'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!
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.
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.
Shirley MacLaine joins the cast in season three as Martha Levinson, the Countess of Grantham's mother from America.
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.
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.
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?
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.
O'Brien was her scheming self at times during season two. Expect more of that behavior in the new year.