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Charlie Coates is a former Litchfield Penitentiary corrections officer and a former donut shop employee. While escorting Tiffany Doggett on van duty, the two develop a friendship that quickly turns abusive. He is portrayed by James McMenamin.
Coates comes off as very mild-mannered and sweet, even quiet and complacent at times. However, he does not understand the intricacies of sexual consent, believing lack of a 'no' is consent in an encounter with Doggett. Coates is shown to having a caring side for the inmates. In Season Four, Coates angrily tells Luschek to do his job and help Gina when she badly cuts her hand and Luschek is dismissive.
However, in Season Six, he is seen to have some anger problems, even hurting Pennsatucky.
He is a slender, taller man with facial hair and short brown hair. He has large eyes. After Pennsatucky crashes the van, he is left with a scar on his forehead. He grows his hair out more in season six.
Coates is among the many correctional officers at Litchfield hired by Caputo due to a staff shortage. His role is to accompany Pennsatucky on any errands the prison needs to run in the van.
Coates asks Pennsatucky to stop by the donut shop in order for him to pick up his paycheck (It is unclear if he continues to work at the donut shop while working as a correctional officer or if this was his last paycheck at the donut shop). Coates also buys donuts that he and Pennsatucky enjoy at a nearby pond. They begin to feed donuts to ducks in the pond.
The pair yet again purchases donuts and returns to the pond to eat them. On this occasion, however, Coates forces Pennsatucky to get down on all fours and fetch a piece of donut from the mud like a dog.
Coates begins to rape Pennsatucky after their relationship becomes increasingly unclear and complicated. Pennsatucky, who has a history of being raped, does not speak out against the abuse, telling herself it would be her own fault.
After Big Boo finds out about the abuse, she and Pennsatucky start a plan to incapacitate Coates with sedatives, then anally raping him with a broomstick. However, they do not carry out the rape after they knock Coates out with the pills.
[...] He says the prison has not changed him when Baxter Bayley asks him.
Pennsatucky doesn't say anything to the other inmates when she sees him while they are locking up all the guards, she gives him licorice and a brief goodbye. Later, while Pennsatucky is masturbating in her bunk with a cell phone set on vibrate, it is shown he is hidden inside the ceiling above her bunk and watches her, she sees him.
He and Pennsatucky are later seen talking and kissing in the laundry room when Big Boo finds them and says that Pennsatucky needs to come with her. She hides him in a dryer and tells him she will come back. Leanne and Angie find him while looking for the gun they lost while they got high. Pennsatucky comes back, she tries to convince them that she will bring him to where the other guards are being kept but they begin to take him anyway. Pennsatucky spots the gun in Angie's belt, having forgotten that she left it there while high, and Pennsatucky grabs it. She throws it to Coates and it goes off and blows off one of Leanne's finger tips. Pennsatucky tells him to run. He doesn't want to leave her but she tells him to go anyway. He runs with the gun and makes it outside and out of the prison riot, being the only guard in the prison at the time to not be captured by the inmates.
Pennsatucky escapes the prison and finds the guards houses. She finds Coates' house and decides to stay, wearing his shirt and sleeping in his bed. When he shows up she simply ask if he would like to watch TV. They sit on his couch with a blanket and his arm around her.
He appears in Season Six, leaving to drop Dixon at his sister's. Dixon finds his and Pennsatucky’s bucket list, and thinks it is Coates bucket list before he kills himself. Dixon says he will stay with Coates.
They stop off at a motel, While Dixon goes off and gets a room, Coates opens the boot of his car to find an upset Pennsatucky. Coates gives Penn some food and drink before closing the boot and going up to the room.
Coates is waiting for Dixon to fall asleep, but Dixon is doing lots of exercise and resting, like when he was in the army. Shortly after, Pennsatucky comes right into the room and shocks Dixon, but instead Dixon is supportive of their relationship.
The next day, the trio go clothes shopping where Pennsatucky is looking for a disguise. She keeps being mean to Dixon, and Coates tells her to be less harsh. the trio go to the carnival and Penn wins Dixon a bear. The trio then goes on several rides such as the Ferris wheel. On their way back, two unknown men call Pennsatucky and Coates “faggots”. This upsets Dixon, who defends them with a lengthy speech. One of the men responds with sarcasm and Dixon punches him.
The all go to a bar and Pennsatucky talks with several men. She comes up on the TV and she hides.
When Pennsatucky tries to leave, Coates slams the door and acts out violently. Dixon says to Penn that he will get her out of there. She refuses and Dixon says a goodbye and walks out the door.
Coates comes up with a plan to go to Canada by hiking through the forest. Penn says that Coates doesn’t even have a tent to make camp with. Despite this, she goes along with the plan. When they arrive at their first campsite, they have an argument over whether the plan will work, and if it's even worth it. That night, Pennsatucky quietly decides to leave, kissing a sleeping Coates before going back to turn herself in.
- Tiffany Doggett- When Doggett is given the job of van driver, Coates is often in the van with her. Initially their friendship is innocent and they are seen enjoying their time together. Later, it becomes more sinister, as Coates inappropriately deals with his attraction to Doggett by forcing her to do demeaning things and kissing her when it's clear she's already freaked out. Doggett, who has a history of abuse at the hands of men, is unsure what is right and what is wrong, and maintains to Big Boo that he cares about her and buys her things. The situation culminates with him raping her in the van. After this, she fakes a seizure to get out of van duty. In Season Four, Coates is confused as to why Doggett is avoiding him, and after a frank discussion, realises that what he did to her was rape, and was not mitigated by the fact that he told her he loved her. He is seen to ruminate on this and appears genuinely sorry for hurting Doggett. Their friendship is reinstated, but Doggett admits she is still scared of him. Although it is revealed that in Season 6 him and Doggett escaped from the prison but later Doggett self surrendered.
- Baxter Bayley - After the guard walk out and the following new guards being imported from war, Baxter and Coates designate themselves as the "original" guards. When Coates is forced to watch the murder scene of Aydin Bayat, Baxter comes and talks to Coates.
- Big Boo- After Pennsatucky is raped by Coates, he buys her a bracelet for her, Pennsatucky shows it to Boo, who notices bruises on her arms. Horrified by this, Boo tells Pennsatucky to take it off. Boo makes Pennsatucky realize that what Coates did was wrong and they decide to get revenge on him. They drug his drink with sleeping pills making him collapse, they take him to the laundry room and decide to put a broomstick into his rectum. Pennsatucky and Boo both chicken out and decide to leave him as he is and humiliate him.
- Scott O'Neill - O'Neill inexplicably dislikes Coates due to his job at the donut store and the fact that they sell a Red Velvet donut, which O'Neill claims is a "bullshit flavor"..