An OITNB star’s scene was so devastating, it made her afraid to leave her house.

If you are yet to watch the full 13 episodes of season 4 of Orange Is The New Black, I have two things to say to you.

1. Dude, come on. Sort out your sh*t. This season is profoundly life-changing and makes important statements about race and gender and sexuality and corporate greed and seriously you just need to cancel all your plans and watch it.

2. Stop. Reading. Now.

I mean it. An Orange Is The New Black star has given an interview about the defining moment of the series and I need you to stop reading if you don’t know what that moment is.

I’m giving you a second to contemplate your decisions.











I’m giving you a second chance.






Okay. Now it’s on you.


Just looking at her face gets me teary. Image via Netflix.

In episode 12, the women of the prison stage a peaceful protest, choosing to stand on the tables in the dining hall until Piscatella, the head guard, agrees to resign. Of course it's not all about Piscatella - it's about the group of guards he is in charge of, who are discriminatory, brutal and sometimes sociopathic in the way they treat the prisoners.

In response to the protest, Piscatella calls in for backup, bringing several extra guards in to get the women down from the tables and back to their bunks. But a series of traumatic events means that the women's behaviour isn't predictable, and among the chaos, a gentle, kind guard unintentionally takes the life of the blameless Poussey Washington.

I have so many unresolved feelings. I cried real tears for a fictional character who was unjustly killed because it was about so much more than her. And now Samira Wiley, who plays Poussey, has spoken to Vulture about the moving scene which sees her young life come to a tragic end.

Wiley says that like us, she had a lot of feelings when she was told about her character's fate.

"I felt a lot of things. The first thing was shock and confusion. You’re on a show for so long and you feel a part of it and then, all of a sudden, you get news like this, and it’s a real shock.

Listen to super OITNB fan Meri talk to Rosie and Laura about the latest season:

"They also let me know, even though I didn’t have a script, what story was trying to be told in terms of “Black Lives Matter.” At the end of the day, I honestly feel pretty honored to be able to be the person, or the character, or the actor they entrusted with the responsibility of bringing this story to light, and bringing this story to a bunch of people in whatever parts of America or whatever parts of the world where this hasn’t really permeated yet."

Wiley is, however, terrified of the repercussions of such a powerful moment on television. "I’m scared, yo. I’m scared," she told Vulture.

"After the season comes out, they want to come up to you on the street and talk to you about what happened and wrap you up for a bit. I don’t know if I have the emotional strength to stop on the street and talk about me being dead."

Despite the anxiety she feels about fans watching the devastating scene, Wiley knows how important it is for people to have a strong emotional reaction.

"I talked to another reporter who had just seen the episodes and she said her stomach hurt so bad she felt like she was going to throw up when she watched it.

"If we’re making people feel like that just from a TV show, then that’s the kind of TV I want to make. That’s the kind of art I want to make. Make people feel things so deeply that it affects them in that way. To know that we might have achieved that this time is awesome."

I, for one, also felt sick. It's one of the most moving scenes I've seen on television in a long time. Choosing Poussey was clever for so many reasons - she had a bright future, she had strong friendships, a loving partner and was particularly peaceful. But the other element to the scene - choosing Bayley as the guard to kill her - was equally as important.

When asked how she felt about the way the show humanized the guard who killed her character, Wiley responded, "that's real life too."

"Honestly, it was a really smart decision on their part because it is complicated. All life is complicated. You could’ve had one of those asshole guards be the one to do it, but then that would’ve made your feelings so cut and dry."

Many people aren't aware, but Wiley and Danielle Brooks, the actor who plays Taystee, are close friends off-set as well as on, and their friendship pre-dates the show. The two attended New York performing arts school Julliard together, so in such a crucial moment for Wiley's career, it was important that Brooks know the news first.

"Well, Danielle … I couldn’t ... I thought about if it happened in reverse, if this was happening with Danielle, and if I got a script, and how that would make me feel. I said I can’t do that to her. [Pauses, chokes up a bit.] I went over to her apartment, got a bottle of wine and was like, “Yo, I need to tell you something.” We talked it out like sisters before she even got the script."

One of the greatest friendships in TV history. Image via Netflix.

Wiley says that the final episode of the series, which featured several flashbacks to Poussey's backstory, offered her a great deal of closure. She told Vulture, "Honestly, if they did something else with the last episode, if I was just gone and not in it, it would've been really hard to leave the show on that note."

She knows it was significant to end the series that way - so the audience wouldn't remember Poussey as dead on the floor, but as fun and happy and hopeful.

Ultimately, Wiley's character was the centre of a crucial moment on television that comes by very rarely. Poussey's death is powerful in its complexity, and it encourages the audience, particularly those who might struggle to comprehend the issues of race and power, to more deeply understand the Black Lives Matter movement.

As Wiley says, "It's not this vicious crime. It's the system. That's what Jenji [the creator of the show] is trying to do. She's trying to highlight this horrible corrupt system that's corrupt on both sides."