Orange Is the New Black Wiki
Orange Is the New Black Wiki

"Look, maybe... this challenges what you thought you were. And... maybe I'm gonna get my heart broken in a thousand different pieces. But those are maybes. You can't live your life accordin' to maybes."
— Poussey, on worrying

Poussey Washington was a main character on Orange is the New Black until her death in Season Four. She was an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary and was portrayed by Samira Wiley.


Poussey was an intelligent, outspoken, and caring woman who stood by her convictions. She liked to joke around with her fellow inmates and tended to avoid confrontation and violence. She experienced depression and this led her to alcoholism.

Physical Appearance[]

Poussey was petite, weighing only 92 pounds and standing at 5 feet 3 inches tall. She had a slender figure and short black hair.


Before Litchfield[]

For a list of episodes featuring Poussey's flashbacks, see here.

Poussey had a very close relationship with her mother, who had a Master's degree in Art History. When she was a child, they would read together before going to bed ("Mother's Day").


Poussey and her German girlfriend, Franzi

Poussey was a "military brat," as her father, James P. Washington, was a General in the United States Army. He moved the family to Hohenfels, Bavaria, Germany where he was stationed. While in Hohenfels, Poussey had a relationship with a German commander's daughter named Franziska, nickname Franzi. The relationship was revealed to Franzi's father when he walked in on her and Poussey having sex. He then used his influence to get Poussey's father reassigned to a post in the United States. Poussey tried to suppress her feelings to no avail. Eventually, she confronted the Oberstleutnant and attempted to pull out a gun. Her father stopped her and announced his acceptance of her sexuality ("You Also Have a Pizza").

She and two of her friends, Aliyah and Mikey are boarding a bus to New York City. Poussey is confused by another passenger's pet duck and her friend, Aliyah, says it's a good luck sign. Poussey and her other friend ask how she knows that and Aliyah responds by saying she knows all about good luck charms which is why she got a shamrock tattoo. Poussey notes it's a four leaf clover that represents good luck and the three friends joke around. ("Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again")

They attend a club where they assume legendary neo-soul band The Roots are playing but find out it's actually a white acoustic cover band. Poussey takes a picture of her friends with her phone but someone snatches it and runs out of the club. Poussey takes chase but loses the thief and gets separated from her friends. She asks people for help, briefly crossing paths with Baxter Bayley as she does so. Poussey approaches two drag queens smoking outside a club. Miss Crimson Tide assumes she'll steal the phone but takes pity on her when she explains her situation. They tell her she's cute and has a classic Whitney Houston vibe about her. They want her to meet their other queen "Whitney Circa '92" in exchange for her using their phone. She agrees. ("Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again")

The nightclub is unique in that the patrons have to do whatever the large TV screens instruct. The first instruction is "perform" and a series of performers take to the stage. There is many screens that tell her to 'kiss,' 'share,' etc. The last screen reads "Dance" and Poussey dances the night away with her drag queen posse. Later outside, Poussey uses her new friend's phone and figures out where she needs to go. She thanks Miss Crimson Tide for helping her and heads towards her destination. She takes the subway and listens to a drummer and observes a pregnant woman, a child who robs his mother among others. When the drummer finishes playing, everyone applauds him, then exits the train. ("Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again")

Poussey, now closer to her destination but still lost, asks for directions and a man tells her she is actually five blocks away. She tries to get her bearings as a group of men dressed as monks pull up to the red light on bikes. One can tell she's lost and offers to take her to her destination. She laughs and goes, enjoying the bike ride. The monks take her to a place nearby and she talks to the one who offered her the lift. His troupe is not actually a group of monks but performance artists, from all walks of life, portraying other religions. He mentions there are troupes of performance nuns and rabbis also out and about. They smoke a joint (from her stash, which she states she is going to sell off; likely the reason for her incarceration) and Poussey reveals she was supposed to go to West Point, but attempting to pull a gun on Franziska's father got her blackballed. The monk encourages her to stay in New York, instead of leaving for Amsterdam. Poussey is alone in this same location. Having had a wonderful evening, she gazes out at the bay and smiles beautifully. Poussey then breaks the fourth wall by looking directly at the camera, and smiles again before the orange closing card signifies the end of the episode. ("Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again")

Season One[]

Poussey has been in prison for two years at the start of the series with four years to go. Her mother died during her second year in prison, as revealed in "Fool Me Once".

