When she was younger, she was shown to be sarcastic, funny, and excitable but lazy and irresponsible, smoking weed at work and making huge burgers. She is also said to have sold food and pocketed the money instead of putting it in the register. When she got older, she got more responsible, but still shares her sarcastic side. She is on the rougher side of the guards, hitting Daya and calling herself part of the guard's team. She is nice to Taystee however, as they had been friends.
CO Ward is a petite, African-American female with large eyes and full lips. When she was younger, Tamika had long curly black hair, which changed when she got older into a small afro. She is described as having child-size feet in Gordons
Tamika used to work with her good friend, Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, at a fast food joint called Storky's. One evening, during a shift where they were the only workers present, they smoked weed which Tamika had brought in after closing. While high, the two made enormous burgers and goofed around in the kitchen. They then sat around under the tills, until a customer walked in. Taystee angrily hissed that Tamika was supposed to lock the door, and stood up to serve the customer, who was an ex-classmate of Taystee's. Under the till, Tamika watched on as Taystee was then held up at gunpoint by the customer. Taystee managed to talk her way out of handing over any cash by saying that alarms and cameras would instantly be triggered (which wasn't true), but instead was made to hand over her Jordan trainers.
After this, Tamika commended Taystee for the way she handled the robbery, but bemoans the fact that Taystee had to hand over her expensive shoes. Taystee tells Tamika that her shoes were fake anyway (instead of Jordans they were knock-off brand "Gordons", and after a victorious laugh and hug, the two part ways, poignantly shown taking different roads ("Gordons").
Ward is a CO at Litchfield Max. Initially wary, Ward develops sympathy for Taystee and helps Taystee get in contact with Caputo.
She also smuggles in a letter inviting Taystee to interview that the other guards have unofficially held back. Taystee, however, tells the interviewer that she is being abused and beaten up by the COs (which is not untrue) and Ward takes this very personally, feeling she stuck out her neck for Taystee and Taystee has stabbed her in the back. She tells Taystee not to expect anything else from her. She later doesn't hand over Taystee's mail, despite Taystee having a box full of it. ("Gordons")
She is later seen handling the security check in and wonders why Hopper has a tub of NutriHerbal. ("Chocolate Chip Nookie")
Ward enters the staff room when Stefanovic and Dixon are complaining about the abuse of the riot and complaining about the fact that the inmates made McCollough panic and have PTSD. Stefanovic says all inmates from the riot should get the 'chair' (implying death penalty). Ward responds NY doesn't have the death penalty, to which he states federally, it does. He states infront of her that it's a shame that it's very rare for death penalties to occur because Taystee organised the riot and her trial started. She asks how the trial is going and he remembers that they were friends. She pretends they're not friends. Dixon says that if Taystee gets fair treatment, she should have a baton put up her buttocks and lock her away. Ward is offended and suggests he should take the high road. Dixon and Stefanovic are offended and accuse her of being biased to Taystee. She reminds them they're not friends but says that Tasha is still a person. Stefanovic does not agree, even going as far as saying that all prisoners are animals. Dixon agrees, but states there are some good ones. As Stefanovic begins vividly describing Taystee's electric chair, she leaves the room. She is visibly disturbed as he says "we'll be able to smell her back fat sizzle like bacon" ("Double Trouble")
Later, she enters the bathroom, and washes her face and smells smoke. She questions the unknown person asking if it is Wheatly smoking, to which she would receive $10 as part of a bet. When she recieves no reply she 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 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. Tamika later lands in Hopper's office to request a personal day (to see Taystee's trial). He agrees aslong as she can get someone to cover her shift. ("Double Trouble")
She attends Taystee's trial twice, sitting beside Caputo. She's visibly upset when Taystee is found guilty. ("Be Free")
Ward has been attending night classes led by Caputo and after inquiring about Linda Ferguson, decides to apply to be the new head guard she's conducting interviews for, following Caputo's guidance Ward achieve's the role of Warden to everyone's surprise and Hopper's dismay who was intended to get the role, but was replaced last minute due to a diversity grant admissioned to Linda for hiring Ward.
Ward's authority towards the Litchfield Max inmates is a nurturing and caring approach signalled by her first action of closing down the SHU and planning to implement programs to inspire good behaviour which is met with doubt and disapproval to the other guards who grow more resistant to her authority. After an altercation between Taystee and Badison highlights Ward's inefficiency as Warden, Fig confirms Ward only received the job due to being a black woman and advises her to do what she wants. Ward takes a direct and forceful approach to her responsibilites and transfers inmates as she sees fit, namely Cindy to Florida, Taystee to D-block and Badison to another facility. ("And Brown Is The New Orange ”)
Ward implements educational programs such as restorative Justice and the GED program, one of Taystee's riot demands, which Ward visits Taystee about. Taystee's reluctance and nihillistic remarks frustrates Ward, exclaiming “So what now, you sit around all day waiting to die?” ("How To Do Life ")
Ward gives Taystee the role of her personal assistant in her frustration of a lack of organisation in the prison. ("Minority Deport ")
Ward discovers the book given to Taystee by Suzanne detailing the events of Piscatella's death, which she had thrown in the trash. Ward informs Taystee the information in this book could overturn her entire case and revoke her life sentence, however, Taystee doesn't care and feels that the justice system that failed her so far wouldn't come around for her now much to Ward's frustration at Taystee's personality shift and motivates her not to give up when she has nothing left to lose. ("Me As Well ")
Ward is scolded by Linda after she goes off script during an interview, stating that money saved from Linda's decision to close the Psych Ward to cut PolyCon costs would be allocated to the new installed programs. As a result Linda restrains Ward from being able to extend the prison budget and spend any more money, preventing Ward from hiring special ED tutors for pennsatucky in the GED class. As a result, Ward gives the responsibility to Taystee. ("Baker’s Dozen ")
Ward has a surprise encounter with Caputo reuniting with Taystee in her office. After Ward tells Caputo she can't handle more bad news in her stress, Caputo bluffs that his news was unimportant. ("The Hidey Hole ")
Ward navigates a lockdown after Morello goes missing in her dazed wandering and can't be located. Wards authority is undermined by CO's Dixon , Hellman and Hopper when Morello is found huddling with a chicken in the chicken coop program initiated by Ward. Ward instructs them to approach her easy but after noticing a 'bulge' and assuming the worst that Morello is armed, the CO's ignore her completely, busting the door in and frightening Morello who runs in fear and is then tased. Ward expresses her disapproval at the guards stating "you didn't have to do that" and reveals that the 'bulge' was actually a chicken Morello was holding, which is now dead thanks to Morello falling onto it. Ward later walks in on Caputo's resotrative justice class and witnesses a surprise hug between Dixon , Ruiz and Beth, commenting that Caputo should be proud of his work. Ironically, Caputo confesses his restraining order and sexual harassment allegations to Ward during a celebratory dinner party between Ward, her husband, Caputo and Fig, stating he needs to resign, taking Ward by shock. Ward agrees he needs to resign and the dinner party is ruined. ("The Thirteenth ")