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Nicky Nichols

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Nicole "Nicky" Nichols is an inmate at Litchfield Penitentiary. She was sent to Maximum Security in Season Three and 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. She is highly intuitive and was easily able to deduce that one of the inmates was smuggling drugs into the prison (passed orally through a kiss, then digested).

Despite her hardened, jokester exterior, Nicky has a soft and vulnerable side, seen most times, especially 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, but eventually relapsed in season 4 after being sent to Maximum Security where she felt alone and desperate.

Physical Appearance

Nicky has big eyes and a wide face. Her hair is copper blonde and curly/wavy and its unkempt appearance is a key identifying feature. She also has 3 tattoos, one on her lower left arm, which resembles a pyramid shape, one near her right elbow, a star shape and another also on her right arm, which supposedly resembles teardrops or rainfall. Nicky is also 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, and was raised by a nanny. Marka lived in a separate house to Nicky, with her boyfriend, Pablo, who does not like children. 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

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.  


A young Nicky Nichols ("Mother's Day").

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.  
03x03, Nicky Flashback 2

Nicky at a discussion with Marka and her lawyer about the possible sentence time and outcome of the case.

Life at Litchfield

Season One

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.

Nicky's chest scar

Nicky's scar from open heart surgery, shown in WAC Pack.

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 spend three years of her time.

Season Two

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.

Season Three

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.

Season Four

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

Nicky Cleaner Max

Nicky seen working as a cleaner in "Piece of Shit".

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.

Nicky's Return

Nicky returns from Max and is reunited with Lorna, Red, Piper and the rest of the family in the common room.

Nicky Lorna S4

Nicky and Lorna in Friends in Low Places.

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.

Season Five

In the season five teaser trailer, Nicky is seen sat at a table in the canteen with a stethoscope around her neck from medical.



  • Lorna Morello (former friends with benefits, best friends)
  • 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



Memorable Quotes

"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
"Straight girls. They'll fuck you up every time. "
— to Alex Vause ("F*cksgiving")
"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")


Season 1

Promotional Photos

Season 2

Promotional Photos



Inmate Navigation
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  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Leanne Taylor  •  Judy King  •  Erica Jones  •  Frieda Berlin   •  Helen Van Maele  •  Kasey Sankey  •  Stephanie Hapakuka  •  Alana Dwight  •  Jennifer Digori  •  Brandy Epps  •  Loretta Fisher  •  Rhea Boyle  •  Shelly Ginsberg
Ghetto Suzanne Warren  •  Tasha Jefferson  •  Sophia Burset  •  Cindy Hayes  •  Janae Watson  •  Alison Abdullah  •  Irma Lerman  •  Reema Pell
Spanish Harlem Dayanara Diaz  •  Maria Ruiz  •  Blanca Flores  •  Marisol Gonzales  •  Gloria Mendoza  •  Ouija Aziza  •  Gerrman  •  Ramona Contrares  •  Cabrera  •  Michelle Carreras  •  Maritza Ramos

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