Beth Dover On Being The Ultimate “Orange Is The New Black” Villain, That Head-Shaving Scene + What’s In Store For Season 7

 Photo Credit: The Riker Brothers

After three seasons as MCC’s administrative stickler Linda Ferguson on “Orange is the New Black,” Beth Dover hadn’t reached her full potential—until now. Fans of the series know that Linda is a woman who always does what she needs to do to survive—from her relationship with Litchfield’s now-former prison warden Caputo (Nick Sandow) to that time when she pretended to be an inmate during a prison riot, even engaging in a behind-closed-bars relationship to secure some protection. But after Caputo knowingly allowed her to be taken away to maximum security at the end of season 5—where she was still treated like a prisoner and had her head half-shaved before her true identity was revealed—it’s no wonder that during season 6, Linda is out for blood, and she’s easily turned into one of the baddest gals on Netflix’s Golden Globe, Emmy and SAG-winning show. We chatted with Dover, whose credits include Netflix’s “Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Dads” and “Whitney” about how she humanizes Linda, the truth behind that head-shaving incident and what’s in store for season 7 of “OITNB.”

 Photo Credit: The Riker Brothers

Linda wasn’t *always* a fan favorite this season. How do you humanize her/rationalize her decisions?

Oh man, she really was such a villain this season! As an actor I try to have empathy for Linda otherwise it would be really difficult to play her. Linda doesn’t think she’s a terrible person. She makes her choices based on her own warped moral code and her desire to be a success. She’s definitely a person who defines her self-worth by her accomplishments. I was hoping she would learn from her time in the prison and come out the other side a better person, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Linda’s head-shaving moment: A) Did that really happen/how did the producers pull that off if not? B) Have you ever had a beauty disaster quite that bad/what was your worst beauty memory?

A) No. I was asked to shave my head but I really didn’t want to for just one scene. I wear a wig through the rest of the season. Who knows if my head is shaped weird! It was a really fancy specially made bald cap. I thought it looked super real when I watched the scene.

B) My worst beauty memory is looking back at pictures of myself from the 90s and going “why did you do that to your eyebrows?! They’re pencil thin!” I would love to have thicker eyebrows but the 90s ruined them.

Linda references her sorority days all the time. Were you in one? If so, was your experience as great as hers?

Technically I was a ZTA at the University of Florida but I only lasted one semester. It wasn’t really my thing. I was a theater major so my fellow theater nerds were my “sorority.”


Photo Credit: The Riker Brothers

Had you ever been in a prison prior to filming “OITNB?” Why? How did you find it?

Honestly, I had never stepped foot in a prison until “Orange.” I got arrested once for throwing a keg party at college but I was never taken in. I finished the paperwork in the parking lot and went back to the party. I did have to do community service at some bamboo gardens for it. It was actually very relaxing.

What is your most important takeaway from filming the series?

The beauty of this show lies in these women’s stories. Viewers may not have had the same life experience, but it’s impossible not to relate to these characters and understand your own humanity through that. This show brings to light so many injustices and filters it through characters we love. It’s really an honor to be on a show that has made a political and cultural difference.

Do you have a closest friend on set? Who, why and why do you love her/him?

I would say I’m closest with Emily Tarver (CO Artesian McCullough), Lea DeLaria (Big Boo), Vicci Martinez (Daddy), Emily Althaus (Maureen Kukudio) and Emma Myles (Leanne Taylor). We just really love each other and have the best time together. Lots of laughs. It’s the best. I truly love everyone in the cast though. I feel so lucky.

What’s in store for season 7? If you don’t know, what do you hope will happen?

I don’t know!!! Do you know??? Someone tell me!! We start shooting soon so I’m really excited to see where it all goes next.

 Photo Credit: The Riker Brothers