Piper Chapman is a thirty-something blonde settled in New York – until she gets sentenced for drug smuggling, an offence she committed 10 years ago for a former girlfriend, Alex. Piper has to spend 15 months in prison as a result. There, she encounters a colorful (to say the least) microcosm of villainous but also upbeat and, above all, liberated women. A Netflix series that breaks all taboos and keeps raking in the awards!
Drama with a touch of humor
In the fourth season of Orange is the New Black, Piper Chapman is once again in the leading role, but we also get to know the other characters better. Big Boo (played by Lea DeLaria) and Flaca (Jackie Cruz) enter the spotlight and you discover more about their pasts and how they ended up in prison. Feuds, tension, power games, and surprising twists – the ingredients that will make this fourth season a hit among viewers and is already making the fans drool.
Piper starts a lucrative business in women’s underwear and turns into a shrewd businesswoman. She finally seems to have found her place in Litchfield. The focus shifts to a few secondary characters: Pennsatucky and Black Cindy are given more prominent roles in this season. The Australian model Ruby Rose – named for her androgynous look – is striking in the role of Stella, the mysterious new addition to the prison family.
After a bloody duel between Piper and Pennsatucky at the end of season 1, Piper is transferred to Chicago, where she testifies against the drug lord that she and Alex were working for at the time. Alex is released, but Piper is sent back to Litchfield. A new inmate, Vee, stirs things up in the prison world. The balance of power shifts: Red loses influence and Vee gets the “black girls” on her side – until they realize that Vee is a seasoned manipulator who will stop at nothing and for no one.
When her term in Litchfield Prison begins, Piper Chapman is immediately given a few lessons in humility. Lesson one: don’t offend the prison cook and expect to get away with it. Lesson two: get on the good side of the guards, but don’t overdo it. And lesson three: altruism will get you nowhere in a women’s prison. Or will it?
Orange is the New Black is based on the true story of Piper Kerman. Her autobiography (“My Year in a Women’s Prison”) was adapted for television by screenwriter Jenji Kohan, also known for the sublime “Weeds”, another series featuring strong women in the main roles. It’s just as well, because, being blonde, Piper is given a hard time in the women’s prison, which has its own rules – especially for new inmates!
Don’t expect a conventional prison drama (move over “The Shawshank Redemption”!). This series focuses on a women’s prison, and that’s a whole different beast. Yes, the women do have lesbian relationships, and yes, the guards are masochists, but these clichés are handled in an extremely original way. Moreover, the characters have depth and make you wonder whether it’s prison life that makes you a criminal or whether you are born a criminal. Something to think about.
Galina 'Red' Reznickov
Tasha 'Taystee' Jefferson
Suzanne 'Crazy Eyes' Warren