Poussey is a good-natured jokester and is often seen with her best friend, Taystee, working together in the library or joking around in the rec room or mess hall.

Poussey gives her friends a bottle of her toilet hooch to help them mourn the death of Tricia Miller, revealing her kind nature ("...").

Season Seven Flashback[]

Taystee receives a call. It's Poussey calling to check up on her. They joke that Taystee has a mansion with 27 rooms and that Poussey, Janae, Black Cindy and Suzanne can stay there. Poussey states that even Claudette can have a room. Taystee tells her things are going okay and she got a job offer, but tells her that she's also tired of struggling. She tells Poussey that she wishes she was back in prison because at least they'd be together. Poussey tries to comfort her by telling her she doesn't know the future and then tells her about how much it hurt when her mom passed. But that the sharp pain didn't last forever, it was eventually dull. Because of all the good things in her life, to which she says she's talking about Taystee.

Season One (Continued)[]

Poussey is upset with Taystee after she returns to prison. She and Taystee hug and they state they missed eachother.

Poussey along with The Black Girls perform in the Christmas Play. Poussey begins an unexpected and unplanned solo and Taystee and Cindy sing back-up for her.

Season Two[]

It is implied that Poussey is in love with Taystee, but the romantic feelings are not returned as Taystee is heterosexual.

Vee approaches Poussey about selling her toilet hooch, but Poussey rejects this idea because she prefers to share it with her friends. She punishes Poussey over this perceived lack of loyalty and loss of potential business by exploiting her unreciprocated romantic feelings for Taystee to isolate her from the tribe, causing a rift in Poussey and Taystee's relationship ("A Whole Other Hole").

Poussey is one of the few black inmates immune to Vee's manipulation tactics and she begins a campaign to fight Vee's influence and actions throughout the season. At one point, Suzanne threatens and physically assaults her on Vee's non-verbal command, which causes deep emotional trauma. Eventually, a drunk Poussey causes irreparable damage to Vee's tobacco business by stomping on several tins of tobacco and pouring bleach on them. Realizing that Poussey cannot be intimidated, Vee decides to mollify her by ejecting Taystee from the gang. Poussey and Taystee later make up after a final confrontation in the library.

Season Three[]

On Mother's Day, Poussey is overcome by the memories of her deceased mother, after which she begins to develop an interest in Gloria and Norma's spiritualism.

Poussey becomes depressed and turns to alcohol. She also immerses herself in Suzanne's new sci-fi erotica Time Hump Chronicles. She realizes that she feels so sad because she is lonely without a girlfriend. Taystee reassures her that she will always be there for Poussey, but Poussey states that would not be enough.

Poussey discovers Soso in the library after the latter overdoses on antihistamines. She nurses Soso back to health with Taystee and Suzanne's help. After this incident, Soso is accepted by the Black Girls as one of their own. Later, Poussey and Soso are seen holding hands and joking around on the beach behind Litchfield, implying a budding relationship ("Trust No Bitch").

S4 Trailer Poussoso

Season Four[]

Poussey is overjoyed when her favorite celebrity chef Judy King is sent to Litchfield. Judy was initially assigned to Poussey's bunk in the Ghetto, but Caputo quickly removes Judy to place her with a white roommate. Poussey is frequently tongue-tied around the friendly Judy, leaving her bemused. At the same time, a romantic relationship between Poussey and Soso developed throughout Season Four, though it was temporarily jeopardized when Soso told Judy King an offensive and stereotypical (and untrue) narrative of Poussey's background to explain Poussey's seemingly odd behavior around Judy. Later, Poussey and Soso realized that this situation happened because the two did not know each other very well. They resolved to get to know each other's backgrounds.

Poussey was accidentally suffocated by CO Bayley at the end of Season Four during an initially peaceful demonstration in the cafeteria. To protest Captain Piscatella's treatment of the inmates, inmates stood on tables and demanded his resignation. Suzanne became upset after additional guards were called as back up, and Poussey attempted to de-escalate the situation. Piscatella ordered Bayley to restrain Suzanne and escort her to psych, and in the scuffle he improperly restrained Poussey face down while kneeling on her back. Suzanne continued to struggle with Bayley while he was putting all of his weight on Poussey, who was unable to breathe and died. ("The Animals").

