Nicole "Nicky" Nichols is a main character on Orange is the New Black. She is an inmate at Maximum Security. She was sent to Maximum Security in Season 3 and returned in Season 4 only to be sent back to Max in Season 6 because of the riot that took place in Season 5.
Nicky is a sarcastic, humorous, kind, wise, grounded and down-to-earth loud mouth woman in her 30s with an acerbic wit. Dubbed as the 'Junkie Philosopher' by Yoga Jones. 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 Lorna and Red. She is also shown to be a deeply sensitive person such as when she expresses her love for Lorna. She is also shown to be fiercly loyal to Red and Lorna by willing to go great lengths to keep them safe. 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 numerously throught the series, such 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. Her flashbacks demonstrate the exsessive lenghts she often went through go gain a high, whether it be stealing antiqued books from a neighbor or sleeping with a friend's "super hairy brother," even despite expressing that she is gay. During her time in prison, she managed to stay clean for three years, however, she relapsed in Season 4 after being sent to Maximum Security. However, since the end of Season 4, she has decided to stay off of heroin.
Physical Appearance Edit
Nicky is a small individual with a height of 5'3". She 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 five tattoos; one on her lower left arm, which resembles a pyramid shape of the Illuminati, a star shape above her right elbow, a cross on her right arm, a crown on her left wrist and the fifth one on her right arm, which resembles teardrops. Nicky is mostly always seen wearing mascara and eyeliner below her eyes, rolled up sleeves, and wears a St. Joseph necklace of the Catholic church (?), although she is Jewish.
For a list of episodes featuring Nicky's flashbacks, see here.
Before Litchfield Edit
Nichols was born into a Jewish family in 1983 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 mostly raised by a nanny, Paloma, whom Marka blames for the divorce of her and Les Nichols, while she herself lived in a separate house with her boyfriend, Paolo, who does not enjoy the company of children. At the age of twelve, Nicky outlines her frustrations with her parents lack of love and support for her as their daughter in her Bat Mitzvah (I'm the Talking Ass). Her speech results in both parents arguing over who should take responsibility over her in response to them being openly shamed and mocked in front of friends and family. Moreover, Nicky variously comments in Season 6 that she was sexually abused by her Uncle Peter and the abuse was ignored by her mother. (Who Knows Better Than I, Chocolate Chip Nookie).
In Season 5. Nicky states to Alex that Marka would catch her father cheating, while she in return would also have sex with his brother, Ray. Nichols had an ongoing problematic relationship with her mother, who had never physically been there to take care or take some responsibility for her needs, with the exception of financial support. Additionally, Nicky also comments that Marka would leave her at day camps from the age of three and in Storm-y Weather, mentions that she would occasionally drink alcohol on a weekly basis while pregnant with her. It is assumed that her mother typically only once, or never visited Nicky in prison, due to the shared opinions of her seeing Nicky as an "embarrassment", and Nichols seeing her mother as a "cunt." Upon potential guilt, Marka invests into her daughter's commissary account, obviously continuing to throw money perhaps as a form of apologetic sympathy, or a clear of her guilty conscience.
Nichols' neglection by her parents 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. Surgeons also found traces of cocaine in her blood ("WAC Pack"). As well as numerous rehab facilities to overcome her addiction and obsession with destruction, she also had many meditation instructors, one of which supported her in Sedona, Arizona.
While she was in her twenties and living in New York City, Nicky's circle of friends searched for, bought and used heroin from various dealers. On one occasion, she and her friends, Drew and Jade, stole a taxi in order to arrive to a dealer's home on time before he left the city. 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 because she initially had never drove a vehicle. Although she was driving, her two friends were arrested for stealing the taxi.
Later, Nicky and Jason broke into the apartment of her neighbor, Monica, whom owned many expensive antiqued 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 ("Empathy Is a Boner Killer").
Life at Litchfield Edit
Almost three years prior to 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. She is known to be Red's best girl.
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 Nichols bitter for quite some time. Nevertheless, Nicky continues to make numerous attempts to get back together with Lorna throughout the series, later confirming that her feelings for Lorna are in fact romantic; however, the two remained firm friends throughout the first season.
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. Approximately one year has passed since this statement, suggesting that she currently has around one year left on her sentence.
