Elisabeth Crabtree Biography & Facts
The Handmaid's Tale is an American dystopian television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The series was ordered by the streaming service Hulu as a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, for which production began in late 2016. The plot features a dystopia following a Second American Civil War wherein a theonomic, totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called "Handmaids," to child-bearing slavery.The first three episodes of the series premiered on April 26, 2017; the subsequent seven episodes were released every Wednesday. In July 2019, the series was renewed for a fourth season, which premiered on April 27, 2021. In September 2019, it was announced that Hulu and MGM were developing a sequel series, to be based on Atwood's 2019 novel The Testaments. In December 2020, ahead of the fourth season premiere, the series was renewed for a fifth season, which premiered on September 14, 2022. In September 2022, ahead of the fifth season premiere, the series was renewed for a sixth and final season.The Handmaid's Tale's first season won eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 13 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series. It is the first show produced by Hulu to win a major award as well as the first series on a streaming service to win an Emmy for Outstanding Series. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. Elisabeth Moss was also awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series.
In a world where fertility rates have collapsed as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution, the totalitarian, theonomic government of Gilead establishes rule in the former United States in the aftermath of a civil war. Society is organized by power-hungry leaders along with a new, militarized, hierarchical régime of religious fanaticism and newly created social classes, in which women are brutally subjugated. By law, women in Gilead are forced to work in very limited roles, including some as natal slaves, and they are not allowed to own property, have careers, handle money, or read.Worldwide infertility has led to the enslavement of fertile women in Gilead determined by the new régime to be fallen women, citing an extremist interpretation of the Biblical account of Bilhah. These women often include those who have entered marriages following divorce (termed "adulteresses", as divorce is not recognized under Gileadian law), single or unmarried mothers, lesbians (homosexuals being termed "gender traitors"), non-Christians, adherents of Christian denominations other than the "Sons of Jacob", political dissidents, and academics.These women, called Handmaids, are assigned to the homes of the ruling elite, where they must submit to ritualized rape (referred to as "the ceremony") by their male masters ("Commanders") in the presence of their wives, to be impregnated and bear children for them. Handmaids are given names created by the addition of the prefix Of- to the first name of the man who has them. When they are transferred, their names are changed.
Along with the Handmaids, much of society is now grouped into classes that dictate their freedoms and duties. Women are divided into a small range of social categories, each one signified by a plain dress in a specific color. Handmaids wear long red dresses, heavy brown boots and white coifs, with a headcovering surrounded by a larger white coif (known as "wings") to be worn outside, concealing them from public view and restricting their vision.
June Osborne, renamed Offred, is the Handmaid assigned to the home of the Gileadan Commander Fred Waterford and his wife Serena Joy. The Waterfords, key players in the formation and rise of Gilead, struggle with the realities of the society they helped create. During "the time before," June was married to Luke and had a daughter, Hannah.
At the beginning of the story, while attempting to flee Gilead with her husband and daughter, June was captured and forced to become a Handmaid because of the adultery she and her husband committed. June's daughter was taken and given to an upper-class family to raise, and her husband escaped into Canada. Much of the plot revolves around June's desire to be reunited with her husband and daughter and the internal evolution of her strength to its somewhat darker version.
Cast and characters
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne / Offred / Ofjoseph, a woman who was captured while attempting to escape to Canada with her husband, Luke, and daughter, Hannah. Because Luke is divorced, their union is considered adulterous in this new society. June is considered an adulteress and their daughter, Hannah, is deemed illegitimate. Due to June's fertility, she is made a Handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford and his wife Serena Joy, and is called "Offred." She later becomes handmaid to Commander Joseph Lawrence and is called "Ofjoseph."
Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford (seasons 1–4), a high-ranking government official, and June's first master. Both he and his wife were instrumental in Gilead's founding.
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford, 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.
Alexis Bledel as Dr. Emily Malek / Ofglen #1 / Ofsteven / Ofroy / Ofjoseph #1 (seasons 1–4), a former university professor in cellular biology and initially June's shopping partner. Although June is initially wary of her, it is revealed she is not as pious as she seems, and the two become friends. Emily is involved with and first informs June of Mayday, an underground resistance movement. She has a wife and son living in Canada.
Madeline Brewer as Janine Lindo / Ofwarren / Ofdaniel / Ofhoward, 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 has her right eye removed as a punishment. She becomes mentally unstable due to her treatment and often behaves in temperamental or childlike ways. Before Gilead, Janine was a waitress and had a son, Caleb, who unbeknownst to her was killed in a car crash after the takeover.
Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia Clements, a woman in charge of overseeing the Handmaids in their sexual re-education and duties. She is brutal and subjects insubordinate Handmaids to sadistic 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. Before Gilead, she was a family court judge, and afterwards, an elementary school teacher.
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