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News - Politics

"Orange Is the New Black" stars on addressing social issues through the show

The fifth season of the Emmy-winning Netflix series debuted Friday

Many fans of the Netflix show "Orange Is the New Black" spent the weekend binge-watching its fifth season after its debut Friday.

The Emmy-winning series is based on a privileged young woman whose decade-old relationship with a drug runner lands her in a women's federal prison.

This season finds the Litchfield inmates in control of the prison after a riot.

Stars of "Orange Is the New Black," Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon and Danielle Brooks joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the new season. 

"I'm looking at the poster for season five and the idea of standing up, really — I think that embodies really what the writers have kind of created this year," said Schilling, who plays the show's main character, Piper Chapman. "It's exciting to see all of the ladies galvanized around one cause."

That cause is avenging fellow inmate Poussey's death when a prison guard pinned her to the floor with his knee.

Danielle Brooks portrays Taystee, Poussey's best friend.

"This season we're going to see somebody operate out of a place of having nothing to lose. You know, Taystee is going for blood here and for justice for her friend and I feel like she is really showing us how resilient that she is," Brooks said of her character's emotional state during the new season.

Season 5 poster for "Orange Is the New Black"

Netflix

When asked why audiences have connected with the show, Laura Prepon credited the writers, saying "nothing is taboo for them." She also said that the show's focus on relevant issues of the time like women's rights, Black Lives Matter and same-sex relationships sets them apart from a lot of shows.

"Audiences are smart and they want compelling television and our show is compelling and we push the envelope and people respect it and with the success of that I'll see other shows following suit," said Prepon, who portrays the drug runner that Piper had a relationship with.

This season was shot during the last presidential election.

"The way that each of us engages as citizens in the world, there was no real way to strip what we were making from the context in which we were creating it. I mean, I think living in the midst of the campaign and the election certainly imbued everything we were doing with a little bit more intensity," Schilling said.

The show spent a lot of time researching famous prison riots for this season.

When asked what's at the heart of what a riot is about, Brooks said, "I think it takes people who are not afraid to die — I mean, think about someone who really takes over a riot. You have to be that fearless, you know? And I feel like the women are at that point because they have been treated like animals, they have been treated like the bottom of the barrel, you know, as, inhumane. And right now, they have nothing to lose," Brooks said.  

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