After Bayley was pulled off Poussey, the inmates and staff realized that Poussey was not moving. Piscatella called for a medic, and Taystee pushed through the crowd to Poussey's body on the floor. Taystee began to sob as she curled up next to Poussey on the floor, while others look on in shock. Piscatella ordered a lock down in which all inmates were confined to their bunks, TV and phone calls were blacked out, and guards coordinated their version of events. Angered by this morally questionable response to events, Caputo sent Piscatella home, debriefed Bayley, and contacted MCC. It becomes apparent to Caputo, staff, and inmates, that no response plan exists to address a death in the general population; Poussey's body is left on the cafeteria floor for a day until the coroner arrives. Poussey's death is even more heart-rending when it is revealed that she was in prison only as a non-violent offender; she had been convicted of trespassing and possession with intent to sell less than a half ounce of unspecified drugs, probably marijuana, according to her backstory in this same episode. Until that time she had a promising future. She had been accepted as a cadet at West Point, which was derailed by the arrest.

Inmates and staff alike appeared shaken by Poussey's death. Norma comforted Soso by rocking and singing to her, and Soso later got drunk off the remainder of Poussey's contraband hooch. Inmates created a makeshift memorial, donating food and giving their condolences. Caputo contacted Poussey's father, General Washington, and was visibly upset at having to do so.

Season Five[]

Poussey's death continues to be a central issue in this season. Justice, for her, is one of the main demands of the prison riot.

She is seen in a flashback episode, which shows Taystee's first day at Litchfield and how they became friends.

Season Six[]

It is later revealed in Season 6 that the riot actually made an impact and some justice for Poussey. When Taystee is in her bunk at Max, she finds and read a newspaper and finds the section about the riot. In the article, it mentions Poussey, saying that the riot started after her death. She is later mentioned when Taystee tells Suzanne about the newspaper while in the yard with Black Cindy.



  • Franziska Mertensacker (prior to series start) - Poussey's girlfriend while her father was stationed with the US Army in Germany. When Franziska's father found out, he was angry, believing that the two of them needed fixing, and despite Poussey's efforts, the relationship ended.
  • Taystee (best friend; kissed) - Whilst spooning each other, Poussey kissed Taystee. Apparently, she had expressed feelings for Taystee in the past, because Taystee told Poussey that "We've been through this before." Taystee didn't have the same romantic feelings and only wanted to remain best friends.
  • Brook Soso (girlfriend) - After becoming friends and bringing Brook into her circle, they fall for each other. It's slightly rocky at first, and the two are unsure how they would last outside of prison, but decide to make their relationship work, and make plans for their future together. After Poussey's death, Brook doesn't know how to cope and drives everyone else away with her sadness and grief.



  • Taystee (best friends; kissed) - Taystee and Poussey are best friends with a shared love of literature. They often joke around as Amanda and Mackenzie, their "rich white girl" alter egos. Poussey had obvious romantic feelings for Taystee, who is unsure if she feels the same way. In Season 2, Taystee joins Vee's gang selling cigarettes and encourages Poussey to join too. When things sour between Poussey and Vee, the friendship between Poussey and Taystee strains and eventually breaks after Taystee is booted from Vee's gang because of Poussey's sabotage. The girls finally settle their differences after a physical confrontation in the library and resume their close friendship. After Poussey's death, Taystee tries to ensure she gets justice.
  • Janae Watson - Poussey and Janae share a bunk, and Poussey is known to defend her, especially when it comes to Janae spending inordinate amounts of time in the SHU. When Janae was sent to the SHU for possessing cigarettes in her bunk and returned after a month, Poussey tried to smack some sense into her.
  • Black Cindy - While Taystee was out of prison and Watson was spending time in the SHU, Cindy and Poussey were seen hanging out quite often. They are both part of the core group of black inmates, and are often seen laughing and joking together.
  • Nicky Nichols - In Season One, Poussey and the other black girls brought Nicky and her gang a bottle of toilet hooch with some assorted food items, to help with the mourning of Tricia Miller. In the library, Nicky is seen asking Poussey for a cigarette. When the alarm goes off and they lie on the floor, Nicky passes the time by advising Poussey about her unrequited love for Taystee. Later, Poussey witnesses Taystee forcing heroin on Nicky, a recovering addict, and becomes visibly upset by this.
  • Brook Soso (girlfriend) - During the third season, Poussey is the only one of Norma's followers to offer Soso sympathy, and calls the others out on bullying her; though she stops defending her when Soso starts acting rude in retaliation to bullying. At the end of the season, Poussey, along with Taystee and the others in their group, save Soso's life after her suicide attempt. In the last episode, Poussey reaches out to Soso and takes her hand while swimming in the lake and pulls her into her social circle where the other black girls welcome her.
  • Alison Abdullah
  • Sophia Burset
  • Norma Romano (former)
  • Judy King - She was a fan of Judy King's show. She became Judy's assistant for her cooking programme and even was given a job by King when she got out. King is very sad she died and later helps set up The Poussey Washington Fund with Taystee.
  • Suzanne Warren - Suzanne and Poussey became friends again after they talk and Suzanne apologises. During the peaceful protest, Poussey helps a dazed Suzanne up. Poussey later tries to protect Suzanne from going to Psych, and is put in an awkward position by Bayley. Suzanne tries to save her by attacking Bayley, but fails. Suzanne later tries to suffocate herself with books to see what it feels like to be Poussey.


