Kate Mulgrew, Laura Prepon, ...

The ladies of Litchfield are back — and they’re ready for you to binge! After the first season of Netflix’s prison dramedy Orange Is the New Black premiered last July and became the network’s most-viewed original series debut, audiences clamored for more from the fascinating women of different shapes, sizes, races, socioeconomic classes, and sexualities who shared just one thing: They’re all behind bars.

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, Jessica Shaw goes deep into the trenches on the show’s Queens, New York, set to get the lowdown from the inmates themselves. Series creator Jenji Kohan promises there are plenty of juicy stories to come in the second season, which picks up a few weeks after the bloody beatdown that lands Piper (Taylor Schilling) in solitary. “We had a theme for season 2. A little darker, a little more fractured. We wanted to explore the groups one at a time,” says Kohan. “It was getting a little summer-campy, and we wanted to address the realities that this is prison.”

Oh, but these are no ordinary prisoners. Every viewer has his or her own favorite fabulous character, and EW will catch you up on all of their stories and let you know where they’re headed in season 2. This season, expect many more backstories to be explored (highlights include Lorna, Taystee, and Poussey episiodes), and alliances shift thanks to a new prisoner (played by Lorraine Toussaint) who turns Litchfield into a “summer camp from hell.” Plus, we’ve got interviews with every major cast member, including the fellas who match wits with the women in orange.

Plenty of buzz for season 2 has centered around the departure of Laura Prepon’s character Alex, but rest assured, Kohan and Prepon offer up the truth behind those rumors. But as with any ensemble show, there are entrances and exits — and Kohan has a backup plan if too many inmates leave Litchfield. “If I could keep cycling people through and bringing in new people, the show could go on forever. We could do something in the ER or Grey’s Anatomy model,” says Kohan, but it’s clear that she doesn’t want to let go of her stellar cast members. “If I could control everything in the world, I would, but you got to let go of some things. You can’t keep this cast down on the farm. And you’ll never replace them. The best I can say is ‘Look over here. Shiny! Shiny!’”

For more on Orange Is the New Black, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, April 25.

Episode Recaps

Orange Is the New Black

Jenji Kohan’s absorbing ensemble dramedy, based on Piper Kerman’s memoir of the same name, takes viewers inside the walls of Litchfield, a minimum security women’s prison where nothing’s as simple as it seems—especially the inmates.

  • TV Show
  • 6
  • TV-MA
  • Netflix