Orange Is the New Black’s Taryn Manning on How the Show Handles Rape This Season

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Photo: Taylor Hill/2016 Taylor Hill

Spoilers ahead for season four of Orange Is the New Black.

Jenji Kohan and the writers of Orange Is the New Black are skilled at developing sympathy for characters you’d least expect to. This season, they extend it to Charlie Coates, the guard who rapes Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett in season three. Last season, Taryn Manning, who plays Doggett, told Vulture she thinks her character “might still have feelings [for Coates] … I don’t think she totally understands that that was completely wrong.” Vulture caught up with Manning at the season-four premiere in New York, to get her thoughts on how the show made Coates a more sympathetic character. “It’s interesting because it shows how some people don’t really know they’ve committed such a crime,” Manning said. “I would say rape is a very gray area. Abuse to one person isn’t the same to another because of their threshold, their tolerance.” She was quick to add that “it’s a very sticky situation, and all of a sudden being thrown this, it’s like, ‘OK, speak on rape.’ I’m like, ‘Wow,’ because you don’t want to offend anybody, obviously. It’s just a lot.”