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Where All The Characters End Up

Where All The Characters End Up


  • Orange is the New Black’s finale sees both tragedy and hope for its main characters, with some getting happy endings and others facing dark fates.
  • Key characters like Piper, Pennsatucky, Taystee, and Red have diverse story arcs, from reconciliations to heartbreaking endings to new beginnings.
  • The final season wraps up various character storylines, showing growth, closure, and new challenges for the inmates of Litchfield Penitentiary.

The Orange is the New Black ending in season 7 saw some of the main characters get happy endings, but others have far more tragic fates. Created by Jenji Kohan, Orange is the New Black debuted on Netflix as one of the streaming service’s first original shows, and it garnered a large fanbase and several Emmy Awards. Orange is the New Black is based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman, who spent time in a women’s prison after being convicted of smuggling a suitcase full of drug money.

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman in the show, but her story was the entry point for dozens of character studies of the women of Litchfield Penitentiary. The show follows the inmates through a chicken obsession, an illicit underwear production line, a prison riot, and being placed into maximum security. There are so many likable and unlikable characters in Orange is the New Black, but the main group ends their stories with both tragedy and hope.


Orange Is The New Black: Why Every Major Character Was In Prison

The major characters in Orange Is the New Black are incarcerated for a variety of crimes in the show. Here’s what crimes each character committed.

15 Piper & Alex

They End Up Together In Ohio

Piper and Alex talking in Orange is the New Black.

After Piper gets out of prison, her marriage to Alex becomes strained by the long-distance relationship, and they both end up cheating on one another. Alex has an affair with McCullough, a CO, who becomes angry and vengeful when Alex breaks things off. McCullough requests that Alex be transferred to a prison in Ohio, and Alex decides to set Piper free – telling her that they need to break up.

After much deliberation over whether to stick with Alex or pursue a relationship with her new love interest, Zelda, Piper ends up moving to Ohio so that she can be with Alex. She gets a job at a cafe and starts taking classes in Civil Procedure. In the new prison, there is no wall between them in the visiting room, so they can actually hold hands. At this point, Alex still has three years left on her sentence before they can really be together.

After leaving Orange is the New Black, Taylor Schilling went on to appear in the horror-anthology series Monstrerland and the Hulu original movie Pam & Tommy, about the lives of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. In 2024, she returned to the stage for the play The Apiary. Laura Prepon returned to the franchise that made her famous in 2023, reprising her role as Donna on The ’90s Show.

14 Pennsatucky

She Dies Of A Drug Overdose

Pennsatucky dies in Orange is the New Black.

Sadly, not every character in Orange is the New Black gets a happy ending. Tiffany Doggett, a.k.a. Pennsatucky, spends season 7 studying hard to take the GED and, along the way, is diagnosed with a learning disability. However, when the time comes to take the exam, she is told that she has not been given the allotted extra time she needs because Luschek (who replaced the qualified GED teacher) forgot to put in a request for it.

Despite extra tutoring from Taystee, Pennsatucky leaves the exam believing she has failed and hits up Daya’s gang for some drugs. This turns out to be Pennsatucky’s last hit, as she dies of an overdose. As her body is carried away from Litchfield, a ghostly version of her waves goodbye to the prison as she walks away from it.

Since Orange is the New Black ended, Taryn Manning has appeared in several reality TV shows, including Hollywood Game Night, Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry, and Worst Cooks in America (as a contestant). She also appeared in several low-budget movies, with titles like Bloodline Killer, Miranda’s Victim, Bobcat Moretti, and Sanctioning Evil.

13 Taystee

Creates The Poussey Washington Fund

Taystee talking to a class in Orange is the New Black

For most of season 7, Taystee has only one goal in mind: death by suicide. After being wrongfully convicted of Piscatella’s murder and being sentenced to life in prison, she is no longer a happy, bubbly young woman. She asks Daya for enough drugs to die by suicide, but the high price tag delays things. There is a brief flicker of hope when it seems like a notebook written by Suzanne, in which she recounts how Piscatella really died, might exonerate Taystee – but her lawyer tells her it’s too flimsy as evidence.

Taystee is about to kill herself when she finds Pennsatucky’s body, which derails her suicide attempt. Later, she is about to try again when she sees an envelope from Tamika containing the GED certificates for all the students she tutored. She learns that Pennsatucky actually passed the exam and gained her GED.

