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 thrilling season. As other great houses are crippled psychologically and financially in the wake of World War I, Robert, Earl of Grantham, sticks to his duty to maintain Downton more firmly than ever. But in this changing landscape nothing is assured, and could it be that even the war-weary Crawleys must fight a new battle to safeguard their beloved Downton?
Cora's mother, Martha Levinson, sweeps into Downton for Matthew and Mary's wedding, aggravating the Dowager Countess (among others) with her critical and "revolutionary" American way of seeing things. Lord Grantham learns that his massive investment of Cora's fortune in the Grand Trunk Railway has failed, leaving the estate near bankruptcy. Salvation is possible, as Matthew is entitled to inherit a large amount of money from Lavinia's father, but his scruples will not let him keep the money, feeling it a betrayal of Lavinia and her father since he believes her father died thinking he loved Lavinia whereas Lavinia knew of his love for Mary just before she died. Meanwhile, O'Brien's nephew Alfred joins the staff downstairs and struggles to satisfy Carson's high standards, made worse by Thomas' jealous behaviour. Sybil and her husband, Tom Branson, return to Downton to a muted response, particularly as Branson remains highly vocal about his political beliefs. Matthew repairs things when he chooses Branson to be his best man, and despite hesitance the night before, Matthew and Mary are married.
With the future of Downton hanging in the balance, Mary and the Dowager Countess conspire to show Downton at its grandest to persuade Mrs Levinson to give Downton more money and save them from financial ruin. Their attempts are impeded by the oven breaking down, giving Mrs Levinson a chance to take over running the party herself in radical fashion. She reveals, when finally asked for help, that though she will "entertain them in New York" she cannot provide them with money, as her own late husband tied it up in the estate, much as Violet's did. She tells them they have to adapt to the changing world, and states her intent to return to America. Meanwhile downstairs, O'Brien and Thomas wage war against one another due to Alfred's recent promotion to valet to Matthew, whilst Mrs Levinson's maid takes a shine to Alfred. Mrs Hughes faces a cancer scare that she shares only with Mrs Patmore and Doctor Clarkson, and Isobel Crawley finds that Ethel has become a prostitute. Edith actively pursues Anthony Strallan as a potential husband and he proposes, despite the reservations of the other family members that he is too old.
Matthew receives a letter that Lavinia's late father left for him. He writes that he knew how Matthew broke Lavinia's heart and still wants him to have his money. Matthew finally agrees to accept it, saving Downton. Lord Grantham refuses to accept the money as a gift, instead insisting that he and Matthew become joint masters of Downton. Edith's wedding day finally arrives, but as she is walking down the aisle Strallan changes his mind and calls off the wedding, giving in to the reservations of her family members. Mrs Hughes finally receives the news that she does not have cancer, which visibly relieves both Mr Carson and Mrs Patmore. Thomas tries to get revenge on O'Brien by spreading a rumour to the family that she will be leaving Downton. Bates's cellmate tries to get him into trouble by planting drugs in his bunk, but Bates is warned in time by another inmate.
When an aristocrat's home in Ireland is burned to the ground, Branson is found to have been at the burning and is wanted by the police. He escapes to Downton Abbey without Sybil, and the Crawleys are outraged. Sybil eventually returns to Downton safely, and Lord Grantham is able to convince the Home Secretary to allow Branson to remain in England, though he will be arrested if he returns to Ireland. Anna has not received any letters from Bates and is no longer allowed to visit; similarly Bates wonders why Anna's letters and visits have stopped. When Bates falls back into the prison guards' favour, he and Anna receive their missing letters. Ethel decides to let her son live with his grandparents so he can have a better life. Carson recruits a new footman, Jimmy Kent, who attracts the attention of the female staff and Thomas. Ivy Stuart, the new kitchen maid, draws Alfred's attention away from Daisy. Edith writes to the newspaper supporting more widespread women's suffrage.
