List of The Handmaid's Tale characters

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The Handmaid's Tale is an American dystopian drama web television series created for Hulu by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The plot follows a dystopian future following a Second American Civil War wherein a totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called "Handmaids", into child-bearing servitude.[1] The first three episodes of the series premiered on April 26, 2017; the subsequent seven episodes aired on a weekly basis every Wednesday. In May 2017, the series was renewed for a second season which premiered on April 25, 2018.[2] The series features an ensemble cast including Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Max Minghella, and Samira Wiley. Amanda Brugel had a recurring role in the first season before being promoted to the main cast for the second.

This list includes the series' main cast, all guest stars deemed to have had recurring roles throughout the series, and any other guest who is otherwise notable.

Overview[edit]

Character Portrayed by Appearances
Season 1 Season 2
Main characters
June Osborne / Offred Elisabeth Moss Main
Commander Fred Waterford Joseph Fiennes Main
Serena Joy Waterford Yvonne Strahovski Main
Emily / Ofglen / Ofsteven Alexis Bledel Main
Janine / Ofwarren / Ofdaniel Madeline Brewer Main
Aunt Lydia Ann Dowd Main
Lucas "Luke" Bankole O. T. Fagbenle Main
Nick Blaine Max Minghella Main
Moira / Ruby Samira Wiley Main
Rita Amanda Brugel Recurring Main
Recurring characters
Naomi Putnam Ever Carradine Recurring
Lillie Fuller / Ofglen Tattiawna Jones Recurring
Hannah Bankole Jordana Blake Recurring
Alma / Ofrobert Nina Kiri Recurring
Dolores / Ofsamuel Jenessa Grant Recurring
Brianna / Oferic Bahia Watson Recurring
Eden Spencer Blaine Sydney Sweeney Does not appear Recurring
Commander Joseph Lawrence Bradley Whitford Does not appear Recurring
Commander Ray Cushing Greg Bryk Does not appear Recurring
Isaac Rohan Mead Does not appear Recurring
Eleanor Lawrence Julie Dretzin Does not appear Recurring

Main characters[edit]

June Osborne[edit]

June Osborne (portrayed by Elisabeth Moss) is a woman who was captured while attempting to escape to Canada with her husband, Luke, and daughter, Hannah. Due to her fertility, she is made a Handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford and his wife, Serena Joy, and is named "Offred".

Moss was first announced as the lead actress in April 2016.[3]

Commander Fred Waterford[edit]

Commander Fred Waterford (portrayed by Joseph Fiennes) is a high-ranking government official and June's master. Both he and his wife played an instrumental role in Gilead's founding. He wishes to have more contact with June outside of what is lawful between a Handmaid and her master, and starts inviting her to play nightly games of Scrabble.

Fiennes joined the cast in August 2016.[4]

Serena Joy Waterford[edit]

Serena Joy Waterford (portrayed by Yvonne Strahovski) is Fred's wife and a former conservative cultural activist. She appears to have accepted her new role in a society that she helped create. She is poised and deeply religious, but capable of great cruelty and is often callous to June. She is desperate to become a mother.

Strahovski joined the cast in August 2016.[5]

Emily[edit]

Emily (portrayed by Alexis Bledel), also referred to as Ofglen and later Ofsteven, is June's shopping partner. Although June is initially wary of her, it is revealed Ofglen is not as pious as she seems, and the two become friends. Ofglen had a wife and son, and was a university lecturer in cellular biology. Being homosexual is punishable by death in Gilead, and most university professors are sent to labour camps, but Ofglen was spared and made a Handmaid, due to her fertility. She is later captured and cruelly punished for her relationship with a Martha, and is sent to another household where she becomes "Ofsteven". She is involved with a resistance movement called "Mayday".

Bledel was cast in January 2017.[6]

Janine[edit]

Janine (portrayed by Madeline Brewer) is a Handmaid who entered the Red Center for training at the same time as June and considers June a friend due to her kind treatment. Initially non-compliant, Janine's right eye is removed as a punishment. She becomes mentally unstable due to her treatment and often behaves in temperamental or childlike ways. She gives birth to a child for Warren and Naomi Putnam, whom they name "Angela", but Janine insists the baby's name is "Charlotte". Janine is later reassigned and becomes "Ofdaniel". She was temporarily assigned to the Colonies until a bombing at the new Rachel and Leah Center.

Brewer was cast as Janine in August 2016.[7]

Aunt Lydia[edit]

Aunt Lydia (portrayed by Ann Dowd) is a woman in charge of overseeing the Handmaids in their sexual reeducation and duties. She is brutal and subjects insubordinate Handmaids to harsh physical punishment, but she also cares for her charges and believes deeply in the Gileadean mission and doctrine. She appears to have a soft spot for Janine, and even goes so far as to address her by her given name on occasion.

