The six-part British miniseries The Way We Live Now was adapted from the satirical 1875 novel by Anthony Trollope. The central character was Augustus Melmotte (David Suchet), a mysterious international financier of questionable parentage. Invading the uppermost circles of Victorian society, Melmotte inveigled a considerable number of prominent Londoners in a spectacular get-rich-quick scheme. Among those involved were the Carburys, an aristocratic but cash-poor family anxious to recoup their fortunes by whatever means necessary. Details essential to the plot include the somewhat one-sided romance between Melmotte's rebellious daughter Marie (Shirley Henderson) and caddish Sir Felix Cadbury (Matthew MacFadyen), the exploits of an American adventuress (Miranda Otto) with a predilection for shooting her lovers, and a high-born author of trashy romance novels. Though written in the late 19th century, the story line had a queasily contemporary significance to those burned by such financial peccadillos as the Enron scandal in the early 21st century. Originally telecast by the BBC beginning November 11, 2001, The Way We Live Now was shown in America (as a four-parter) on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre starting April 1, 2002.
by Hal Erickson synopsis