Ellen May was a prostitute working at Audrey's, a local bar and brothel. After Ava saved her life by killing Delroy Baker, the abusive, Oxy-addicted owner of Audrey's, Ellen May remained fiercely loyal to Ava. After Ellen May begins attending sermons given by Billy St. Cyr, which began worrying Ava as she believed Ellen May could have confessed to Delroy's murder, so the Crowders try to have Colton Rhodes kill her. However, she flees and hides out with Shelby Parlow, who gives her proof that the Crowders want her dead when Colt comes to his house looking for her, and decides to protect her. Following the episode "Peace of Mind", it is likely that Ellen May was placed in WitSec along with Shelby.
In "The I of the Storm" she appears alongside a gleeful Dewey Crowe who managed to retrieve his stolen Oxy from Elrod and Cutter. Dewey, Ellen, and another prostitute (who Ellen May was currently kissing in an attempt to tease Dewey) are in the back of a trailer at Audrey's when Raylan Givens, who is angry because Dewey had stolen his identity to rob the two Oxy dealers, shows up. A high Dewey begs for five more minutes with the prostitutes but Raylan doesn't want to hear any of it.
In "Reckoning", Raylan visits her to question her about Dickie. She attempts to seduce Raylan but he doesn't give in. Ellen tells him to look for a man named Jed Berwind, because if he finds Jed, then he finds Dickie.
In "When the Guns Come Out", she and Trixie are dropped off by a Truck Driver in Harlan to retrieve Oxy from Doc Stern for Delroy. Doc Stern, however, offers the women a smaller bottle of Oxy despite their pleas for a bigger one. The girls offer Stern sexual favors in exchange for the larger bottle and begin to seduce him. Soon, Tanner Dodd and his accomplice Teddy, come in, shooting and killing Rip Bell. Immediately hearing the gunshots, the three of them stop what they are doing and Ellen May hides up under a desk where she witnesses Stern and Trixie being murdered by Tanner Dodd. Through a hole in the desk, she also spots Teddy stealing the Oxy. A scared Ellen May goes back to Audrey's, where her employer, Delroy, sympathizes for her, but informs her that they need the Oxy and there is another clinic that just opened on Dove Creek. Ellen May says she can't do it, so Delroy proceeds to tell her about his upbringing, about how he was born and raised in a commune filled with dope farmers. He then tells her as strange as the group was, they were a family and looked out for one another. Delroy tells her how tough it is to look after the girls, and the Oxy is the only way he can provide a roof over their heads. Delroy tells her to lay her fear aside and do what needs to be done, and manages to make a reluctant Ellen May retrieve the Oxy. Upon going to the Dove Creek clinic, she sees that it is run by Tanner Dodd, one of the two men involved in the shooting. She tells Dodd that she's good before running out of the clinic. An angered Delroy throws her against the wall because she did not get the Oxy. She tells him that the clinic was run by the guy that killed Trixie, but Delroy doesn't want to hear it. He informs her that she has failed him twice, and proceeds to punch her several times. Ava Crowder and Raylan Givens soon visit her to talk about the lead she may have in the clinic shootout. This tip is very pivotal and allows Raylan to shut down Dodd's Oxy clinic.
In "Loose Ends", Delroy drives Krystal, J.J., and Ellen May to a checking cash outlet to attempt a robbery. However, Krystal ends up being shot in the stomach by another customer who grabbed J.J.'s gun and Krystal ends up shooting the customer and a clerk before they get away. The two women sob in remorse, but Delroy orders them to shut up and says that Krystal would not want them to be sad over her death. Reluctantly, he orders the two women to dump her body into a slurry pond, so that it will eat away at her body and it can't be traced back. Delroy then shoots and kills J.J. due to her being a witness, but Ellen May runs off and avoids being killed once again. She shows up at Johnny Crowder's bar, seeking protecting from Ava. Ava agrees to do so, but ends up giving up her location to Delroy in exchange for more money after Johnny criticizes her for being too bighearted and not as cold-blooded as Boyd. Ava then bounds Ellen May's hands together and forces her out of the room at gunpoint, where Delroy is waiting for her. Delroy sits the money down on a table, but ends up being shot in the stomach by Ava when he walks up to Ellen May, revealing that Ava had given her location up in an attempt to kill Delroy.
