In Victorian England, Sue, a young thief, participates in a scam to defraud a rich heiress by becoming her maid. Things take an unexpected turn and Sue's plan goes horribly wrong.
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3 nominations. See more awards »





Series cast summary:
Elaine Cassidy ...  Maud Lilly 3 episodes, 2005
Sally Hawkins ...  Sue Trinder 3 episodes, 2005
Imelda Staunton ...  Mrs. Sucksby 3 episodes, 2005
Rupert Evans ...  Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers 3 episodes, 2005
Polly Hemingway ...  Mrs Stiles 3 episodes, 2005
Sarah Badel ...  Mrs. Frobisher 2 episodes, 2005
Charles Dance ...  Mr. Christopher Lilly 2 episodes, 2005
David Troughton ...  Mr. Ibbs 2 episodes, 2005


Susan "Sue" Trinder is a fingersmith (British slang for thief) who lives in the slums of London with a baby farmer (person who looks after unwanted babies) Mrs.Sucksby. When a once rich man, who gambled all his money away, presents them with a scam that has a payout of 40,000 pounds, Sue signs on to swindle rich Maud Lilly. Maud is an orphan who lives with her uncle, but what exactly is going on in the Lilly house? Sue will pose as Maud's maid so that Mr. Rivers (the gentleman) can get close to and eventually marry her. Their plan is to put Maud in the madhouse and take the money for themselves. All goes astray though when Sue falls in love with Maud. And the question is: Who can you trust? Written by Clark Jin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Two young women... one passion, mutual betrayal... Final retribution...


Crime | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Guillermo del Toro wanted to work with Sally Hawkins after he saw her in this. He went on to write The Shape of Water (2017) with her in mind. See more »


Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers: [to Maud] You think life is hard with money? You should try it without!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Although originally shown as three 60-minute episodes, it was released on DVD as two 90-minute episodes with the cast lists in the end credits of each new episode adjusted to include only the cast who were in the new episode. See more »


Featured in The South Bank Show: Sarah Waters (2008) See more »

User Reviews

I Just LOVE This Story!
31 August 2008 | by TheNoblePeaceGiverSee all my reviews

Wow! Where to start?

This adaptation of Sarah Waters' third novel is one of my all-time favorite movies!!!!!

I'm not to big on fiction novels (seriously I NEVER read fiction), but the book is just as FABULOUS as the film! Or should I say the film is just as FABULOUS as the book?! I JUST LOVE THIS STORY!!!!!

Anyway, I put off watching this three hour long film (2 part series on DVD, 3 part series on TV/book) for about a year and half. It simply did not look that interesting...BOY WAS I SO WRONG!

I became immediately immersed into the rich and suspenseful plot...utterly enthralled! Just like the book, you cannot stop watching/reading. It grasps your attention for the entire 3 hours...and when it does wish it hadn't.

The story just flows so beautifully and you'll be wondering where the time went.

The lesbian subplot was just icing on the cake! The parts I love most are the subtle facial expressions and glances/eye contact between the two characters. You really feel their desire for one another and yet they cannot act upon it.....until they must.

May I point out that the "lesbian theme" is an important part of the film, obviously, at the heart of the film is a genuine unexpected love story, but it is most certainly not what the whole movie is about. For me that's what makes this story so unique and intriguing. I've never read or heard of anything like it. Sarah Waters is pure genius!

The twists and turns it takes leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat. Seriously! My hands were clasped on to my couch with every surprising plot twist and I even yelled out several times ("OH MY GOD! NO WAY! THAT DID NOT JUST HAPPEN! DID IT?")...I NEVER do that!

The only negative thing I have to say about this film is that I wish they'd added more from the book. But obviously having the adaptation be restricted by time they couldn't add everything that I would've liked. How awful it is though...I think I'm just being brutally selfish now...forgive me.

The last 20 minutes does seem a little rushed. However, they put all the important bits in where even if you only watch the film and choose not to read the book you will be most satisfied with the outcome.

The actors are just SUPERB! BRILLIANT even! Sally Hawkins (Sue) and Elaine Cassidy (Maud) have such great on screen chemistry they steam up your television set. Simply electric! The emotions...the desperation...the struggle each of them feel is expressed seemingly effortless by these wonderfully talented actresses. Rupert Evans plays such a good bad guy as Gentleman. I found myself seething every time he came on screen, but loving it because he's just so damn cute and somehow still charming even though you want to wring his neck. Imelda Staunton gives yet another fantastic performance as Mrs. Sucksby. She's such a warmhearted actress you cannot help but love her...even when the character she's playing isn't as delightful. Everyone else in the cast were perfect! They really represented the characters well and were just as I imagined them to be after reading the book.

This is a must see for any film buff! Actually, ANYONE and EVERYONE should see this movie AND read the book! Chances are you won't be disappointed!

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Release Date:

27 March 2005 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Fingersmith See more »

Filming Locations:

Hertfordshire, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(3 parts)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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