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Nicole "Nicky" Nichols is a main character on Orange is the New Black . She is an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary who was sent to Maximum Security in Season Three but returned in Season Four. She is portrayed by Natasha Lyonne.
Nicky is a sarcastic, humorous, kind, wise, grounded and down-to-earth loud mouth with an acerbic wit. She has a considerable sexual appetite, and in "Low Self Esteem City", even competes with Big Boo to have sex with as many inmates as possible.
Despite her hardened, jokester exterior, Nicky has a soft and vulnerable side, seen most times around Morello. She is still affected by her past as a drug addict, as is shown when she speaks about her heroin addiction at AA. Her conflicted feelings towards heroin are shown by her shaken reaction when Taystee gives her heroin, as well as when she is shown staring into the vent containing the heroin she stole from Vee. During her time in prison, she managed to stay clean for 3 years, however, she relapsed in season 4 after being sent to Maximum Security.
Physical Appearance Edit
Nicky has big eyes and a wide face. Her hair is copper blonde and curly/wavy - its unkempt appearance being a key identifying feature. She also has 3 tattoos; one on her lower left arm, which resembles a pyramid shape, a second one near her right elbow, a star shape and a third one on her right arm, which supposedly resembles teardrops or rainfall. Nicky is always seen wearing mascara and eyeliner and a St. Joseph necklace, significant to her.
For a list of episodes featuring Nicky's flashbacks, see here.
Nichols was born sometime between 1983-1984 and grew up in New York City. From a young age, she was estranged from her mother, Marka Nichols, a wealthy but extraordinarily selfish socialite who now lives in Brazil. Nicky was raised by a nanny named Paloma while Marka lived in a separate house with her boyfriend, Paolo. Nichols had a problematic relationship with her mother, who had never really been there to take care or responsibility for her needs, except for financial support. It is believed Marka has never once visited Nicky during her time at Litchfield, due to her being an "embarrassment."
Before Litchfield Edit
Nichols being neglected by her mother mostly contributed in her decision to start using drugs. Being a former heroin junkie, her addiction resulted in the need for open-heart surgery due to bacterial endocarditis, which can be caused by the use of a dirty needle.
When she was in her twenties and living in New York City, Nicky's circle of friends searched for and used heroin. On one occasion, she and her friends, Drew and Jade, stole a taxi in order to arrive to a dealer's home on time. Nicky was able to only drive less than a city block when she collided with another car at high speed, wrecking the taxi and disabling it. Although she was driving, her two friends were arrested for stealing the taxi.
Later, Nicky and an accomplice broke into the apartment of a woman with expensive books. Their plan was to sell the books in order to buy more heroin. She was subsequently arrested for breaking and entering while also carrying heroin on her person.She later met with her mother and an attorney to work out the finer details of her case and possible sentence. After harshly rejecting the attorney's initial offer, Nicky berates her mother for being neglectful and setting her on a path of self-destruction.
Life at Litchfield Edit
Upon first arriving at Litchfield, Red had supported and advised Nichols through her worst bouts of cold turkey and detox. She helped her remain clean during her first years at Litchfield, and continues to do so. For this reason, Nicky has disowned her mother, and now looks up to Red as a mother figure, to the point where she openly calls her "mom" or "mommy" in the presence of other inmates. Red, in turn, openly treats her as if she were her daughter.
At the start of Season One, Nicky has just returned from the SHU, having been sent there for insulting a guard, telling them to "kiss her ass." She swiftly befriends both Piper and Alex, expressing curiosity about what happened between the two of them outside of prison.
At the start of the season, Nicky was also having an ongoing sexual relationship with Lorna Muccio. Morello called it off under the guise of it not being fair to Christopher, her supposed fiancé, which upset and made her bitter for quite some time. Nevertheless, Nicky continues to make numerous attempts to get back together with Lorna throughout the series, suggesting that her feelings for her may be romantic; however, the two remained firm friends.
As of "Imaginary Enemies", Nicky had two years left of her five year sentence, confirming that in season one, she had already spent three years of her time.
Season Two shows Nicky lusting after many other women in Litchfield, where she keeps a record book of the inmates she has been sexually involved with. She and Big Boo start a competition over how many women they can have sex with, with points given for more challenging conquests, such as prison guards. As such, Nicky tries to proposition CO Susan Fischer, but is rebuffed. There is rivalry seen between her and Big Boo over Brook Soso upon her arrival, with Nicky triumphing and having sex with her in the Litchfield chapel. The competition is judged by Mei Chang, who announces a draw. Nicky and Boo eventually tire of the competition, and agree to settle for the draw.
