Galina "Red" Reznikov (Kate Mulgrew)
Backstory: Red is a Russian immigrant who helps run her husband's convenience store, and eventually gets involved with the mafia — which, unsurprisingly, lands her in prison. Once she's in the pen, however, she rises to power as head chef, and assembles a crew around her that includes white inmates Nicky, Gina, and Norma.
Place in Litchfield's hierarchy: Red starts off at the top of the food chain — literally. But by the end of Season Two, she's been demoted, lost many of her friends, and has the shit beaten out of her by her old partner in crime/certifiable mama-bear predator Vee.
Pre-OITNB: Before she commanded a commissary, Kate Mulgrew commanded the USS Voyager as Captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager.
Best line: "The second you’re perceived as weak, you already are."