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Where You've Seen The Cast Of The Handmaid's Tale Before

Adapted from Margaret Atwood's tale of a dystopian theocracy, "The Handmaid's Tale" follows the journey of "handmaid" June Osborne (called Offred by her enslavers) as she fights for her freedom and leads a revolution against the patriarchal oppressors who systematically enslave and rape women and children in the former United States. With guidance from the author herself, the story builds on the book to paint a more complex and vivid picture of life under the heartlessly draconian Republic of Gilead.

Not for the faint of heart, the emotional, raw, and inspiring series has racked up numerous awards over its run, including multiple Primetime Emmys and Golden Globes. Against the show's haunting score, incredible cinematography and drone camera work, and powerful writing, the outstanding cast has brought Atwood's story — and all of the warnings and hope that come with it — to life for a new audience. Here's where you may have seen the cast of "The Handmaid's Tale" before they turned up in Gilead.

Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne

As June Osborne, Elisabeth Moss owns every scene she's in whether she's brewing a revolution among Gilead's enslaved population or finding ways to dismantle the theocracy from north of its borders. In 2017, her work on the series earned her an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. With Moss as one of the show's producers, "The Handmaid's Tale" also won an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series that same year.

Moss has been acting onscreen since she was a kid. In 1990, she appeared as a very young Sandra Bullock's daughter in Jackie Collins' NBC miniseries "Lucky Chances." As a child actor, she also had a recurring role on "Picket Fences" and worked on a handful of films including the 1995 Disney remake "Escape to Witch Mountain." Starting in 1999, Moss played the president's youngest child Zoey Bartlet on "The West Wing"; around the same time, she appeared in quite a few films and primetime TV dramas including "Girl, Interrupted," "Grey's Anatomy," "Medium," and "The Ghost Whisperer."

Moss' career-changing role came in 2006 when she was cast as secretary (and later copywriter) Peggy Olson on "Mad Men," a performance that would earn her a handful of Emmy nominations. She went on to play Sydney sex crimes detective Robin Griffin in the Sundance miniseries "Top of the Lake." Since beginning her work on "The Handmaid's Tale," Moss has also appeared in several films, including Jordan Peele's "Us," "The Invisible Man," and the Shirley Jackson biopic "Shirley," which she also produced.

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford

Yvonne Strahovski is absolutely chilling as the once-renowned anti-feminist icon and wife of Commander Fred Waterford on "The Handmaid's Tale." The actor hails from New South Wales, Australia, where she grew up in a Sydney suburb as the daughter of Polish immigrants, according to a Yahoo! Lifestyle interview. After appearing in a couple of Australian TV shows and films, Strahovski landed a main role as CIA agent Sarah Walker in the spy-fi series "Chuck," which garnered a cult following during its five-season run. She went on to play a serial killer's girlfriend as Hannah McKay on the hit series "Dexter" before playing another CIA agent in the "24" spinoff series "24: Live Another Day." In 2018, Strahovski appeared in the fourth Predator universe installment "The Predator" as Emily McKenna. Fans of the EA video game "Mass Effect" may recognize Strahovski's voice as the pro-human officer Miranda Lawson in "Mass Effect 2," "Mass Effect 3," and "Mass Effect Galaxy."

Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford

The brother of actor Ralph Fiennes and uncle of Lord Voldemort Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, English actor Joseph Fiennes plays the creepy Commander Fred Waterford on "The Handmaid's Tale." Fiennes has appeared in quite a few historical films, worked in the theater, and appeared in several television series over the course of his career. One of Fiennes' more recognizable early roles was as Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who won (and broke) the heart of Queen Elizabeth I (played by Cate Blanchett) in the 1998 historical drama "Elizabeth." He would also don a doublet as the eponymous playwright in "Shakespeare in Love," which came out the same year.