Season Two shows Nicky lusting after many other women in Litchfield, where she keeps a record "collection" book of the inmates she has been sexually involved with since arriving. 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 "best girlfriend," "soulmate" and how she misses it "every single day". Nicky is clearly very emotionally affected when she sees the heroin. She later takes it to Red in the garden after restraining herself from taking the heroin. After ratting out to Vee where Red newly smuggles contraband, Nicky insists that Big Boo informs her where Vee stashes the heroin in order to redeem herself. She steals the baggies and smuggles them into a hiding place in laundry.
Nicky collaborates with Luschek, with whom she enjoys a tentative friendship, to sell the heroin stolen from Vee in season two. 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, Luschek 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.
In "It Sounded Nicer In My Head", 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. Lorna openly expresses her shame in Nicky's attitude and fall off the wagon in the cafeteria. Nichols once again vows to get clean after Red expresses pure heartbreak and despair at her current addiction ("Turn Table Turn"). Later, in "People Persons", 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 "Pissters!", Nicky indirectly says, whilst 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. Lorna, visibly caught off guard by Nicky's confession, blinks back tears as she continues tending to another inmate's medical request.
In "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 after enduring "sexy dreams." 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 for having led her on, and blames her earlier sexual urgency on her hormones. Nicky reassures Lorna that she loves her before telling her that she [Lorna] cannot 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 ending 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 "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 The Reverse Midas Touch, Nicky along with Piper, Alex, Boo, Blanca, and Red are physically, verbally and psychologically tortured by Piscatella, who cuts off Red's hair along with parts of her scalp, cuts her clothes, breaks Alex's arm, threatens with a knife, and slaps Nicky, threatening to make her the next "example" after Red. Fortunately, they are all saved by Frieda, Yoga Jones, and Gina.
In "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 Vinny 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 Vinny's phone number from Lorna's file and contacts him, confirming the legitimacy of Lorna's pregnancy to him. When Vinny angrily retorts that he "didn't sign up for this", referring to having a baby with Lorna and being held under her accusations, 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 Vinny 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 Vinny 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 saddened and 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 Frieda, Red, Piper, Alex, Gloria, Blanca, Taystee and Black Cindy. They are all seen holding hands when SWAT blows up the door and their fate is left unknown.
Nicky is held in Ad-Seg at the beginning of season six, along with Piper, Daya, Red, Taystee, Cindy, Blanca, Suzanne and Frieda. Upon a granted ten-minute phone call, she calls her father, Les Nichols, with a request for an attorney to defend her innocence. During this, she learns that she has a half-sister named Sammi that she was unaware of prior. Upon reuniting with her father and her attorney, Michelle, Nicky also learns that they are engaged and have two children together, a half-brother named Atticus, as well as Sammi. She decides she made a mistake in calling them and leaves.
Later, Red gets the message to her that Piscatella has been found dead. Nicky requests again to speak to her father and his fiancee, who instruct her to give up Red. When she refuses they tell her that breaking into the prison pharmacy and handing out drugs during the riot racked up what could amount to 70 years in drug charges added to her sentence, which would be waved if she gave up Red. She arranges for both of them to have phone time so that she can tell Red what she's facing. After giving Red's name up, she is taken out of AdSeg to genpop. On her way out Red bangs on the glass of her cell and mouths "it's okay."
In genpop, Nicky helps Flores get pregnant. However, since Flores had to buy drugs off of C-block and gave them to D-block in order to get Diablo's semen snuck in, they get beat up during the insemination processes. They end up in the hospital ward but Flores is released to make room for Barbara, who ODed on bath salts. Barbara and Nicky end up bonding over their shared addiction. Nicky encourages Barbara to get sober. After they are released from the hospital ward, Barbara begins to plan killing Carol while she's at the salon. She shares her plan with Nicky and the rest of her girls. Nicky is unsure about the plan because it involves Red and she doesn't want Red to get hurt.
Nicky thinks of a way to save Red. She hides a note in a bottle cap and kicks it toward Copeland. Inside is a warning about Barbara's plan so Copeland takes Carol into custody for protection and clears the salon. Later, Nicky is pulled into the laundry room where Barbara and her girls are waiting. They suspect that she is the one who warned the guards about Barbara's plan. Nicky is able to convince them that she wasn't and gets Barbara to believe her. Her girls, on the other hand, don't. Barbara decides to go to war with C-block despite Nicky asking for diplomacy. Nicky is asked to help recruit new members to their gang. A day before the kickball game, Nicky is still unsure about this new plan but pretends to go along with it.