Having seen the developing situation between Taystee, Vee and Poussey, Nicky advises Poussey to make nice with Vee, comparing the situation to being in love with a straight girl in high school who then gets a boyfriend ("Comic Sans"). Poussey takes Nicky's advice, and is later horrified to see Taystee giving Nicky a baggie of heroin in a bid to get her using again and buying from Vee ("40 Oz. of Furlough"). Vee had targeted Nicky after watching an AA meeting in which Nicky describes heroin as "her soulmate" and how she misses it "every single day". Nicky is clearly very emotionally affected when she sees the heroin.
Nicky collaborates with Luschek, with whom she enjoys a tentative friendship, to sell the heroin stolen from Vee in Season 2. When Angie and Leanne discover the stash hidden in the laundry and begin using, Luschek retrieves it and threatens them not to tell anyone. Even so, Angie and Leanne alert CO Ford of Luschek's activities, and after he does nothing, tell other COs and finally Caputo. This prompts Caputo to search Luschek's desk. After Caputo finds a bag of heroin that Nicky had stashed there, Luschek snitches on Nicky to save himself and Caputo sends her to Maximum Security.
Nichols is being held in Max, working as a cleaning lady. She briefly talks to Sophia in the SHU, slipping her a magazine to read to pass the time, but Sophia slashes her wrists with it instead. Nicky goes to an AA meeting and receives a chip for being clean for three years, although she cannot keep it because it's
considered contraband ("Piece of Shit"). Whilst Nichols is in max, Luscheck receives many hateful letters from her and begins to feel guilt for what he has done. Nichols speaks with Stella, and it is revealed they had a brief sexual relationship in Max. When Luschek tries to bargain Nicky out of Max via his new friendship with celebrity inmate Judy King, King takes advantage of him by coercing him into exchanging sex for Nicky's release. Right as this "deal" is occurring, Nicky has sex with a female guard in exchange for heroin, breaking her three year stint of sobriety.
Nichols is warmly welcomed back into Minimum Security but is focused on scavenging around to find more drugs. At one point, she smokes crack in the corn crops with Alex, soon joined by Piper, and whilst high, Piper and Alex reveal their secrets to one another (the hitman and the branding) then finally begin to reconnect. Nichols once again vows to get clean after Red expresses pure heartbreak and despair at her current addiction. Nichols goes cold turkey and Pennsatucky helps her through her withdrawals. Throughout the season, Nichols tries to restart her sexual relationship with Morello but, due to her being married now, Morello repeatedly turns her down. Nichols concludes the season clean but admits to Morello she's a junkie.
During the riot, Lorna and Nicky decide to gain control over the Pharmacy. During this time, Nicky and Lorna resume their flirtatious friendship, but Lorna strongly rebuffs Nicky's advances in the first episode, "Riot FOMO". In episode 3, "Pissters!", Nicky indirectly says, while in the presence of Soso and other inmates in the Pharmacy, that she had fallen hopelessly in love with an incredible, insane, beautiful woman who would never love her back - doing so while looking at the back of Lorna's form. Lorna, visibly caught off guard by Nicky's confession, blinks back tears as she continues tending to another inmate's medical request.
In episode 6, "Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally", Lorna and Nicky have sex in the pharmacy after Lorna persuaded her to do so, claiming that she had been feeling very aroused lately and needed release. Afterwards, in the cafeteria, Lorna reveals to Nicky that she is pregnant, as she had noticed her own nipples had a darker tone to them. Nicky, not finding that to be a convincing enough reason to declare pregnancy, asks Lorna if she had taken a pregnancy test, which Lorna denies, adding that she doesn't need to take a test because "she knows" she's pregnant. A visibly frustrated Nicky begins to laugh and a confused Lorna tells her that she is being serious. Nicky acknowledges that she knows she is being serious whilst also reminding her that she is also a very delusional person. Upon noticing Nicky's saddened smile, Lorna apologizes to Nicky for having led her on, and blames her earlier sexual urgencies on her hormones. Nicky reassures Lorna that she [Nicky] loves her before telling her that she [Lorna] can't continue doing what she wants with her nonchalantly and expecting things to go back to normal. Nicky adds that Lorna needs the kind of help that Nicky herself is not able to prove and ends their conversation by concluding their friendship.
