'Downton Abbey' Season 3: The Dowager Countess Meets Her Match
4:17 PM PDT 8/29/2012 by Seth Abramovitch
The third season of international smash "Downton Abbey" will air on PBS in early 2013, with the notable addition of Shirley MacLaine as Lady Cora's American mother. Here are eight new photos to whet your appetite for the upstairs-downstairs intrigue to come.
Due on Britain's ITV this fall -- and scheduled to air on PBS in the U.S. in early 2013 -- the third season of the period drama will follow the Crawley family and their servants into the early 1920s, as they attempt to put the hardships of the Great War behind them.
Introducing Martha Levinson
Shirley MacLaine has been cast as Martha Levinson, Lady Grantham's outspoken mother. Martha is a forward-thinker who'll square off with Lady Violet, played to hilarious perfection by Maggie Smith.
Like a Rock
House butler Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) may be embarrassed of his past as a traveling showman -- but he takes great pride in keeping the gears of Downton Abbey running smoothly.
Everyone's favorite villainess, the scheming O'Brien (Siobhan Finneran), is back with her trademark ringlets and a nasty agenda.
Lady vs. Lady
"The gunfight at the OK Corral does not happen between Maggie [Smith] and me," MacLaine said in a recent interview. "We do a little sparring, we have our moments, but it's more sophisticated than that."
True Love Blooms at Last
Having at last given in to each other's love, the show's romantic ingenues -- Matthew (Dan Stevens) and Mary (Michelle Dockery) -- will at last marry. The two then disagree on whether they should stay at Downton Abbey or flee for the big city.
Middle child syndrome-sufferer Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) has at least landed herself a man -- the sincere Sir Anthony -- and the two explore their May-December relationship in season three.
Senior servants Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes put aside past differences and cook up a bit of an alliance this year.
The downtrodden Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) spends the season behind bars, convicted (perhaps unjustly) for the murder of his estranged wife.
"He's very much in isolation from everyone else," Coyle says. "And he's getting bullied a bit. He's pushed and provoked by people in prison who have taken against him."