‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Beth Dover Talks Playing ‘Villain’ On The Show

Beth Dover attending the pre-party for the premiere of LD Entertainment's "Dog Days" at Westfield Century City.
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Beth Dover’s character on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, Linda Ferguson, was first introduced to viewers during the fourth season of the prison drama. Linda is the new senior VP for MCC and is determined to save the company money in order to climb up the corporate ladder, even if that means hurting the women housed in the prison.

During Season 5 of the show, Linda ends up getting trapped within the prison system during a riot. She initially seeks refuge and protection in the arms of Big Boo, a popular butch lesbian, played by Lea DeLaria. Fans were hoping she would have a change of heart after seeing the conditions faced by the inmates, but after doing whatever she needed to do to survive the riot and escape the prison, she went right back to her corporate job and even took on a higher role.

At the end of the last season, it was revealed that Linda played a major part in helping the company to build detention centers for undocumented immigrants, sending several beloved characters, including Blanca Flores, played by Laura Gómez, into ICE custody instead of back into the free world.

Throughout her time on the show, it becomes clear that Linda is unmoved by the plights of the inmates at Litchfield Penitentiary, and while talking to Pop Culture, the actress opened up about playing a villain on such a popular series.

“It’s an honor, honestly, to be able to play a villain because villains exist in the world, and we need to see that sometimes they come in forms that don’t look menacing,” she said. “They come in her power suit and heels, and whatever. The villains don’t always look like comic book villains. They’re just regular people.”

“I do get some hate mail, but I think they’re confused about the reality of who I actually am as opposed to my character, which I totally get,” she added. “It means I’m doing a good job, so, hey, I’ll take it.”

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The actress went on to admit that she didn’t realize how significant Linda’s role would be when she initially signed up to join the cast of the show but she’s beyond happy she took the opportunity. She also teased a bit of closure for the women of Litchfield during the seventh and final season.

Dover describes the experience as “bittersweet” and said she’s looking forward to seeing the cast and crew again at the Season 7 premiere.

Orange Is the New Black drops on Friday, July 26 on Netflix.