'Downton Abbey' season 3: Check out the photos!

Oh, the drama! "Downton Abbey" ended season two with a Christmas special that revealed quite a bit. (Spoiler alert!) Valet Bates was found guilty of the murder of his wife Vera and was sentenced to life in prison; Lady Sybil announced her pregnancy; and Lady Mary ended her engagement to Richard and became Matthew's fiancee.

But that was waaaaay back in February. Season three is getting closer, but it's still quite a wait until the January premiere. To tide you over, check out some photos from the upcoming season:

  • Slideshow Photos

    'Downton Abbey' season 3

    The drama at the English estate kicks off on PBS on Jan. 6, 2013. Get a sneak peek at some of the photos from the new season!

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    The cast -

    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 season.
    Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 / Masterpiece
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    The great dames -

    Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) will pit her sharp tongue against new foe Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine), Cora's mother, in the new season.
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece
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    The American -

    Shirley MacLaine joins the cast in season three as Martha Levinson, the Countess of Grantham's mother from America.
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece
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    Inmate -

    Lord Grantham's valet, John Bates (Brendan Coyle) may have escaped the death sentence after being found guilty of murder in season two, but he's still behind bars. Bates and lady love Anna (Joanne Froggatt) will be fighting for his freedom this season.
    Joss Barratt / Masterpiece
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    High standards -

    Downton's butler, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), came down with the Spanish flu at the end of the season. Prior to that, he struggled to keep the small staff performing its duties exactly, though much of the male staff was off at war.
    Joss Barratt / Masterpiece
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    Mr. and Mrs. Strallan? -

    Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) found love again with season one suitor Sir Anthony Strallan (Robert Bathurst), but will they make it down the aisle in season three?
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece
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    Running the house -

    Housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyliis Logan) and cook Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) kept the estate tidy and fed during the war. In the new season, one of the ladies will face a challenge that brings the two closer together.
    Joss Barratt / Masterpiece
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    The help -

    O'Brien was her scheming self at times during season two. Expect more of that behavior in the new year.
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece

Joining the cast for season three will be Shirley MacLaine in the role of Martha Levinson, Lady Cora's mother. The drama will also introduce O'Brien's nephew Alfred, who joins the staff of the estate.

"Downtown Abbey" returns to PBS on Jan. 6.

Which story line are you most excited for in the new season? Tell us on our Facebook page!

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