In "Guy Walks Into a Bar", She makes a brief appearance sitting on Shelby Parlow's lap as he comments on all the pineapple juice she handed out. She explains that it makes the taste a little more tolerable. She the kisses him on the mouth and listens to Boyd as he tells everyone that Napier won.
In "Measures", Dickie Bennett visits her at Audrey's. Ellen May warns him that Ava is now running the place. Dickie doesn't care and asks Ellen May, who has spent time hiding out at Limehouse's compound, where Limehouse hides his money. The prostitute tells Dickie that the money is buried under the church. Dickie disbelieves her until she says that Trixie, a fellow prostitute, also witnessed the same thing. She asks Dickie to promise to make her queen if he ends up running things.
In "Slaughterhouse", Ellen May is falsely accused by Ava of relaying the information about Devil's death to Dickie, who in turn informed Limehouse. Ellen May denies any involvement but ends up being slapped in the face. She tells Ava that Dickie was there to find out the location of Limehouse's money but Ava doesn't buy it. Ellen May proclaims that she hasn't said anything and has been loyal, but threatens Ava by saying that if she wanted to do her wrong, there are things that she could say. That talk earns a punch from Ava, who tells her to never threaten her again or talk to anyone about anything.
In "Hole in the Wall", Ellen May meets up with a client, who brings her drugs stored inside of a fake one-million dollar bill. The client has another surprise for Ellen May. As she is laying on a bed, the client comes into the room donned in a bear suit. Panicking, Ellen May picks up a gun and shoots the client a few times. Ava chastises her for having a gun at work. Ellen May tells her that she has been scared ever since being hit by Ava, as well as her clients. Ava tells her that she needs to get off of the drugs to avoid being jittery, and that Boyd and her will decide what Ellen May's consequences will be. At the end of the episode, she attends a sermon given by Billy St. Cyr, the preacher that is hurting Boyd's success in the Oxy business.
In "Where's Waldo?", Ellen May confesses to Ava that she had found God at the Last Chance Salvation Church. Ava doesn't take kindly to the revelation, insisting the girl return to work later that night ... or else. Later, Ellen May returns to the church in search of Rev. Billy. "I just wanted to say how much I appreciate you taking an interest in me, but I don't think I can be part of your church," she cries. "I've done some terrible things." Billy explains that no one is beyond saving and he will shame those who say otherwise. Later that night, at Billy's sermon, Ellen May is baptized in front of an eager congregation. She panics, however, when she notices Boyd is standing in the back.
In "Truth and Consequences", she is briefly seen at Billy's sermon before Boyd arrives with the venomous snake.
In "This Bird Has Flown", she returns to Audrey's, looking to get her old job back. Ava is skeptic on hiring her back because of the possibility she confessed ongoings at Audrey's to the St. Cyr siblings. Boyd suggests sending Ava to Alabama to work for his cousin, who is also a born-again Christian like Ellen May. Ava gives Ellen May $1000 and tells her that she will be treated a lot better in Alabama than she ever will in Harlan. "You're getting the chance I never got," Ava says. "You get to start over." Ellen May tells Ava she doesn't want to leave and that she would never tell anybody about "what we've done." Ava tells her that Colt will drive her to Alabama. While driving her to the bus station, there's a new change in the plan: Ava wants Colt to kill Ellen May. He pulls up at a gas station and tells Ellen May to fill up the car while he uses the bathroom. Colt cocks his gun, and heads back out only to find Ellen May is missing.
In "Kin", Colt watches surveillance footage from the gas station camera and sees her approaching a police car that is just out of frame. Sheriff Shelby Parlow lies to Colt when he visits a second time, telling him that one of his deputies spotted a woman fitting Ellen May's description climbing into a long-haul truck with a man she seemed to have recognized. The whole time, Ellen May has been hiding out in Shelby's office for safety, and now learns that Ava and Boyd were trying to kill her. Shelby asks for her assistance in bringing down Boyd.
In "Outlaw", Ellen May is revealed to be staying at Shelby's house when he returns home. The two bond and Shelby shares the story of his ex-wife. Ellen May asks if there is any chance of redemption for her, and Shelby suspects that something else happened between her and Ava when he questions her.
In "Get Drew", Shelby gives Ellen May a wad of cash so that she can leave and start a new life somewhere else, far away from bad. Feeling bad, Shelby picks her up on the side of the road and says that if she leaves with him, they are never coming back. Shelby has Ellen May drive towards the airport where their plane waits, but tells her to pass it when she notices a light is on. In the woods, Shelby spies on the Marshals at the roadblock they have set up. Shelby wants to turn himself in, realizing that he is out of plays. Ellen May, however, has another idea and they decide to visit Ellstin Limehouse in order to find a place to hide out. Shelby, however, wants Limehouse to keep Ellen May safe and help her get out of town in two weeks in exchange for $15,000. Limehouse agrees, but holds Shelby hostage realizing how much value he is worth because he is really Drew Thompson. Limehouse offers Ava a deal: If she gives him $300,000, she can have both Ellen May and Shelby. Boyd and Ava visit, and Limehouse changes the deal, only offering them one choice with the pair choosing Shelby because of his value. Ellen May, sad over this choice, spits in Ava's face as she is taken away. Limehouse tells Ava that she can buy back Ellen May if she brings an additional $300,000.
In "Peace of Mind", Ellen May talks to Limehouse and expresses her fears that she will be killed by Boyd and Ava, despite Limehouse's reassurance that he will keep her safe. Limehouse then changes his mind and releases Ellen May. Ellen May heads to Nicky Cush's house, looking for a place to hide out. Nicky gives her the keys to his car so that she can head to the church when Boyd and the Detroit crew arrives. At the church, Ellen May confesses to Cassie about Delroy's death and her participation in the burial. Ava overhears the confession and tries to shoot Ellen May, but can't bring herself to do it. Ellen May is then taken into custody by the Marshals, and is reunited with Shelby back at the Marshals Office.
In "The Promise", she appears in a fantasy standing by a car as Ava drives up and is revealed to be one of the three people on a list that Raylan and the Marshals went down as the possible accomplice who helped her flee from Kentucky, however her WitSec Marshal accounted for her that day so it wasn't her.
- Nicky Cush: (Pre-Season 3), former owner of Audrey's
- Delroy Baker: (Season 3), pimp who runs Audrey's, deceased
- Ava Crowder: (Season 3 to Season 4), protector
- Trixie: Business partner, deceased
- J.J. Corliss: Accomplice, deceased
- Krystal: Accomplice, deceased
- Cat: Former fellow prostitute
- Minerva: Former fellow prostitute
- Teri: Former fellow prostitute
- Dewey Crowe: Client, deceased
- Raylan Givens: U.S. Marshal
- Dickie Bennett: Criminal associate
- Doc Stern: Doctor, deceased
- Arnold: Client
- Shelby Parlow: Former Harlan Sheriff and notorious fugitive "Drew Thompson"
|Season two appearances|
|The Moonshine War||The Life Inside||The I of the Storm||For Blood or Money||Cottonmouth|
|Blaze of Glory||Save My Love||The Spoil||Brother's Keeper||Debts and Accounts|
|Full Commitment||Reckoning||Bloody Harlan|
|Season three appearances|
|The Gunfighter||Cut Ties||Harlan Roulette||The Devil You Know||Thick as Mud|
|When the Guns Come Out||The Man Behind The Curtain||Watching the Detectives||Loose Ends||Guy Walks Into a Bar|
|Season four appearances|
|Hole in the Wall||Where's Waldo?||Truth and Consequences||This Bird Has Flown||Kin|
|Foot Chase||Money Trap||Outlaw||The Hatchet Tour||Get Drew|
|Decoy||Peace of Mind||Ghosts|
|Season six appearances|
|Fate's Right Hand||Cash Game||Noblesse Oblige||The Trash and the Snake||Sounding|
|Alive Day||The Hunt||Dark as a Dungeon||Burned||Trust|
|Fugitive Number One||Collateral||The Promise|