‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ enlisted Oprah for a dose of hope

Oprah Winfrey, shown in London this year, makes a cameo appearance in this week's episode of "The Handmaid's Tale."
(Anthony Harvey / AFP/Getty Images)

Yes, that was Oprah Winfrey’s voice you heard in this week’s episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Nearly nine months after the media mogul presented the Hulu series with its best drama statuette on the Emmys stage — making use of her signature Oprah yell, of course — Winfrey made a vocal cameo in this season’s 11th episode, titled “Holly.”

“We’d heard Oprah was a fan of the show, and had a story idea, and thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if …. So we asked and she said yes, and it was a lovely, easy process,” Bruce Miller, the creator and showrunner of the series, said in a statement.


The moment comes about 10 minutes into the episode as a very pregnant June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is on the brink of trying to ride off to her freedom following another harrowing sequence of events that included being raped and getting separated from her firstborn daughter, Hannah, yet again. After finding keys to a car stored in the garage of the home of the family with whom Hannah now lives, June starts the engine and stumbles upon a radio station with a soothing voice broadcasting “from somewhere in the Great White North.”

After listing off some hopeful news tidbits, including Canada raising its cap on American refugees, Winfrey as radio DJ of sorts transitions into Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart” while signing off with “stars and stripes forever, baby” — because what’s more American and idyllic than Oprah and Springsteen?

“The radio segment she recorded was inspired by the free radio of the Allies from [World War II],” Miller said. “It was an absolute honor to have Oprah featured on the show, and especially thrilling as she was the one who presented us with the Emmy last year.”

The voice cameo marks a rare guest role for Winfrey, who recurs on “Greenleaf,” which she also executive produces for her OWN cable network. She recently starred in Disney’s big-screen adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time.”

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