This gives Taystee renewed hope that she can actually help people, and she reaches out to Judy King for help in setting up the Poussey Washington Fund – a foundation that offers microloans to women newly released from prison to help them get back on their feet instead of falling back into the cycle of crime and poverty. In prison, Taystee finds a new purpose in teaching financial literacy to inmates who are soon to be released so that when they receive their money from the Poussey Washington Fund, they’ll know how to manage it.

Danielle Brooks’ biggest success after her role in Orange is the New Black was when she earned the role of Sofia in the remake of The Color Purple. Her performance in this movie earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress while winning the Best Supporting Actress award at the African-American Film Critics Association Awards. She also played Leota in Peacemaker for the DCU and has a role in the upcoming Minecraft movie.

12 Red

Develops Early Onset Dementia

Red looking confused in Orange is the New Black

Introduced in Orange is the New Black season 1 as a fierce den mother and the veritable Queen of Litchfield, Galina “Red” Reznikov is brought low when she is forced to spend extensive time in SHU. The combination of this isolation and a severe urinary tract infection induces a state of delirium that develops into early-onset dementia. Over the course of Orange is the New Black‘s final season, Red’s memory fails her more and more until she can no longer even remember how to cook.

She is transferred to B-Block, a.k.a. “Florida,” where Litchfield’s elderly and mentally ill patients end up. There, she reunites with her old “friend” Frieda Berlin but doesn’t remember Frieda’s betrayal. She introduces herself as if they had never met. Eventually, Red remembers Frieda and tries to attack her, but Frieda hides in her cell and says she’ll stay there until Red forgets her again.

Kate Mulgrew was already a major star thanks to her role as Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager. After Orange is the New Black, she remained an in-demand actress, with roles in Mr. Mercedes, Star Trek: Prodigy, The First Lady, and The Man Who Fell to Earth.

11 Morello

Loses Her Baby And Has A Mental Breakdown

Morello writing something in Orange is the New Black.

Red isn’t the only main character who ends up in Florida. After giving birth to a baby boy, Sterling, in season 6, Lorna learns from a tearful Vinnie that their son died of pneumonia. Refusing to accept reality, Lorna continues to insist that her son is alive, even creating Instagram accounts for him using pictures of babies that she finds on the internet. Unable to bear this, Vinnie decides to divorce her – which Morello interprets as him taking her baby away.

Her mental health degrades over the course of Orange is the New Black season 7, and though Nicky desperately tries to help her, she eventually accepts that she can no longer keep Lorna safe. When Lorna lashes out at another prisoner, it is the last straw, and she is transferred to B-Block. The last time she is seen, Red is cradling her like a baby and singing her a lullaby as Morello sucks her thumb.

Yael Stone was mostly a newcomer when she appeared on Orange is the New Black. Since that TV show helped her break out, she appeared in the Liam Neeson movie Blacklight, the Australian thriller Blaze, and the TV shows Picnic at Hanging Rock, Bay of Fires, and One Night.

10 Nicky

Becomes The New Prison Mom

Nicky looking on in Orange is the New Black.

With Red in retirement, Nicky takes over as the new “Prison Mom” after asking Red for advice on how to care for people behind bars. She is in the kitchen, sporting red lipstick and helping a drug-addicted inmate to get through her withdrawal. After spending the show’s final season struggling to keep too many plates spinning – her new girlfriend, Red’s dementia, and Morello’s breakdown – Nicky finally seems to embrace her new role, taking care of girls who need it and building a family of her own.

Natasha Lyonne has become a major star since her time on Orange is the New Black. While that series helped her make a name for herself, she really broke out with her starring role in the Netflix series Russian Doll from 2019 to 2022. She then continued to build her name with the original Peacock series Poker Face, which started in 2023. She also signed on to the MCU reboot of The Fantastic Four.


10 New Character Additions That Hurt Orange Is The New Black (And 10 That Saved It)

Over the course of six seasons, Orange is the New Black has continued to expand its cast of characters – with varying results.

9 Maritza

Gets Deported To Colombia

Maritza looking at something in Orange is the New Black .