Edith is asked to write a regular newspaper column. She is excited about the opportunity, but most of the family is not supportive. Isobel helps Ethel by offering her a job as a servant; however, Mrs Bird refuses to work with Ethel and consequently leaves. The new maid Ivy draws Alfred's interest and receives Daisy's resentment. Matthew believes that Robert has been mismanaging the estate and finds an ally in George Murray, the family solicitor. Mary is angry when she discovers that Matthew has been discussing this without her father, Lord Grantham, present. Sybil goes into labour and Lord Grantham hires a famous obstetrician, Sir Philip Tapsel, upsetting Dr Clarkson and Cora. The two doctors disagree over Sybil's care, Dr Clarkson insisting that Sybil is suffering from eclampsia and should be taken to hospital but Sir Philip arguing that Sybil is fit and healthy. Despite the disagreement Sybil delivers a girl and all seems well; however, during the night she becomes very ill and dies. The next day Cora seems to blame her husband for the death, because of his refusal to accept Dr Clarkson's argument that Sybil was ill.
Branson decides to name his daughter Sybil and wants to baptise her as a Catholic, to both of which Lord Grantham is firmly opposed. However, Mary and the rest of the family defend Branson's decision. To repair Cora and Robert's marriage, Violet pressures Dr Clarkson into retracting his assertion that Sybil might have survived had she undergone a Caesarean section; he tells Cora and Robert that Sybil would have died either way, and Cora forgives Robert. Anna finds evidence that might prove Bates innocent, but another prisoner threatens his chances of freedom. After Bates threatens the inmate, George Murray is able to get Bates a release date. Daisy is upset that Alfred is paying a lot of attention to Ivy. Ethel prepares a luncheon for the Crawley women and gets Mrs Patmore to help. When Lord Grantham finds out about the luncheon, he is outraged that Isobel would let a former prostitute serve lunch to his family. However, Cora and the women ignore his protests.
Bates is freed from prison, to the resentment of Thomas. Persuaded by O'Brien that Jimmy likes him, Thomas makes a midnight visit to Jimmy's room, and kisses him; Jimmy is outraged and disgusted. Branson plans to baptise baby Sybil a Catholic. While Lord Grantham discourages Edith's desire to become a journalist, Violet supports her granddaughter. Edith goes to London to meet a magazine editor, and accepts his offer for a weekly column. Branson's drunkard brother comes to Downton. Matthew continues to confront Lord Grantham about the estate's mismanagement, leading to the resignation of the family's long time agent Jarvis. Tom is appointed as the new family agent at Violet's suggestion. Miss Sybil Branson is baptised at a Catholic Church in Ripon with the whole Crawley family in attendance.
Downton Abbey's annual cricket match with the village takes place, bringing out Lord Grantham's competitive side. Everyone persuades Jimmy to not complain to the police, but Alfred, who witnessed the incident, does so, and CID officers arrive to see him; Lord Grantham gets Alfred to back down, and uses his authority to persuade the police that it was all a misunderstanding. Violet's great niece, Lady Rose MacClare—the daughter of Violet's niece, Susan, Marchioness of Flintshire and her husband, Hugh, Marquess of Flintshire—visits. A trip to London reveals that there is more to Rose than meets the eye: she's a wild girl who likes to drink and party. Mary and Matthew discover they have separately been visiting a London doctor to find out why they have had no children; Mary reveals she has had a small operation, and they now look forward to starting a family.
Hugh Bonneville...Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Laura Carmichael...Lady Edith Crawley (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Jim Carter...Mr. Carson (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Brendan Coyle...John Bates (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Michelle Dockery...Lady Mary Crawley (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Joanne Froggatt...Anna Bates / ... (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Rob James-Collier...Thomas Barrow (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Phyllis Logan...Mrs. Hughes (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Elizabeth McGovern...Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Sophie McShera...Daisy Mason / ... (43 episodes, 2010- 2014)
Lesley Nicol...Mrs. Patmore (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Maggie Smith...Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (43 episodes, 2010-2014)
Penelope Wilton...Isobel Crawley (40 episodes, 2010-2014)
Allen Leech...Tom Branson (38 episodes, 2010-2014)
Kevin Doyle...Joseph Molesley (34 episodes, 2010-2014)
|Release Date||24 January 2014|