
  • Butt-Monkey: Spends over half of Season 5 locked in a porta potty.
  • The Chains of Commanding: After becoming Director of Human Activity, he finds it harder than ever to do good with everyone breathing down his neck as he struggles with the political games.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Caputo gave up an opening slot for a touring band to stay with the mother of someone else's baby. She left him when the "rock star" returned, and he's worked at the prison.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: In his first meeting with the attractive Piper, he does this after she leaves the room. This becomes a bit of a Running Gag, as he does the same thing in Season 2 after another inmate leaves his office, he has to stop himself from doing so on another occasion to focus more on work, and ends up going back to his office on catching sight of Maritza in prison-issued underwear.
  • Dating Catwoman : Well, banging Catwoman. As of Season 3, he's sleeping with Figueroa. He also points out she's the only person he can talk to, and she tells him how pathetic he is.
  • Dirty Old Man: If chasing a girl half his age doesn't make him this, then jerking off to attractive inmates and allowing Fig to attempt to buy his silence by giving him a blow-job surely do.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After being mistreated and jerked around by Figueroa, Caputo finally gets even with her by turning over evidence to the warden that Figueroa was embezzling money. He even gets her to give him a blowjob!
  • Dude Where Is My Respect: He is accused by his former girlfriend and senior COs of behaving in this manner, "holding the door open for [them] and getting angry when they don't say thank you."
  • Everyone Has Standards: He refuses to let Healy get away with his homophobic vendetta and strongly dislikes Mendez (despite a spot of bonding over their moustaches).
  • Good Is Not Nice: Despite regularly acting like an ass to everyone around, Caputo is the only worker of the prison who at least tries to be active in improving things around it.
  • Hidden Depths: He actually does care about the inmates, and outside of work he plays in a band. He's also a gardening enthusiast: he wants to use Red's greenhouse for a few of his own seedlings, and seems to have a close relationship with his many office plants.
  • In Love with Love: Caputo seems to develop crushes easily, particularly on women who are unrealistic or unavailable.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: He could have been a wrestler had he not dislocated his elbow. Season 3 reveals he could have been in a popular band had he gone on the road with them and not stayed behind to take care of the child of the woman he loved.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Caputo can be a bit of a prick from time to time. Despite being an asshole, Caputo feels deeply responsible for the women under his care and his asshole behavior stems from frustration over never getting the resources he needs from Fig. Season 3 subverts this though, as there is part of him that wants something in return for all of his good deeds. One of his old SOs calls him out for this, pointing out that no one had ever asked or told him to do the nice things that screwed him over.
  • Kick the Dog: Early in Season 1 he sends Janae to SHU for not wanting to be searched by a male guard. Note that in the same scene said male guard molests several inmates whenever Caputo doesn't look, but even without proof it would be a justified complaint. He also fires Susan for disagreeing with him, though it is implied that he's mostly doing it because he resents that she doesn't reciprocate his romantic feelings.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: He bullies Healy and treats him like shit, but Healy is more morally bankrupt than Caputo. He also insists on being the person who gets to fire Pornstache and hand him over to some waiting U.S. Marshals, and later makes sure to deliver karmic justice to Figueroa in the Season 2 finale.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: He's as mean and cynical as necessary to be good at his job, but he also does his best to be fair and to do right by his people and the inmates under his care.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Caputo is by no means a saint, but as of Season 4 he is the only person in a position of power who at least tries to help the inmates.
  • Manipulative Bastard: At the end of second season, he manipulates Sister Ingalls into ending her hunger strike. It's also implied that he's lied to her about the transfer he'd allegedly stopped for her.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • The short version of his backstory, and most of his character arc as well. Every step of the way he does his best to do the right thing and the universe screws him over for it.
    • His defense of Gerber in Season 4 after the latter's Accidental Murder of Poussey. The inmates get outraged and it causes a riot.
  • Not Quite the Right Thing: Repeatedly, but especially at the end of Season 4. He shows some moral courage by refusing to throw Bayley under the bus after Poussey's death, but he doesn't put enough thought into how the already very (justifiably) angry inmates will respond to his decision.
  • Not So Different: He eventually realizes that he is this to Figueroa, as his job makes him do worse and worse things, and apologizes to her for judging her.
    • He's genuinely excited for Tastee when she successfully negotiates with Fig over improving the prison, despite having been punched in the face by her and held hostage by the prisoners.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Despite his status as the Reasonable Authority Figure of the prison, he sexually extorts his female boss (Fig) and sexually harasses one of his employees (Susan). He also can't seem to get through the day without jerking off to female inmates who come into his office crying.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He may be a hardass and sometimes a jerk, but he's far more reasonable than Healy or Mendez. Even the inmates consider him to be 'okay'. This trope is Caputo on a good day; on a bad day he's closer to The Alleged Boss, especially as events in the prison spiral ever further out of control.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He directly disobeys his MCC superiors by providing Danny with a picture of Sophia in SHU, knowing that Sophia's ex-wife and her lawyers will certainly be the first to see it.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: With Fig, he develops this relationship.
  • Slimeball: In his interactions with Susan. It's unintentional, though. He simply has trouble being charming.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: After Fig blows him to try to get him stop from giving the finacial records, he tells her that he already gave copies to the warden before he came to see her. He gives her a peck on the forehead before leaving her office.
  • Token Good Teammate: He becomes this to the prison administration. While he is definitely not perfect (see Politically Incorrect Hero), he at least tries to do the right thing as much as he can.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Basically his reaction to hearing that Bennett fathered Daya's child. Made all the more frustrating for him because he found out about it on the second day of taking over Fig's job. He decides to pretend he didn't hear anything, and scolds Bennett for bringing it up.

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