Downton Abbey fans out there? Airing on Sunday nights on PBS- I am hooked. Period costumes, English accents, scandal, romance.... what more could I ask for?
In the brisk opening sequence of Downton Abbey, a telegraph comes in over the wires. It’s a few minutes after dawn on the morning of April 15, 1912, and the Titanic has just sunk in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Among the ship’s doomed passengers are James and Patrick Crawley, the two male heirs to a sprawling estate in Yorkshire, England. Their horrific deaths will have seismic ramifications for the staff and family of Downton Abbey.
According to the peculiar English inheritance laws of the time, Downton Abbey can only be entailed to a male. So when Robert’s cousin, James, and his son, Patrick, die in the disaster, the future of Downton Abbey is instantly thrown into disarray: Who will inherit the estate, and what is to become of the Crawley girls?
Maggie Smith plays Dowager Countess Violet, with the usual sublime acerbity. Love her!
Cora: Things are different in America.
Violet (played by Maggie Smith): I know, they live in wigwams.