Synopsis by Brian J. Dillard
A trio of orphans becomes embroiled in a mysterious and long-running lawsuit in this sprawling BBC adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel. A legend in the legal circles of Victorian London, the messy inheritance case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce has been trickling through the courts for years with no end in sight. Nobleman John Jarndyce (Denis Lawson) has seen the case destroy more than one life, so when he becomes guardian to three young people -- beautiful Ada Clare (Carey Mulligan), Ada's cousin Richard Carstone (Patrick Kennedy), and her devoted companion, Esther Summerson (Anna Maxwell Martin) -- he vows to shield them from its pernicious effects by bringing them to the safety of his estate, the eponymous Bleak House. Richard, however, becomes obsessed with the unattainable Jarndyce inheritance, to the detriment of his career and mental health. Esther, meanwhile, remains haunted by her origins; the product of a scandalous pregnancy, she was raised by her aunt and knows nothing about her dead mother's identity. Meanwhile, imperious noblewoman Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson) plots to hide the evidence of her own mysterious past -- a quest that leads her to the intrigue surrounding Jarndyce and Jarndyce. She is but one of dozens of characters who find themselves drawn into the lawsuit's web of corruption, blackmail, and murder. Bleak House debuted October 27, 2005, on BBC One. It received its U.S. premiere on January 22, 2006, on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre, where the 15 British episodes were combined into six longer blocks. Britain's Royal Television Society named the series Best Drama Serial of 2005. A previous adaptation of Dickens' novel ran on Masterpiece Theatre in 1985.
inheritance, lawsuit, orphan