In order to cope with her broken heart, Nicky undergoes a makeover. "Flaritza" straighten her hair, give her a manicure, and don her in a dress. At Poussey's memorial, Nicky is seen engaging in a make-out session with an unknown inmate, while also making brief eye contact with a grief-stricken Lorna. Satisfied with Lorna's reaction to what she had just seen, Nicky smirks and proceeds to have sex with the unnamed inmate.
In episode 9, "The Tightening", Red begins to become paranoid about Piscatella coming into the prison, Nicky takes care of her. When she getting ice for Red, Nicky is kidnapped by Piscatella, and seen tied up in a room with Blanca Flores, Piper, Alex, Big Boo, and Red.
In episode 10, "The Reverse Midas Touch", Nicky along with Piper, Alex, Boo, Blanca, and Red are psychologically tortured by Piscatella, who cuts off Red's hair, cuts her clothes, breaks Alex's arm, pulls a knife on Piper, and slaps Nicky, threatening to make her the next "example" after Red. Fortunately, they are all saved by Freida, Yoga Jones, and Gina.
In episode 12, "Tattoo You", Nicky decides to visit Lorna in the medical cage after being freed. Lorna immediately notices the disarray in Nicky's face as she lets her into the cage. Lorna questions Nicky on the previous night's occurrences but Nicky states that she would rather not talk about it, opting instead to just sit in Lorna's presence. Lorna tearfully shows Nicky the 12 positive pregnancy tests she just took, claiming that she feels she is so crazy, she is actually just imagining that the tests are positive. Nicky confirms that the tests are legitimately positive but Lorna remains skeptical, recalling how Nicky had told her earlier that she was just being delusional. Nicky confesses to Lorna that she originally didn't believe her because she was scared at the thought of Lorna possibly having a baby, but now that her pregnancy is confirmed, Nicky tells Lorna she is happy for her. Lorna tells Nicky that Vinnie doesn't want anything to do with the baby, but when Nicky reassures her that she herself would help her out with the baby, Lorna also expresses melancholy at the thought of missing out on her baby's first year of life. Nicky attempts to comfort Lorna by telling her that her baby will not remember the absence of his / her mother simply due to his / her young age.
Later on, Nicky acquires Vinnie's phone number from Lorna's file and contacts him, confirming the legitimacy of Lorna's pregnancy to him. When Vinnie angrily retorts that he "didn't sign up for this", referring to having a baby with Lorna, Nicky sternly tells him that he actually did do so, as he made the decision himself to look for an incarcerated romantic partner. Nicky tells Vinnie that she is fully aware how overboard Lorna can go with her actions sometimes, but she will only do so when she really loves someone. As Nicky lists off the things that Lorna will do for someone in exchange for reassuring her that she is worthy of love, her facial expression begins to darken and her voice begins to break. Nicky ends the phone call by telling Vinnie to do the right thing.
In the thirteenth and last episode of Season 5, "Storm-y Weather", Nicky rushes to the medical cage to inform Lorna that the police are coming and that they have to get her out of there. Lorna expresses her fear of SWAT harming her child, and virtually having no one to take care of the baby for a year while she is in prison. Nicky attempts to strengthen Lorna's hope for the future with her baby by telling her that her baby will be great because Lorna herself is great. When Taystee and Black Cindy wheel in an unconscious Suzanne into the medical cage seeking for help to awaken her, SWAT begin to make themselves closer and closer to them. Coming to the conclusion that they need to flee, Nicky reveals to them that she knows a place where to hide, but denies Lorna the option of coming along, taking into account the danger that fleeing could pose on Lorna and her unborn baby. Nicky implores Lorna to surrender herself to the SWAT team with her hands up whilst announcing that she's pregnant so that they do not harm her when she is apprehended. Lorna, although hesitant to leave Nicky behind at first, listens to the plan, and with one final hug between the two, goes on her way. Right before Lorna turns around a corner, she takes one last look back at Nicky, who leads Taystee, Black Cindy, and Suzanne in the opposite direction. At the sound of Lorna's voice shouting to SWAT that she is pregnant, Nicky also looks back, but with a determined look on her face, continues rushing the other three to the hiding spot.
The last time we see Nicky is when she is in the hidden pool area with Freida, Red, Piper, Alex, Blanca, Taystee and Black Cindy. They are all seen holding hands when SWAT blows up the door and their fate is left unknown.
