The series' creator discusses Poussey Washington's death and the reaction from cast members.
At the end of this week, Netflix original series 'Orange is the New Black' - based on the Piper Kerman memoir of the same name - will return for a fifth season, with creator Jenji Kohan once again at the helm. Telling the now mostly-fictionalised story of a group of incarcerated women at Litchfield Penitentiary, the show shocked viewers during its season when it killed off a fan favourite character.
Jenji Kohan faced a tough decision during season 4
That character was Poussey Washington, played by Samira Wiley. With the series since its start, she had gained legions of fans from those watching, but her character was accidentally crushed to death by an unskilled and untrained officer on duty when it looked like a prison riot could break out.
Fans weren't happy after the scenes, and now it turns out that there was even some discord on the set of 'OITNB', with creator Kohan facing the wrath of her cast.
"I hated losing Samira, but her death would have had the greatest impact," Kohan explained in a chat with The Hollywood Reporter when discussing the character's passing. "And she was fantastic about it. She said, 'I get it, I understand.' A lot of the other actors got very nervous and were outraged, like, 'How could you do this to her?' And it's like, 'I'm not doing it to her. This is the journey that this character has taken. This is where the show is going.' But it's hard because they're enmeshed with their characters as well, and you try to separate the actor from the part or the writer from the material, but it gets mushy sometimes."
Obviously the decision to kill off a beloved character isn't one a writer or creator would come up with immediately. We imagine Kohan spent quite some time pondering the decision to bring Poussey's time on the series to an end. Though she's no longer a physical presence on the show however, we know for a fact she'll always be playing a part into the narrative, for as long as 'OITNB' runs.
'Orange is the New Black' seasons 1-4 are available now on Netflix. Season 5 debuts in full on Friday, June 10.
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