Orange is the New Black’s Beth Dover on Linda’s fate, female-driven casts, and getting active in America after Trump


Beth Dover dishes on whether we’ll see Linda in season 6 of Orange is the New Black, plus what it was like to be a part of a diverse cast of women.

Many of us may recognize Beth Dover as Linda Ferguson from Orange is the New Black. Her intentions as Director of Purchasing for MCC were seemingly good, but led to plenty of agony and suffering for the Litchfield inmates. At the end of season 5, Linda was disguised as a prisoner during the riot, and we last saw her being put into a prison transport. Dover gives us a little tease as to what we can expect for her character moving forward.

Dover also speaks with Culturess about her time amongst the OITNB cast, getting to work on shows with her husband Joe Lo Truglio including Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, and the importance of raising one’s voice in the dark political times we face in America.

Tell us about your experience joining Netflix’s beloved binge-watching show Orange is the New Black for season 5?

It was so exciting. Originally, I thought I was only going to be in one episode because I was binge-watching just it like everyone else! I’m a giant fan of the show. So I thought, ‘Oh great, I get to be in one episode.’ So I flew myself out there on my own dime because it was local hire… I was so excited to see that my character got to be in more seasons. There’s such an arch that it has had.

Your character, Linda Ferguson, is both quirky and well, pretty dark (leaving a sorority sister to freeze to death in the snow kind of dark). What was it like playing a woman with those kinds of layers?

It’s interesting because I would get the scripts a week, two weeks before we shot. At first, I didn’t know that she was such a villain. I wasn’t trying to play her as that. I was trying to play her as sort of a clueless, annoying lady. I didn’t realize how dark it would get with her, which I think was cool because I was able to humanize her. I still have this weird empathy for my character. I guess you have to, to play any character. So I tried to give her some layers. She’s making decisions based on what she thinks is right even though it’s terrible.

Will we get to see more of Linda Ferguson in season 6?

I think we’ll see more of her next season…

That’s great! Now, last we saw Linda, she went from being the Director of Purchasing for MCC to an unexpected inmate. From that experience, could she become an advocate for change after witnessing so many things wrong with the prison system?

You’ll have to watch to find that out… I’m sure she’s had an experience in the prison which has definitely left its mark on her. She’ll make decisions based on that. Whether that’s good or bad, you’ll have to see!

Orange is the New Black brings social issues to light, from criminal justice and prison corruption to homosexuality and transgender visibility. What was your takeaway from being a part of that?

Orange deals with real-world issues, absolutely. I have to say I feel so humbled to be a part of the show. I didn’t really have a political side until Trump got elected and then I got crazy — I really give Orange credit for just allowing me to meet these amazing activist women and be inspired by them. I feel so appreciative that I’ve become a more political person and a more [of an] activist because of being on the show. I’ve been very inspired by the show.

…I think we were a little complacent. I just felt like I was in such a bubble and now I realize this country is very politically divided and it’s important to speak up. Because if we let only one side speak up then that’s who is going to be in power. It is important to be out there and really try to effect change and get people out there voting and voting better people in. That’s very important to me.

Along with social issues the show touches on, it definitely celebrates a diversity of women in its cast.

It’s the best time I’ve ever had because of that. It’s not just being on this awesome show. It’s also meeting all these activist women, and understanding more about certain issues. We all went to the Women’s March together. We all marched in New York after Trump got elected. We’ve all joined together in different movements to try to shift the needle. It is really amazing, just amazing to get to know these women and to get to be a part of the show.

Something we celebrate wholeheartedly are fandoms. What’s been your experience with Orange‘s fan base since joining the show?

I always tell people I’m famous for like six weeks after Orange comes out. People know who I am for like six weeks because I’m in their heads because they’re all binge-watching it. Being on such a huge show like this is amazing.

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 29: Actor Joe Lo Truglio (L) and Beth Dover attend the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Expo Hall on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Your other work has shown off your comedic chops, from Another Period to Wet Hot American Summer. Plus you get to work with your husband on the latter!

What’s so cool about Wet Hot American Summer is, first of all, the original movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. I used to watch that movie constantly. So the fact that I get to be on the show is such a dream come true. To be on it with my husband — ridiculous! I can’t believe it, pinch me. I love acting with Joe. We’ve worked together on Burning Love, Wet Hot. I did one episode of his show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We just have so much fun working together as actors. It’s a blast, honestly.

He’s actually working on a horror film right now that I’m going to star in. I’m very excited about that. It’s pure horror. I am so psyched about it. It is going to be such a departure from stuff I normally do, and I can’t wait.

Speaking of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, what a whirlwind story that show has had with the cancellation news and then fans campaigning to get it back on air!

The fans were just so die hard on that show. They’re so awesome. I bet more people will be watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine now too because of that.

Speaking of a cast, that is such a fantastic cast of just nice human beings. Joe and I are very lucky for the shows we’ve gotten to be on.

You can definitely tell. Brooklyn Nine-Nine, as well as Orange, has amazing chemistry amongst the actors.

You can totally tell, right? We hang out off set. I hang out off set with my Orange castmates and I hang out off set with the Brooklyn Nine-Nine castmates. We all support each other’s endeavors. It is so great, I am so grateful for that.

Along with your work in entertainment, you’re a huge advocate for women’s rights and have supported Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the HRC. What have you been involved with recently?

I was just involved in The Hometown Project, which is basically people going back to their hometowns, or it could be your alma mater or other areas… [we help] raise a profile in very small elections. Even if you get five more people out to vote just by coming to your hometown, saying hey vote for this mayoral candidate or vote for this progressive, that could make a difference.

I feel a lot of us are feeling really helpless right now and hopeless and all that. I think it is very important to keep trying. Yes even if you’re one person, pick your things to do and pick your ways to make a difference. I’ll be going back to Gainesville, Florida in September, which is where I went to college. I think it is important to vote and vote in your local elections as well. It all makes a difference.

I also just came back from a great charity called the Big Slick, which is in Kansas City, where we raise money for Children’s Mercy Hospital for pediatric cancer research.

Everyone needs to do whatever they can do. Donate to causes that are important to you.
Try to be a voice where we feel a little helpless.

Related Story: Yes, we can: 10 shows that challenge America to be better

Orange is the New Black returns to Netflix for its sixth season on July 27.