  • Yvonne "Vee" Parker - Vee and Poussey never got along. When Vee apologized to Taystee with some cake as a peace offering, Poussey was visibly doubtful of Vee's sincerity. Poussey unsuccessfully tried to persuade the other girls that Vee shouldn't be trusted. Poussey tried to befriend Vee once for Taystee's sake, but she gave up after discovering Vee's heroin business. In the end, Poussey got her friends back and they confronted Vee together.
  • Leanne Taylor - Poussey defects from Norma's cult when Leanne pushes Soso to suicide. The next day she confronts Norma and Leanne, threatening to attack the latter.
  • Jürgen Mertensacker - He was a German commander on the base where she and her family were stationed. He forcibly ended Poussey and his daughter's relationship. Poussey almost pulled a gun on him (unseen by him), after which she was stopped by her father. The commander also told her father that there is special therapy for "confused girls like Poussey," but her father retaliated by saying his daughter is just fine the way she is.
  • Suzanne Warren (former; after she attempted to attack Vee, Vee ordered Suzanne to beat her. They talk and she forgives Suzanne in Season Three)

Memorable Quotes[]

"My name is Poussey. Accent à droite, bitch."
— Poussey Washington
"Man, they fuckin' us this way 'cause they know our people's predisposition for hypertension."
— Poussey Washington
"I want the kind of job where I could just chill, you know."
— Poussey Washington
"Don't ever call a black guard 'Sister'."
— Poussey Washington, to Black Cindy
"You're like a pedophile without the sex."
— Poussey Washington, to Vee
"Ya'll there is a main coochie hole and then there's, like, another little hole just for pee."
— Poussey Washington
"Nein, motherfucker, nein."
— Poussey Washington
"I'm gonna make them cry all right. Make em' cry like they going through a haunted house!
A haunted house called life!
— Poussey Washington
"Go easy with the bitch smacking."
— Poussey Washington
"We all in here because we took a wrong turn going to church!"
— Poussey Washington
"You look in her eyes and know she's seen some shit."
— Poussey Washington
"Yo, dump your shit! They doin' a sweep!"
— Poussey Washington
"I wasn't even in Jersey when that shit happened!"
— Poussey Washington
"It's abstract yo."
— Poussey Washington
"It's just chilling, you know? Kicking it with somebody, talking, making mad stupid jokes.
And, like, not even wanting to go to sleep, 'cause then you might be without 'em for a minute.
And you don't want that.
— Poussey Washington ("You Also Have a Pizza")
"Did ever occur to you that we don't wanna get in touch with our feelings?
That actually feeling our feelings might make it impossible to survive in here?
— Poussey Washington ("Take a Break From Your Values")
"There's no such thing as love. Love is just sex without the money shot."
— Poussey Washington ("Fear, and Other Smells")
"Look, maybe... this challenges what you thought you were. And... maybe I'm gonna get my heart broken in a thousand different pieces. But those are maybes. You can't live your life accordin' to maybes."
— Poussey Washington ("Piece of Shit")
"Oh fuck it hurts! Get the fuck off me, man! (mouthed) Help me..."
— Poussey's last words ("The Animals")


