The fourth season of “Orange Is the New Black” was unlike any other season of the Netflix show for star Laverne Cox.
“It was not a fun season for Sophia,” Cox said in an interview with TheWrap. “Because the character is in solitary confinement, the character is suicidal. To be honest, it’s hard to talk about this season because Sophia is in solitary the whole time.”
Cox plays Sophia Burset, a transgender inmate at Litchfield. She previously worked as one of the prison’s hairstylists but was placed in the SHU for her “own protection” after an altercation with another inmate. Sophia spends most of Season 4 in solitary confinement, without her wig and suffering from serious withdrawals without her hormones.
Cox was nominated for an Emmy for the fourth episode of the season, titled “Doctor Psycho,” in which Sophia lights her mattress on fire in the SHU and is transferred to Max.
Cox further explained that inmates in solitary confinement experience hallucinations, paranoia and often become suicidal, so she hoped that people would begin to think more critically about “solitary confinement as a cruel and unusual punishment — as something that no one should experience as human beings” after watching the season.
But Season 4 was also the one in which Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) was killed by a prison guard at Litchfield — one of the most shocking moments of “Orange Is the New Black” to date.
“I think we shot that two years ago and I’m still not over it,” Cox added, almost speechless. “I’m still no t… Danielle Brooks and Uzo [Aduba] talk so beautifully about it — when we were shooting it, there were so many black folks who were being murdered by police, and so it was just so real. There have been many times with ‘Orange Is the New Black’ that the fictional storylines became more than a TV show. With my character, that’s happened many, many times.”
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