11 Crazy 'Orange Is The New Black' Connections You Never Noticed
If you're at all a fan of the Netflix comedy-drama, then you're probably aware that many members of the Orange is the New Black cast have appeared in Law & Order . In fact, you might've even seen this three-minute supercut, which strings together all 31 actors' cameos on that show into one magnificent Litchfield Penitentiary tapestry. It's an amazing video to behold to be certain, but when you stop to consider that Law & Order has been around for a bajillion-plus years and so many working actors have clocked at least a second or two of screentime on it, it makes perfect sense.
Yet what I still can't wrap my mind around is how many actors on Orange is the New Black, though for the most part relative newbies in the biz, have appeared in the same projects outside of Law & Order. In fact, the overlap between their acting projects is so interwoven that it almost requires its own flowchart. I realized as much after marathoning both seasons of How To Make It In America and coming to the thrilling realization that the actors who play Caputo and Leanne on OITNB both had bit parts in the HBO series. And it only grows from there — in honor of the upcoming fourth season of the Netflix hit, here are 11 weird pre-Orange is the New Black connections you probably haven't noticed before.
1. Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Jessica Pimentel, Nick Sandow & Michael Chernus — Mercy
Schilling (who portrays Piper) starred in the 2009 series Mercy alongside a few familiar faces, including Litchfield's very own Red (played by Kate Mulgrew), Maria Ruiz (Jessica Pimentel), and Caputo (Nick Sandow), along with Chernus, the actor who would later play Piper's on-screen brother, Cal.
2. Selenis Leyva & Danielle Brooks —Girls
You may know them best as Gloria and Taystee, respectively, but Selenis Leyva and Danielle Brooks have both appeared in the cast of Lena Dunham's HBO dramedy. Here's Leyva:
Before playing Gloria, OITNB's "Spanish Harlem" matriarch and HBIC of the kitchen, Leyva played Chastity on the first season of Girls, a co-worker of Hannah's who taught her how to do her eyebrows. And here's Brooks:
Brooks appeared alongside Jessa in Girls Season 3 as Laura, effectively becoming Girls ' first black female character.
3. Nick Sandow & Emma Myle — How To Make It In America
These two actors didn't appear in the same season, and neither role got very much screen time, so the likelihood of any on-set #TBT trailer pics surfacing on Instagram seems minimal. Here's Sandow (aka Caputo) above, who had a relatively short three-episode cameo as Father Dan, and Myles, best known as inmate Leanne, below, as a character aptly named 'Metal Head Chick" on IMDB.
4. Samira Wiley, Jessica Pimentel, Diane Guerrero, Matt McGorry — Person Of Interest
Wiley (who plays Poussey), Pimentel (Maria), Guerrero (Maritza), and McGorry (Bennett) all had minor roles on the crime thriller as white-gloved professionals.
5. Laverne Cox & Michael Chernus — Bored To Death
Bored series creator Jonathan Ames was smart enough to cast a then-unknown Laverne Cox, above, in one of her first television roles. Cox, who plays Sophia Burset on OITNB), appears in just interaction in this series' pilot, but steals every second of it. Then there's Chernus, below:
In addition to his Mercy connection with Schilling and Bored to Death bond with Cox, Chernus also attended Juilliard with two of the show's actors (real life and Litchfield BFFs Danielle Brooks and Samira Wiley) and two of its writers, according to the school's site.
6. Alysia Reiner, Uzo Aduba, Adrienne C. Moore & Diane Guerrero — Blue Bloods
While both Moore and Aduba (Above) played nurses in just one episode each (in Seasons 1 and 3, respectively), Reiner and Guerrero had bigger roles on the CBS drama.
7. Jenji Kohan, Michael Harney, Pablo Schreiber, & Natasha Lyonne — Weeds
In addition to the obvious link to Weeds (both it and OITNB were created by Kohan), three of its actors appear in both series. Above is Harney (aka Healy) as a detective, and here's Schreiber:
Before playing every inmate's worst nightmare, George "Pornstache" Mendez, Schreiber was Demetri Ravitch in Seasons 7 and 8. Then there's Lyonne:
Prior to playing Nicky Nichols, Lyonne brought the equally messed up Tiffany to life in Weeds' eighth season.
8. Kate Mulgrew & Annie Golden — Cheers
Whether she's playing OITNB's Red Reznikov, Star Trek's Kathryn Janeway or Cheers' Janet Eldridge, Mulgrew is always amazing. Check those sequins! Then there's Golden:
In addition to her four-episode run as Cheers' postal worker, Margaret O'Keefe, Golden plays Norma on OITNB.
9. Lorraine Toussaint, Matt McGorry, & Lea Delaria — One Life To Live
For Toussaint, who played OITNB's calculating Vee, OLTL marked her first acting gig in 1988. Similarly, McGorry made a short, uncredited three-episode appearance, where he wore a Spiderman costume.
In contrast to the other two, DeLaria, who plays Boo, appeared in 31 episodes over the course of her three-year run on the soap opera.
10. Jason Biggs & Natasha Lyonne — American Pie
Whether or not they hang out off-set IRL, Biggs (OITNB love interest Larry) and Lyonne have a history reaching all the way back to the late '90s when they co-starred in this now-classic film.
11. Adrienne C. Moore, Joanna P. Adler, & Alysia Reiner — 30 Rock
While Moore's brief two-episode stint on 30 Rock (above) matches that of Adler's, the latter's four-episode turn as Chaplain Royce on OITNB pales in comparison to Moore's character, the scene-stealing Cindy Hayes. Here's Adler on 30 Rock:
She's practically unrecognizable as the turtleneck-wearing Donna Straunk. Now, take a look at Reiner:
Otherwise known as real estate agent-turned-warden, Fig.
Let the on-set Instagram throwbacks commence, because the lack of BTS photos of these stars' pre-OITNB connections is just not OK.
Images: HBO (9), CBS (2), Universal, NBC (5)