“Downton Abbey" is going to look quite different when it returns for a fourth season.
On Friday Siobhan Finneran -- better known to fans as O’Brien, Lady Grantham's constantly scheming, severely coiffed maid -- confirmed that she is leaving the beloved costume drama. Finneran follows co-stars Dan Stevens and Jessica Brown Findlay out the door, though it seems likely her character will do so under less tragic circumstances than theirs: In the Season 3 finale, O'Brien was jockeying hard for a new job that would allow her to see more of the world.
O'Brien's exit can only come as good news to the Grantham family, who over the years have repeatedly fallen victim to O’Brien’s cruel machinations – most notably in Season 1 when her ladyship, pregnant with a long-awaited male heir, slipped on a strategically placed bar of soap and miscarried.
Finneran’s departure may be felt more acutely by fans who will no doubt miss O’Brien’s snide cutdowns and seemingly insatiable appetite for revenge. But fear not: Over the weekend Carnival Films, producers of “Downton Abbey,” announced that six new cast members will be joining the series when it returns for a fourth season.