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Admiral Helena Cain is the original commander of the Battlestar Pegasus and the highest surviving officer in the Colonial fleet. 
She is insanely driven by a single obsession from the moment the Pegasus gets word of the Cylon attack; to wipe them out. This obsession stems from two sources; having her sister taken away from her (and presumably killed) just moments before the cease-fire in the first war and the discovery that her girlfriend, Gina Invere, is a Cylon and betrayer to both her ship and the Admiral herself.
This however, while explaining her behavior and outlook on things, does not morally excuse her actions. Not only does she give leave to Lieutenant Thorne rape Gina as a means of information extraction (not to mention as a way to repay all the humiliation and degradation she felt when she learned of Inver's true identity), but right after the war breaks out, before she's even learned of Gina's betrayal, she shoots her XO  in the head for refusing an order right on the bridge in view of everyone present. 
She does not bother to hide her disrespect of Laura Roslin as president, nor her disgust of the alliance/friendship between Laura and Adama. In fact, she proves willing to go to civil war with the Commander over the execution of Tyrol and Helo. Yet, despite this, she forms a tentative alliance with Kara Thrace of all people and promotes her to Pegasus's CAG.

Her rain of fear ends when the Six known as Gina escapes and kills her for all that Cain did and had done to her.

Gina: Tell me, admiral. Can you roll over? Beg? *Gina holds out a gun and points it at the Admiral's head*
Cain: Frakk you.
Gina: You're not my type.

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