Dowd was cast in July 2016.[8]

Luke Bankole[edit]

Lucas "Luke" Bankole (portrayed by O. T. Fagbenle) is June's husband from before Gilead. Because he and June began their relationship before his divorce from his first wife, their union is considered invalid in the new society. June is considered an adulteress and their daughter, Hannah, is considered illegitimate. Initially, June believes he has been killed, but it is later revealed Luke managed to escape to Canada.

Fagbenle was cast in September 2016.[9]

Nick Blaine[edit]

Nick Blaine (portrayed by Max Minghella) is Commander Waterford's driver and a former drifter from Michigan who has feelings for June. June and Nick develop an intimate relationship and she eventually discovers that he is an Eye, a spy for Gilead.

Minghella was cast in July 2016.[8]

Moira[edit]

Moira (portrayed by Samira Wiley), also referred to as Ruby, is June's best friend since college. She is already at the Red Center when June enters Handmaid training but escapes before being assigned to a home. She is recaptured and becomes "Ruby", a Jezebel. She seems to have given up hope of ever being free, but on meeting June again regains the conviction to escape.

Wiley joined the main cast in July 2016.[10][11]

Rita[edit]

Rita (portrayed by Amanda Brugel) is a Martha at the Waterford home. She had a son who died fighting in the civil war when he was 19 years old.

Brugel was cast in the recurring role of Rita in September 2016.[12] In August 2017, she was promoted to the main cast for the second season.[13]

Recurring characters[edit]

The following is a list of guest characters that have recurring roles throughout the series.

Introduced in season one[edit]

  • Naomi Putnam (portrayed by Ever Carradine) is Commander Warren Putnam's wife. She views her baby largely as a status symbol and has no sympathy for the Handmaids. Carradine joined the cast in October 2016.[14]
  • Lillie Fuller (portrayed by Tattiawna Jones), also referred to as Ofglen, is a woman who replaces Emily in the position after Emily is captured by the Eyes. She initially follows the rules and does not wish to upset the status quo, but this is because she believes her life as a Handmaid is better than the difficult, impoverished life she led prior to Gilead, rather than out of religious piety.
  • Alma (portrayed by Nina Kiri), also referred to as Ofrobert, is another Handmaid who trained at the Red Center with June, Moira, and Janine. She is frank and chatty, and often trades gossip and news with June. She is also involved with Mayday and becomes June's first contact with the resistance group.
  • Dolores (portrayed by Jenessa Grant), also referred to as Ofsamuel, is a local Handmaid with a friendly and talkative nature.
  • Briana (portrayed by Bahia Watson), also referred to as Oferic, is another local Handmaid who is friends with June.
  • Hannah Bankole (portrayed by Jordana Blake) is June and Luke's daughter. She is later renamed Agnes.
  • Commander Andrew Pryce. One of the architects of the Sons of Jacob movement. He is a high ranking commander who employs Nick as an Eye.

Introduced in season two[edit]

  • Eden Spencer (portrayed by Sydney Sweeney) is a pious and obedient girl who dreams of one day being a Commander's wife. Sweeney was cast in May 2017.[15]
  • Commander Joseph Lawrence (portrayed by Bradley Whitford) is considered the "architect of Gilead's economy,"[16] a gruff and intimidating man with a disheveled mad genius vibe. His sly humor and flashes of kindness make him a confusing, mysterious presence for his newest Handmaid. Whitford joined the recurring cast in February 2018.[17]
  • Commander Ray Cushing (portrayed by Greg Bryk) is a government official who is friends with the Commander Waterford and Serena. Cushing, his wife, and the Waterfords were friends before Gilead and used to travel together. Cushing is pointed out to replace Commander Pryce following the Rachel and Leah Center bombing, and he questions Offred about who aided her when she tried to flee the country. Fearing the possibility of her household being targeted and angry at Cushing's heavy-handed response to the bombing, Serena forges orders from her husband to have him arrested for treason and apostasy.[18]
  • Isaac (portrayed by Rohan Mead) is a Guardian assigned to the Waterford home.
  • Eleanor Lawrence (portrayed by Julie Dretzin) is Commander Lawrence's long suffering wife.

Guest characters[edit]

The following is a supplementary list of guest stars that appear in lesser roles, make significant cameo appearances or who receive co-starring credit over multiple appearances.