In 2001, Fiennes played Commisar Danilov in the Battle of Stalingrad film "Enemy at the Gates." He went on to nail his 95 theses to the church in the lead role of Martin Luther in the 2003 film "Luther" before slipping back into his Elizabethan look in a film adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." Taking a break from the manly hosiery, Fiennes played Neil Bookman in Ryan Murphy's "Running with Scissors" in 2006. He was later cast in the lead role as a trans woman in Murphy's series "Pretty/Handsome," which was never picked up, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter in 2008. Fiennes spent a couple of years working with John Cho on the short-lived ABC sci-fi series "FlashForward," which focused on a paranormal global event that gave people around the world visions of the future during a blackout. He played Merlin on the Starz drama "Camelot" for a season before going on to work with Murphy again on "American Horror Story: Asylum," where he played the tortured priest Monsignor Timothy Howard. In addition to his work in film and television, Fiennes has continued to act onstage throughout his career, appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Alexis Bledel as Emily Malek (Ofglen)

Fans of Alexis Bledel will instantly recognize her piercing blue eyes in the role of Emily (the handmaid Ofglen) on "The Handmaid's Tale." According to Latina Magazine in 2004, the Texas native grew up speaking Spanish as her first language, only learning English after she started school. In a now-archived interview for TeenTelevision.com, Bledel explained that her mother encouraged her to try acting as an antidote for her shyness, calling the idea that all actors are extroverts "a myth." Although she appeared as an uncredited extra in "Rushmore," Bledel's first major acting role was as one of the leads in the fan-favorite WB series "Gilmore Girls." From 2000 through 2007, she played the academically-minded Rory Gilmore on the series.

The actor has also appeared in a number of successful films over the years. In 2002, she played Winifred Foster Jackson on "Tuck Everlasting." Bledel appeared as Becky in the neo-noir graphic novel adaptation "Sin City" and played Lena Kaligaris in "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" and its sequel, "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2." She can also be seen in a few primetime guest spots including her appearance as Dr. Julia Wise on "ER" and a three-episode appearance as Beth Dawes on "Mad Men." In 2014, Bledel starred with Zachary Levi of "Chuck" in the Hallmark romance "Remember Sunday." In 2013, she also appeared in "Us & Them," the quickly canceled American adaptation of the British comedy "Gavin & Stacey" that eventually aired on Crackle in 2018.

Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia

Despite the sadistic personality of handmaid tormentor and disciplinarian Aunt Lydia, the actor who plays her has a reputation as one of the nicest folks in show business. According to GQ, Ann Dowd is a polite mother of three who spends time working in her community garden, sobbed when her character from "The Leftovers" died, and is "fully and desperately in love" with her kids, one of whom is autistic.

Dowd began her career performing onstage in Chicago. She began working in movies and on TV in 1990, appearing in the films "Green Card," "Apt Pupil," "The Notorious Bettie Page," and "Garden State," among others. In 1997, the actor worked as a main cast member playing Sister Mo on the critically praised ABC series "Nothing Sacred." She also appeared in shows such as "Touched By An Angel," "The X-Files," "Law & Order," "True Detective," and "House." In 2013, she played the recurring role of Estabrook Masters on the first two seasons of the Showtime series "Masters of Sex." She went on to play the haunting, nearly speechless role of Patti Levin on the eerie supernatural drama "The Leftovers" before briefly playing an FBI agent on the short-lived TNT series "Good Behavior." In 2018, Dowd played grief support group member Joan in the critically acclaimed A24 psychological horror film "Hereditary." She also starred in the 2021 ensemble drama "Mass" along with Jason Isaacs and Martha Plimpton.

Madeline Brewer as Crazy Janine Lindo

Long before she was cast as Crazy Janine on "The Handmaid's Tale," Madeline Brewer developed a reputation for playing troubled oddball characters. The actor's first television role was on the Jenji Kohan Netflix dramedy "Orange Is the New Black" as the cornrowed and throat-tattooed inmate Tricia. In 2013, she was cast as Miranda in the dark supernatural series "Hemlock Grove." Beginning in 2015, Brewer played the Black Claw Skalengeck Billie Trump on the occult detective series "Grimm," appearing in two episodes. She also appeared in the "Black Mirror" episode "Men Against Fire" as future soldier Hunter Raiman, whose augmented reality tech makes it possible for her to mercilessly commit genocide as part of an ethnic cleansing operation and experience no remorse. In 2022, she appeared with her "Handmaid's Tale" costar Elisabeth Moss in Apple's crime drama "Shining Girls." Besides her work in television, Brewer has also appeared in several films, including the camgirl-themed psychological thriller "Cam," "Hustlers," and "The Ultimate Playlist of Noise."

Max Minghella as Nick

English actor Max Minghella plays the complicated Nick Blaine in "The Handmaid's Tale." The son of director Anthony Minghella, Max appeared uncredited as a soldier in his dad's film "Cold Mountain"; in 2005, he appeared in the film adaptation "Bee Season" with Richard Gere and Juliette Binoche and played George Clooney's son in "Syriana." After acting in a handful of smaller film productions, Minghella played Divya Narendra in "The Social Network." From 2013 through 2017, the actor appeared as a recurring character on "The Mindy Project," playing Richie Castellano, the brother of Mindy's love interest (and her child's father) Danny. In 2018, he wrote and directed the musical film "Teen Spirit," which starred Elle Fanning. He also appeared in the "Saw" film "Spiral" alongside Chris Rock in 2021. Minghella was also cast as film producer Irving Thalberg in the 2023 Jazz Age film "Babylon" along with an all-star cast that includes Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, Olivia Wilde, Flea, and Li Jun Li, among others. 

Samira Wiley as Moira Strand

Before she won an Emmy for her role as June's longsuffering BFF Moira on "The Handmaid's Tale," Samira Wiley was known to fans of "Orange Is the New Black" as one of the show's most beloved characters, Poussey Washington. Wiley told Backstage that after she was cast on "OITNB," she didn't know how long the role would last and continued working as a bartender while filming the first season. Her work as Poussey earned Wiley a SAG award in 2015. Before getting cast in that part, the actor had a few smaller roles including an appearance as a triage nurse on the spy-fi series "Person of Interest" in 2012. Wiley has also guest starred on several other series including "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "The Catch," "Love, Death & Robots," and "Drunk History." From 2017 through 2019, she played the recurring role of Jessica Mathers on the comedy series "Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television." Wiley also narrated the Netflix documentary nature series "Night on Earth," which looks at the world of nocturnal animals. Fans of Telltale Games' "The Walking Dead: Michonne" may also recognize her as the voice of Michonne in the game.

O-T Fagbenle as Luke Bankole

As June's husband Luke, O-T Fagbenle gives a heartbreaking performance that truly sells the pain of a man watching his wife and child taken by the Gilead regime even if the actor doesn't get nearly enough screen time; fans took to Reddit to praise his powerful presence in Season 5.

The actor's earliest television role was in 2002 when he appeared in two episodes of the British soap "EastEnders." In 2006, Fagbenle appeared in Anthony Minghella's film "Breaking and Entering" with Robin Wright, Jude Law, and Juliette Binoche. Whovians may be surprised to realize that O-T played Other Dave on the two-part "Doctor Who" episode arc "Forest of the Dead" and "Silence in the Library," which saw the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) facing off with the Vashta Nerada while meeting his future/past wife River Song (Alex Kingston). He also appeared on an episode of "Dirt."

In 2020, Fagbenle executive produced, wrote, starred in, directed, and composed music for his Channel 4 and Hulu series "Maxxx," a scripted comedy in which he plays a pop star who has seen better days. He went on to play Barack Obama in the anthology series "The First Lady" and also played Cameron Lautner in the Apple TV+ series "WeCrashed." Fans of "Assassin's Creed" may also recognize O-T as the voice of the notorious Calico Jack Rackham on the Ubisoft game "Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag."

Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence

Bradley Whitford's Commander Joseph is one of the more enigmatic and complex characters in "The Handmaid's Tale," and every scene he is in with Elisabeth Moss simply crackles. The actor got his start on screen in the 1980s, first appearing in "All My Children" and "The Equalizer" in 1985. Over the course of his career, Whitford has appeared in a long list of films including "Adventures in Babysitting," "Presumed Innocent," "Awakenings," "Philadelphia," "Billy Madison," and "The Cabin in the Woods," just to name a few. Whitford also played twisted neurosurgeon Dean Armitage in Jordan Peele's Oscar-winning horror film "Get Out" in 2017.

