The Handmaid's Tale: Your Guide to the Citizens of Gilead

Alexis Bledel, Elisabeth Moss, Samira Wiley and more star in the Hulu drama

By Chris Harnick Apr 27, 2017 2:00 PMTags
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Handmaids, Marthas, Commanders—there's a lot to take in with The Handmaid's Tale, Hulu's ambitious new dystopian drama that has everybody buzzing.

The series, based on the book of the same name by Margaret Atwood, has a sprawling cast made up of so many TV fan-favorites including Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss, Orange Is the New Black's Samira Wiley and Gilmore Girls veteran Alexis Bledel. Set in Gilead, the former United States of America now under totalitarian rule, The Handmaid's Tale follows Offred (Moss), a Handmaid (one of the remaining fertile women) who is assigned to a powerful Commander's house, but has one goal in mind: find her daughter.

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The bonnets (or wings), the "Blessed be the fruit" greetings—The Handmaid's Tale is a brand new world for TV viewers who haven't read the book. Meet the players in what's already one of the best dramas of the year.

Warning: Spoilers!

Elisabeth Moss as Offred

Offred, or June as she declares her given name as at the end of the first episode, is a Handmaid doing her best to survive. Her reason for living? Her daughter, Hannah, who was taken from her as the regime to Gilead came to power. She resides in Commander Waterford's house and is partnered with Ofglen—Handmaid's always travel in pairs.

Samira Wiley as Moira

Moira and Offred were best friends from college before everything went down. They protested the rise of Gilead together and reconnected at the Red Center, the Handmaid training center, but Offred lost contact with Moira after being assigned to a household. In the first episode Offred is told Moira has been sent to the Colony and died...but did she?

O-T Fagbenle as Luke

Luke is Offred's husband from the world before Gilead and father to their daughter Hannah. He's seen through flashbacks throughout the series.

Madeline Brewer as Janine

A fellow handmaid Offred meets in the Red Center, she who loses an eye as a form of punishment and soon loses grasp on reality.

Joseph Fiennes as Commander Waterford

A founding father of Gilead, Commander Waterford is a powerful and high-ranking official. He surprised Offred with a secret meeting…to play Scrabble.

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy

Serena Joy is wife of Commander Waterford and the head of the household staff, including Offred. As wife to the Commander she's an influential public figure, and fought for traditional values as well as the establishment of Gilead.

Alexis Bledel as Ofglen

Ofglen is a fellow Handmaid and companion to Offred, but there's more than meets the eye under the hood. Offred originally writes Ofglen off as a pious rule-follower, but Ofglen revealed herself as a member of the resistance. She was taken away for having a relationship with a Martha.

Max Minghella as Nick

Nick serves as a Guardian in Gilead and as Commander Waterford's driver. He and Offred form a bond, but she's unsure about trusting him and suspects he could be an Eye, a spy for the secret police.

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia

Aunt Lydia, who bears a striking resemblance to Miss Trunchbull from Matilda, runs the training center for the Handmaids and indoctrinates them into the Gilead system. She trains them, often through violence, for their role as sexual servants to the Commanders.

The first three episodes of The Handmaid's Tale are now streaming on Hulu.

The Handmaid's Tale drops new episodes on Wednesdays.