Introduced in season one[edit]

  • Beth (portrayed by Kristen Gutoskie) is a Martha at Jezebel's. She has an arrangement with Nick whereby she trades illegal alcohol and other contraband for drugs, which the Jezebels use. She has a casual sexual relationship with him and is aware that he is an Eye.
  • Erin (portrayed by Erin Way) is a young, apparently mute, woman who was being trained to become a Handmaid but managed to escape to Canada.[19]

Introduced in season two[edit]

  • Mrs. O'Conner (portrayed by Marisa Tomei) is a Commander's wife sent to the colonies as punishment for having sex with another man. Tomei was cast in January 2018.[20]
  • Holly Maddox (portrayed by Cherry Jones) is June's mother, an outspoken feminist. Jones was cast in January 2018.[21]
  • Sylvia (portrayed by Clea DuVall) is Emily's wife, who managed to leave the United States with their child before Gilead was installed.
  • Omar (portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is a man who helps June attempt to escape.
  • Dan (portrayed by John Carroll Lynch) is Emily's boss at the university where she worked.
  • Annie (portrayed by Kelly Jenrette) is Luke's ex-wife, who stalked June as an attempt to make her give up on him.
  • Odette Johnson (portrayed by Rebecca Rittenhouse) is the doctor who helped Moira during her surrogacy and later became her fiancée.
  • Mark Tuello (portrayed by Sam Jaeger) is a mysterious stranger who Serena encounters in Canada.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bradley, Laura (May 2, 2018). "The Handmaid's Tale: Why Offred's Latest Heartbreak Is the Most Devastating Yet". Vanity Fair. Retrieved June 27, 2018. In its third installment, however, the drama digs even deeper into the emotional toll Gilead has taken on everyone—both those left in what was once the United States and those who’ve made it out. The lives and dreams that each character lost to this totalitarian regime have been laid out in excruciating detail before—but this week, the show lays those losses bare with more subtlety than perhaps any other episode. ... (In richer households, handmaids do the childbearing, Wives raise the children, and Marthas do the housework. Econowives, in contrast, “have to do everything; if they can.”) 
  2. ^ Vilkomerson, Sara (January 14, 2018). "The Handmaid's Tale: Here's the first trailer for season 2 (and a premiere date!)". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 14, 2018. 
  3. ^ Petski, Denise; Andreeva, Nellie (April 29, 2016). "Elisabeth Moss To Star in Drama Series The Handmaid's Tale On Hulu". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 15, 2017. 
  4. ^ Prudom, Laura (August 23, 2016). "Joseph Fiennes to Star in The Handmaid's Tale for Hulu". Variety. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 29, 2016). "Yvonne Strahovski To Star in Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 5, 2017). "Alexis Bledel Joins New Hulu Series The Handmaid's Tale As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 5, 2017. 
  7. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (August 19, 2016). "Hulu's Handmaid's Tale Adds Madeline Brewer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Petski, Denise (July 15, 2016). "Max Minghella & Ann Dowd Join The Handmaid's Tale Drama Series on Hulu". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  9. ^ Petski, Denise (September 7, 2016). "The Handmaid's Tale Casts O-T Fagbenle; Sofia Wylie Joins Andi Mack". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  10. ^ Roshanian, Arya (July 25, 2016). "Orange Is the New Black's Samira Wiley Joins Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  11. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 25, 2016). "Samira Wiley Joins Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (September 28, 2016). "The Handmaid's Tale Casts Amanda Brugel; Jemar Michael Joins Dear White People". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  13. ^ Stanhope, Kate (August 17, 2017). "'The Handmaid's Tale' Promotes Amanda Brugel to Series Regular (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 19, 2017. 
  14. ^ Pederson, Erik (October 27, 2016). "Ever Carradine Books Role On Handmaid's Tale; Sibo Mlambo To Recur On Teen Wolf". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  15. ^ Dowling, Amber (May 24, 2017). "'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2 Taps Sydney Sweeney (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 
  16. ^ Eric Tuchman (writer); Daina Reid (director) (July 4, 2018). "Postpartum". The Handmaid's Tale. Season 2. Episode 12. Hulu. 
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 15, 2018). "'The Handmaid's Tale': Bradley Whitford Joins Hulu Drama Series For Season 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 16, 2018. 
  18. ^ Raeside, Julia (July 1, 2018). "Handmaid's Tale recap: season 2, episode 7 – Gilead strikes back". The Guardian. Retrieved July 5, 2018. 
  19. ^ Grady, Constance (November 28, 2017). "The Handmaid's Tale season 1, episode 7: "The Other Side" takes us out of Gilead to check in on a familiar face". Vox. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 
  20. ^ Moraes, Lisa de (January 14, 2018). "Marisa Tomei To Guest on Hulu's' Dystopian 'The Handmaid's Tale'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 14, 2018. 
  21. ^ Heldman, Breanne L. (January 25, 2018). "The Handmaid's Tale casts Cherry Jones in key role for season 2". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 26, 2018. 

External links[edit]