Downton Abbey, Season Three: Will 'Matthew' Not Re-sign for Season Four and Is There A Controversy Afoot?
The Great War is over and a long-awaited engagement is on, but all is not tranquil at Downton Abbey as wrenching social changes, romantic intrigues, and personal crises grip the majestic English country estate for a third thrilling season. With the return of its all-star cast and guest star Shirley MacLaine, Downton Abbey, Season 3 airs over seven Sundays on PBS beginning in January 2013.
Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley and Robert Bathurst as Sir Anthony Strallan
The returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Dame Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Dan Stevens, Michelle Dockery, Jim Carter, Penelope Wilton, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and a host of others, joined by Shirley MacLaine , who plays Martha Levinson, the very American mother of Cora, Countess of Grantham.
Years earlier, Cora rescued Downton Abbey with her New World riches by marrying Robert, Earl of Grantham. Now, New World and Old World are about to clash as Cora's mother locks horns with Robert's redoubtable mother, Lady Violet, played by Dame Maggie Smith.
Last season closed with the reluctant heir to Downton, Matthew Crawley, recovered from his war wounds and ready to tie the knot with the eldest of Lord and Lady Grantham's daughters, Lady Mary (Dockery). Meanwhile, Mary's youngest sister, Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), has eloped to Ireland with the political-minded chauffeur, Branson (Allen Leech), and is expecting a child.
A tantalizing glimpse ahead: Downton's impeccable butler, Carson (Carter), breaks in a new footman, who happens to be the nephew of the scheming lady's maid O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran). Following Matthew and Mary's engagement, Robert sticks to his duty to maintain Downton more firmly than ever — even as other great houses are crippled psychologically and financially in the wake of World War I.
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