George Mendez (portrayed by Pablo Schreiber), also known as “Pornstache,” was a correctional officer at Litchfield Penitentiary in season one until he was suspended. He later returned in season two, but only for a short while. He looks a “D-List Burt Reynolds, but more rapey,” according to Brook Soso, and his appearance is very telling of his personality. He is misogynistic, the alpha male of the bunch, and a “sadistic fuck” (according to C.O. Wanda Bell). While the prison administration is corrupt in a variety of ways, Mendez is the only guard portrayed as reaping sexual favors in exchange for the drugs he smuggles into prison. He is also the only C.O. That feels invincible.
We don’t know much about Mendez’s early life except for the fact that when he was born, the nurse handed him to his mother, Delia Mendez Powell, and said, “You have a difficult child. Good luck.” While Mendez’s two brothers grew up to be a dentist and an art historian, he could not measure up.
In his position of power, Mendez goes to extreme lengths to get what he wants. When Red refuses to cooperate with him, he destroys her kitchen in search of smuggled-in goods to prove that she does have connections to import contraband. He eventually does manage to use her system to his advantage, and she has no choice but to let him do so. If she were to reveal his transgressions to the administration, her own operation would be squandered, and she would receive more jail time on top of that. Despite the fact that Red attempts to shift the odds in her own favor, her own operation is inevitably exposed, and she is forced to take responsibility for the drugs Mendez had arranged to be brought into the prison.
Mendez is seduced by Daya in her plan to frame him for her pregnancy. While it was thought that this would solve her problem, another problem is created: Mendez falls in love with her. His infatuation with her compels him to vow that he will do anything for her, which causes tension between Daya and C.O. John Bennett.
Unfortunately, not every woman Mendez went after had him wrapped around her finger. Tricia Miller was an inmate that frequently did as he said in exchange for OxyContin. He forced her to get rid of the rest of the pills he had smuggled in to pay off her debts to him. However, unable to get rid of the pills and despondently feeling the pressure of not being able to repay her debts, she overdoses on the pills after being locked in the supply closet. Mendez, finding her dead upon his return, stages it look like she hanged herself in order to prevent the administration from discovering her overdose, which would have launched an investigation that would have landed him in hot water.
Mendez goes about his daily life in a deep state of denial. When at a bar with C.O. Bennett, he devolves into tears, a deformed pity party for himself. He hates that he is treated like “a piece of meat,” despite the fact that he objectifies each of the inmates in the exact same way. He may not be homophobic like Counselor Sam Healy, but he fetishizes the queer women.
Once Mendez’s involvement with Daya is processed by the administration, he is put on unpaid leave for three months. But he doesn’t disappear entirely. He sends letters constantly to Daya in jail until he is finally brought back to replace C.O. Susan Fischer after Joe Caputo abruptly fires her for insubordination. Natalie Figueroa reinstates Mendez, believing that he will be a good fit for getting Litchfield back into shape after having a rough few months. While Caputo asserts that he “endangers the inmates,” Figueroa does not particularly care.
Knowing that he has been brought back to whip Litchfield back into shape, Mendez takes a special pleasure in fulfilling the shot quota. Stepping back through Litchfield’s doors, greaser and sleazier than ever, he distributes shots left and right. This enactment of sadism is what he does best.
His reign does not last for long, however. When the “truth” comes out about Mendez fathering Daya‘s child, courtesy of C.O. Bennett, Caputo immediately has him arrested and escorted out of the prison. As the women watch him be forcefully removed, Mendez begs Daya to wait for him so that he can take care of “their” child, whom he hopes to name Stan.
The next time we see Mendez (sans his trademark mustache) is when he is in lock up. He seemingly has undergone a psychological transformation as he materializes, disarmed and hopelessly in love behind the glass. We learn that he writes to her every day, claiming that their love is like Lolita and the old man (if you’re unfamiliar with this reference, Lolita is about a grown man who is in love with a young girl–yes, a child) or Romeo and Juliet. As problematic as Mendez’s vision of love is, we understand that his feelings for Daya have somehow changed him (or so he thinks). He proclaims,
“I was not a rapist . . . With her.”
However, when his mother, Delia Mendez Powell, attempts to break the news to him that he is not the father of Daya‘s child, the news seems to filter through his thoughts, undetected. His inability to have an appropriate response to difficult news suggests that Daya and the baby are the only things “keep[ing] [him] alive” in prison. From this moment forward, he vows to change his life and be an amazing man.
While there has been absolutely no word on whether Pablo Schreiber will reprise his role as Pornstache for season four, it is unlikely that he will be returning for at least another season or so. Given that Daya’s child is now most likely in foster care, there is a chance that Mendez will attempt to find the child and raise her on his own; however, he probably won’t see the other side of his prison cell for a very, very long time.