Over the decades, Whitford has also had dozens of television appearances including "Tales from the Darkside," "The X-Files," "ER," "Monk," and "Touched By an Angel." From 1999 through 2006, Whiford played Josh Lyman on "The West Wing," a role that earned him an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 2001. He also earned an Emmy for his role as Marcy/Magnus on "Transparent" in 2015 and another one in 2019 for his work on "The Handmaid's Tale."

Amanda Brugel as Rita Blue

Canadian actor Amanda Brugel, who plays the good-natured Martha Rita Blue on "The Handmaid's Tale," first appeared onscreen in the HBO original "Vendetta," a historical film that explores the 1891 New Orleans mass lynching of 11 Italian Americans. In 2001, Brugel played future soldier Private Geko in the sci-fi slasher film "Jason X," which imagined Jason as a cyborg monster. She also acted in a handful of made-for-TV films including the 2004 CBS miniseries "Category 6: Day of Destruction," exploring the notion of a three-front hurricane forming a superstorm over Chicago amid a hacker attack. She also starred in the Syfy horror "Kaw," which is exactly what it sounds like it is: a mash-up of "The Birds" and Moira's "The Crows Have Eyes" from "Schitt's Creek." For her work in the film "Sex After Kids," Brugel won an ACTRA award. Before appearing on "The Handmaid's Tale," Brugel appeared on quite a few sci-fi series and dramas with small but loyal fan communities like the spy-fi "Nikita," "Warehouse 13," "Dark Matter," and "Orphan Black."

Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello

Ohio native Sam Jaeger has been acting since the 1990s, appearing in both film and television productions over the years before taking his role as the too-friendly U.S. government guy Mark Tuello. Like most actors, Jaeger got his start working in smaller roles. He appeared on an episode of "Scrubs" as Steve Larkin, a husband forced to make a difficult decision about the health of his pregnant wife and unborn child. He also appeared on "The West Wing," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "ER," and "Friday Night Lights." From 2010 through 2015, Jaeger played Joel Graham on Ron Howard's series "Parenthood," also directing the episode "Everything Is Not Okay." In 2017, Jaeger appeared on the "Law & Order" true crime series "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders" as Detective Les Zoeller. He also appeared in two CBS All Access original series, "Tell Me a Story" and "Why Women Kill." In 2022, Jaeger was cast in the lead role of Peter in the cult-themed Netflix original crime series "Devil in Ohio."

McKenna Grace as Mrs. Keyes

One of the younger members of the cast of "The Handmaid's Tale," McKenna Grace represents the dark Gilead practice of forcing children to marry. As the gutsy teen bride Esther Keyes, Grace gives a performance that is far beyond her young years — unsurprising for an actor with more screen credits than many adults twice her age. Grace started acting at a very young age on the Disney XD series "Crash & Bernstein," where she played Jasmine Bernstein from 2012 through 2014. From 2013 through 2015, she appeared in the regular role of Faith Newman on the daytime drama "The Young and the Restless." After appearing on several Disney series and an episode of "The Vampire Diaries," Grace was cast as the daughter of James Van Der Beek's character on "CSI: Cyber," after which she went on to play Emma Swan as a child on "Once Upon a Time." In addition to recurring roles on "Young Sheldon" and "Fuller House," Grace also appeared as a young Theo Crain on "The Haunting of Hill House" and Penny Kirkman on "Designated Survivor." She has also appeared in quite a few films, including "Ready Player One," "Captain Marvel," and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife."

Cherry Jones as Holly Maddox

Cherry Jones is a powerhouse as Holly Maddox, the activist mother who helped create the warrior that June would one day become. And Jones is pretty fierce herself: At only 23 years old, she was a founding member of the Cambridge, Massachusetts not-for-profit American Repertory Theater, as reported in the Boston Globe. An accomplished Broadway performer, Jones has been nominated for several Tony Awards and won two for her work in "The Heiress" and "Doubt." Her notable film credits include "The Horse Whisperer," "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood," "The Perfect Storm," "The Village," and "The Eyes of Tammy Faye," among many more. Jones also has an extensive list of television credits, with performances in "Frasier," "The West Wing," "Black Mirror," and "11.22.63," to name a few. She also played President Allison Taylor in "24." In addition to her film, stage, and television work, Jones performed as an audiobook narrator for the "Little House on the Prairie" book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.