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"Peach Trees, this is Ma-Ma. Somewhere in this block are two Judges. I want them dead. Until I get what I want the block is locked down. All clan, every level, hunt the Judges down. Everyone else, clear the corridors and stay the fuck out of our way until the shooting stops. If I hear of anyone helping the Judges, I will kill them and the next generation of their families. As for the Judges... sit tight, or run. It makes no difference, you're mine."
―Ma-Ma's speech
Madeline Madrigal
Ma-Ma on Dredd
Name: Madeline Madrigal
Gender: Female
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Hazel
Role: Main antagonist
Nationality: American
Residence(s): Peach Trees, Sector 13, Mega City One
Alias(es): Ma-Ma, Mama, "Ma"
Profession: Murder, organized crime, drug trade, prostitution
Rank: Drug kingpin
Status: Deceased
Cause of death: 200 story fall caused by Judge Dredd
Played by: Lena Headey
Film: Dredd

Ma-Ma, (real name Madeline Madrigal), is the main antagonist of the 2012 film Dredd, a scarred, sociopathic prostitute turned drug lord with a trademark for excessive violence.

She was portrayed by 300's Lena Headey.

Character Biography[]

Events before the film[]

Madeline Madrigal killed her pimp Lester Grimes after he murdered her chemist boyfriend Eric and cut up her face. Madrigal is mentioned to have killed her pimp by biting off his penis during a fellatio act. She then took over his interests and adopted the nickname "Ma-Ma". Some time later, Madeline took up residence in Peach Trees and founded her own gang, the Ma-Ma Clan. She then proceeded to take over the top floor of the 200-story high Peachtree Block residential skyscraper. She and her enforcer Caleb slowly worked their way down, level by level, and wiped out the other three gangs The Peyote Kings, Red Dragons and The Judged giving her full control of the block within a total of nine months, a signifigant achievement. 

It is revealed during the movie that she gouged out her techie's eyes with her thumbs during a flashback scene, afterwards she promptly had them replaced with cybernetic implants to keep control over him.


Normal Dredd-0466

Ma-Ma's trademark smirk

Ma-Ma then used Peachtrees as the manufacturing center for a new addictive drug called Slo-Mo, which slows the user's perception of time to 1% of the normal rate. After making an example killing of three users she attracted the attention of Judge Dredd and the on assesment rookie Cassandra Anderson. When Kay got busted, she at first felt it wasn't serious because she knew her gang was overdue for a bust until she found out that Kay is alive, not dead. In order to prevent her lackey Kay from talking in interrogation at the Grand Hall of Justice she shuts down the whole block locking the two judges inside.

Ma-Ma sent her whole gang and also some Corrupt Judges after Dredd and Anderson but the two survived and worked their way up the block. She also had no reservations whatsoever about resorting to ruthless means such as murdering innocents if it means protecting her own interests. At one point in the film, Ma-Ma has three miniguns mounted onto the balcony in an attempt to kill Dredd, failing and killing dozens of residents in the process. She also blames others for her own drastic actions, simply regarding in advance her atrocity with the miniguns as doing it "messy," because Dredd wouldn't allow her to it do it "clean." Also whilst berating Kay she flat out tells him he should have gotten killed to prevent himself from talking. Anderson and Dredd obtain the code to Ma-Ma's apartment from her computer expert and confront her. Ma-Ma quickly implants a device on her wrist that is set to her heartbeat. She tells Dredd that in the case of her death, the device will detonate a massive amount of explosives she has wired in the top 50 stories, bringing the rest of the skyscraper down and killing all of the residents.


Ma-Ma's demise

Dredd shoots her in the stomach anyway and grabs a dying Ma-Ma, holding her against a glass window where she grins mockingly at him, having accepted her fate. Dredd reasons that the detonator's signal will not reach the explosives from the ground floor and tells her that she is sentenced to death for homicide and narcotics distribution, spraying some Slo-Mo into her mouth. He then asks her how she pleads and Ma-Ma responds by inhaling the drug, symbolically pleading guilty. He tells her that the defense was noted and throws her through the glass. She plummets down the atrium of the 200-story building and lands headfirst, crushing her head and killing her almost instantly.

