Galina "Red" Reznikov is a main character and an inmate at the federal Maximum Security prison since Season 6, and a tertiary protagonist of the series. She is portrayed by Kate Mulgrew. She was once a powerful figure in the inmate population who in Season One holds the position of Head Chef and is the leader of a group known as Red's Family. After attempting to strangle Frieda towards the end of Season 6, she is sent to SHU. By the end of the series, Red has suffered significantly from dementia that was progressed by her time in SHU. Red's character is based on Pop in the memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison.
Red's influence in Litchfield is rivaled by few others. She rules her block of the prison with an iron fist (and a large amount of illegal red hair dye), albeit fairly. Her intolerance to drugs and complex smuggling ring shows her motherly nature and strong-will. She is cunning, pragmatic, and persuasive. She uses these traits to win the respect of Russian Mafia members that even her husband, Dmitri Reznikov, is unable to win over. Dmitri acts as a foil (opposite despite similar backgrounds) for Red, appearing weak and easily bullied, traits Red desperately avoids.
Red thrives off of her power in the kitchen at Litchfield. Her passion for cooking and need to be in charge of everyone around her is what sustains her through the drudgery of prison life. In spite of her domineering nature, Red is a woman of unwavering integrity who holds herself to the same moral code that she does for everyone else. When Piscatella is interrogating over the dead body in her garden, she steadfastly refuses to name the people involved even when it's made clear that she could be wrongfully charged for the murder.
Her downfall, though, is her obsessions. Season One shows her fixated on a chicken. She abandons her normal pragmatism and rationality to chase after the chicken she had previously believed to be a myth. (“The Chickening”) Her need to feel accepted by fellow Russian wives is constant and causes her to lose her cool, leading her to lash out and accidentally pop one of their fake breasts. Her overreaction to their rejection is part of how she ends up in prison because she had a debt to pay off. (“Tit Punch”)
She pours her heart and soul into her maternal nature, but, she also focuses her obsessive energy on hatred and revenge. In Season One she obsesses over Pornstache, deciding she wants him “taken down.” She spends Season Two frightened of and preparing herself against Vee. Piscatella becomes her rival/obsession in Season Four. Her hatred for him is so strong that in Season Five she lured him into the prison during the riot, putting herself and everyone else in danger. Season Six shows her hatred now directed towards Frieda. She even abandons her family visit with her son and grandchildren (that she’s never met) because she sees Frieda and runs after her in an attempt to get revenge. (“Double Trouble”) She also writes off all the people who name her, calling them “ghosts who should die again with pain.” (“I'm the Talking Ass”)
Physical Appearance Edit
Red has short hair, which is usually dyed red and is styled in a large coif with hair products, giving her her nickname. Before prison, she used to wear her hair long, and it was naturally red in youth.
She also usually wears red lipstick, golden earrings, and spikes out her black eyeliner, just below and above the eye. Her overall appearance is “harsh”, as Piper describes her in Season 3.
She wears a chef’s apron with the nickname “RED” stitched into the pocket in Season 1. When she loses her position in the kitchen, Red starts wearing a grey hoodie. Her vibrant hair is dull and flat at this time, symbolizing her unhappiness over losing her job.
Red wears reading glasses that hang around her neck on a knitted purple string.
Before Litchfield EditFor a list of episodes featuring Red's flashbacks, see here.
In the 1970s, Red was a factory worker in Soviet-era Russia. Her boyfriend Dmitri also worked at the factory as a guard, but Red grew bored of their relationship and complained to her friend Nadezhda that he was "a hamster in jackboots". Later, Red blew off a date with Dmitri to go to a secret party with Nadezhda, the attendees of which were university students who rebelled against repressive Soviet society by copying American clothing and dance moves. There, she met the party's host, Pavel, who financed this underground lifestyle by selling Levi's blue jeans (contraband and symbols of "Western decadence", to the Soviet authorities). Red and Pavel began a passionate relationship, and she and Nadezhda contributed to his illicit business by dyeing and selling the jeans. Red fancied herself and Pavel as pioneers of change, until their friends, including Nadezhda, began to disappear - presumably picked up by the KGB in connection with the jeans business. While Red wanted to organize a demonstration for their freedom, Pavel insisted they destroy the jeans and lay low, prompting Red to storm out in disgust at Pavel's sudden timidity when threatened. Back at the factory after Red and Pavel's break-up, Dmitri made a last-ditch attempt to win Red back by proposing they move to the United States together - as the government was allowing Jewish individuals to leave the country, they could pay an agency to "discover" long-lost Jewish relatives and thus obtain visas. Though initially reluctant to marry Dmitri in order to emigrate, Red agreed. ("The Tightening")
Years later, having settled in the US and remained married, Red and Dmitri owned Dmitri's Russian Market in Astoria, Queens. Dmitri befriended some members of the Russian mob who frequented their business. Red, on the other hand, struggled to befriend their wives. She once went out on an organized walk with the ladies and tried to fit into their group, but the wives patronized her and refused to laugh at her jokes. After discovering that they had excluded her from their next walk, an upset Red confronted and punched the wife of the mob boss, Marina, in the chest, accidentally rupturing a breast implant. Red and Dmitri were forced to pay back a $60,000 debt to the mob boss, Ganya, which led to Dmitri being forced to undertake some extremely unpleasant jobs; for example, implied corpse storage at their business ("Tit Punch").
