Warning: The following post contains major spoilers from Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black, which is currently streaming on Netflix.
Fans of Orange Is the New Black star Samira Wiley don’t have to worry about missing her presence on their television screens for too long. On Monday, it was announced that the talented 29-year-old had landed a role on the critically-lauded FXX comedy series You’re the Worst for its upcoming third season. Wiley is said to be portraying Justina, a therapist who, while dealing with her own issues, finds herself counseling the clinically depressed Gretchen (lead star Aya Cash).
While her move to You’re the Worst is the first that officially moves her away from the Netflix staple, it manages to maintain quite the interesting connection to the series that brought her to prominence. You’re the Worst writer Stephen Falk not only worked on OITNB in 2014, but he just so happened to be directly involved in bringing together the backstory for Wiley’s character, Poussey Washington.
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter regarding her hiring, Falk waxed poetically about the time they spent together while working on the Poussey-centric episode, “You Also Get a Pizza.”
“Samira is an incredibly talented, thoughtful and exciting actress. When I worked on Orange Is the New Black, I got to write the episode with Poussey’s backstory, and we had such a good time that early on in writing this season of You’re the Worst, I hit on the random thought of having Samira play Gretchen’s therapist. It seemed like kind of a weird choice, given that she’s younger, and on another show, but once it came to mind, the idea of casting anyone else bummed me out. So I didn’t.”
As luck would have it, Falk would get his wish thanks to a surprising development that played out during the penultimate episode of OITNB’s fourth season.
Following a rise of contention between the inmates of the fictitious Litchfield Penitentiary and a new onslaught of guards who were hired on the cheap to combat the rising costs of prisoner life, a peaceful protest held during the 12th episode, “The Animals,” ultimately leads to the accidental death of the mild-mannered Poussey. The repercussions of her passing, as well as the brutal matter in which it happens — she asphyxiates as a guard attempts to restrain both she and Suzanne (Uzo Aduba) — is said to be leading to major plot points in both Season 5, set to air next year, and beyond.
Interestingly, Wiley believes that the outpouring of anger and disapproval of OITNB fans who have seen the episode means that the show’s attempt to create a necessary moment of conversation for both the Black Lives Matter movement and the harsh treatment of inmates currently behind bars in America has been successful.
“[The death] had to be [of] a character that people really loved and cared about,” she tearfully expressed to the New York Times. “Poussey comes from a loving family, and like a lot of young kids, she just fell into the wrong thing (it’s revealed in the season finale that Poussey was jailed due to light drug possession). But [the] potential to actually make something of herself [one day], and to have that stripped away — it [creates] powerful television.”
Season 3 of You’re the Worst is set to premiere on August 31 at 10 p.m. on FXX. Wiley’s final run on Orange Is the New Black can currently be viewed, in full, on Netflix. Season 5 is set to premiere at some time in 2017 and is the first of a three-year extension.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Staff/Getty Images]