The “Downton Abbey” news continues even after the end of the third season. While several prominent characters were written off the show, in truly shocking ways, Siobhan Finneran’s departure comes at a time when people assumed the entire cast would return for a fourth season. For Finneran’s character, Sarah O’Brien, it leaves an unsatisfying conclusion that will leave fans disappointed.
Huffington Post UK reported the news of Finneran leaving “Downton Abbey” as the actress said, “I'm not doing any more. O'Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being - that was great to play.” Finneran will be appearing in the second season of BBC1’s “The Syndicate.” Finneran will play a nurse whose fortunes turn as she wins the lottery with her coworkers, notes HuffPo. The news was confirmed by a Masterpiece spokesman.
Miss O’Brien’s departure will not be as shocking as the deaths of Lady Sybil Crawley (Jessica Brown Findlay) or Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) but it will come as a surprise considering her role as Cora Crawley’s maid and her villainous relationship with Thomas (Rob James-Collier).During the third season, Miss O’Brien and Thomas went from allies to enemies, as the two feuded and Miss O’Brien tried to get Thomas fired and leave Downton in disgrace. Miss O’Brien also had plenty of secrets, including causing the miscarriage of Cora Crawley in season two.
Unfortunately for fans, Miss O’Brien will never be redeemed or meet an end fitting of her villainy. As previously reported by IBTimes, it was leaked before the end of the third season of “Downton Abbey” that neither Findlay nor Stevens would return for the fourth season. According to show creator Julian Fellows and Downton’s producer Gareth Neame, British actors tend to be signed to three year contracts for a series and, unlike American actors, UK actors tend to tackle multiple projects and tend to not stick around for long stretches of a show. Stevens’ departure, as well as Findlay’s, was well known in advance and Fellows was able to create stories that led to the deaths of Lady Sybil and Matthew.
For Finneran, even though Miss O’Brien was just a servant, she was cast as the villain, alongside Thomas, and while Thomas became a sympathetic character, there will be no such arc for Finneran’s character. It seems as though Miss O’Brien will be unceremoniously written off as “Downton Abbey” returns for a fourth season.
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