Orange Is the New Black returns for its seventh and final season this summer, but the series isn't shying away from taking risks all the same. Among those big swings is the introduction of new characters, including two who help continue Blanca's ICE storyline. Karina Arroyave, who plays Carla on OINTB, and Marie-Lou Nahhas both join the series in its farewell season, taking viewers inside the ICE detention center that Litchfield, as a for-profit prison, has recently opened.
Fans may remember when, back in Season 6, Piper and Blanca gathered with a group of inmates who believed they were being slated for early release. But as Blanca's boyfriend waits for her with a bouquet of flowers outside the prison, the inmates are split into two lines; Piper in one group and Blanca in the other. Piper's line is released, while Blanca's is set up for transfer to Litchfield's new ICE detention center.
In Season 7, viewers will get to see that detention center in a storyline which The Hollywood Reporter says "howls with a sense of moral malfeasance so unfiltered it occasionally overwhelms general plausibility or episodic momentum." But, it adds, "It's unrelenting and headline-ripping even if you do the math and know that Orange Is the New Black is set a couple years in the past at this point."
Arroyave is a Colombian actress with a film and television career spanning 30 years, although OITNB is poised to be one of her bigger projects. She played a character named Bianca Marquez-Walsh over three years on As The World Turns in the early '90s, before landing a recurring role on the first season of 24, playing Jamey Farrell. She also appeared in two episodes of both Law & Order and NYPD Blue, playing different characters in each episode.
Arroyave boasts an impressive resume of network television appearances over the past two decades, including episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Bull, The Mysteries of Laura, Blue Bloods, Without a Trace, Empire, Touched By An Angel, Judging Amy, Chicago Hope, and The Practice. Needless to say, she's no stranger to crime shows. On OITNB, she plays a widowed mother of two who's about to be deported to El Salvador without her children. Since this is her first prestige streaming drama, Arroyave is bound to get some material that she can really sink her teeth into.
Though this will be the final season of OITNB, ideas are already being kicked around for a spin-off series, which makes the introduction of new characters at the eleventh hour slightly more plausible. "Keep in mind we own that series and will be distributing it for years to come," Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs told The Hollywood Reporter last November. "We're already in discussions and, when the timing is right, we'll talk further with Jenji [Kohan] about a potential sequel."
A few months before that, executive producer Tara Herrmann told THR that not even a Broadway musical was off the table as a potential spin-off. So it seems like there's still plenty of juice left to squeeze out of the show — after everyone involved gets a good, long break.