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Rita Connors (Glenda Linscott)

Rita makes the most impressive entrance of any character in Prisoner at the end of (585). The van bringing her to Wentworth is accompanied by a biker escort, and she jumps out of the van whooping and making a clenched fist salute. At her induction, Joan Ferguson makes an enemy of Rita by ripping the chains off her leather jacket (586). By the end of her first full episode Rita has shown her potential topdog qualities both in her kindness to Daphne and in taking on and beating both Lou and Alice single-handed.

Nora Flynn appeals to Rita to take over as topdog, but she isn't interested. More fuel is added to the feud between Joan and Rita: while Rita is in solitary for punching Pippa Reynolds, Lou pours paint over Rita's leather jacket and blames Joan for it. When Joan is tied up and put in the drier, Lou encourages her to think Rita was responsible (591). Auntie Ida brings Rita a CB radio hidden in a pile of magazines and Rita uses it to talk dirty to her bloke Slasher, but after Joan hands her jacket back to her in shreds, she asks Slasher to get the members of the Conquerors bikie gang to fix Joan (594). When the new governor Bob Moran arrives, he refuses to transfer Rita as Meg wishes (595).

Rita returns from court where she's been given a five year sentence to be told by Dan Moulton that Slasher has been killed in a fight with another gang. Rita goes to the laundry and climbs on top of the drier to have one last ride in Slasher's memory (598). Rita had taken little interest in Lou's power games, and had pointedly not taken part in the hunger strike. Lou decides to get rid of the potential opposition by setting Rita to fight to the death with Joan in the laundry during a riot in (600). When they tire, Lou moves in to kill Joan, but Bob Moran arrives in time to stop her, with a little discreet help from Rita. Rita is voted in as top dog (602) and forms a gang of her supporters, which she decides to call "The Wentworth Warriors".

Rita's brother Bongo visits to arrange to deliver drugs in Slasher's jacket and tells her about Ann's relationship with Dan (606). Rita gives Ida a radio controlled car fixed by Julie: Bongo uses it as a way of sending cocaine into Wentworth (613). When Steve Ryan finds the cocaine and flushes it down the sink, Rita knocks him out with a single punch (613). When Rita demands payment for the drugs, Steve agrees if she will hand out health education leaflets, and having read them, Rita is an overnight convert to an anti-drugs line and bans cocaine from Wentworth (614). She is also persuaded by Nancy (615) to lay off new prisoner Kath Maxwell. Rita is briefly suspected of the killing of Lou Kelly, but both she and Alice have an alibi (616). Bongo hijacks a truck to get inside Wentworth and break Rita out, but only manages to put Dan in hospital (617). Rita has to turn her attention back to Kath Maxwell, who is attempting to make her life in Wentworth bearable by buying protection. Rita and Lurch tie Kath to a security gate and hose her down.

When Bongo's girlfriend Roach is brought to Wentworth, she tells Rita that it was Joan who set fire to the Conqueror's bikes (622). Rita gets one of the Conquerors to fix Joan on the outside by burning her house down, and with the help of Alice and Lexie, she takes Joan up on the roof and dangles her over the edge (623). After Bongo is captured and sent to Woodridge, Joan is able to use this against Rita, threatening reprisals against Bongo if she or any member of the Conquerors stir up trouble (631). For a while, Rita is more concerned to stop any action against Joan than instigate it, but when Harry Parker is entrapped and then killed in police custody, Joan's hold over Rita is effectively at an end (636). Rita immediately begins to plot how to kill Joan and steals a knife from the kitchen to finish her off (636). Nancy McCormack stops the fight and continues after that to be the main obstacle to Rita's revenge. Rita is selected for the work experience program on a boat (638) and sees this as a good opportunity to get even with Joan. Rita prevents Roach's escape (640). On the work experience boat, Rita gets Roach to persuade the captain's mate to head for the open sea and pushes Delia overboard (642). Nancy is able to prevent Rita bashing Joan with a hammer, but when Joan sees an island and goes ashore alone, Rita dives in after her. Rita climbs up a cliff after Joan but saves Joan's life by pulling her to safety when she is about to fall (643).

