If you’re as big as a television buff as I am, you’ll notice that specific actors are deliberately plucked from the acting trenches for specific roles. Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black is no exception. WARNING: Spoilers for Season 4 episode 10 as well as major spoilers for Dexter season 1 and minor spoilers for seasons 2 and 7.
Whether or not the producers realized it, they made several nods toward Showtime’s Dexter in the fourth installment of the Netflix hit dramedy. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Dexter, you’ll be able to appreciate these parallels.
Firstly, show runner Jenji Kohan cast Brad William Henke in the role of Desi Piscatella. Die-hard fans of Dexter will have recognized Piscatella as Tony Tucci from season one, the security guard at the ice rink who the Ice-Truck Killer frames for all of his murders. This is what initially led me to make this connection.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Dexter, he is a serial killer who has been trained to kill other serial killers, which sparks the question of ethical killing. Coincidentally, Alex Vause and Lolly Whitehill kill Aydin, a man who was sent to kill Vause. The two inmates consort later about their actions, which they decide to deem as “ethical” because it was either “kill or be killed.”
The way in which Vause, Lolly, and Freida Berlin dismember Aydin for disposal mirrors the exact way in which Dexter dismembers and disposes of his victims–with a saw and into neat pieces in trash bags that are to be hidden in his exposed, yet not-so-exposed, grave site until they are eventually unearthed. Interestingly enough, a garden also caused Dexter quite the headache in season 7. The inmates notably saw Aydin to pieces on a piece of black plastic sheeting, which was also Dexter’s material of choice when seeking quick and efficient clean-ups from his dark hobby.
Vause later allows Lolly to be framed for Aydin’s murder so that she may live her life free of punishment. Often, Dexter manipulates the situations around him so that he always escapes, shirking culpability to roam the world free.
While Vause ruminates over her decision to let Lolly take the fall for her, she eventually wills herself into inaction and experiences a good deal of guilt for letting someone else–while guilty, also very innocent in many ways–take the fall for a person that they murdered together.
While Vause is far from the next Dexter, she certainly plays an instrumental role in all of the ways in which Orange pays homage to the late and great Dexter, all eight seasons of which are currently streaming on Netflix.
Do you love Dexter? Do you also love this blog? Check out Dissecting Dexter, my blog dedicated to America’s favorite serial killer!