On “Orange Is the New Black,” Beth Dover’s Linda (you know, from Purchasing) had never set foot in a prison before the day of the riot. Last we saw her in Season 4, she’d stepped into the bathroom just as a crowd of prisoners got ahold of a gun and chaos started to bloom.
That terrible timing will teach her a few things. A lackey of the prison’s corporate overlord, Linda hasn’t been interested in the prisoners themselves, despite her role in shaping their lives behind bars. But her outlook is set to change in Season 5 as she enters their fray and becomes “even more of a hard-hearted jerk” or “actually feels for the prisoners and want[s] to help them,” Dover told HuffPost.
Either way, the season will be wholly different from ones past: The whole thing takes place over just three days, told in real time. Suddenly empowered for the first time in a long time, inmates at Litchfield face the fallout from a black prisoner’s accidental death, questions on white privilege behind bars and which snacks to include in their demands. (It’s still a comedy, after all.)
We also get a look at Linda’s backstory as a sorority girl ― one who’s not actually as squeaky-clean as she projects herself to be.
“Things are going to come to a pretty extreme head. It’s going to be a wild ride, I’ll put it that way,” Dover teased, adding that many characters will come out of the season changed by events of the riot.
But Season 5 doesn’t just change things for the characters on the show ― Dover explained how filming during the 2016 presidential election was personally “inspiring.”
“Orange Is the New Black” cast members filming in New York took breaks together to participate in protest marches in New York City and Washington, D.C., where they held signs in support of Black Lives Matter and the Women’s March. Many, including Dover, were also photographed wearing “Vaginas Against Trump” T-shirts shared on social media with the caption, “FUCK YOU TRUMP.”
Although she noted that no major changes to the script were made post-election, to her knowledge, Dover credits the show’s diverse cast for turning her on to political causes.
“I think it really sparked my own activism,” Dover said of filming. “I feel like I’ve been living in a bubble, and now I feel like, ‘Oh, right. We need to really get involved in everything that’s going on in this country.’ Being part of this show has been really a gift, especially during this time.”
“Orange Is the New Black” Season 5 debuts on Netflix June 9.