Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen the first three seasons of PBS' "Masterpiece" series Downton Abbey, stop reading this article.
Otherwise, the fourth season of Downton Abbey returns Sunday, Jan. 5, picking up six months after the shocking death of Lady Mary's new husband Matthew Crawley. Us Weekly caught up with the show's executive producer Gareth Neame, writer Julian Fellowes, and cast standout Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary on the popular British period drama, to find out whether her character will recover from the tragedy.
"She's taking her time. I mean he's difficult to replace," Dockery told Us at the PBS Downton Abbey Event held at the Millennium Hotel in NYC back in December. "Matthew [played by Dan Stevens] was the love of Mary's life, so it will take its time. But I think eventually she wants to find happiness with whoever that may be."
"There’s a different theme with the Lady Mary character about how she will come to terms with her grief and how the family and servants will help her get over that," Neame told Us at the same event. "So that’s a slightly different tone. But amongst it we’ve still got all the usual comedy and drama that everybody loves."
Fellowes, meanwhile, revealed that Lady Mary's ability to "come to terms with her grief" will include several new faces! "We’ve got two new male characters, Lord Gillingham, played by Tom Cullen, and a chap called Charles Blake, played by Julian Ovenden," he told Us. "They’re all part of Mary’s reawakening."
While two, new handsome men will be introduced on the show, Dockery said she imagines a good man for Lady Mary would be a character "as close to Matthew as possible."
"I think they were a good match," she added of her character's dynamics with late on-screen counterpart Crawley. "They challenged each other, and yeah, there was a kind of challenge there and a genuine love for each other and respect for each other."
The fourth season of Downton Abbey returns Sunday, Jan. 5 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS.