Artesian McCullough is one of the newer COs at Litchfield hired by MCC in Season Four, chosen for being a military veteran. She is portrayed by Emily Tarver. She becomes a main antagonist in Season Seven.
McCullough is shown to be laconic and serious. She does not tolerate the boorish and often sexist antics of her male co-workers. It is implied that she is slightly racist towards black people. She seems to be one of the nicer guards, willing to help.
After the riot, McCullough develops a self-hating, masochistic attitude and begins stubbing cigarettes out on her thighs, likely due to her depression as a cause of the riot. She develops extreme PTSD and anxiety as a result of it, saying she wakes up in 'sweat puddles', 'jumps when she hears a loud noise' and is angry at herself as she keeps seeing the inmates as horrible. She believes they are human and just want to get through the day.
Physical Appearance Edit
McCullough is a blonde white woman. She keeps a fringe and uses minimal makeup at work. After the riot she does wear more makeup.
According to CO Stratman, "She could totally be cute if she got, like, 'Princess-Diary'ed".
In Season 6, she begins self-harming and has several burn marks on her thighs.
As seen in Seven Seven, she has a large tattoo saying 'Texas' on her torso. This is not due to being from that state, but as she learned it means "Hello, friend" in the Caddo language while studying Native American cultures as a child.
Before Litchfield Edit
Before she came to work at Litchfield, McCullough served in the armed forces in Afghanistan. She often outperformed her male colleagues but was belittled due to her gender.
In order to prove her camaraderie, she organized a niqabi-themed stripper to perform at the twenty-first birthday of her colleague Pena, earning her respect. However, after the party, she began to be sexually assaulted by one of her fellow combatants, and woke up, pushing him away in horror and disgust. The male soldiers lost all respect for McCullough the following morning, believing that she had made false allegations against them. The group was later engaged in active combat, while McCullough stayed in the truck, avoiding the bloodshed. ("Just Desserts")
As a veteran, McCullough went through eight jobs, including working at Dairy Queen and Walmart, and dressing up as the Little Mermaid for a children's party. She got fired many times due to her PTSD making her lash out and use profanity towards children.
McCullough is one of the new guards hired by MCC in order for the corporation to receive financial incentives for hiring military veterans.
She escorts Maritza on van duty, foiling Maritza's original plan to charm one of the male guards into going into the house while Maria's cousin picked up the panties hidden by Flaca in the bottom of the vehicle. The two eventually form a bond, and Maritza agrees to give McCullough makeup tutorials.
While she can be uncaring towards many of MCC's policies and her fellow guards' activities, she shows concern when she overhears Maritza throwing up in the bathroom (after CO Humphrey's torture). Recalling that Humphrey improperly had Maritza in the guards' house alone, she wonders if he may have had something to do with her state, and she and Stratman discuss Humphrey's possibly sociopathic nature. They consider that Humphrey may have raped her, and worry over the implications for the rest of the guards. She debates reporting the incident but Stratman sways her decision. He explains that they are part of a "brotherhood", meaning they have to look out for one another. McCullough reluctantly agrees and chooses to remain passive on the situation.
When the guards begin shutting down the peaceful protest in the cafeteria, McCullough attempts to assist Baxter Bayley in apprehending Suzanne Warren, but she is unsuccessful and calls out to Piscatella for help.
When Caputo asks the guards if Poussey was violent following her accidental death at Bayley's hands, McCullough and Luschek are the only ones who do not respond in the affirmative, clearly disturbed.
At the end of Season Four, McCullough is shown being held at gunpoint along with Humphrey by inmate Daya. The scene ends on a cliffhanger.
McCullough eventually becomes one of the guard hostages after the prison takeover.
When the guards were forced to strip in front of the entire prison population, Flaca and Maritza took the job of stripping McCullough, who protested that she and Maritza had bonded. Maritza tries to cheer her up, saying she has a beautiful body. Later on, she was the first person to realize Daya no longer had the gun after overhearing her talking to Mendoza during the group photo.
For the talent show, she did a "helping hands" act with one of the other hostages, who took the opportunity to grope her, much to her annoyance. Later, she is rented to Cindy and Alison on behalf of Suzanne. She stands up for Suzanne when Ouija ties her up, saying that it's not necessary.
McCullough was later escorted along with the other guards to the outhouses as part of Mendoza's plan to release them in exchange for having her sentence commuted, and was seen visibly crying at her situation. Later, Ruiz stole Mendoza's thunder and freed the hostages. When Ruiz was mistakenly told she could go home, McCullough was quick to correct the situation and point out Ruiz was actually an inmate, apparently still angry at Ruiz for forcing her and the other COs to strip.
After the events of the riots, McCullough, along with Ryder Blake and Joel Luschek returns to work at Litchfield, this time at Max. Later in the break room, McCullough asks Luschek how he can be this calm, considering what happened the last time they were inside of a prison. Rick Hopper and the other CO's then enter the room and invite all 3 newcomers to Fantasy Inmate. Blake tells the others he does not gamble, but McCullough signs both herself and Blake up anyway. At the end of their shifts, Luschek invites both Blake and McCullough to a party. McCullough reveals she has taken up a second job as a taxi driver. While Blake seems concerned about McCullough, Luschek just wonders if she has gotten sexier. ("I'm the Talking Ass")
After the riots, McCullough seems to suffer from major PTSD. She has nightmares, burns herself with cigarettes, and drinks excessively to cope. She holds a grudge against Ruiz, hitting her in the face and picking her for Fantasy Inmate.
During kickball practice, Badison doesn't take the training seriously and kicks the ball so it gets stuck. No-one seems impressed by this, except Nicole, who laughs hysterically. Piper gets it while Luschek and McCullough help her hold the ladder. McCullough asks if Head of Rec gets extra money because she can't drive for LYFT anymore. Piper sees the field, and Badison backs her up when Piper begs to be able to use the field. He agrees. Artesian pleads to Luschek, saying this will start a riot as they're outnumbered out there. He states that it's not a riot if they're fighting each other ("Chocolate Chip Nookie")
She becomes overwhelmed when a group of D-Block girls become upset about having to go back inside during their kickball practice, so she draws her baton and lashes out, screaming for everyone to get on the ground. Stefanovic comes and helps her calm down, (and also implying that they have sex), sending everyone inside. Later, Ward, who thought it was Wheatly smoking, climbs the stall and sees Artesian McCollough, with burn marks all over her legs. Artesian shouts at her and she apologises. She says it's fine. Ward tells her that she heard of the PTSD and McCollough says it was her fault, not theirs, and that they were just excited to play kickball, but also shares that she has nightmares and panics. She empathises with the inmates and is angry at herself because she constantly sees the bad of the inmates. Ward hands her a paper towel. ("Double Trouble")
Alvarez announces the end of Fantasy Inmate. Artesian states that prison is fucked and the fact they play fantasy inmate is terrible. Hopper mocks her saying that they've never had a riot in Max thanks to fantasy inmate. Later, she takes the inmates outside for kickball when Maria comes up to her and requests to change the teams for kickball. She readies her baton as she thinks Maria is going to hurt her. She thinks that Maria is threatening her when Maria suggests warfare will break out. She then tells Maria that she remembers what Maria did during the riot. Maria says she's trying to be a good person at this moment. Artesian listens and agrees. She gets mad at Badison after she tries to select multiple people at once. She smiles watching the inmates play, but gets annoyed when Stefanovic tries to stand near her. ("Be Free")
- Alex Vause - After flirtation, they begin kissing and later having sex.
- B. Stratman (colleague) - Despite seeming to dislike most of the male COs, McCullough sympathizes with Stratman during the hostage ordeal.
- Ryder Blake (colleague) - Blake and McCullough are shown to be friendly. In S6, she pays for his buy-in for Fantasy Inmate
- Lee Dixon (colleague) - Dixon and McCullough are handcuffed together during the hostage ordeal, McCullough is ashamed of him performing a "circle jerk".
- Baxter Bayley (colleague) - Baxter and McCullough seemed to get on well together.
- Joel Luschek (colleague) - Luschek and McCullough seemed to be friendly in the bubble. However, McCullough seems not to think too highly of Luschek and his attitude towards other people.
- Maritza Ramos (helped out) - McCullough seems to be friendly with Maritza when she becomes van driver and offers to give her a tampon when there is a shortage. Maritza teaches her how to do eye make up in return. Maritza later strips her, much to Artesian's annoyance but Maritza comforts her saying her body's beautiful.
- Suzanne Warren (defended) - When Pidge and Ouija take Suzanne away, McCullough tries to defend Suzanne.
- Tamika Ward - She opened up about her struggles with PTSD to her.
- Stefanovic - he helps and often calms and protects her during her PTSD. He also has a crush on her, but she declines his advances.
- Suzanne - stood up for.
- Alex Vause (Former, Allies) - Started selling Phone chargers for her after being caught with a butter knife and some drugs trying to break into Greg Hellman's Locker. She gave Alex two choices she could return the report that Alex had drugs and a knife, or rip it up and sell for portable phone chargers for her.
- Dayanara Diaz (held hostage) - At the very outset of the riot, McCullough is held at gun point by Dayanara with CO Humphrey.
- Maria Ruiz (enemy) - During the riot, McCullough is forced by Maria to strip in front of the prison population. After this, McCullough targets Maria during fantasy inmate. Toward the end of the season 6, McCullough accepts Maria has changed since.
- Hopper (criticised) - She comes to realise how bad F.I. really is and tells Hopper how she feels about it. He mocks her saying that they've never had a riot at MAX.
- Alex Vause - She meddled in Alex's life by visiting Piper and also later by getting Alex transfered.
- "This place is fucked. Why do we even play Fantasy Inmate? It's horrible."
- — McCullough to Rick Hopper.
- McCullough's shirt reads "B. McCullough", however, in "Riot FOMO", she reveals her name to be Artesian, though this may be a nickname or a middle name.