  • She's an Aries, as mentioned in "Tall Men with Feelings".
  • She was named after the town of "Poussay" in North-eastern France, where her father was stationed when she was born, and often finds herself on the receiving end of mockery by the other inmates because of its alternative pronunciation.
  • Poussey speaks fluent German which she learned while living in Hohenfels, a U.S. army base in southern Germany.
  • She also speaks French.
  • According to the photo Ali posted to twitter, as seen in "Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again", the picture was posted at 10:20pm in November 2008. As Poussey had been in prison for two years in 2013, this means the time between the flashback and her incarceration was between two and three years. This may be due to court dates, may be a retcon, or may mean that her arrest occurred a while after the events of the flashbacks.
  • She was born in 1990.


Season 1[]

Promotional Pictures[]

Season 2[]

Promotional Pictures[]


Tumblr n976e7hlnu1s99nn5o1 250

Poussey3 Poussey

Poussey4 Poussey1



Inmate Navigation
Maximum Security Galina Reznikov  •  Lorna Morello  •  Tasha Jefferson  •  Nicky Nichols  •  Frieda Berlin  •  Irene Cabrera  •  Marisol Gonzales  •  Dayanara Diaz  •  Rosalie Deitland  •  Antoinetta Kerson   •  Annalisa Damiva  •  Raquel Munoz  •  Tina Swope  •  Alana Dwight  •  Nicole Eckelcamp  •  Beth Hoefler  •  Maria Ruiz  •  Suzanne Warren  •  Adeola Chinede  •  Charlene Teng  •  Lolly Whitehill  •  Shruti Chambal  •  Elsie  •  Cathy  •  Marie Brock  •  Gail Abbot  •  Silka Webb  •  Aimee Sandoval  •  Amy Roth  •  Kelly Lee Glenna  •  Calloway  •  Claire St. John  •  Mandy Walsh Baker  •  Sally Jo  •  Juanita Vazquez  •  Crystal Tawney  •  Gladys Watkins  •  The Brown Twins  •  Alice Hutton  •  Claudette Pelage  •  Erica Taslitz  •  Aleida Diaz  •  Tali Grapes
FDC Cleveland Alex Vause  •  Carrie Black  •  Carmen Aziza  •  Helen Van Maele  •  Erica Jones  •  Leanne Taylor  •  Angie Rice  •  Janae Watson  •  Alison Abdullah  •  Kasey Sankey  •  Brook Soso  •  Anita DeMarco  •  Gina Murphy  •  Norma Romano
Metropolitan Detention Center Corrine Hill  •  Joyce  •  Felicia  •  Araceli  •  Darius McRae  •  Mazall
Unknown prison Michelle Carreras  •  Brandy Epps  •  Jennifer Digori  •  Stephanie Hapakuka  •  Rhea Boyle  •  Shelly Ginsberg  •  Lea Guerrera  •  Randolita  •  Reema Pell  •  Jeanie Babson  •  Jayne Cooke  •  Emily Germann  •  Ramona Contreras  •  Irene Rosario   •  White Cindy   •  Voth   •  Annette   •  Danita   •  Madison Murphy
Last seen in Minimum Security Irma Lerman  •  Annie Valdez  •  Loretta Fisher
Released inmates Piper Chapman  •  Stella Carlin  •  Mercy Valduto  •  Sara Rice  •  Linda Ferguson  •  Sophia Burset  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Jimmy Cavanaugh  •  Judy King  •  George Mendez  •  Cesar Velazquez  •  Cindy Hayes  •  Gloria Mendoza  •  Blanca Flores
Deceased inmates Poussey Washington  •  Yvonne Parker  •  Tricia Miller  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Carol Denning  •  Barbara Denning  •  Rosa Cisneros  •  Dominga Duarte  •  Tiffany Doggett
Deported inmates Maritza Ramos  •  Karla Córdova  •  Shani Abboud  •  Swapna Majumdar  •  Dario Zuniga
ICE inmates Santos Chaj  •  Mei Chang  •  Efua Onagbeboma