In the novelEdit
Rita is one of two Marthas serving in the house, the other being Cora. She is described as having "brown" skin, though her exact ethnicity is not mentioned. She is mainly in charge of cooking and preparing meals. Rita is often seen as brusque and stern. She gets on with Cora and often gossips with her, but is much more distant towards Offred. She seems to disapprove of Offred's status as a Handmaid, even viewing being sent to the Colonies as preferable. Offred doesn't believe Rita necessarily dislikes her but what she symbolises. She often treats her as just another one of her chores, though she is occasionally friendlier to her. Rita is present at the end when Offred gets taken away by the Eyes (or possibly Mayday) and appears shocked.
In the TV series Edit
Rita is portrayed by Amanda Brugel.
In the television series, her role remains much the same; however, as Cora does not appear in the series, her character appears to have been blended with Rita's. As a result, Rita is depicted as being less gruff and is much friendlier to Offred than she was in the novel.
Rita also bonds with Serena somewhat at the end of the series, revealing to her mistress that she had a son, Matthew, who died at 19 while fighting in the war. She is also the first person to have access to letters written by Handmaids desperate for help in a package previously under Offred's possession; when she is removed from the household, she informs Rita where the letters are hidden.