Since the beginning time, even though you have the Earl of Grantham, Matthew Crawley, Mr. Carson, Bates and Thomas, Downton Abbey has been all about the ladies for its first three seasons. As the Dowager Countess goes, so goes Downton, electricity or no electricity. Audiences can’t get enough of Ladies Mary, Edith and Sybil. Downstairs has ladies of its own with Anna, Daisy, Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes.
With series 4 just around the corner, it’s time to meet the men of Downton Abbey. Executive producer, Gareth Neame, attempted to set the stage for those counting the days to the premiere of series 4. “As much as people were devastated by the loss of Matthew, with some people almost grieving as they would for a real person, those are the dynamics of this show. No one is suffering more than widowed Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery). We do see quite a bit of the Mary she was before she met Matthew, that icy iron-maiden quality,” says Neame. “It’s going to take an awful lot to get her back to life.”
Series 4, which begins six months after the still unbelievably shocking death of Matthew at the end of series 3, will bring three new faces all willing to do what they can to ‘get Lady Mary back to life’. William Keck over at TV Guide put together a quick synopsis for those fans that can’t tell the players without a scorecard.
Up first is the dashing Lord Gillingham, an old family friend. Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen) comes to Downton for a lavish house party in the second episode and offers Mary advice on inheritance taxes. “Mary is not looking for anyone to replace Matthew, but she is, of course, a beautiful, eligible young widow, so inevitably there is going to be quite a lot of male interest,” Neame says. “Gillingham is a very useful friend to Mary at a time when she’s not able to make decisions.”
In episode three, Mary’s loved ones convince her to leave the house. She accompanies Branson, Rose and Aunt Rosamund to London’s Lotus jazz club, where they meet Jack Ross, a suave singer from Chicago played by Gary Carr (Death in Paradise). “The spine of the new season is how Mary moves from total bereavement into turning to life again,” Neame says. “Ross is very positive, ambitious and charming. And we get to see him perform.”
Finally, in episode four, Evelyn Napier returns to Downton for the first time since his Turkish friend Kemal Pamuk died in Mary’s bed back in Season 1. He brings along a new associate, Charles (Julian Ovenden), to help Downton run more efficiently. Mary and Charles instantly dislike each other — kind of like how Mary first viewed Matthew. “There’s a bit of a difference,” Neame says. “Mary objected to the law making Matthew the heir to Downton. Blake is someone she just doesn’t like. He’s modern-thinking but does not share the family’s sentimentality about the past.”
Don’t know about you, but I am so ready for this….