Beth Dover from Orange is the New Black on Netflix talks to Awards Daily about what drives her character Linda, that flashback (and wig!), and teases what’s in store for Season 6.
Self-proclaimed “theater kid” Beth Dover says she should have known in college her career would eventually take a turn toward comedic acting.
“When I would cry,” laughs Dover, “my friends would laugh.”
But Dover’s the one who’s laughing now, with roles on Comedy Central’s Another Period, in last year’s Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later, and returning as Linda in Season 6 of Orange is the New Black, streaming on Netflix starting July 27.
Filming with Bad-Ass Women
Season 5 finds her character trapped in the Litchfield hostage takeover and being forced to pretend to be an inmate in order to survive. The season’s events take place over the course of just 3 days, which brought about some new challenges during filming, including knowing what has and hasn’t taken place from scene to scene. But Dover found it rewarding to be more part of the ensemble cast.
“[In previous seasons] it was me and Caputo, whom I love by the way. Nick Sandow is amazing. All my scenes were with Nick for the most part, so it was great to feel like I was actually part of the crew. Everything was so heightened, and I got to work with all the girls. I shouldn’t call them girls; I should call them bad-ass women. It was really, truly one of the best experiences I’ve had as an actor.”
In Season 5, audiences also got to learn more about Linda. In a flashback to her sorority days, she accidentally leaves one of her drunk sorority sisters alone outside at a party and the sister ends up freezing to death. When the cops question Linda about whether she saw her go outside, Linda lies, failing to reveal she was the last one to see her sister alive.
“Linda’s a survivor. She does what she has to do to survive and thrive, and be a person who gets to the top any way she can. That’s what I took away from that flashback.”
That and that wig.
“I can’t watch that episode because of the wig,” laughs Dover. “Oh god that wig!”
Survivor or Sociopath?
Over the course of just a couple of seasons, Linda has gone from what Dover describes as a “clueless annoying white lady” to a villain. “In Season 5, she has some more depth to her and interesting character traits. It’s so fun to play, it really is. And it’s so surprising every time.”
One of Season 5’s twists for Linda includes a relationship with Big Boo (Lea DeLaria), which even surprised Dover.
“I think initially [she got with Boo] for protection during the prison riots, but I think ultimately she fell for her. But then she also wanted to get out of the prison and survive. I go back and forth with Linda. Is she a sociopath? Is she a survivor? I think with Caputo, it certainly looked good on paper. They could take over the prison industrial complex together as a power couple and that was a very satisfying relationship with her in that way. Then when she found that he was not that person who could fulfill all those needs, she was like, ‘See ya later.’”
Orange is the New Black Season 6
The desire for control drives Linda, who often seeks it in the form of being part of a power couple instead of relying on herself. Will that change in Season 6? Dover isn’t allowed to spoil much about the new episodes.
“Season 6 picks up one week after the emergency response team storms Litchfield. It’s about them navigating new roles and power dynamics. No more Litchfield. And I think we’re going to be focusing on maximum security prisons this season. When I say I think, I mean we are. So that’ll be cool, kind of back to Season 1 in a way, because it’s a fish-out-of-water vibe.”
Going back to a Season 1 vibe will be new for Dover, who didn’t come into the series until Season 3. But Season 1 and the early seasons made her a fan before she became a cast member.
“I honestly thought I was only going to be in one episode. One scene in one episode. Yeah, I’ll fly myself out there on my own dime and do it for four lines. I love this show. And the fact that it’s turned into this is awesome.”
Catch up with season 1-5 of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. Season 6 drops Friday, July 27.