When everyone is returned to Wentworth, Kath thinks she has an advantage over Rita, assuming that Joan will be determined to have Rita transferred to another prison, but Ann decides against this. Rather than working against Rita on this occasion, Joan is persuaded to go along Rita's version of what happened on the boat trip, and is able to show Kath that hostilities are fully resumed by grabbing her by her plait and lifting her off the ground (645), but Kath is nevertheless voted in as top dog when Rita refuses to stand against her (646). Rita takes a back seat for a while and allows Kath to rule the roost, but after Lexie has her baby and is released, Rita tells Ida to arrange to have Kath snatched from Wentworth (651) - a novel approach to disposing of one's enemies. After Kath is gone, Rita puts Alice forward as top dog (652), though of course Rita remains the real power behind the throne. This gives Rita plenty of space to indulge in practical jokes, like stealing the prison dentist's laughing gas and giving Joan hysterics with it (655). Rita is still able to take effective action where it is necessary: for instance, she exposes police undercover agent Wendy Glover and carves the letters COP on her forehead (658). Rita is also forced unwillingly into looking after Sarah West in face of the other women's racist taunts against her: while she refuses to take her under her wing officially, she covers for her when Sarah releases poison gas into the air conditioning (660) and breaks into isolation to urge her to be more responsible. When Rita leads a boycott of the shop set up by Joan with Kath fronting the "under the counter" trade, Joan frames her for wrecking the shop and takes advantage of Ann's absence at a conference to have Rita transferred to Blackmoor (664).

Rita's first taste of Blackmoor is not promising: after failing to stand on an imaginary white line at her induction she is sent to the pound and beaten (665). The other Blackmoor women admire her courage, even though this is only measured by how long she can stay on her feet. Rita is amazed to see her brother Bongo in Blackmoor: another prisoner tells her he's only been in there three weeks and is already a hopeless junkie under the control of Roo Morgan. Rita challenges Roo to a fight and beats her, despite Roo using a knife and a baseball bat (666). When Rita is sent to solitary, the other Blackmoor women break her out and Rita leads them in a riot, taking Roo Morgan hostage, as well as two of the officers who try to free her. Rita is tricked by the Ernest Craven, the evil governor of Blackmoor, into giving up first one and then the other officer in return for freeing Bongo, who is chained to a a grating in the exercise yard. Craven waits for the officer to make his escape, then orders a sniper to shoot and kill Bongo. Rita retaliates by starting a fire which burns Blackmoor to the ground (667).

Rita is transferred back to Wentworth, along with Craven and most of the Blackmoor women (668). Despite threats from both Joan and Craven, Rita makes a formal complaint about Bongo's death, but drops it after Craven has Lorelei raped (670). Rita and Craven are locked in a struggle for survival - after she attacks him in the infirmary, he has her sent to solitary where he intends to kill her, and is only prevented by a primitive alarm system set up by Spike. Craven is eventually stabbed by Lorelei and staggers through the corridors to fall dead at Rita's feet (672).

After this, Rita takes part in one of Brumby's more successful escape plans, and stays on the outside long enough to visit Bongo's grave befoe she is recaptured (675). On her return to Wentworth, Rita realises that Joan is trying to isolate her from her friends by giving them a charge whenever she breaks the rules. In a deal with Kath, Rita takes over again as top dog if Rita will arrange for Kath to get back control of the shop (677). When Kath steals Spider's goods to set up again in business, she takes some chocolates which Spider has piosoned as a precaution against theft: Rita gets hold of them from Alice and eats them, but collapses in the rec room (680).

When she returns from hospital, Rita leads the other women in avenging Lorelei's rape by holding the men responsible hostage in a store room and threatening to cut their balls off with a razor (683). When Rita starts to feel ill again (686), this is at first blamed on the aftereffects of the poisoning, but a blood test reveals that she is suffering from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer affecting the immune system. Rita at first refuses both medication and an arranged pardon (688), and at first only Ann, Joan and Alice know of the diagnosis.

When Rita eventually agrees to go for chemotherapy treatment (689), she surprises Ann by asking for Joan to accompany her, supposedly because she knows she won't get any unwelcome sympathy from her. In fact, she wants to propose to Joan that they both take part in a robbery worth $250,000. The plan is that Joan will arrange an escape for Rita, Rita will break into the finance company, hide the money in the building and allow herself to be recaptured. Joan's part of the operation is to visit the building next day and collect the money. Rita warns Joan that Auntie Ida would have a letter naming Joan which would be handed over to the police if anything went wrong. Lisa finds Rita's books on cancer and realises what is wrong: Rita is forced to admit to all the women that she has a terminal illness (691).


Joan wakes Rita and gives her the wirecutters wto get her through the fence. Rita does the job as arranged and is recaptured. When Joan is questioned by the officers investigating the robbery, she is told that Rita died in the night (692). Joan tries to find out if Rita said anything about her involvement before she died, and when she is reassured that she didn't, she goes to the finance company to collect the money. The police arrest Joan outside and she is taken to Wentworth as a prisoner. She gloats when the women realise she is inside and start chanting her name, but she is stopped in her tracks when the person bringing in her meal turns out to be .... Rita.

Rita has the last line in the series as Joan is taken away next morning: "I'm going to be the oldest bikie in the world".

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Updated 02 Mar 1997