From 'Star Trek' Captain to Prison Chef: You Won't Recognize Kate Mulgrew in 'Orange Is the New Black'
Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway in 'Star Trek: Voyager' and as Galina 'Red' Reznikov in 'Orange is the New Black.' (CBS Photo Archive/Online USA, Jill Greenberg/Netflix)
She commanded a starship on "Star Trek: Voyager," heads up a terrorism strike force on Adult Swim's "NTSF:SD:SUV," and helps save the world on "Warehouse 13." So even though Kate Mulgrew is on lockdown in Netflix's "Orange Is the New Black," she is, of course, a leader in her Connecticut women's prison.
Mulgrew plays Galina "Red" Reznikov, a restaurant owner and Russian mob mastermind who ends up running the prison kitchen (and its imported contraband) on "OITNB." While we don't get her full backstory in the first season's 13 episodes, Red shows herself to be more powerful than prison officials in some instances — and that's all we'll say about that, out of respect for those who are mid-binge watch.
Mulgrew, who should be an Emmy contender next year for her tough, smart, and funny performance as the mama figure of the Connecticut hoosegow, isn't the only familiar face among the prison inmates and staff. Here are a few of our other favorite stars, and their characters, who've made "OITNB" one of the most entertaining and addictive new shows of the year:
Laura Prepon as Alex Vause
The "That '70s Show" star (that's her on the right) auditioned to play Piper Chapman, the artisanal soap entrepreneur who's sent to prison for carrying drug money for her drug-dealer girlfriend a decade earlier. "Atlas Shrugged" star Taylor Schilling won the lead instead, but Prepon's audition so impressed producers that they crafted the role of Alex — the aforementioned drug dealer/ex-girlfriend of Piper — just for her.
Jason Biggs as Larry Bloom
The "American Pie" star plays Piper's boyfriend, a struggling journalist who gets an unexpected career boost from the situation that might destroy his personal life. The real-life Piper Kerman — whose memoir "Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison" was adapted by "Weeds" creator Jenji Kohan into the Netflix series — is married to a Larry (Smith) in real life, and he did write a New York Times column about their relationship.