In five seasons of “Orange Is the New Black,” Suzanne Warren, a.k.a. Crazy Eyes, has rarely minced words, spewing unvarnished reality checks at her fellow Litchfield Penitentiary inmates.
“What I learned very early is that Suzanne is truth staring back at you,” said Uzo Aduba, who has earned two Emmys playing the character (making her the only actor since Ed Asner to win for the same role in both the comedy and drama categories). “And the truth hurts, and it’s hard to say.”
So when Jenji Kohan, the show’s creator, decided to mine the even darker perils of prison, she called on Suzanne to light the way.
Season 6, out on Netflix on Friday, follows 10 inmates from Litchfield’s minimum-security side, or what they called “camp,” into maximum security after the fifth-season riot that left two correction officers dead. As the horrors unfold, the mentally ill Suzanne — off her meds and in isolation — clicks across the channels on an imaginary TV where her cohorts star in demented children’s shows, a boxing match and even a “Jeopardy!” episode. Then Suzanne herself transforms into Dorothy, complete with ruby sneakers, in a “Wizard of Oz” scene, and we’re off to meet the men and women behind the curtain of the prison-industrial complex.
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