In 2004, Piper Kerman, a woman from a wealthy Boston family, served 13 months of a 15-month prison sentence for drug-trafficking and money-laundering offences. In 2010, she turned that experience into a bestselling memoir, Orange Is The New Black: My Year In A Women's Prison, which told stories of life on the inside and attempted to put a human face to the 2.4 million people currently incarcerated in the United States.
"I thought that if I was successful at what I wanted to achieve," she explains, over a coffee near her home in Brooklyn, "then people would come away from the book thinking differently about who was in prison and why they were there, and what really happens in there."
She could not have imagined just how successful she would be. In June 2013, the streaming service Netflix unveiled the series Orange Is The New Black, an oddball, 13-episode comedy-drama loosely based on Kerman's story. It already had two high-profile shows in its stable: House Of Cards, the campy political thriller starring award magnets Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, and the rebooted sitcom Arrested Development. But at the end of the year, Netflix, usually tightlipped about its viewing figures, revealed that Orange Is The New Black was its most popular original show. The underdog had become a sensation.
( Very, very light plot spoilers under the cutCollapse )
Have you finished Season 2 yet, ONTD?