Concept and Creation[]

Despite a plethora of antagonists from the original comic strip, Ma-Ma was created for the film and got her own origin comic to accompany the release. A former prostitute turned drug lord and criminal kingpin who is the sole supplier of Slo-Mo, a new and addictive drug. Headey's performance was inspired by punk-rock singer Patti Smith. Reich described the character as someone who does "not care at all about what anybody thinks or feels and she will do, and behave, as she wants". Headey said: "I think of [Ma-Ma] like an old great white shark who is just waiting for someone bigger and stronger to show up and kill her ... she’s ready for it. In fact, she can't wait for it to happen ... She's an addict, so she's dead in that way, but that last knock just hasn't come." Before Headey's casting, the character was described as a heavily made-up, scarred and obese elderly woman. It was Headey's idea to give her a male-hating personality.

Personality and traits[]

Up yours Judges

Ma-Ma's mugshot from earlier in life.

For the role, Headey wore fake scars, prosthetic teeth, spoke with an American accent and used fake tattoos, although she did use a few of her own as Ma-Ma's tattoo work. Ma-Ma is chillingly calm and seemingly disinterested in the events around her. Her trademark being excessive violence, Ma-Ma at one point ordered three rogue dealers of her product to be skinned and thrown off the 39th floor down the atrium. 

This attitude is brought to an even further extreme when she threatens to level the entire building. If the bombs had actually exploded they would have caused the deaths of 75,000 citizens. In general, her cold disregard for human life, lack of personal responsibilty and reputation for excessive brutality mark her as someone with highly sociopathic traits. She also shows sadistic traits with her torture and intimidation of the clan techie. At one point in the film, she holds a knife to his stomach in order to motivate him. 

Ma-Ma was also heavily addicted to her own product as well as other drugs with her personal quarters being littered with pills and vials, the damage her addictions have caused may in part be responsible for her violent personality in addition to her traumatic past. Ma-Ma's eyes are clearly reddened by narcotics addiction. 

As ruthless as she is with the lives of others she seems to hold little regard for her own life, her fatalism is shown when being confronted by Dredd where she calmly remarks that getting busted "goes with the territory." Even when Dredd sentences her to death and is about to throw her from the 200th floor window, she simply inhales the slo-mo he forces on her and stares blankly before he sends her to her death, showing no fear in anticipation of her fate.

In a way, her and Judge Dredd are almost equals. Both have an intense hatred of the human race and have little regard for their own lives, but the way they live is completely different. Judge Dredd has lost faith in humanity but thinks that it is worth fighting for so he dedicates his life to dispatching justice and trying to prevent society from collapsing. Ma-Ma, on the other hand, has such a little regard for human life that she is willing to kill hundreds of innocent civilians for her own personal gain. 

Despite her indifferent brutality during the events of the film, she did display a more human side in her prequel story with her showing visible affection for her chemist friend Eric, who attempted to help her achieve a better life before he was tortured and murdered by her possessive pimp, Lester Grimes, an event that caused Madeline significant emotional trauma. This shows that at some point she was capable of caring for other human beings, despite her later apathy towards human life in the events of the film. The trauma of losing the only person who cared for her this way, combined with the general bleakness of her situation caused her to conclude that the only way to succeed in a life like her own is to be brutal and unforgiving. In this sense she is arguably a tragic product of her environment but still without empathy to the people from Peach Trees who are in the same place as she once was. Eric wound up giving Ma-Ma slo-mo as well.

Dredd Characters
Main Characters Judge Dredd - Judge Cassandra Anderson
Ma-Ma Clan Madeline "Ma-Ma" Madrigal - Kay - Caleb - Japhet - Techie
Corrupt Judges Judge Lex - Judge Chan - Judge Alvarez - Judge Kaplan
Other characters TJ - Cathy - Ethan Zwirner