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Downton Abbey Season 4 Starts in US, Chases British Ratings

By Michael Mullins   |   Monday, 06 Jan 2014 12:57 PM

"Downton Abbey" season 4 premiered Sunday before American audiences with a special two-hour episode on PBS. When season 4 premiered to British audiences in November, it netted 9.5 million viewers, as well as mixed reviews from critics.

The British aristocratic drama set in a fictional Yorkshire country house in the early part of the 20th century picked up six months after the death of Lady Mary’s husband, Matthew Crawley, and her younger sister, Lady Sybil, CBS News noted.

The show's premiere also revealed the departure of Miss O’Brien, the scheming maid of Lady Mary, who left to join a new employer in India.

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In the new season, we see a mourning Lady Mary wandering about the estate dressed in black saying simple lines like, "have a happy time," The New York Times noted.

In the episode Lady Mary confides to Dowager Countess that after Matthew’s death, "all the softness that he found in me seems to have dried up and drained away. Maybe it was only ever there in his imagination."

"There’s more than one type of good mother," the Countess tells Lady Mary following her admission, adding that she must choose between life and death.

Lady Mary is eventually convinced to emerge from "the land of the dead," as she describes it, by butler Mr. Carson who convinces her to fight for her share of the ownership of "Downton Abbey," The New York Times noted.

Meanwhile, as Americans are getting their first view of Season 4, the station on which "Downton Abbey" is featured announced late last year that the show would be renewed for a fifth season.

"We are enormously happy to have Downton Abbey on ITV and we are delighted to be announcing this new series," Steve November, ITV's drama commissioning director, stated in a news release in early November. "With Julian writing and Gareth and Liz producing we know it will be as warm, witty, romantic and dramatic as previous series and we can't wait to catch up with our favorite characters again."

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