BECOME A MEMBER SIGN IN TO WATCH BROWSE PROGRAMS Masterpiece’s Poldark Season 5 opens with our protagonist lying still on a Virginia battlefield, his cheek bearing an angry red slash like a check mark from a revolutionary. It’s a flashback to 1781: British Colonel Ned Despard orders medic Dwight Enys to save the life of the valiant redcoat. The series cuts to 1800 and Poldark’s former superior re-appears as a persecuted friend whose problems will endanger Ross’ life this final season. True History in Poldark Season 5 Mahogany Trade on the Mosquito Coast The collision of business and politics in British Honduras has repercussions in Poldark’s London and Cornwall, especially for the real-life figure Edward “Ned” Despard, a military star turned suspected enemy of the Crown. After leading British armed forces against the Spanish along Central America’s Caribbean coast, he was rewarded with the position of Superintendent of British Honduras (today’s Belize). His abolitionist stance earned him enemies, and he was recalled to London and imprisoned (more on the series’ feisty Ned Despard, below). Get a roundup of premieres, giveaways and special offers with our weekly newsletter. Sign Up Lawyer Thomas Erskine led a defense of insanity, which won Hadfield’s acquittal. Instead, he was sentenced to life in asylums. The era’s ineffectual and brutal treatment of mentally ill patients will be revealed this season in the storylines of the bereaved George Warleggan and advocate Dr. Dwight Enys. (A good part of the thriller The Woman in White, set in the mid-1800s, is devoted to mental illness). Luke Norris as Dr. Dwight Enys in Poldark Season 5. Courtesy of Mammoth Screen In Season 5, the Despards, Poldark and others must be careful not to have their opinions or actions appear to threaten the English monarchy. Poldark Characters and Storylines of Season 5 Series Regulars Ross took the neglected “urchin” Demelza in off the streets as a servant, she skillfully managed his household (a sizable cottage called Nampara), the two attractive and justice-minded people fell in love, endured the death of a child, and fought to preserve their love and respect for one another. As a man of the world, the series’ namesake elevated himself from owner of Wheal Leisure Mine to MP in Parliament in Season 4, defeating his rival George Warleggan for the seat. The Warleggan Family: It’s Complicated L to R: Pip Torrens as Cary Warleggan and Jack Farthing as George Warleggan. Courtesy of Mammoth Screen George loved Elizabeth, but nursed many insecurities about their marriage because of her prior relationships with the Poldark cousins. Elizabeth and Ross were destined for marriage before Ross disappeared into the American War of Independence. After two years with nary a word, she married Francis, Ross’ cousin. The awkwardness of Ross’ return to Cornwall was a theme of Season 1. Elizabeth and Francis went on to have their son, Geoffrey Charles, and Ross and Francis managed to run a mine together. Even after Francis died in Season 2, the smoldering love of Ross and Elizabeth had no outlet. By then, Ross had wed his former maid, Demelza. In desperate need of financial support, Elizabeth reluctantly accepted George Warleggan’s proposal. But before marrying George, Elizabeth and Ross consummated their love, which resulted in the birth of Valentine. Valentine’s hair and his arrival after eight months of marriage to Elizabeth have always led George to strongly suspect Ross is the biological father. The person we see most by George’s side in Season 5? Cary, George’s equally icy uncle. Morwenna Carne and Drake Carne Geoffrey Charles, Drake Carne and Morwenna in Season 3. The PTSD Morwenna exhibits whenever her husband Drake touches her is the result of the abuse she suffered from the first man she married in the series, the late Osbourne Whitworth. That horrible forced marriage produced a son whom Morwenna is unable to see due to the spite of her former mother-in-law, who cares for him. Dr. Dwight Enys and Caroline Enys New on Poldark Season 5 Ned and Kitty Despard in Poldark Season 5, played by Vincent Regan and Kerri McClean. He’s been accused of acting against the Crown’s interest abroad and is thrown in jail until someone proves him innocent. His wife Kitty has been by his side as much as possible since her days as his maid (she and Demelza are fast friends). Not only is she well educated, she is a talented public speaker on behalf of the abolition of slavery, and an effective ally in finding help for her imprisoned husband. Nevertheless, she endures racist scorn and slights at private events and while out in public. Ralph Hanson and Cecily Hanson George Hanson and Cecily Hanson, father and daughter, in Poldark Season 5. Cecily Hanson (Lily Dodsworth-Evans) is the self-assured 16-year-old daughter of Hanson, and she can’t stand him, even though she’s lived apart from him in England for the second half of her young life. Cecily is fiercely independent and an abolitionist, which clashes with her father’s slave-labor business model. The mother she admired is dead, and that similar loss is part of what draws her to her admirer, Geoffrey Charles.