She later impressed Ganya by offering sound business advice that allowed her to swiftly climb the ranks of the organization - namely, that cafés and restaurants come and go, but businesses such as hospitals and prisons will always exist and are therefore better choices for racketeering ("Moscow Mule").
Some time later, at another meeting with Ganya, Red and him discuss Mikhail having a line on the Serb importer, sending a young boy, Ilya, to go with Mikhail and find a man to coax a confession out of him. Before Ganya leaves, Red asks about new business, but Ganya tells her they will discuss that another day. She mentions how a person named Olga mentioned that certain "Retirement Communities" keep popping up all over the place. Ganya says that they can also discuss that next time, and tells her to make some Tea Cakes for the next meeting. He leaves. While Red closes up the store, she tells Ilya that she is the genius behind the operation, and that Ganya and his mafia forget that all the time. She mentions a sort of "Prison Contract" stating that was all her idea, and that they present them as their own. She then asks Ilya about the Serb, asking him if he is ready for such a big job. He doesn't answer, but asks something about marriage, if it's too late to marry Sonya Chekova. His mom thinks Sonya's father could get him a job at a Gem society, but Red says "You don't want to be a Diamond cutter at Zale's", and says that he can do better with Sonya and her underbite. He mentions Vlad having to finish one of Sonya's dates with a tire iron but Red doesn't want to know about that. He presses on. She said maybe she has another job for him, but Ilya says he can handle it. Ilya's mom arrives and he leaves. Red then closes up the shop.
At the next meeting with Ganya, Red says she thinks the plan isn't a good idea. Ganya is very angry and says "Enough is enough" saying it is not her place to question him on how he conducts his business. Red snaps back saying that is why she is sitting at that table, to give advice. Ganya sits back down, and listens, while Red says to not use Ilya for the operation, saying how he is still a boy, and is therefore innocent. She says to use other men like Konstantin, who are eager to prove themselves, and don't focus on Family as much.
One day later, while talking to Dmitri, Ganya walks in stating that she was right about Ilya, and couldn't use him. He leaves. Red goes to open the Freezer, and finds a body bag, with Ilya revealed inside. Red steps away in complete disarray, and sits down on the floor.
It is believed by some that she went to prison for murder, due to it being revealed in "People Persons" that police found five bodies in Red's freezer when they searched her house. However, this is likely due to the Reznikovs being forced by Ganya to store the body parts of mafia victims.
Arrival at Litchfield Edit
Red seemingly arrived at prison at the same time as both Anita DeMarco and Vee (although Vee revealed she had been to Litchfield previously). She explained to Vee that she had connections with Neptune's Produce, a business of Ganya's that supplied the prison with groceries. Vee subsequently suggested that Red use them to smuggle contraband into Litchfield.
Red began working in the kitchen with Norma and successfully smuggled items in for some time. When Vee discovered Red's growing business, she asked for a cut of the business. After Red refused, Vee and her girls violently attacked Red, breaking some of her ribs and puncturing a lung.
Red is feared and respected by most of the prisoners and has a lot of influence over CO Healy. She is close to Nicky and is always accompanied by Norma and Gina. They both cater to her personal needs - such as Norma shaving Red's legs - and work with her in the kitchen.
Red runs a smuggling business out of her kitchen, but she refuses to import drugs of any kind. When Mendez begins to force her to use her connections to bring in drugs, she hatches a plan to have him removed from the prison. She also uses her resources to help some of the inmates overcome drug addictions - as she did once with Nicky and also Tricia - although they have only "two strikes" before she abandons them, which eventually causes Tricia to overdose after her relapse.
She is initially nice to Piper until Piper unknowingly insults her cooking, and in response Red serves her a bloody tampon on her breakfast tray. Red continues to punish her by starvation in order to force her to appreciate her food. Piper eventually repairs their relationship by making an ointment from chilis given to her by Suzanne to help soothe Red's sore back.
Red also has an odd obsession with a chicken that is allegedly seen on the prison grounds from time to time, as she wants to cook "real food" and also wants to absorb its "power". Toward the end of Season One, she is decommissioned from the kitchen by Caputo (after he discovers Mendez's drug smuggling operation, for which Red is blamed) and assigns Gloria as the new Head Chef. In an attempt to take Gloria and her "girls" out of the kitchen she sabotages one of the ovens, inadvertently causing Gina to be badly burnt, which strains her relationship with her "daughters", who isolate her.
Due to Mendez poking around in her kitchen, Red's smuggling business is exposed. She is stripped of her position as head cook, along with the rest of the women working in the kitchen. They are replaced by Gloria and the rest of the Latinos. This makes red hit rock-bottom, as she viewed her job in the kitchen as the only worthwhile thing to do in prison.
Red is jealous and angry because of losing the kitchen. She loses most of her friends and influence in the prison and she is forced to become Piper's new bunkmate. At the same time, she attempts to come to terms with her loss of friends, and in the process joins the "Golden Girls," a group of older inmates. Upon discovering a disused sewage drain in an abandoned greenhouse in the prison grounds, Red restarts her smuggling business with the help of her son Vasily, using the garden greenhouse as a front.
When Piper is granted a furlough, Red asks her to stop by her market to check on how things are doing. Piper sees the business is closed down, and the space is for lease, but upon returning to prison she lies and tells Red that the business is doing well.
