Synopsis by Mark Deming
Two women from different worlds are brought together by strange circumstances and forbidden desires in this period-drama. Sue Trinder (Sally Hawkins) was left on her own as a young child when her parents died, and she was forced to fend for herself, living on the street in the company of thieves and confidence men. Sue is given a chance to reform when she's taken in by Mrs. Sucksby (Imelda Staunton), who wants to keep her off the streets, but Sucksby's friend Richard Rivers (Rupert Evans) is familiar with Sue's old circle and lures her into an elaborate criminal scheme. Sue is to get a job as a maid to Maud Lilly (Elaine Cassidy), a young woman who lives with her uncle (Charles Dance) and will claim a large family inheritance when she marries. Sue's role is to act as confidante to Maud, so when Richard attempts to court her, Sue will help convince the young heiress that marrying Richard is the right thing to do. Richard's scheme is to marry Maud, have her sanity called into question, and then take possession of her fortune after she's committed to an asylum, but as Sue becomes close friends with Maud, she begins to wonder if she has the nerve to go through with the plan, especially when her feelings for Maud begin to extend beyond just friendship. As Sue's choice becomes nearly unbearable, fate steps in and she discovers all is not as she'd been led to believe. Fingersmith was produced for the BBC, where it first aired in the spring of 2005.
maid, con-artist, scheme, asylum [mental hospital], heir, sanity, inheritance, thief, lesbianism