Netflix won audiences over with the startling political drama, House of Cards, and doubled-down on their original programming with a new type of show to binge on. Cultivated from the memoir of Piper Kerman, Orange Is the New Black is a collection of experiences of her time in prison.
The first season, which stars Taylor Schilling as Piper Chapman, has already caught on as millions have tuned in and increased Netflix’s viewership. As Chapman, Schilling’s character experiences the rigors of prison life after being ratted out as a drug money transporter by her former flame, Laura Prepon, who plays Alex Vause.
Orange Is the New Black is already scheduled for season two. And as you all engorge on the show, the Netflix prison drama is so good that you can’t help but brag about it, how much of it you watched, and your favorite characters all at the same damn time. With that said, we enter these names for your consideration as to which of the show’s crazy prison inmates is the best character.
Vote below and click through the gallery above for a break down of each character.
Character Name: Galina “Red” Reznikov
Story: Before Red ran the prison’s kitchen, she owned a restaurant with her husband and worked with the Russian mob.
Why Her Character Rocks: As the go-to woman in the prison, Red is chief at smuggling things in and outside the prison; ensuring people get what they deserve, and “looks out for her girls.” She has taken many of the inmates under her wing to form a group of women who abstain from using drugs, but if you mess up, it’ll only take two times until you’re booted from the group. Red doesn’t play — and we like that!
Michael J. Harney
Character Name: Sam Healy
Story: A correctional officer and counselor to any inmate willing to talk, Healy manages Piper’s case. He harbors a personal hatred for lesbians and those who engage in lesbian activity. Passive-aggressive in nature, Healy can be a schmuck who can be easily led astray.
Why His Character Rocks: Fans of Jenji Kohan will recognize Michael J. Harney from his work on Weeds. As the prison’s correctional officer and counselor, his hilarious quips to the inmates, Healy’s witch hunt for lesbians drives the conflict between multiple characters. His own marriage to a Ukrainian immigrant is also an extra source of laughs.
Character Name: Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren
Story: Though slightly unhinged, Crazy Eyes doesn’t quite get why her fellow inmates shy away from her presence. She is oblivious to her nickname and constantly berates or belittles herself whenever she does something wrong.
Why Her Character Rocks: Her obsession with Piper Chapman makes the entire middle portion of the show’s first season an entertaining romp. Aside from not knowing why she’s called “Crazy Eyes,” her eccentricity helps to keep the pacing of the show uneven and exciting at purely random moments.
Character Name: Sophia Burset
Story: Sophia’s back story revealed that she was actually born as a man named Marcus; employed and worked as a fireman and married with a wife and son. Longing to be a woman, Marcus, now Sophia, ends up in prison due to credit card fraud. Now, she’s a hairdresser and confidant for many of the inmates.
Why Her Character Rocks: Simply put, there aren’t that many (if at all) transgender roles written for actual transgender folks. Sophia’s attempt at maintaining her womanhood in an environment full of actual ladies is something that wouldn’t be tried on traditional television. As a new type of character role, Sophia represents a voice within the landscape that most don’t often get to hear or see on TV.
Taylor Schilling —
Character Name: Piper Chapman
Story: Sent to prison for carrying drug money for her former girlfriend, Alex, she navigates this new world and the stresses it creates in her life in the outside world with her fiance Larry.
Why Her Character Rocks: Watching Piper become acclimated to prison life and try to find her place in the hierarchy results in some amazing moments. When she comes face to face with her former love, Piper’s re-examining of her relationship becomes a source of intrigue.
Character Name: Alex Vause
Story: Piper’s former drug dealing girlfriend is also serving time in the same prison which makes for a powder keg once the two finally meet. Her back-and-forth with Piper manages to affect other inmates, but essentially it’s her dalliances with the law that remain the most intriguing.
Why Her Character Rocks: With a mother who worked four jobs and a washed-up rock star for a father, Alex Vause’s back story is just as compelling as her current. After being bullied for being poor, she eventually found herself in league with an international drug cartel. We can only imagine how she got into the mix, and that makes us anxious for season two.
Character Name: Miss Claudette
Story: As Piper’s roommate, Miss Claudette is very strict, very commanding and very feared inside those prison walls. After being caught running an illegal immigration and child labor cleaning service, Claudette’s murky past is shrouded with rumor and innuendo that is passed around by her fellow inmates.
Why Her Character Rocks: Purely imposing as Miss Claudette, Michelle Hurst brings a three-dimensional dynamic to the character that makes her persona more than a little haunting. With each episode deepening our knowledge of her character bit by bit, by the end of the first 13 episodes you’ll be itching to know just who Miss Claudette really is.