Public Media for Central Pennsylvania
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

'The Handmaid's Tale' star Yvonne Strahovski talks villain Serena Joy, politics and forgiveness

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy in "The Handmaid's Tale." (Sophie Giraud/Hulu)
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy in "The Handmaid's Tale." (Sophie Giraud/Hulu)

In the run-up to this year’s midterms, women dressed in red robes and white bonnets protested the Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution does not confer the right to abortion. The costumes were a nod to “The Handmaid’s Tale” — that dystopian novel written by Margaret Atwood in the ’80s, depicting the fictional theocracy Gilead, built on the ashes of Boston. It’s a society where corrupt extremists have stripped women of agency; where ‘handmaids’ are owned by powerful men who rape and abuse them in the name of procreation. Abortion is punishable by death.

The novel inspired a powerful — some say prescient — TV series on Hulu. The fifth season ended just days after the midterms.

Actor Yvonne Strahovski plays the villain Serena Joy and joins host Scott Tong to talk about the parallels between Gilead and the United States, as well as how she makes an unredeemable character human.

Watch on YouTube.

This article was originally published on

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit