December 22, 2017 at 03:00 PM EST

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Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale describes a future where women are forced to live as concubines under a fundamentalist theocratic dictatorship. Its adaptation became one of the more urgent, disturbing, and compelling stories told in 2017. Much of its success is due to Elisabeth Moss, 35, who not only serves as a producer on the award-winning Hulu series but also stars as Offred, one of the last surviving fertile women.

“You make this thing in a bubble, and it’s just been so exciting to see the outside world’s reaction,” says Moss.

Her Offred is quiet and watchful on the outside — and no one can do quiet and watchful quite like Elisabeth Moss — with a sharp and funny inner monologue that seethes with frustration and desperation.

“Elisabeth has always been a favorite of mine, but what she’s done with this role? I can’t even describe it. She’s a treasure,” says executive producer Bruce Miller. “She’s got quite the grueling schedule, too — it’s not called The Handmaid’s Tale and a Bunch of Other People.”

And yet Moss was able to squeeze two more incredible performances into this year, reprising her role as Det. Robin Griffin on Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake series and playing a curious journalist in the Cannes favorite The Square. And she’s already begun the second season of Handmaid’s.

“There’s literally no way you’ll be able to guess what’s next,” she says of the upcoming installment. “You can keep trying, but you’ll never get there.”

Handmaid’s Tale returns in 2018 on Hulu.

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