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Will British period drama Downton Abbey win its first drama series Emmy?
Nominated for a fourth straight time in the drama series category (it won best miniseries/movie in 2010), Downton will face an uphill battle going up against four-time winner Mad Men, last year’s winner Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, House of Cards and newcomer True Detective.
Downton is up for several awards at the 66th Primetime Emmys, including lead actress , supporting actor, supporting actress and directing. Ahead of Monday’s awards show, relive four of this season’s notable moments.
Mary mourns Matthew’s death
Matthew Crawley’s death cast a long shadow on the fourth season of Downton, with Mary (Emmy nominee Michelle Dockery) grieving her sudden loss. A long chat with Violet (Emmy winner Maggie Smith) seemed to open Mary’s eyes a bit, but it was during a private moment in Carson’s (Jim Carter) chambers that Mary truly broke down and let go, and started on her long journey to “rejoining the living.” (Watch a snippet of these scenes from the 0:21 mark.)
Anna is raped
One of the most controversial moments came early in the season when Mary’s innocent and well-meaning lady’s maid Anna (Emmy nominee Joanne Froggatt) was raped. The scene elicited a frigid response and the ramifications of that moment loomed large over the rest of the season. “The point of our handling is not that we’re interested in sensationalizing but we’re interested in exploring the mental damage and the emotional damage,” defended creator Julian Fellowes in October 2013. Froggatt also defended the decision to take the story to that place, saying it was “a really brave thing to do” and “not gratuitous at all.”
Edith backs out of the abortion
After becoming pregnant with the already married Michael Gregson’s child, Edith (Laura Carmichael) makes a big life decision midway through the season: Have an abortion. But after witnessing a crying woman in the clinic, she doubts her initial gut decision, prompting her to back out at the last minute — her explanation being that it’s simply not in her nature. The decision dramatically shifts her arc for the remainder of the season, after she gives birth to a baby girl in Geneva, leaves her with another family and subsequently decides to get her daughter back.
Shirley MacLaine returns, Paul Giamatti debuts
The finale was devoid of big, surprising moments, but it was a particular treat to see Shirley MacLaine reprise her role as Cora’s mother and Paul Giamatti making his first appearance on Downton as Cora’s brother. Giamatti snagged an Emmy nomination for guest actor in a drama series, though he lost to Scandal‘s Joe Morton at the Creative Arts Emmys.
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