All of the Orange Is the New Black Inmates, Ranked From Best to Worst

Taylor Schilling stars in the Netflix original series, but how does she compare to her costars characters?

By Jennifer Cady, John Boone Aug 01, 2013 8:36 PMTags
Orange is the New BlackJill Greenberg/Netflix

By now you've binged on all 13 episodes of Orange Is The New Black and just spend your days jonesing for season two, right? Honestly, getting thrown into SHU sounds better than waiting out this hiatus. Maybe Pornstache will be able to smuggle us in some new episodes. 

If you haven't started watching the newest Netflix hit yet, then why are you on the Internet? Why are you eating or sleeping or doing anything that isn't watching OITNB?! Go! Now! Go watch! 

Since we can't stop talking about the show, we've decided to rank all of the inmates, from best to worst (well, most of them. There are so many inmates! Sorry 'bout it, Flaca and Maritza). Spoiler alert: The lady in the no. 1 spot wasn't named after a Ho Ho. Spoiler alert, part 2: This article contains actual spoilers (and a bit of NSFW dialogue).

1. Taystee


You knew that Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson (played by Danielle Brooks) was going to top the list. Because she tops every OINTB list, ever. As soon as she was released from prison, we wanted Taystee to get arrested again. But when she did, we were equally heartbroken. Also, we never need a flashback explaining how she ended up in Litchfield, because this works for us: "So I'm sitting there with barbecue sauce on my titties, and I'm like "What the f--k? Again."

2. Crazy Eyes


We love Crazy Eyes (played by Uzo Aduba) when she's, well, crazy: Spouting off Shakespeare at the Scared Straight kids, singing the "Swirl" song and did we mention peeing on the floor? But we loved Crazy Eyes Suzanne more when we got to see her vulnerable side ("Why does everyone call me 'Crazy Eyes'?" broke our hearts.) And we need some Suzanne flashbacks in season two, if only to see her interacting with her parents again.

3. Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett


Because Crazy Eyes may be crazy, but Pennsatucky is insane. Let's just give Taryn Manning all of the Emmys now.

4. Poussey


Her name is pronounced "pooh-say" (accent à droite, bitch!) and her friendship with Taystee is one of the most heartwarming aspects of the show. Plus, it provides the most hilarious exchanges: "Let's talk about healthcare, Mackenzie." "Oh, Amanda! I'd rather not! It's not polite..." She's played by Samira Wiley.

5. Red


Galina Reznikov, aka Red (played by Kate Mulgrew), runs a tight ship at Litchfield. Until it all falls apart. But watching her dig herself out of (or deeper into?) that hole provides for some intense, on-the-edge-of-your-seat viewing. (Side note: Seeing her in those pastel sweat suits she wore in her former life never gets old.)

6. Sophia Burset


Sophia Burset (played by transgender actress Laverne Cox) is equal parts sass and soul. She has one of the most complex romantic relationships on the show (and that's saying something—as a man, Sophia got married, then transitioned and is trying to make it work with her wife) and, fun fact: Pre-op Sophia was played by Laverne's real-life twin brother!

7. Piper Chapman


Our protagonist, Chapman (played by Taylor Schilling) is selfish, naive, egotistical, needy, etc. But we need some good female anti-heroes on TV. And in prison Piper also proves herself to be one hell of a woman (see: Her telling Healey off when she's thrown in SHU).

8. Nicky


No other inmate wavers between being oh-so-innocently broken (mommy issues) and spouting off the most vulgar, NSFW, hilarious quotes. Nicky Nichols (played by Natasha Lyonne) is one you root for, even if you're not sure why.

9. Yoga Jones


Yoga Jones (played by Constance Shulman) provides one of the most heartbreaking moments of the first season. But fun fact: Shulman also voiced Patti Mayonnaise on Doug! Now go back and re-watch the season and every time Yoga Jones starts talking, close your eyes and pretend Patti Mayonnaise wound up in the slammer!

10. Black Cindy


Black Cindy (played by Adrienne C. Moore) is Taystee 2.0. And we're OK with that if it means moments like her telling a picture of Denzel Washington, "You ain't got to be alone no more. We're going to my bunk, where Book of Eli never happened."

11. Morello


C'mon! She's adorable! Lorna Morello (played by Yael Stone) has that cute little accent, which is like Jersey Shore by way of the 1940's, and thinks there's a third Bora in Bora Bora. She does not seem to have a single bad bone in her body, which makes us wonder how she ever wound up in prison in the first place (here's hoping she'll get some flashbacks in season two so we can finally meet her fiancé).

12. Miss Claudette


Because we're scared of what she'd do to us if we put her any lower on the list. Miss Claudette (played by Michelle Hurst) a stone cold killer...with a heart of gold and we hope one days she's able to make her way out of max.

13. Big Boo


Because without Big Boo (played by Lea DeLaria), we wouldn't have Lil Boo.

14. Alex Vause


Alex (played by Laura Prepon) is one of those love ‘em-or-hate ‘em types—we know lots of you love her and ship her with Piper and Nicky and whoever. But we tend to lean towards the latter. Her eyebrows, first of all. And really she's just kind of falls flat in our eyes. Speaking of eyes: She's always taking off her glasses, then putting them back on, then taking them off again and putting them in her mouth and twirling them around. Let's all cross our fingers that commissary starts shilling out contacts in season two.

15. Tricia


Her story was the womp wooooooooomp of the series. Tricia (playd by Madeline Brewer) never had it together. Her life was tragic in prison, her life was tragic out of prison and then she died. RIP, girl.

16. Aleida Diaz


Because she's better than her daughter, Daya. Played by Elizabeth Rodriguez.

17. Daya


Dayanara Diaz (played by Dascha Polanco) and her illicit romance with Officer Bennett is great TV, sure, but we don't exactly know why Bennett picked her in the first place. She's pretty, but otherwise mostly she just alternates between lying in bed and whining about...everything. And Daya is so, so stupid. 

18. Norma


We're not really working with a lot since Norma (played by Annie Golden) didn't talk for 12 of the first 13 episodes. But, if her shining moment in the Christmas pageant is a sign of things to come, we have a feeling she'll move up the list by the end of season two.

Honorable Mention: This fine-ass correctional officer.


But if he were an inmate? Lock us up and throw away the key.