Never mind com­mand­ing the bridge on USS Voy­ager or the gal­ley in Litch­field Pen­i­ten­tiary – Kate Mul­grew’s great­est jour­ney is her own. En­gage!


When GT gets on the phone to Kate Mul­grew’s New York home, there’s pos­si­bly only one thing more ex­cit­ing than hear­ing the fa­mil­iar tones of our favourite Starfleet cap­tain.

“I was just read­ing the first episode script when you called and I’m de­lighted to re­turn,” she says, con­firm­ing her ap­pear­ance as Galina ‘Red’ Reznikov in the fourth se­ries of Or­ange Is the New Black. There may’ve been a squeal on our end of the line, fol­lowed by laugh­ter on hers. But we’re time-trav­el­ling slightly, with not a worm­hole in sight. We’re ac­tu­ally here to talk about se­ries three of Net­flix’s in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar women’s prison drama – which you’ve prob­a­bly binge-watched al­ready and seen Red fi­nally re­turned to her beloved kitchen. “But the un­ex­pected awaits as it al­ways does at the pen of Jenji Ko­han, who is bril­liant. So, just when you think you’re on top, some­thing slips. There’ll be a trap door ef­fect. But I’m not go­ing to give you spoil­ers be­cause we were warned that we’d be be­headed if we do that,” she jokes.

And of the fourth se­ries, which is film­ing right now? “I hope that there’s go­ing to be a few more sea­sons. It’s go­ing to be quite in­ter­est­ing I think this year, the sky’s the limit and Jenji is feel­ing, I think, that she can use her witch­craft in any which way she likes, so there’ll be the in­tro­duc­tion of new char­ac­ters, I’m sure that comes as no sur­prise. And those of us who are of the ‘old guard’ will have to fight, I think, in new and quite un­ortho­dox ways to pro­tect our re­spec­tive po­si­tions.”

Film­ing the se­ries near her New York res­i­dence works per­fectly for the ac­tress.

“It’s ter­rific be­cause they just pick me up and I go right out to the stu­dio in Queens. It has that flavour, it has that stamp on it that this is a New York pro­duc­tion. These ac­tresses have been culled from the very bow­els of New York and it shows. These are not faces that are Hol­ly­wood faces are they? Nor types that are Hol­ly­wood types, they’re en­demic to New York, the sea­son­ing of New York, the hard­ships of New York and the flavours.”

There’s also a cer­tain some­thing about women in prison dra­mas that res­onates par­tic­u­larly strongly with a gay male au­di­ence.

“Why?” she asks im­me­di­ately. “You tell me, be­cause I’m not a gay man.”

We tell her that she’s just ru­in­ing it, say­ing things like that and she howls with laugh­ter. “Oh, I hate to let you down, but why is it? I know that that’s true, but no­body’s ever re­ally ar­tic­u­lated why…”

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