- Lorna Morello (Nicky and Lorna had a relationship which ended in Season One. The two are close friends, but their friendship is strained after Nicky returns from Max. In season 5 the two have sex again and Nicky declares her love for her, however let's Lorna her go in the season finale for the sake of her and her unborn child.)
- Alex Vause (one known time)
- Brook Soso (one known time)
- Stella Carlin (During her time in max, Nicky was sexually involved with Stella at least once).
- High school best friend crush (refers to when having a conversation with Poussey Washington about straight girls)
- Several other sexual encounters with unknown inmates
- Big Boo (competitive friendship/rivals)
- Red (mother figure)
- Tricia (former sister figure)
- Norma Romano
- Gina Murphy
- Alex Vause
- Piper Chapman
- Lorna Morello
- Poussey Washington
- Susan Fischer
- Luschek (former)
- Stella Carlin (whilst in max)
- Jade (former, before Litchfield)
- Drew (former, before Litchfield)
- Monica (former, before Litchfield)
- Isaac (former, before Litchfield)
- Jason (former, before Litchfield)
- Benji (former, before Litchfield)
- Heroin dealer (former, before Litchfield)
- Frieda Berlin
- Blanca Flores
- Cindy Hayes
- Suzanne Warren
- Gloria Mendoza
- "I always miss you until you're here. Then I realize the mom I miss must have been someone I invented when I was a kid."
- — Nicky Nichols to her mother
- "Please tell me that Fig keeps a vibrator in her desk. 'Cause I have this crystal-clear image of her there, feet up, high heels knocking over the pen cup while she just goes to town on her clit with a pocket rocket."
- — Nicky Nichols to Piper Chapman
- "It's like the Hamptons, only fuckin' horrible."
- — Nicky Nichols to Piper Chapman, about the SHU ("Imaginary Enemies")
- "How about we both say a little prayer that she gets fat and stops shaving her legs?"
- — Nicky Nichols to Alex Vause
- "You know how some people have imaginary friends? I think you might have some imaginary enemies."
- — Nicky Nichols to Piper Chapman
- "You can only run against the race of your group. Look, just pretend that it's the 1950's, it'll make it easier to understand."
- — Nicky Nichols to Piper Chapman
- "I'd've made a terrible mule. I would've done all of your drugs."
- — Nicky Nichols to Alex Vause
- "I'm like Icarus, whose wings melted before he could fuck the sun."
- — Nicky Nichols to Lorna Morello
- "I am a sexual Steve Jobs. And that bitch is worth 10 points."
- — Nicky Nichols to Carrie "Big Boo" Black
- "I'm not the one who started a Negro League tobacco shack."
- — Nicky Nichols
- "I appreciate your concern, but I'm actually well covered on the menstruation front."
- — Nicky Nichols to Taystee
- "We're not talking about Bat Cave-level secrecy here."
- — Nicky Nichols
- "Next time, just sit on her face. It shuts her right up."
- — Nicky Nichols to Sister Ingalls
- "You're one Cheerio in the bulk box of life."
- — Nicky Nichols
- "Now, Norma, I'll remind you again. It's a secret, so don't go blabbing all over camp."
- — Nicky Nichols to Norma Romano ("Can't Fix Crazy")
|Suburbs||Piper Chapman • Alex Vause • Galina Reznikov • Lorna Morello • Nicky Nichols • Tiffany Doggett • Mei Chang • Brook Soso • Angie Rice • Norma Romano • Carrie Black • Gina Murphy • Anita DeMarco • Maureen Kukudio • Leanne Taylor • Erica Jones • Frieda Berlin • Helen Van Maele • Kasey Sankey • Stephanie Hapakuka • Alana Dwight • Jennifer Digori • Brandy Epps • Loretta Fisher • Rhea Boyle • Shelly Ginsberg • Danita • White Cindy • Linda Ferguson • Jane Ingalls • Judy King • Rosa Cisneros • Jimmy Cavanaugh • Taslitz • Tricia Miller • Mercy Valduto|
|Ghetto||Suzanne Warren • Tasha Jefferson • Sophia Burset • Cindy Hayes • Janae Watson • Alison Abdullah • Irma Lerman • Reema Pell • Jeanie Babson • Jayne Cooke • Poussey Washington • Yvonne Parker|
|Spanish Harlem||Dayanara Diaz • Maria Ruiz • Blanca Flores • Marisol Gonzales • Gloria Mendoza • Carmen Aziza • Gerrman • Ramona Contrares • Cabrera • Michelle Carreras • Maritza Ramos • Lea Guerrera • Aleida Diaz|