Her old rival Vee has been incarcerated once more at Litchfield, and, although their relationship is initially cordial to the outsider, Vee very quickly begins to undermine Red, leading to a season-long rivalry between the two. In the episode, "It Was The Change," Red attempts to strangle Vee to death but stops. Soon after, they agree to come to a truce. However, at the end of the episode, Vee slocks Red in the greenhouse, causing trauma to her face and arm and putting her in the prison's hospital ward. Red initially refuses to name Vee but is persuaded to by Sister Ingalls. This, coupled with statements from Vee's rebelling gang, leads Vee to decide to escape down the greenhouse tunnel to avoid extra sentencing and having her sentence tripled for Felony Escape. Vee is then run over by Rosa Cisneros and is presumed dead at the end of Season Two.
At the time of "A Whole Other Hole", she had been at Litchfield for at least twelve years.
After realizing she doesn't have much time left on her sentence, Red seals up the greenhouse sewage drain with concrete and begins to concern herself with what she will do with herself upon release. Red is visited by her husband and sons on "Mother's Day". Red's family is concerned when they see the injury sustained when Red was attacked by Vee, but Red assures them she is okay. Red asks her family about the store and is concerned because Mother's Day is usually a large sales day for the store. The family lies and tells them everything is fine and the store is doing well enough that they could afford to close for the day. However, she can sense the lie and she confronts Piper. Red decides that she wants nothing more to do with her husband after this and wants to be divorced., and is also furious at Piper for lying.
After Healy asks Red to translate for his Ukrainian wife, Katya, in an attempt to mend their relationship, Red berates the woman, calling her a "mail-order bride," and defending Healy by saying that he "He is handsome and at least he’s still trying!" Due to her kind words, Healy begins flirting with Red, giving her roses (in a seed packet for the garden). Noticing his change in attitude, Red asks Piper to soften her makeup in order to look “less-harsh”. Healy and Red subtlety start flirting until Healy finds out it was a ploy for Red to once again get work duty in the kitchen. He is hurt and their relationship is somewhat strained afterward.
Red does eventually replace Gloria Mendoza as Head Chef (Thanks to Healy’s interference with Caputo ). Red is placed in a lowly position washing dishes at first, then takes over when Mendoza quits. She was, however, only allowed one day before MCC's new boil-in-the-bag meal plan was implemented, and prison food quickly becomes unbearable - so much so that a new currency of ramen packets to add taste to the "food" is introduced. Red is adamant that everyone in the prison know that the meals are not her doing, and eventually she starts cooking special dinners with vegetables from the garden she started with the Golden Girls, to which tickets are available by lottery.
At the wedding of Lorna Morello, Red is asked to be a witness. Sam Healy is also present, and they share a meaningful look during the ceremony. They are both in tears when Lorna and Vinny say their vows. After the ceremony, Red gives Healy her paper bouquet from the service and tells him: “Our ships passed too late in the night”, implying that they can never be a couple. This suggests that Red did have some romantic inclinations towards Healy after all.
Red begins the season seething with jealousy about the presence of celebrity chef inmate Judy King, especially after Judy is invited by Healy to pick the food growing in the greenhouse, and Red is then told Judy will be joining the gardening group. She tampers with King's food, adding a laxative to her meals.
Red's attention turns to Alex after Alex seeks her help and confesses her and Lolly Whitehill's killing of Aydin Bayat and his subsequent burial in the garden. Alex tells her Frieda Berlin helped them dispose of the body, and wants to kill an increasingly erratically-behaving Lolly before she confesses, so Red becomes involved in a bid to redirect Frieda's attention elsewhere.
When new construction foreman Leon McDonald attempts to remove the garden for more space for a construction site, he inadvertently digs up the dead body. CO Piscatella holds an interrogation against Caputo's orders, questioning any inmates with violent pasts. During the investigation, Red, Alex, and Piper meet in Frieda's bunk to discuss what to do if they're questioned. The group believes Frieda will be investigated due to her murderous past, of which Frieda says she murdered four people one year. A CO comes to collect the questioned inmates, and instead of Frieda, Piscatella wants Red. It is revealed that there were five dead bodies found in Red's refrigerator outside of prison, and later, during an inspection of Red's bunk and office, the COs find the keys of the murdered officer. Although Red merely claimed the keys after the event, this is considered enough evidence to convict her. However, Healy reveals Lolly confessed to him some time ago and she is taken away to the psychiatric ward. Piscatella reveals his hatred of Red during this period and it becomes the start of his brutal campaign against her.
As the investigation comes to an end, Red attempts to sleep but Piscatella punishes her by ordering her to stay awake at all times.
Prompted by Taystee, the leaders of the various factions within the inmate population arrange to come together to discuss how to get rid of the abusive COs; Red says that Piscatella, as the captain, needs to go. They meet in the library - Red, Maria Ruiz for the Spanish Harlem, Taystee for the Black Girls, Kasey Sankey for the White Power Group and Stephanie Hapakuka for the "others'. They discuss various options. Red suggests killing Piscatella, but Hapakuka said she was in prison in Hawaii before being transferred to Litchfield and there the prisoners had staged a peaceful protest, which worked. The group agrees on the course of action, but discussions fall apart when they cannot agree on who should lead it.
Piscatella later catches an exhausted Red dozing in her kitchen office, and drags her out and makes her an example in front of the Litchfield inmates. He then tosses her on the ground to the shock and disgust of all the inmates. As he exits the cafeteria, Flores stands on a table in protest (as she had previously been made to do so as punishment for deliberately not showering). Piper joins, followed by Taystee, Alex, and the rest of the women in the cafeteria. Red joins them. The entire inmate population peacefully protest and tell Piscatella that they will not get down until he resigns. Piscatella orders the COs to drag the inmates off of the tables. In the ensuing chaos, Poussey Washington is accidentally suffocated to death by CO Bayley.
