Orange is the New Black‘s final season is now on Netflix! I got to speak with the lovely Beth Dover about her character, Linda Ferguson and the final season.
“Well, I would say that Linda is a survivor. You know, it’s still up in the air whether or not she’s a complete sociopath, but I don’t play her as such. I tried to play her as a human being with feelings. But she definitely had some trauma in her past, which has led her to become the person, the terrible person that she is today. And she looks out for number one, which is herself,” said Dover. “She could not be more different from me. Just politically. Certainly, you know, it’s always fun to play a character that’s different. You know, I’m an actor, so it’s, it’s fun to play a villain, you know, and, but yeah, for sure. I mean, there were times I would get this call can be like, ‘Oh, man, I have to say that, I have to do that.’ But, but you know, someone’s got to do it to bring to light these issues. And that person is me in this.”
In season 5, we caught a glimpse of a kinder Linda when she was held hostage in the prison riot. Unfortunately, that Linda didn’t last long.
“I really thought she would see the horrible conditions within the prison. And once she got out to try to reform the prison, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I think she was out for vengeance with Caputo. I don’t know, maybe Jenji feels like, people don’t have their core change. I didn’t know Linda was terrible, I wasn’t playing her as such. But you know, as the seasons progressed, and I saw her decisions, I realized, okay, she’s, like, true hyper villain,” said Dover. “I honestly thought I was just doing one episode in season three, but to be a part of a show for essentially five seasons is incredible.”
There’s no secret the show has started a lot of conversations, Dover was not surprised the show had such an impact on viewers.
“I mean, honestly, it’s such a great show. It doesn’t surprise me… People want to see a diverse group of people, stories that haven’t been seen or told, and underrepresented, marginalized people. It doesn’t surprise me that the show has had success, but I’m so happy that it has really shifted the cultural conversation in so many ways, socially, politically, culturally, it’s pretty amazing to get to be a part of a show like that. I feel really honored,” said Dover. “It’s certainly made me more political… I think it’s important to speak out for what you believe in. It’s just made me more of an activist and, you know, more political and person who speaks their mind.”
That being said, the show dives into some heavy topics, especially in this final season.
“The beauty of the show is we still have laughter within the tears and within the out, you know, outrageous things that happened… My final scene, I was crying so hard, I had neck tears. But that was more from just saying goodbye to a show that has meant so much to me. So that was the most emotional day for me,” said Dover. “I was a real hot mess that day. I just, yeah, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude, which then made me cry and hug everyone. And, you know, I just think it’s hard to prepare for the end of something that has meant so much.”
This show is just like life, not tied up in a neat little bow. Some of the characters are still in prison, some of them have gotten out, some of them have gotten their happy ending, some of them haven’t. That’s just like life,” Dover added. ” I feel like Linda is still trying to take over, she wants to be president of PolyCon.”
In saying goodbye to Linda, Dover reflected on the lessons she learned from the cast, the show and especially from Linda.
“Linda taught me that villains don’t always come with twisting mustache, they can come in a power suit and heels and look very pleasant and say very pleasant things. And, you know, I think the fact that even I didn’t realize how bad Linda was until this final season, you know, gave me some insight into that there are sociopaths that are walking amongst us. So, you know, you gotta be careful. Yeah, that’s definitely, definitely good lesson,” said Dover.
You can catch Dover in Netflix’s Medical Police, out early next year and in the horror film Outposts, written and directed by her husband, Joe Lo Truglio.