Played by: Taylor Schilling
Rap Sheet: WASPy New Yorker sentenced to 15 months in prison for smuggling drug money.
On the Outside: Though she’s the star of Orange, Schilling still hasn’t sat down to watch the entire series yet. ”Someday I’ll do the ultimate binge-watch.”
Coming Up: Piper spends time in solitary for her Christmas-pageant showdown with Pennsatucky, and later unexpectedly crosses paths with Alex — who screws her over yet again.
Played by: Laura Prepon
Rap Sheet: Piper’s drug-smuggling ex-girlfriend whose testimony led to Piper’s arrest.
On the Outside: Prepon originally auditioned for Piper, but Kohan thought she was ”too strong” for the character, and Prepon herself realized she was wrong for the role. ”I didn’t care — I just wanted to meet Jenji [Kohan, the show’s creator],” she recalls. ”Reading was the cherry on top.”
Coming Up: While Alex appears in just a handful of episodes — including the premiere — this season, Prepon promises they deliver: ”Whenever you think we’re going one way, we definitely go another.”
Suzanne ''Crazy Eyes'' Warren
Played by: Uzo Aduba
Rap Sheet: Piper’s wannabe prison wife, who’s surprisingly sensitive and shy.
On the Outside: The character of Crazy Eyes was based on a young black woman from Kohan’s youth who was adopted into a ”very white, East Coast, academic” family. The idea for Suzanne’s signature hair, on the other hand, came straight from Aduba.
Coming Up: With alliances shifting, Crazy Eyes finds an ally in new inmate Vee (keep clicking for more on her) and gets a taste of life inside a powerful social circle.
Played by: Dascha Polanco
Rap Sheet: Still hiding her pregnancy after her taboo tryst with CO Bennett (Matt McGorry).
On the Outside: Between takes, Polanco and McGorry bust a move — he’s great at the worm — and discuss pop culture. ”Last season we were trying to incorporate World War Z into Daya and Bennett,” she says.
Coming Up: Polanco says fans will be ”very happy” with how Daya and Bennett’s relationship grows, but a jealous Pornstache (Pablo Schreiber) threatens to wreck it.
Tasha ''Taystee'' Jefferson
Played by: Danielle Brooks
Rap Sheet: Unrefined bookworm who gets released but ends up back in Litchfield after violating her parole.
On the Outside: Brooks has learned not to be surprised by fan reactions to the show. She explains: ”I’ve had a girl ask me to sign her pants. And at Christmas I went to the mall at two in the morning and the cashier lady’s like, ‘This is better than the day I met Dave Matthews!”’
Coming Up: We’ll find out more about Litchfield’s comic breakout with an episode about her troubled upbringing.
Played by: Samira Wiley
Rap Sheet: Taystee’s sweet but tough best friend.
On the Outside: Wiley’s longtime friend and schoolmate Brooks had already been cast as Taystee, so the duo read their lines together to prepare for Wiley’s audition — much to her delight. Gushes Wiley, ”When do you actually get to practice with the actor who’s actually playing that role?”
Coming Up: Prepare to find out everything you want to know about Poussey, including ”who she is, where her loyalties lie, and where her morals are,” promises the actress.
Played by: Laverne Cox
Rap Sheet: Litchfield’s only transgender woman fights discrimination by officers and inmates alike.
On the Outside: The multilayered Sophia provides Cox a respite from the stereotypical roles offered to transgender actors. ”I played sex workers seven different times. My last prostitute was in 2011,” she recalls.
Coming Up: Sophia gives the inmates a lesson on female anatomy, and also finds new faces in her salon. Says Cox, ”Because she does hair, people figure out ways to work with her!”
Played by: Natasha Lyonne
Rap Sheet: Acerbic recovering junkie with mommy issues doing time for a drug-related crime.
On the Outside: Despite the dramatic eyeliner, Lyonne tries to keep Nicky as unglamorous as she can. ”In life I try to look in the mirror as little as possible,” says the actress, who doesn’t wear her glasses in the hair-and-makeup room. ”I can’t see what they’re doing, but from where I’m sitting it looks magnificent. Then I get closer and it’s a little bit more disturbing.”
Coming Up: Nicky and Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) compete for sexual supremacy by staging a contest to see who can seduce the most inmates.
Tiffany ''Pennsatucky'' Doggett
Played by: Taryn Manning
Rap Sheet: Born-again Christian and borderline psychopath who shot a nurse inside an abortion clinic.
On the Outside: During filming, Manning was so engrossed in the character, she chose not to talk to other directors or audition for later projects. ”I was lost in it,” she says. ”I’d never been in that position.”
Coming Up: Despite getting the shiv kicked out of her in the season 1 finale, Pennsatucky survives…though the same can’t be said for her teeth.
Played by: Yael Stone
Rap Sheet: Petite Bostonian, forever planning a dream wedding to her fiancé, Christopher.
On the Outside: Stone thinks she’s the only cast member who actually wears her prison-issued underwear beneath her costume in every scene to help her get into character: ”It’s not an attractive look — the underpants are high and the bras are pointy — but I can’t do it without them.”
Coming Up: A shocker-packed Lorna-centric episode will reveal all about her romantic and criminal history.
Played by: Lorraine Toussaint
Rap Sheet: The arrival of this drug peddler (and former inmate) serves up a dose of harsh prison reality for Taystee and others.
On the Outside: The way Kohan tells it, TV vet Toussaint may have underestimated the talent of her new costars: ”Her first scene was with Uzo, Danielle, and Adrienne [C. Moore. who plays Black Cindy], and you watched it dawn on her, ‘Oh, they’re really good.’ It was fascinating to watch her relax into it.”
Coming Up: Expect Vee to polarize the community from within after she clashes with Red and initiates a major power shift in the prison.
Galina ''Red'' Reznikov
Played by: Kate Mulgrew
Rap Sheet: After being told to pack her knives last season, the former culinary queen is adjusting to life outside the kitchen — and without her loyal girls.
On the Outside: Getting Red’s coif ”was not what we would call a walk in the park,” says Mulgrew. Every meeting about Red’s look ended with Kohan declaring, ”No, no, no!” until the character’s perfectly crafted, candy-colored style emerged.
Coming Up: Red takes up a new hobby, while the arrival of old nemesis Vee sends her into attack mode.