In the aftermath, Red reads a gardening book Poussey recommended to her to Alex, Piper, Morello, Nicky, Frieda, Norma, Gina, and Anita. She says they will rebuild the garden in Poussey's memory and gives them all jobs to do. After they have all left, she confides in Frieda that a good way to keep her prison family out of trouble is to keep them busy.
She also goes to see Sam Healy, telling him that they (the inmates) need him now more than ever. Sam is deranged, having attempted to commit suicide the previous evening. No more between Red and Healy is seen as he goes to a psychiatric hospital.
When Caputo announces Poussey's death on the news, but does not name her and defends Bayley, Taystee incites a riot. Red joins all the inmates (except Piper, Alex, Sophia, Gloria, and Chang) as they race towards his office, but they stop in the hallways when they meet Judy King - who is being released early - flanked by two COs. One CO, Thomas Humphrey, brandishes a gun but Maritza sees and pushes him over. The gun slides over to Daya who aims it at him as the inmates scream at her to shoot him. Red exclaims "Shit, here it is" about the event that is sure to change Litchfield forever.
As the situation in Litchfield devolves into a full-blown riot and all the inmates carve out their own footholds in a newly guard-less prison, Red secludes herself in Piscatella's office to search for information to use in her campaign to oust him. She is joined by Blanca, who stays and helps. Fueled by a "natural" energy supplement found in one of the lockers, the two comb through all the files in the office, initially turning up nothing damning against him. They do, however, find an album of Piscatella's "tablescapes" - elaborate table arrangements incorporating various themes and perfectly matched decorations and fabrics - which they hang around the prison, outing Piscatella as gay. Eventually finding Piscatella's file, the two women are horrified to find out that an inmate died while Piscatella was the guard on duty at his old prison, though he himself never faced charges. Furious that he was allowed to work at Litchfield in spite of this, Red and Blanca resolve to get rid of him by forcing him to publicly confess to murder.
Red and Blanca plan to lure Piscatella inside the prison by texting him with a cell phone belonging to CO Humphrey, then catch him in a booby-trap. In order to unlock Humphrey's phone, they need his thumbprint. Humphrey, having been shot by Daya and then suffered a stroke after Maureen Kukudio blew air bubbles into his IV system, is lying catatonic in medical. While Blanca distracts the attending nurse, Red attempts to unlock the phone, but bungles the job and ends up just cutting off the tip of Humphrey's thumb to keep for easier access. After setting up a rendezvous with Piscatella via text, the two women show up - visibly jittery and with a piece of severed thumb in tow - at the pharmacy cage to ask Nicky and Lorna for needles to use in their booby trap. Nicky inspects the "energy supplements" that Red and Blanca have been taking, which turn out to be prescription-grade amphetamines, and immediately dismisses Red and Blanca's plan as crazy. Despite Red's protests that Piscatella is coming inside the prison, Nicky insists that Red relax and sleep off the drugs.
Unbeknownst to the inmates, Piscatella does indeed sneak inside the prison, despite Lorna-posing-as-Humphrey texting him not to. In horror movie slasher-style, Piscatella stays hidden and starts to snatch members of Red's "family" one-by-one, stowing them in a storage room. Only Red remains on guard. Finally, she stumbles upon the storage room and attempts to free Piscatella's captives, now including Nicky, Carrie "Big Boo" Black, Blanca, Alex, and Piper. Red is captured as well and humiliated in front of the others, with Piscatella hacking off large chunks of her hair while heaping verbal abuse at her. The group is saved by Frieda, Gina, Erica "Yoga" Jones, and Anita DeMarco, who have been riding out the riot in a bunker of Frieda's design - the entrance to which is hidden in a locker, fortuitously in the same storage closet where Piscatella has been torturing the captives. Piscatella himself is temporarily knocked out with a blow dart and restrained, but Nicky stops Red from harming him.
A short time later, law enforcement in SWAT gear storms the prison to stop the stand-off. Located in the bunker - actually an old, long-drained swimming pool in a basement area - Red and many of the others initially remain hidden as no one thinks to look there. However, after a tip from Caputo, the SWAT team makes their way toward the hidden refuge with the intent to clear out the bunker through any means necessary. With time running short and the threat of violence hanging over all of their heads, Red frees Piscatella in an act of mercy and waits with the others for the team to arrive. Red's fate - and the fate of the others in the bunker - are unclear as the SWAT team's first stun grenade goes off.
In Season 6, we first see Red dressed as a Russian clown in one of Suzanne Warren’s fantasies, and Red introduces a clown called Denial. When the fantasy is over, it shows Red in her prison cell in Ad-Seg along with Black Cindy, Frieda, Taystee, Piper, Blanca, Nicky, and Gloria.
