Downton Abbey: 7 Things We Learned About Season 4

Several ladies of “Downton Abbey,” including Emmy nominee Michelle Dockery, gathered in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night, where they dished on the upcoming Season 4.

It was clear from clips of the upcoming season, shown to attendees at the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Tour, that Michelle’s Lady Mary is in deep mourning for her husband, Matthew (Dan Stevens), who died in the Season 3 finale.

Season 4, which returns to PBS in January, will pick up several months after Matthew’s death, and the cast hinted about what’s ahead, including the potential new suitor coming to Mary’s doorstep. They also dished on what’s set to happen with Mary’s sister, Lady Edith (played by Laura Carmichael), Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) and Thomas (Rob James-Collier).

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Michelle Dockery On What She First Thought When She Heard Dan Stevens Was Leaving The Show At The End Of Season 3: “I thought, ‘Where can the story go now?’ We’ve spent all this time having this on-off, will they, won’t they relationship and then suddenly it was coming to an end. So, initially I was concerned about what would happen, but I think that as much as it was sad to see Dan go, the same as it was to Jessica [Brown Findlay, who played Lady Sybil] go, it opens up opportunity for Julian [Fellowes] to write a new chapter and something quite different not only for Mary, but… the knock on effect is has for other characters.”

Laura Carmichael On Lady Edith’s Journalism Career & Her Feelings For Her Editor, Michael Gregson: “She is still involved with the paper, and it’s a lot more complicated than that, which I’ll just have to let you [see]. … But the death of Matthew really affects the whole family, so when we start, she hasn’t seen Michael Gregson for some time… due to the fact that the family is mourning. So when we come back to the house, she is seeing him for the first time, which is a lovely scene that’s in the first episode. … She’s still sort of turning in some articles and we know that she’s been writing about the cause of the soldier, but it’s the kind of modern woman thing. I’d like to think of her as the Carrie Bradshaw of the ‘20s.”

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Phyllis Logan On Whether Mrs. Hughes & Mr. Carson Will Finally Get Together: “No, we still have a very nice working relationship. We still have occasional spats here and there. We have a lot of respect for one another, and we occasionally get to drink a glass of sherry together… not as often as I would like.”

Michelle Dockery On Potential New Suitor Lord Gillingham: “He is an old family friend who she’s known since the girls were children and they haven’t seen him since she was tiny. She’s kind of slowly throughout the series coming back to real life and of course it’s important for her to eventually move on, so he is a potential love interest.”

Sophie McShera On The Evolution Of Daisy: “She’s grown up. … She’s had such a journey and even done her terrible teens… which she’s still in, a bit. She’s being a bit of a jealous girl with Ivy and everything. She’s had an amazing journey. I’ve really loved it. I like that we get such a long time because you can grow up on screen, which is always exciting.”

Executive Producer Gareth Neame On What Will Happen With Rob James-Collier’s Thomas: “It’s gonna be a complex world for him going forward because I’ve heard rumors that [Sarah] O’Brien may be heading for the hills, so there’s gonna be a bit of a shakeup with what happens to his story.”

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Michelle Dockery On Whether Mary Might Find Love With Her Sister’s Widower, Tom Branson: “They are very much friends and he is her brother-in-law, still. I think they become close because of what they’ve both been through. … And also, Mary becomes far more involved in the running of the estate with Tom, so we do have a lot of scenes together. But romantically, I don’t think it’s going anywhere.

“Downton Abbey” returns to PBS on January 5, 2014.

-- Jolie Lash

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