The romance between starcrossed lovers Anna Smith (Joanne Froggatt) and John Bates (Coyle) is further complicated by the arrival of Bates’ estranged wife, the villainous Vera Bates (Maria Doyle Kennedy). But that’s life as usual at Downton Abbey, even as the realities of war and the 20th century encroach upon the estate.
It’s left to the servants—under the watchful eye of butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan)—to keep order amid turbulent times. “The downstairs staff, we basically have to just keep doing our jobs and getting on with it,” said Finneran. “We’re there keeping the house ticking and running as smoothly as possible.”
Carson, trusted retainer and one-time song-and-dance, is fighting the Germans the only way he can. “The chaos back home at Downton is very much reflected in Carson,” said Stevens. “Carson is determined to defeat the Germans in his own way by just making sure that everything runs like clockwork at Downton and this very authentic attitude that, even though he’s too old to fight, he'll bloody well play his part.”