Mr. Charles Bingley, a rich man from the north of England, settles down at Netherfield estate near Meryton village in Hertfordshire for the summer. Mrs. Bennet, unlike her husband, is excited at the prospect of marrying off one of her five daughters (Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty, and Lydia) to the newcomer. Bingley takes an immediate liking to Jane at a local country-dance, while his best friend Mr. Darcy, rumoured to be twice as rich, refuses to stand up with anyone including Elizabeth. Elizabeth's poor impression of his character is confirmed at a later gathering at Lucas Lodge and she and Darcy verbally clash on the two nights she spends at Netherfield caring for the sick Jane.
A sycophantic clergyman named Mr. William Collins visits his cousins, the Bennets. He is the entailed heir of their home, Longbourn, and decides to marry Elizabeth to keep the property in the family. On a walk to Meryton village, they meet members of the newly arrived militia, including a Mr. George Wickham. When Elizabeth witnesses Darcy's resentment of Wickham, Wickham tells her how Darcy cheated him of his inheritance. Darcy surprises Elizabeth with a dance offer at a ball at Netherfield, which she grudgingly but politely accepts. Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth the next day, but she resoundingly rejects him. While Mr. and Mrs. Bennet disagree about Elizabeth's decision, her close friend Charlotte Lucas invites Mr. Collins to stay at Lucas Lodge.
Elizabeth is stunned and appalled when she learns that Charlotte Lucas has accepted a proposal from Mr. Collins. When the Netherfield party departs for London in autumn, Jane stays with her modest London relatives, the Gardiners, but she soon notices that the Bingleys ignore her. After befriending Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth departs for the Collinses' home in Kent in the spring. They live near Rosings, the estate of the formidable Lady Catherine de Bourgh, and as Lady Catherine is Darcy's aunt, Elizabeth meets Darcy several times. Shortly after Elizabeth learns of Darcy's direct responsibility for Jane and Bingley's separation, Darcy unexpectedly proposes to her, expressing his ardent admiration and love despite Elizabeth's inferior family connections. Elizabeth flatly rejects him, noting his arrogant, disagreeable, and proud character, and his involvement in her sister's failed romance and Mr. Wickham's misfortune.
Darcy justifies his previous actions in a long letter to Elizabeth: he misjudged Jane's affection for Bingley and exposes Wickham as a gambler who once attempted to elope with his young sister, Georgiana, to obtain her inheritance. Back at Longbourn, Mr. Bennet allows Lydia to accompany the militia to Brighton as a personal friend of the militia colonel's wife. Elizabeth joins the Gardiners on a sightseeing trip to Derbyshire and visits Pemberley, Darcy's estate, during his absence. Greatly impressed by the immense scale and richness of the estate, Elizabeth listens to the housekeeper's earnest tales of her master's lifelong goodness, while Darcy refreshes from his unannounced journey home by taking a swim in a lake. After an unexpected and awkward encounter with Elizabeth, a damp Darcy is able to prevent the party's premature departure with an unusual degree of friendliness and politeness.
Elizabeth and the Gardiners receive an invitation to Pemberley, where Darcy and Elizabeth share significant glances. The next morning, Elizabeth receives two letters from Jane, discussing Lydia's elopement with Wickham. As Elizabeth is about to return to Longbourn, Darcy walks in and, upon gradually digesting the bad news, offers his help. When he leaves, Elizabeth supposes she will never see him again. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet try to deal with the possible scandal until they receive a letter from Mr. Gardiner, saying that Lydia and Wickham have been found and are not married, but will be soon under the Gardiners' care. After Mr. Bennet states his surprise at how easily the issue has been resolved, Elizabeth informs Jane about her last meeting with Darcy, including her ambivalent feelings for him.
After Lydia carelessly mentions Darcy's involvement in her wedding, Mrs. Gardiner enlightens Elizabeth how Darcy found the errant couple and paid for all the expenses. When Bingley and Darcy return to Netherfield in the autumn, Darcy apologises to Bingley for intervening in his relationship with Jane and gives his blessing for the couple to wed. Lady Catherine de Bourgh, who has heard rumours of an engagement between Darcy and Elizabeth but wants him to marry her sickly daughter Anne, pays Elizabeth an unannounced visit. She insists that Elizabeth renounce Darcy, but Elizabeth does not rule out a future engagement. When Elizabeth thanks Darcy for his role in Lydia's marriage, Lady Catherine's story encourages Darcy to reconfirm his feelings for Elizabeth. Elizabeth admits the complete transformation of her feelings and agrees to an engagement, which takes her family by surprise. The series ends with a double wedding in the winter months: Jane and Bingley, and Elizabeth and Darcy.
A behind the scenes look at the making and creation of the TV drama series.