In her interrogation, Red discovers that Piscatella is dead. She tries to warn the girls but Nicky is the only one who gets the message. Piper misinterprets Red's message and thinks that Alex is dead. Red is angry but eventually gives Nicky her blessing to her. Piper, Nicky and Frieda betray red during their interrogations. After her and Nicky talk,
Red is forced to sign a plea, crying while signing it. Red is sent to C-block. Piper tries to apologise and Red doesn't really speak. She later also loses Blanca as a friend as she got angry that Blanca didn't get any more time. She rings Vasily, stating she doesn't trust anyone anymore. ("State of the Uterus")
She begins hanging out with Alana Dwight and Zirconia, calling them nobodies which they agree with. There she tries to find the woman that Frieda betrayed 30 years ago so that they can get revenge on her together. She meets Calloway, Claire St. John, Mandy Walsh Baker before insulting Carol by accident infront of Sally Jo. She learns that it's Carol, the leader of C-block. Later, Red walks into C-Block and Carol and Sally Jo stare at her. She walks briskly away and hides in her cell with a book. Red gasps when Jo enters and states that Red needs to come with her. Red states she's busy and Sally Jo takes the book and rips it in half. Red follows her. She escorts Red with Carol to the Salon and guards the door once Red enters. She watches as Carol and The Brown Twins interrogate Red. Red explains herself and her hair is fixed by the twins. Her and Carol become friends because of their shared hate of Frieda. ("Gordons")
Red's son Vasily comes to visit her and tells her about how her husband is seeing someone else. He also tells her that the rest of the family doesn't want to see her either. She shares this with Carol who promotes Red to be her new partner. Red is offended after Silka Webb states that Junkie's always blame someone else (about Barb), she was likely indirectly standing up for Nicky. She says that family always blames the family. Carol says the problem with family is expectations. Carol says forget unconditional love that hate keeps her warm at night. Red says that in Russia they have a saying, "Those who love you will make you weep, those who you hate will make you laugh." Carol says she doesn't even have to translate because she hears her loud and clear. Carol makes Silka Webb move so that Red can sit across from her declaring that Red is her partner now. ("Break the String")
Red and Carol are in the showers when Carol offers her some alcohol thats hidden in an shampoo bottle. Red doesn't like it as it tastes like shampoo but Carol says thats necessary if the COs check. Carol proposes to prank Alana, Red stands up for her saying that would be "just mean" and Carol says it's meaner to pretend to be nice first. She lies to Alana, saying she's getting out, Alana rushes out excited and thanks Carol. Red later is called over by Nicky and sneaks around to see her. Red states she hates Badison. Nicky warns her about Carol, but Red calls Carol real and they argue about Carol and Barbara.("Chocolate Chip Nookie")
Red and Carol think of ways to kill Frieda, Carol decides to get a Florida Girl to kill her, but Red wanted something more dramatic. They later go to the salon together and are targetted by D-Block. Nicky tries to protect Red when CO Ginger discovers the note. CO Young takes Carol to AdSeg. ("Well This Took a Dark Turn"")
Red gets angry at Carol, who arrives back from AdSeg, saying she needs to kill Barbara and that she has better things to do than kill Frieda. This upsets Red who insults Badison infront of her. She complains about Carol abandoning killing Frieda at night to Alana. Alana in return tells Red about how breaking her nose multiple times has fixed her snoring, and how she lost her smell. She advices Red to let go of anger, but Red ignores her advice. Then Red tells Alana that Carol was lying about the early release, and Alana shows a rare moment of anger, calling Carol a bitch. ("Double Trouble")
Later, Red and Alana are playing cards when D. Stefanovic tells Red her (grand)children are there to visit her, Alana tells her the kosmos is rewarding her for letting go of anger. Red is very excited, and talks to Kelly Lee Glenna about how she has never seen them, their age and how she is worried as she don't know what they like. She sees Frieda and frantically decides to attempt to strangle her, crying and asking whyuntil Stefanovic pulls her away and takes her to SHU. As Red cries, Frieda is given dirty looks by the inmates. Vasily, his girlfriend and children wait but sadly don't get to see her. ("Double Trouble")
Red later talks to Gloria through SHU's vent. ("Be Free")
Red is in still in the SHU after attacking Freida in season six. Gloria, who is in the cell beside her, talks to her and encourages her to exercise and keep her spirits up, but Red appears to be very depressed. They bond over their love of cooking. ("Beginning of the End ")
Red is released from the SHU when the new warden Tamika Ward shuts it down. She is asked to run the kitchen at the ICE detention facility, but refuses, suggesting Gloria for the job instead. Gloria later speaks to Red in the laundry room, asking her why she didn't want the kitchen job. Red responds that she doesn't think she can do it because the time she spent in the SHU changed her. Gloria convinces Red to join her in the kitchen, saying it'll be like old times. Red mentions bringing Norma and Gina back and Gloria has to remind her they were transferred to a different prison. ("And Brown Is the New Orange ")
In the kitchen, Gloria teaches Nicky how to cut onions, and Red can be seen watching her and copying her actions. She then starts to take charge of the kitchen, giving the other inmates orders. She speaks to Nicky in the van on the way back to the prison, saying it felt good and that "people need a purpose". Later on in the episode, she forgets what she was saying mid-sentence when telling Nicky to be careful with the chicken. ("How to Do Life ")
Red appears to be irritated with Gloria when she prioritises helping Blanca and Maritza over the kitchen work. She puts too much salt in the stew, and blames Gloria, saying she put in the correct amount. She then gets upset as she feels like no one else cares about making sure the food is cooked well. Later, she notices some pasta left out and asks Lorna what it's for, who replies that it was for the casserole. Red claims she already put some in, but then quickly goes over to the oven when no one is watching to add the pasta. The other kitchen staff comment on the uncooked pasta, and Red gets angry, taking it out on Nicky and Gloria and blaming them for being incompetent. ("Minority Deport ")