On the day of the kickball game, Nicky officiates Piper and Alex's wedding. Afterward, Nicky tries to convince Lorna that it's stupid to go to war against people who randomly got assigned to either C or D-block. She manages to finally break through to Lorna and the two of them head in the opposite direction of the field. They hide in a utility closet in the laundry room. Annalisa shows up and Nicky is forced to reveal herself after Lorna accidentally makes a noise. Annalisa shoves her against the washer and asks her what she was doing. Nicky lies and says that she was there to grab a weapon. The two of them head out to the kickball field.
Out on the kickball field, Maria gets the guard to mix up the teams. Annalisa says that Barbara isn't going to like this but Nicky points out that Barbara isn't out there with them. Daddy says that doesn't change anything. As they play the game, Annalisa says that they should rush the other girls now but Nicky tells her that she doesn't have beef with any of these girls. She continues to play the game and the gang war doesn't come to pass.
- Lorna Morello (in love with; were friends with benefits; best friends; shared romantic feelings) - 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 lets Lorna her go in the season finale for the sake of her safety and 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.
- Unnamed 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)
- Jade (former, before Litchfield)
- Drew (former, before Litchfield)
- Monica (former, before Litchfield)
- Isaac (former, before Litchfield)
- Jason (former, before Litchfield)
- Benji (former, before Litchfield)
- Michelle (former, before Litchfield). Michelle is someone she knew whom owns a strip club that doesn't serve alcohol.
- Frieda Berlin
- Blanca Flores
- Cindy Hayes
- Suzanne Warren
- Gloria Mendoza
- Barbara Denning
- "There’s always hope tomorrow is taco night!"
- — Nicky Nichols to Alex Vause
- "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
- "Maybe it was my mother's fault, you know. A classic narcissist. How many narcissists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Just one! Well, you see, she holds the light bulb and the whole world revolves around her."
- — Nicky about her mother. ("Who Knows Better Than I").
- "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")
|Orange Is the New Black: Season One|
|"I Wasn't Ready":||"Tit Punch":||"Lesbian Request Denied":||"Imaginary Enemies":||"The Chickening":||"WAC Pack":||"Blood Donut":|
|"Moscow Mule":||"Fucksgiving":||"Bora Bora Bora":||"Tall Men with Feelings":||"Fool Me Once":||"Can't Fix Crazy":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Two|
|"Thirsty Bird":||"Looks Blue, Tastes Red":||"Hugs Can Be Deceiving":||"A Whole Other Hole":||"Low Self Esteem City":||"You Also Have a Pizza":||"Comic Sans":|
|"Appropriately Sized Pots":||"40 Oz. of Furlough":||"Little Mustachioed Shit":||"Take a Break From Your Values":||"It Was the Change":||"We Have Manners. We're Polite.":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Three|
|"Mother's Day":||"Bed Bugs and Beyond":||"Empathy Is a Boner Killer":||"Finger in the Dyke":||"Fake It Till You Fake It Some More":||"Ching Chong Chang":||"Tongue-Tied":|
|"Fear, and Other Smells":||"Where My Dreidel At":||"A Tittin' and a Hairin'":||"We Can Be Heroes":||"Don't Make Me Come Back There":||"Trust No Bitch":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Four|
|"Work That Body for Me":||"Power Suit":||"(Don't) Say Anything":||"Doctor Psycho":||"We'll Always Have Baltimore":||"Piece of Shit":||"It Sounded Nicer in My Head":|
|Credit Only||Credit Only||Credit Only||Appears||Credit Only||Appears||Appears|
|"Friends in Low Places":||"Turn Table Turn":||"Bunny, Skull, Bunny, Skull":||"People Persons":||"The Animals":||"Toast Can't Never Be Bread Again":|
|Orange Is the New Black: Season Five|
|"Riot FOMO":||"Fuck, Marry, Frieda":||"Pissters!":||"Litchfield's Got Talent":||"Sing It, White Effie":||"Flaming Hot Cheetos, Literally":||"Full Bush, Half Snickers":|
|"Tied to the Tracks":||"The Tightening":||"The Reverse Midas Touch":||"Breaking the Fiberboard Ceiling":||"Tattoo You":||"Storm-y Weather":|