What Happened To Nicky In 'Orange Is The New Black' Season 3? There's More Story To Tell In Season 4

Although Orange is the New Black added some new characters in Season 3 — including the fan-favorite Stella played by Ruby Rose — the year also marked a number of departures. C.O. Bennet ran away in the middle of Season 3 after the birth of his child with Daya, and another beloved character was sent down the hill to maximum security early on in the season. So, what happened to Nicky in Orange is the New Black Season 3 and what are the chances she'll be back for Season 4?

Well, for those of us who powered through Season 3 (and may not have retained some of the details in the process) here's a crash course in Nicky's storyline. Season 3 began with Nicky in possession of heroin stolen from Vee back in Season 2. Nicky enlists the Litchfield electrician Luschek to help her sell it, roping him into her scheme. But, when fellow Litchfield inmates Angie and Leanne discover the hidden stash of heroin and begin using, they blame Luschek. In turn, he pins all the blame on Nicky in order to save his own skin from Caputo, and as a result, Nicky is sent to maximum security prison — only three episodes into Season 3!

So, it's been a minute since we've seen Nicky. Now, as for whether she'll return, her character was noticeably absent from the trailer for Orange is the New Black Season 4, as well as photos from the premiere episode. Officially, it's still unclear whether Natasha Lyonne will reprise the role as Nicky in Season 4. Unofficially, though, there have been rumors Nicky will return, which began circling earlier this year thanks to many news outlets including Screen Crush.

Adding to speculation of Nicky and Lyonne's return was the actress's appearance at the Television Critics Association 2015 summer press tour (which occurred after Season 3 had premiered on Netflix). There, Lyonne spoke to Entertainment Weekly, refusing to answer definitively whether she'd be in Season 4, and talked about how Nicky's time in maximum security could affect her character:

People respond all kinds of ways to intense [situations] beyond rules. That kind of discipline sometimes brings out the best in people and sometimes brings out that much more anger and rebellion. Certainly, at a certain point, I think Nicky would have to come to terms with her childhood and do some reconciling with her past if she’s going to make peace with being an adult.
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Add all these clues together — the rumors, Lyonne's appearance at the TCAs, and her thought to Nicky's character development — and it seems pretty likely Nicky will return in Season 4. Of course, we won't know for sure until Season 4 hits Netflix and all the dedicated viewers have binged their way through it, but fans certainly have good reason to hope to see Nicky again on Orange is the New Black.

Images: JoJo Whilden, Murray Close/Netflix; Giphy