While cooking, Red is seen to be checking a list of instructions she has written. Lorna tries to talk to her while she is cooking, but Red doesn't seem to be able to pay attention to anything she says. Later, when Nicky and Shani Abboud go into the freezer to have sex, they find Red shivering in the corner. ("Me as Well ")
Nicky asks Red why she was in the freezer, who claims that she was just looking for something and wasn't in there for that long. Nicky brings up her concerns about Red's wellbeing, but Red appears to not want to discuss it. The next day, she tells Nicky she is feeling much better and was just tired. She asks Nicky to send a letter to someone from her past. Shani sees Nicky with the letter, and they have a conversation about Red where Shani suggests that she may have dementia. Nicky speaks to the woman the letter was addressed to over the phone as she couldn't find an address to send it to. It is revealed that Red sent her the exact same letter ten years ago. Nicky suggests that Red should see a doctor, and Red gets angry, calling her opening the letter a "betrayal", and declaring that she is done with Nicky. ("Baker's Dozen ")
Red is taken to medical after cutting her hand. Nicky goes with her, but Red tells her to leave her alone. Nicky speaks to the staff at medical, and tells them about Red's memory issues and mood swings. Nicky is later called back into medical, where a doctor diagnoses Red with early onset dementia, which has rapidly progressed due to delirium as a result of being kept in the SHU, as well as an untreated urinary tract infection. Nicky cries and hugs Red, as they both apologise to each other. ("The Thirteenth ")
During Tamika's party, Nicky finds Red sitting alone. They talk about Morello, and Nicky asks Red how she became such a good prison mom. Red responds that she didn't always know what to do, but she figured it out. She gives Nicky advice on how to deal with Morello, telling her that "there's strength in admitting what you can't do". She then asks Nicky to get Norma, Gina and Tricia so they can start preparing dinner. ("The Big House ")
Red is transfered to the Florida block and bumps into Frieda Berlin. Berlin makes Red drop her tray of food. Red apologises to Frieda, and Frieda is taken aback by this. They end up eating lunch together and become friends again for a few hours before Red remembers what Frieda did to her. Red then proceeds to run after Frieda who closes her cell door, with Red saying "I'll kill you!". In the final moments of the series, Red is seen comforting Morello in a haunting scene, as Nicky takes over her role of "prison mom" - taking charge of the ICE kitchen and helping the detainees through detox, while wearing red lipstick and nail polish. ("Here's Where We Get Off ")
- Dmitri Reznikov (ex-husband) - She married Dmitri because he promised to take her to America, although she was quite reluctant to do so. Later, while living in America, it was likely his involvement with the mafia that got Red arrested. Though they didn’t divorce, Red all but cut him out from her life, and it is revealed in Season 6 that he is seeing someone else.
- Yuri, Maxsim and Vasily Reznikov (sons).
- Kolya (grandson)
- Unnamed granddaughter
- Nicky Nichols - Her most loyal girl and an ex-junkie who Red reformed prior to the series. Nicky and Red refer to each other as mother and daughter and are extremely close. However, when Tricia is forcefully ejected from the family for drug use and subsequently dies from an overdose, Nicky turns on Red in a moment of rebellious outrage by telling Mendez how the older woman smuggles in her goods. In Season Four, Nicky starts using drugs again in Max before being transferred back to Minimum Security. Red is at a loss as to how to help Nicky, as her previous method with Tricia resulted in Tricia's death. Nicky later looks out for Red in season 5 when she is withdrawing from pills. In S6, Nicky is faced with many years unless she testifies against Red. She informs Red who is angered, but eventually Red gives her her blessing to testify. Later, they are in different cell blocks and Nicky looks out for Red by alerting CO Copeland of the planned hit on Carol and her.
- Norma Romano - Part of Red's "family, Norma is a mute woman who is Red's longest-standing friend in the prison. She frequently acts as a servant as well as a friend, doing personal care such as shaving Red's legs. In Season Three, their relationship is strained when Norma becomes head of a cult within the prison, and the dynamics of their friendship are altered.
- Gina Murphy - Friend and helper in the kitchen, and part of Red's "family". Their relationship is almost destroyed when Red inadvertently causes Gina to be seriously burned in a kitchen fire, however, the two eventually reconcile when Red finally apologizes.
- Miss Claudette - Friend and occasional helper in the kitchen, the two bond over their mutual jadedness towards the younger inmates' drama. Claudette is perhaps the only inmate who can rival Red's cooking skills.
- Lorna Morello - Also one of Red's girls, she can be considered second only to Nicky in terms of the Russian's command. During the WAC elections, Red had put her bid in for Lorna rather than Nicky, surprising the latter.
- Piper Chapman - (strained) Despite her initial dislike of Piper, the two become closer when forced to share a bunk in Season Two. Red often offers Piper sage and bluntly honest advice. Piper betrays Red in season 6, and later apologises. Red doesn't seem to hate her, but still is very angry with her due to it.
- Alex Vause - Alex and Red enjoyed a cordial relationship before Season Four when Alex came to Red for help in keeping Aydin's murder a secret. Although Red initially questions Alex as to why she should help, saying Alex isn't one of her girls, she eventually aids Alex. In "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again", Alex is seen in a gathering of Red's family, suggesting that she has been accepted into Red's Family.
- Irma Lerman
- Tasha Jefferson - Both share hate for Piscatella. In S6, they were both made the scapegoat for crimes they werent completely responsible for.
