Pride Month Character Spotlight: Cosima Niehaus
Welcome to the seventeenth article in our Pride series for the month of June! Each day we will be highlighting a different LGBTQ+ character who we think is a great example of representation, dynamic characterization, and overall badassery. Check out the rest of the series here.
Orphan Black is one of the most innovative shows to ever hit television, and starred possible the most talented actress in all of history. Tatiana Maslany has played over 15 characters on the show, because… clones. The show is about clones. And she plays every one of them.
A little less vaguely, Orphan Black is about a woman named Sarah Manning who sees a woman identical to herself jump in front of a train. And from there it just gets stranger. Sarah discovers that that woman was not just some long lost twin, but in fact they are both clones. She soon meets two more members of “Clone Club:” Alison Hendrix, a suburban soccer mom, and Cosima Niehaus.
Cosima is, or was, a PhD student at UC Berkeley studying biology and evolutionary development. Once she meets Sarah and all of the Clone Club insanity begins, she drops out and moves to Ontario, Canada to study the DNA of the clones and hopefully discover why many of them develop a terminal illness and die. But before she leaves school, she meets Delphine Cormier. Delphine is French and flirty and gorgeous and immediately catches the eye and heart of Cosima. They attend revolutionary science lectures and steal wine and… get in on. Hard.
But Delphine has a secret: meeting Cosima was no coincidence. Delphine works for the DYAD institute, the science organization that created the clones, and she has been assigned to monitor and spy on Cosima. She inevitably finds out, and while it first it leads to her completely cutting Delphine out, eventually her attraction and her interest in the clones’ origins lead them back together. And this, the #sciencegirlfriends were born.
Throughout the next two season, Cosima and Delphine are as intertwined with DYAD as they are with each other. When a clone that actually works for DYAD, Rachel, gets involved, Cosima receives her own lab and is able to research the clones even closer. In an episode in season 2, Rachel comes to visit Cosima in her lab. She coldly asks, “You’re gay?” to which she responds, “My sexuality isn’t the most interesting thing about me.”
This sums up Cosima in a nutshell. She is open and proud of her sexuality and her relationships while still making it clear that being gay should not be the focus of her personality or something to be judged on. She is a kick ass scientist and a wonderful sister to her fellow clones and a lover of weed and a loving girlfriend. She is complex and beautiful and nerdy and gay – the total package.
Her relationship with Delphine is a bit of a rollercoaster – with breakups and other relationships and faked deaths. But Cosima always has her sisters, and always has herself. And with clones, that is close to the same thing.
Do you have a character spotlight suggestion? Leave it in the comments down below!