One of the most heartbreaking storylines of Orange is the New Black season 7 sees Maritza get arrested by ICE while hanging out in a club since she doesn’t have her ID. At the ICE detainment facility, she is reunited with Blanca Flores, who lost her Green Card after pleading guilty to organizing the riots. When a group of inmates from Litchfield is brought in to run the kitchen at the ICE detainment facility, Maritza is also reunited with Flaca. She begs her for help in proving that she’s an American citizen.

However, when Flaca finally manages to contact Maritza’s mother, she learns that Maritza wasn’t born in the United States at all but in Colombia. At first, there’s hope when Maritza gets her hand on the number for an organization that provides legal help to ICE detainees. However, Maritza’s fate is sealed by an act of kindness when she writes down as many copies of the number as possible and hands them out to the other women in the facility.

The guards spot this behavior, and Maritza is immediately deported to Colombia — a country she has never visited and where she knows no one. She gets on a plane with several other women, and one by one, they fade away, with Maritza fading away last. Her fate in Colombia is left unknown.

Diane Guerrero moved on from Orange is the New Black to capture roles in some huge productions. She became a recurring character in Jane the Virgin (as Lina Santillan), the DCU show Doom Patrol (as Crazy Jane), and the Disney Animation movie Encanto (as Isabela Madrigal).


How Orange Is The New Black Could Continue Without Piper

As Orange is the New Black has evolved across multiple seasons, Piper has become less and less relevant to the show. Can she be removed entirely?

8 Flaca

Helps Women Detained By ICE Contact Their Families

Flaca in the kitchen in Orange is the New Black.

No one is hit harder by Maritza’s deportation than her best friend, Flaca. As the Litchfield women work in the kitchen, Gloria begins trying to help the women reach their families by taking notes from them with names and phone numbers and using her cell phone to try and make contact with them. This eventually gets her in trouble when she smuggles a phone into the ICE detainment center so that Karla, a woman who is being deported to El Salvador, can use it to speak to her sons one last time.

After Gloria gets out of prison, Flaca resolves to take over the work she was doing, saying that it’s what Maritza would want her to do. She takes messages from women as they line up their lunch trays, telling them that she can’t promise anything but will do her best to find their families.

Jackie Cruz received her first major role thanks to Orange Is the New Black. Since that show ended, she has had only minimal roles and appearances. She had a recurring role in Good Girls as Rhea, one-shot appearances in Blue Bloods and Unforgettable, and several smaller movies, including the 2020 Tremors sequel, Tremors: Shrieker Island.

7 Ruiz

Gets To Spend Time With Her Daughter Again

Ruiz holding up a book in Orange is the New Black.

Maria Ruiz, who was heavily pregnant when she first appeared in Orange is the New Black season 1, had her baby and was almost immediately separated from her. She had a second heartbreak when her boyfriend, Yadriel, said that he wasn’t going to bring baby Pepa for any more visits to the prison because he didn’t want her to see her mother behind bars. In season 7, Yadriel reveals that he has started dating another woman (also called Maria), and Ruiz is naturally furious.

However, with the help of Joe Caputo’s restorative justice program, she works towards being a better person. Eventually, she apologizes to Yadriel and asks if he can start bringing Pepa to see her again. He agrees, and in Ruiz’s final scene, she takes turns with “New Maria” to read a picture book called Mi Burro, Mi Burro to Pepa in the visitation room.

When she isn’t acting, Jessica Pimentel is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Alekhine’s Gun. Before Orange is the New Black, she had several TV appearances in different roles in the Law & Order franchise. Since the Netflix prison drama, she has had a role in The Horror of Dolores Roach on Prime Video.

6 Aleida

May Or May Not Have Killed Daya

Daya confronts Aleida in Orange is the New Black

Dayanara Diaz, once a sweet girl who liked drawing pictures of anime characters, has been thoroughly transformed by the season 7 end of Orange is the New Black. She’s the drug kingpin of Litchfield and addicted to drugs herself, and to make matters worse, she recruits her 13-year-old sister, Eva, to help smuggle drugs into the prison. Aleida is released from prison but ends up back behind bars when she finds out that Eva has been dating a drug dealer twice her age and goes on a violent rampage at the dealer’s house.

