When Season 3 of “Orange Is the New Black” returned to Netflix in June, fans of the Jenji Kohan created series were flooded with conflicted feelings. Yes, they were excited to reunite with the ladies of Litchfield, but audiences were also heartbroken when they learned their favorite, redheaded jailbird would be missing from the plot of the third installment.
In episode 3, “Empathy Is a Boner Killer,” viewers said goodbye to Natasha Lyonne’s character Nicole “Nicky” Nichols as they watched her get carted off to maximum security. See, in Season 2, Nicky stole Vee’s (Lorraine Toussaint) stash. But instead of using it for her own personal pleasure, Nicky teamed up with Big Boo (Lea DeLaria) to move the heroin out of Litchfield -- and make a little cash doing it. But they needed help… someone from the inside who would risk their job to make a profit. So, they reached out to Luschek (Matt Peters).
But their plan went south after the prison’s two meth heads found the stash. The reason Leanne (Emma Myles) and Angie (Julie Lake) were able to even get their hands on the heroin is because Nicky decided that instead of selling the drugs with Luschek, she was going to hid it. Something about having the bags of white powder must have felt calming to the addict.
However, her fickle mind changed once again when the dope got into the hands of the wrong people. Nicky then confessed to Luschek that she had lied about the drugs being stolen originally because she wanted them within the walls of the prison -- but now the stash really had been taken. Lushek ended up getting the heroin back and selling it for a pretty penny. But unfortunately, their fool proof plan was foiled when the meth-loving duo ratted on them, causing Caputo (Nick Sandow) to search Luschek’s desk.
Is the desk they found a lone, little white baggie. Fearful for his job, Lushek wasted no time pinning the incident on Nicky -- after all, she was a junkie. And, just like that, Nicky was hauled off to maximum security, where she remained for the entire season.
So, will Lyonne’s character return to the “OITNB” when Season 4 of the dramedy streams to Netflix in 2016? That’s the question on every fans mind and the inquiry that was asked to Lyonne when she appeared at the 2015 Summer TCA press tour panel.
"I feel a great deal of solidarity with the cast of ‘Game of Thrones,’” Lyonne quipped as she attempted to dodge every question that could potentially spoil the upcoming season.
However, when the “OITNB” star spoke to E! News, she revealed a little more insight on what viewers could expect when Season 4 premieres.
"I was excited [about Nicky's Season 3 story]," Lyonne said. “We have an incredible puppet master in Jenji and there's a great deal of trust that I have in that. I'm pretty much a person who is up for adventure and I thought it was wise to have there be a big consequence for Nicky's playing around with heroin. It can't all be fingering and cookies all the time. There's going to be hell to pay at a certain point for playing with her personal fire."
Hell to pay? Is it possible Nicky wasn’t responsible for the heroin found under Lushek’s desk? Perhaps the meth lovers put it there to frame Lushek after he took it from him or maybe it really was Lushek’s baggie! Regardless, Lyonne said it was necessary for Nicky to get hauled off to max, even if it meant a Nichol-less plot.
"I think it's a good thing to have major characters suffer major consequences. Otherwise, I think it might be a little bit too friendly and it loses some of its bite,” she said.
“Orange Is the New Black” will return to Netflix with a fourth season in 2016.