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
Before the Takeover Edit
After the Takeover Edit
In a conversation with Serena Joy, Rita reveals that her son perished during the war in the aftermath of the Sons of Jacob's coup d'etat, and that he was nineteen when he died. It is unknown which side Matthew fought on, although Serena's response suggests she assumes it was for Gilead.
In the Present: Season One Edit
Rita encounters Serena Joy in the kitchen late one night, after Commander Waterford sneaks June out to Jezebel's. Serena weakly insists that she was searching for chamomile tea, which Rita points out is in plain view on the other side of the kitchen. She nervously suggests that Serena might enjoy something a bit stronger "to settle the soul." Serena accepts and invites Rita to have a drink with her. They discuss Naomi's frequent complaints about how Angela keeps her awake at night, to which Rita states that she should appreciate each moment with her child, since they can be lost in an instant. Rita reveals that she lost her son in the war, and Serena quietly responds that she is humbled by her son's sacrifice.
When June is being escorted out of the Waterford's home by the Eyes, Rita appears shocked. June hugs her on her way out and whispers to her that she should look behind the bathtub. Rita does so and discovers the letters written by women in Gilead that June has stashed away, after receiving them from a Mayday contact.
In the Present: Season Two Edit
- Although the Marthas are said to be infertile and unmarried women, she had a son.
Season One Edit
- "Birth Day"
- "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum"
- "A Woman's Place"
- "The Bridge"