When she learns Daya roped Eva into her drug operation, there is a fierce confrontation between the relatives. After Daya asks Aleida if she knows what it’s like to kill someone, Aleida punches her daughter in the throat, jumps on top of her, and starts to throttle her, saying that she might be about to find out. The outcome of this fight isn’t shown, but it’s possible that Aleida ended up killing Daya in order to protect her younger daughter.

Elizabeth Rodriguez had been acting for years before Orange is the New Black, with roles in Dead Presidents, Desperado, and Miami Vice in her past. Since the Netflix drama, she has appeared in Shameless as Faye Donahue and East New York as Det. Crystal Morales. She also appeared in the movie Allswell in New York, which she also wrote and produced.

5 Mendoza

Gets Out And Returns Home

Mendoza at home in Orange is the New Black.

One of the happier endings in Orange is the New Black is that of Gloria Mendoza, who comes close to losing her release date over the contraband phone she smuggled into the ICE detainment facility. In a rare act of selflessness, Luschek (who is still reeling with guilt over his role in Pennsatucky’s death) confesses to smuggling phones into Litchfield and says that he was forcing the women to smuggle them into the ICE facility.

He asks that Gloria be spared from any punishment before he himself is fired on the spot. His gambit pays off; Gloria is released from prison, reunited with her kids, and meets her grandchild. While unpacking things she finds the picture book Mi Burro, Mi Burro, which she gifts to Ruiz.

Selenis Leyva had some success following Orange is the New Black. In 2020, she began playing the role of Gabi in Diary of a Future President, for which she was nominated for a Gracie Award and Imagen Award. She also stars in the sitcom Lopez vs. Lopez with George Lopez and has roles in a couple of blockbusters, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Creed III.


Why Orange Is The New Black Season 5 Didn’t Work

Orange is the New Black recently returned for a fifth season, but spreading three days out over thirteen episodes left it dragging.

4 Black Cindy

Gets Out And Reconciles With Her Mother And Daughter

Black Cindy with a drink in Orange is the New Black.

In Orange is the New Black season 6, Black Cindy testified that Taystee murdered Piscatella in exchange for early release. Taystee gets her revenge when, shortly before Cindy is released, she sends a letter to Cindy’s daughter revealing that the woman she believes is her mother is actually her grandmother, and her “sister” Cindy is her real mother.

This bombshell causes Cindy to move out of her mom’s house and briefly become homeless. After reaching her lowest point, Cindy resolves once again to do better and meets her daughter, Monica, and mother at a fast-food restaurant, promising that from now on, she will show up and be there for Monica.

Adrienne C. Moore used her success from Orange is the New Black to secure a starring role in the CBC series Pretty Hard Cases as Kelly Duff, a role that has earned her three nominations from the Canadian Screen Awards. She also had the chance to voice Etta Candy in the animated DCU movie Wonder Woman: Bloodlines.

3 Flores

Gets Out And Moves To Honduras With Diablo

Blanca and Diablo hugging in Orange is the New Black.

During her time in ICE custody, Flores sees many women deported, including Maritza, Karla, and Nicky’s new girlfriend, Shani. It seems like her own case is hopeless, but Karla helps her by telling her to ask for a stay of removal to get her criminal conviction overturned – because she wasn’t told it would affect her Green Card status.

Amazingly, she succeeds in fighting her conviction and is released as a free woman with a Green Card. However, the love of her life, Diablo, has been deported to Honduras. Despite having the option to stay in the United States, Flores instead chooses to go to the “murder capital of the world” to be with Diablo, and the two of them have a happy reunion at the airport.

Laura Gómez hasn’t done much since she played Blanca Flores on Orange is the New Black. She had a three-episode run on Law & Order: SVU while appearing on the Netflix drama and then had a three-episode run on Anne+, a Dutch drama, after leaving the show. She also appeared in the Spanish dramas Upon Entry and La cocina.

2 Suzanne

Grows Up (Sort Of)

Suzanne smiling in Orange Is The New Black

Introduced as “Crazy Eyes” in Orange is the New Black season 1, Suzanne ironically becomes one of the most stable characters by the end of season 7. She becomes Mayor of “New Cluck City” (the name for the prison’s new chicken enrichment program) and takes charge of caring for a group of a dozen chickens. She gains her own experience in crime and punishment when an “immigrant chicken” (the rogue chicken that wanders around Litchfield) makes its way into the coop, and another chicken shows up dead.

At first, Suzanne imprisons the new chicken, but when another chicken dies, she puts them all in “chicken SHU” to stop the violence. The chicken program becomes a microcosm of the larger prison industrial complex, where Suzanne and Lolly reflect on the tricky nature of chicken criminal justice.

After Pennsatucky dies, Suzanne decides to release the chickens from solitary confinement, saying that “P-Tuck” had thought it was cruel. She holds a memorial for Pennsatucky, where she sings the Mountain Dew jingle. During a frank discussion with Taystee, Suzanne says that she’s come to understand that she can’t control everything, and she’s now starting to grow up. The last time the show sees her, she helps Taystee lead the financial literacy class.

Uza Aduba found success after Orange is the New Black with voice roles. She took on the role of Bismuth in Steven Universe, Officer Kubritz in 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, and Alisha Hawthorne in the Pixar movie Lightyear. She also had live-action roles in National Champions in 2021 and the TV miniseries Painkiller in 2023.

1 Sophia

Opens Up A Boutique Hair Salon

Sophia looks in a mirror in Orange is the New Black

As Piper is agonizing over her relationship with Alex, she gets a surprise bit of advice from none other than Sophia Burset, who was released from Litchfield at the end of season 6. She shows up for a parole appointment immediately after Piper’s, and upon learning Piper has a gala to go to, she insists on fixing her hair beforehand. Burset has opened up her own hair salon, Vanity Hair by Sophia. While Piper is in the chair, Sophia advises her to consider letting go of her life in prison and putting it behind her.

Laverne Cox became the first transgender person nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for acting on Orange is the New Black. Since that show, Cox earned roles in The Blacklist, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Deat White People, and Inventing Anna. She also had movie roles in Bad Hair, Promising Young Woman, and Jolt.


Orange Is The New Black: 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts Only Die-Hard Fans Know

Orange Is The New Black delivered plenty of on-screen drama, but there were surprises behind the scenes too. Only die-hard fans know these facts.

What Happens To The Rest Of The Original Characters

Mendez and Armaria playing in Orange is the New Black.

At the very end of Orange in the New Black’s season finale, the show catches up with characters who were transferred after the prison riot and others who weren’t shown for a while. Here’s what happened to some of the other old Litchfield inmates – and those in charge of watching over them.

  • Gina, Norma, Yoga Jones, DeMarco, and Big Boo are in the same Ohio prison as Alex, so at least she has some friendly faces in her new home. They all sit down for a meal, and Yoga Jones invites a new inmate to come and sit with them. She then starts to give her the same “mandala” speech she gave to Piper in the pilot episode.
  • Angie, Leanne, Janae, Alison, Soso, and Sankey have also been transferred to the Ohio prison, and they are all outside in the yard. Angie pulls Leanne’s pants down for a joke. Meanwhile, Alison times Janae as she races around the track. Sankey – a former member of Litchfield’s white supremacist gang – tells Soso that she has been trying to reform herself, and shyly confesses via a poem that she has feelings for her.
  • George “Pornstache” Mendez has shaved off his mustache. He raises Daya’s baby, Armaria (who was adopted by Mendez’s mother and is now a toddler), and teaches her to play the drums using pots and pans. He seems to be a much better father than he was a CO.
  • Caputo and Fig give up on trying to conceive their own baby and instead decide to adopt. Though Fig is at first set on adopting a boy under the age of two, he seems charmed by a little girl named Vanessa who sings Afroman’s “Crazy Rap.”
  • Sam Healey ends up working behind the counter at a smoothie bar.
  • Tamika Ward gets fired from her job as Warden and is replaced by CO Hellman – though in his last scene, it’s indicated that the job isn’t going to be fun for him.
  • Joel Luschek gets fired after admitting to smuggling in phones.
  • Chang ends up in the ICE detainment facility, where she complains about the open-plan architecture.

In many ways, Orange is the New Blacks final season was the darkest and saddest, but it ends on a hopeful note as Piper reflects on how she still loves to be clean — even though the meaning of that word has changed for her. Some characters end up in tragic places, but those who survive at least don’t end up alone.

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