- Jimmy Cavanaugh
- Blanca Flores - (former) In Season Five during the riot, Red and Blanca both go looking for something to use against Piscatella. They search through guard files together and take "vitamins" that Blanca found, which turn out to be pharmacy grade speed. They attempt to make a plan to defeat him, but both women are captured by Piscatella when he enters the prison. The two are among the inmates in the pool when riot police blast down the door at the end of the final episode.
- Anita DeMarco - She is part of Red's Family.
- Gloria Mendoza - Red's replacement for her job in the kitchen and later friend in Season 2-4. Bestfriends in Season Seven.
- Tricia Miller - Like Nicky, she was a recovering addict who considered Red her prison mom. After Tricia's body is found, Red feels it was her fault because it was made to look like an overdose.
- Sam Healy- They have been friends for a long time with the hint of a deeper relationship in Season 3. They have helped each other in the past; Red has translated for his Ukrainian wife and he, in turn, has given her special privileges in prison.
- Alana Dwight - They hang out after Red's family betrays her and also when she stops being friends with Carol. She also stood up for Alana when Carol wanted to play a prank on her.
- Zirconia - They hang out after Red's family betrays her
- Carol Denning - (former; Carol and Red became friends when Red searched for the person that shared the same anger and resentment towards Frieda and, like Carol said, she "found her.")
- Kelly Lee Glenna
- Frieda Berlin (former) - Red forgets who she was because of dementia so they become friends again.
- Piper Chapman (former) - Piper unknowingly insulted her cooking on her first day in prison. Red starves her out for a few days until Piper creates a lotion made of pepper juice for her aching back which mends their relationship.
- George Mendez - Red's arch nemesis in Season One. When a picture of an inmate's vagina is accidentally leaked and found on a porn site, Mendez, also known as Pornstache, is forced to stall his drug dealing business in the prison whilst searching for the source of an unauthorized camera or cell phone brought in by an illegal smuggling ring. Worried that it might be drawn back to him, Mendez looks to alternative means and decides to merge his own dealings with Red. However, due to Red's harsh views on drug use, Mendez must find a way to coerce her into cooperation: by finding out how exactly Red manages to bring her goods into Litchfield. With Nicky's help, Pornstache figures out that it is through Neptune's Produce (using previous connections to the Russian mob) and manages to force Red into accepting a merging of their interests, much to her disgust. Red retaliated by orchestrating a plan to pin the pregnancy of Dayanara Diaz on Pornstache, so that the actual father, John Bennett, would not get discovered. After Joe Caputo discovers Pornstache and Daya having sex, Pornstache is placed on administrative leave, and Red lets him know that she was involved in his suspension. He returns to the prison temporarily but is subsequently fired and arrested when it is discovered by the prison administration that Daya is pregnant.
- Yvonne "Vee" Parker † - An inmate who came to Litchfield around the beginning of Red's sentence. Vee advised Red to take advantage of her connections with Neptune's Produce, a vendor for the prison. Red was hesitant to break the rules since breaking them is what put her in prison in the first place. Vee explained the situation as one of survival, and Red took her advice. Red trusted Vee as a friend, but Vee betrayed her in order to take control of the operation for herself. When Red refused to give up control, Vee and her gang attacked her and broke some of her ribs. Vee was released some time later. In Season Two, Vee has been incarcerated once more at Litchfield, and, although their relationship is initially cordial to the outsider, Vee very quickly begins to undermine Red, leading to a season-long rivalry between the two. In the episode, "It Was The Change," Red attempts to strangle Vee to death but stops. Soon after, they agree to come to a truce. However, at the end of the episode, Vee slocks Red in the greenhouse, causing trauma to her face and arm and putting her in the prison's hospital ward. Red initially refuses to name Vee but is persuaded to by Sister Ingalls. This, coupled with statements from Vee's rebelling gang, causes Vee to escape down the greenhouse tunnel to avoid being transferred to Max and getting her sentence tripled for Felony Escape. Vee is then hit by Rosa Cisneros in the prison van as she is escaping as well and is presumed dead at the end of Season Two. Red then fills up the tunnel used for smuggling contraband and that Vee used for escape with cement and then writes "RIP V".
- Black Girls (former) - Rivaled with them in S2 while they were under Vee's leadership.
- Desi Piscatella † - In Season Four, Piscatella targets Red, among others. After she refuses to co-operate with his investigation into the body found in the garden, he forces her to stay awake for days. His treatment of Red and the other inmates causes the inmates to rebel in "The Animals". In Season Five, Piscatella captures Red and some of her family and subjects them to torture.
- Frieda Berlin - Red remembers who Frieda truly is.
- Carol Denning - Red got angry at her for not caring about Frieda anymore
- Blanca Flores - Red is angered when she hears that Blanca got no extra time for actually inciting the riot, where as Red got time for that when she didn't.
In the memoir "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison" on which the television series is loosely based, the character of "Red" is based on a real-life prison inmate who is nicknamed "Pop," also Russian :“the imposing fiftyish wife of agangster who ruled the kitchen with an iron fist” — and Kerman becomes one of Pop’s “children.”"Pop" was in charge of the kitchen at Danbury Federal Correctional Institution, the prison where author Piper Kerman served a one year sentence for drug smuggling and money laundering. Like in the TV series, Kerman also insulted Pop's cooking, but received nothing more than a reprimand:
- "Listen, honey, I know you just got here, so I know that you don’t understand what’s what. I’m gonna tell you this once. There’s something here called “inciting a riot,” and that kind of shit you’re talking about… you can get in big trouble for that… so take a tip from me, and watch what you say."
