Orange is the New Black aired its third season on June 12 exclusively on Netflix, but the show was released hours earlier “for good behaviour.” OITNB is set in Litchfield Prison and follows the trials and challenges of Piper Chapman, a white middle-class young woman who committed one drug offence several years ago with her former lover Alex Vause. She is reunited with Vause in prison which eventually ends her relationship with fiancé Larry Bloom.
12. The Twin Brother
Laverne Cox is a transgender woman in real life as she is in the show. Her character Sophia Burset is based on one of the inmates in Piper Kerman’s book, Orange is the New Black. In the third episode of the first season, Cox’s twin brother musician M.Lamar plays Sophia pre-transition. He again appears in season three, episode one.
11. Modern Love
In the first season of OITNB Piper takes a lot of heat when her fiancé Larry Bloom’s article “One Sentence, Two Prisoners” is printed in the New York Times section Modern Love. Piper Kerman’s real life fiancé Larry Smith wrote an article for the same paper entitled “A Life To Live, This Side of the Bars” which was printed March 28, 2010. The article did not feature anecdotes about the other inmates, and focused on Smith’s relationship with Kerman.
10. Coming Out
OITNB writer Lauren Morelli discovered she was gay while writing for the show and left her husband for actress Samira Wiley, who plays Poussey. Morelli said in a Mic.com story “In Piper and Alex, I’d found a mouthpiece for my own desires and a glimmer of what my future could look like.”
9. Someone is Always Left Out
Not a single cast member has been featured in every episode except for Piper Chapman (Taylor Shilling).
Like her character Nicky Nichols, Natasha Lyonne has also been behind bars. She was arrested in 2001 on Miami Beach for driving under the influence of alcohol, leaving the accident, and careless driving. She was released hours later after posting bond.
7. Prison Dogs
In the first season, Big Boo is featured with a prison dog. There are several dog training programs in the US prison system, where inmates train dogs that are later adopted or become service dogs. The real Piper Chapman (Piper Kerman) wanted to participate in this program at the prison in Danbury but she was not going to be in prison long enough to be eligible.
6. Law and Order
Almost all the cast members of OITNB have appeared on episodes of Law and Order, including: Michael Chernus (Cal Chapman), Laverne Cox (Sophia Burset), Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza), Taryn Manning (Pennsatucky), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Aleida Diaz), Kate Mulgrew (Red – pictured below), Deborah Rush (Carol Chapman), Alysia Reiner (Natalie Figueroa), Lea DeLaria (Big Boo), Joel Garland (Officer O’Neill), Natasha Lyonne (Nicky Nichols), Abigail Savage (Gina Murphy), Nick Sandow (Doug Kersten), Pablo Schreiber (George ‘Pornstache’ Mendez), Michelle Hurst (Miss Claudette Pelage), and Annie Golden (Norma Romano).
5. American Pie
Jason Biggs is best known for the American Pie franchise and played Piper’s ex-fiance Larry Bloom in OITNB. He references his American Pie misadventures when he tells Piper in the pilot episode, “I tell you everything. The webcam horror, the penis shaving incident.” Furthermore, Natasha Lyonne (Nicky Nichols) and Deborah Rush (Carol Chapman) are both American Pie alum.
4. Young Mommy
On OITNB Dascha Polanco plays Dayanara (Daya) Diaz, who becomes pregnant with prison officer John Bennett’s child. Daya’s mother Aledia Diaz is portrayed by Elizabeth Rodriguez, who is only two years older than Polanco in real life.
3. The Faces
The opening sequence features photos of real former inmates along with Piper Kerman who wrote the book Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison as a memoir of her prison time in Danbury, Connecticut from 2004 to 2005.
2. The Scar
Natasha Lyonne, who plays Nicky Nichols, has a scar on her chest from open heart surgery. She had the procedure because of a bacterial infection caused by drug use. Her scar and its cause were written into the script for Nicky’s character.
Abigail Savage tried out for the part of Alex Vause but was casted as Gina Murphy. Laura Prepon, who got the role of Alex, originally auditioned to play Piper Chapman. Alysia Reiner was offered the role of Warden Natalie Figueroa after failing to get the parts of Alex Vause and Polly Harper. Yael Stonr was casted as Lorna Morello after she didn’t get the part of Nicky Nicholls.