OITNB: The One Thing You Didn’t Notice About Poussey’s Death


We cried enough tears to flood Litchfield prison as we watched Poussey breathe her last breath at the end of Orange is the New Black season 4. Poussey’s death hit us like a ton of bricks and things haven’t been the same since.

There was one thing we noticed through our tear-filled eyes, however. Something that may have gone unnoticed by many because they were too busy crying to clock it.

orange is the new black cry

Why didn’t anybody try to save P? Why did everyone immediately assume she was dead? When you re-watch that tragic scene, you’ll notice that not a single person, not even the guards tried to save her. Nobody checked her pulse, nobody tried CPR and nobody even considered that she may have been unconscious.

As her Wiki page explains, Poussey died from suffocation. Officer Bayley’s knees weighed heavily into her back, restricting her from breathing and possibly causing it to crack under pressure. Though many thought she may have died from a snapped neck, it’s made very clear that Poussey in fact died from asphyxiation.

If that was the case, it’s common knowledge that she would simply have been unconscious once Bayley got off her. It would have taken a few extra minutes for Poussey to actually die.


There was so much chaos in the cafeteria at the time that there was no way anyone could have really noticed that P was already dead. How Taystee immediately assumed she was inconclusively dead is beyond us. From the moment she broke free from the guards, P’s best friend simply kneeled next to her and wailed.

Once Taystee saw Poussey lying motionless on the ground, she instantly presumed she was gone and did absolutely nothing to help her.

taystee crying

Unless the victim was fatally shot or had her head decapitated, wouldn’t it be second nature to try and resuscitate that person? Especially your best friend?!

What’s worse? Let’s take it back to season 3 when Soso overdosed in the library. Remember when Taystee said, “she’s not dead, I’ve seen enough dead bodies to know when someone is dead”? Well, couldn’t she have seen that Poussey most probably wasn’t dead at the time, but simply unconscious?


Bear in mind that with the exception of Bayley, all the guards at the prison were veterans. If for some bizarre reason none of the prisoners knew how to perform CPR, we’re pretty sure the vets would have at least had some basic knowledge. Somebody – anybody in that room would have had the common sense to check a pulse. Simply shrugging your shoulders and declaring Poussey dead without taking action is NOT what normal people do.

We just feel that in the real world, Poussey’s death could have been prevented. Of course, these are all mistakes on the writer’s part. Perhaps it was all intended to amplify the emotional impact of the moment.

Either way, we’re super distraught over Poussey’s death. We’re going to miss her wit, love and goofy smile. Litchfield Prison certainly won’t be the same without her.

poussey death

Do you agree with us? Let us know in the comments below…

Check out what the Orange is the New Black cast look like in real life! The actors look SO different!


Tale Teller

  • Angela Stephanou

    After completing her BA in Communication, Media and Film studies, Angela launched Tell Tales Online, and now writes and oversees the content and strategy across the site. As a pop culture junkie, she follows more celebs than real-life people, her guilty pleasure is watching The Kardashians, but she's also a fan of Marvel and Game of Thrones.

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4 months ago

“I’ve seen enough dead to know dead” Might be the whole point. CO Baby was on her for a long time, even after she become unresponsive. Hard to know exactly how much time passed as they are showing other camera angles and things too.

But thinking like this sort of makes it make sense: Taystee is able to tell if someone is dead or not, so she was able to know as soon as she looked at P, that she was gone. Taystee even saw P from across the room, and took a little bit of time to get to her. T was likely scrambling trying to get to P in time, but then failed, and then breakdown.

Realistically of course you need pulse check, CPR, to be able to know officially if time of death is hit. But it’s TV…not a retelling of a true story. The scene they did is way more emotional and raw then checking a pulse would be lol, which, sidenote, is **why** I’m betting 99% of you, including me, never even thought about it on the first watch.

7 months ago

Had no one in these chimneys heard of George Floyd?

Miranda Jones
1 year ago

I totally agree, I came across this article because I was looking up why no one tried to resuscitate her! NONE of the inmates tried?! And they know she couldn’t have been unconscious long cuz it had JUST happened and they knew it. Just a very stupid part, I can’t believe they even wrote it that way.

Ally B
2 years ago

I get how unrealistic it seems, since CPR has saved people who had stopped breathing for longer, but a lot of the prisioners are uneducated (Taystee doesn’t even know basic female anatomy) and, while there may have been “veteran guards” on duty, it’s pretty clear by their actions and behaviour that they don’t consider them less than animals…

While it’s easy to say this wouldn’t happen in real life– you’d actually be very, very wrong, as it has actually happened, multiple times, right here where I live, in Canada..
There was even an incident here where guards watched a female inmate hang herself, watched her die, and then cut her down, all while being recorded on the jail’s CCTV, and that’s just one of hundreds of cases of people dying while in custody here. (There was even a woman very recently who was put into a holding cell because they thought she was suicidal, and then didn’t get her medical attention & she died in the cell.. even the police don’t do CPR here, so there’s no way a guard is doing it.)
This is a very real problem, even in a country as big on equality and human rights as this one.

6 years ago

The fact that no one checked her pulse or tried to resuscitate her is exactly what I was thinking while I watched the scene. I was just like, what the? Do something, hello!

I’m so annoyed that so many shows kill main characters now! I personally don’t watch tv to be sad. Please, someone tell me a good show where no one dies?

6 years ago

Just think of how much more interesting it would have been if someone was desperately trying to revive Poussey as the camera faded to black. That would have been a great cliff hanger.

The finish they chose, however was just lame.

7 years ago

Pousey’ death was total crap! Extremely disappointed in Jeni Kohan’s writing that not one person would try CPR. I understand moving a story in a certain direction but, you are ignoring the intelligence of the audience when you completely disregard a normal procedure in any other situation. Plus you want us to buy into a world no one but prisoners understand yet ignore basic human instinct? I get you are a big time writer so I can go eff myself in your eyes. However, I write as well and if you want your audience to believe in what your story has to say you don’t overlook such an egregious detail.