- — Pop
Kerman and "Pop" eventually got along and created a strong bond. The Memoir is, in fact, dedicated to "Pop". The character of "Red" is one of only a handful of characters from the TV series to be loosely based on a real-life person.
- Red's father used to call her solnyshko, which means "little sun" in Russian, as mentioned in "(Don't) Say Anything".
- She doesn't like Polish people, as mentioned in Riot FOMO
- It is revealed she is developing dementia after the isolation in the SHU accelerating it.
- Red is the first character to tell the "eggplant" joke, the others being Cesar Velazquez, Nicky Nichols and Josh.
- "I'm missing half my zucchini. These girls don't realize I'm here to provide food, not dildos. I'm all out of cucumbers, carrots, beets -- God knows what they're doing with those. I can't hold on to anything cock-shaped."
- — Red, "Lesbian Request Denied"
- "The second you're perceived as weak, you already are."
- — Red
- "You've gotta hit rock bottom before you know which direction to go in."
- — Red
- " Real Russians have no proverbs. We have vodka and Misery. Oh wait... That is a proverb."
- — Red
- "Everything off the books lives like Anne Frank now."
- — Red
- "Are you finished? You're starting to sound finished."
- — Red
- "What do you want? A medal? A sticker that says, 'Great Job'?"
- — Red
- "All I wanted was to eat the chicken that is smarter than other chickens and to absorb its power."
- — Red, "The Chickening"
- "They pop out of the trunk of a car and learn to fry an egg; God bless America."
- — Red, "Can't Fix Crazy"
- "I can't do shit with 'I'm Sorry'""
- — Red to Piper "Tit Punch"
- "2 strikes, that's all she gets. Russians don't play baseball.""
- — Red, "Moscow Mule"
- "You know what, you really need to go fuck yourself."
- — Red,"We Can Be Heroes"
- "The world is better in black and white... And Red."
- — Red
- "I married a pillow. Soft, lumpy and always lying behind my back."
- — Red to Healy
- "People are fickle fucks."
- — Red to Piper
- "Happily ever after was invented for the storybooks so kids reach breeding age without killing themselves."
- — Red to Healy while discussing marriage
- "When God gives you a swastika, he opens a window. And then you remember... there is no God."
- — Red
- "You're one of those people who wants the world to be perfect but you're not willing to lift a finger to help it along."
- — Red to Katya Healy.
- "Nice is for cowards and Democrats."
- — Red to Piper Chapman.
- "Honey, you don't drink poison and wait for it to kill your enemy. Stop hitting walls, and plot your revenge."
- — Red to Piper Chapman.
Promotional Pictures Edit
|Orange Is the New Black: Season One|
|"I Wasn't Ready":||"Tit Punch":||"Lesbian Request Denied":||"Imaginary Enemies":||"The Chickening":||"WAC Pack":||"Blood Donut":|
|"Moscow Mule":||"Fucksgiving":||"Bora Bora Bora":||"Tall Men with Feelings":||"Fool Me Once":||"Can't Fix Crazy":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Two|
|"Thirsty Bird":||"Looks Blue, Tastes Red":||"Hugs Can Be Deceiving":||"A Whole Other Hole":||"Low Self Esteem City":||"You Also Have a Pizza":||"Comic Sans":|
|"Appropriately Sized Pots":||"40 Oz. of Furlough":||"Little Mustachioed Shit":||"Take a Break From Your Values":||"It Was the Change":||"We Have Manners. We're Polite.":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Three|
|"Mother's Day":||"Bed Bugs and Beyond":||"Empathy Is a Boner Killer":||"Finger in the Dyke":||"Fake It Till You Fake It Some More":||"Ching Chong Chang":||"Tongue-Tied":|
|"Fear, and Other Smells":||"Where My Dreidel At":||"A Tittin' and a Hairin'":||"We Can Be Heroes":||"Don't Make Me Come Back There":||"Trust No Bitch":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Four|
|"Work That Body for Me":||"Power Suit":||"(Don't) Say Anything":||"Doctor Psycho":||"We'll Always Have Baltimore":||"Piece of Shit":||"It Sounded Nicer in My Head":|
|"Friends in Low Places":||"Turn Table Turn":||"Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull":||"People Persons":||"The Animals":||"Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Five|
|"Riot FOMO":||"Fuck, Marry, Frieda":||"Pissters!":||"Litchfield's Got Talent":||"Sing It, White Effie":||"Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally":||"Full Bush, Half Snickers":|
|"Tied to the Tracks":||"The Tightening":||"The Reverse Midas Touch":||"Breaking the Fiberboard Ceiling":||"Tattoo You":||"Storm-y Weather":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Six|
|"Who Knows Better Than I":||"Shitstorm Coming":||"Look Out for Number One":||"I'm the Talking Ass":||"Mischief Mischief":||"State of the Uterus":||"Changing Winds":|
|Appears||Credit Only||Appears||Appears||Appears||Appears||Credit Only|
|"Gordons":||"Break the String":||"Chocolate Chip Nookie":||"Well This Took a Dark Turn":||"Double Trouble":||"Be Free":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Seven|
|"Beginning of the End":||"Just Desserts":||"And Brown Is the New Orange":||"How to Do Life":||"Minority Deport":||"Trapped in an Elevator":||"Me as Well":|
|Appears||Credit Only||Appears||Appears||Appears||Credit Only||Appears|
|"Baker's Dozen":||"The Hidey Hole":||"The Thirteenth":||"God Bless America":||"The Big House":||"Here's Where We Get Off":|