“Downton Abbey” fans will agree that the sassy Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) is one of the best characters on the show – but it might be time to say goodbye to her. Smith told the Sunday Times that “Downton Abbey” Season 6 would be Lady Violet’s last.
Smith was asked about rumors that the forthcoming Season 6 would be the finale of “Downton Abbey.” “They say this is the last one, and I can't see how it could go on,” Smith said (via Radio Times). Although rumors have swirled about the future of “Downton,” the British drama won’t announce a renewal until Season 6 airs. (Season 5 just ended its U.S. airing on PBS Sunday night.)
So why would Smith want to leave a successful show? Because as the series' timeline moves through the years, it may not be logical to have the elderly Lady Violet continue. “I mean, I certainly can't keep going,” the actress said. “To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s.”
This also was the reason Allen Leech, who plays Tom Branson, said he believed the show would end within a season or two. Smith made her concerns about her character's age clear to him while filming Season 5. “Maggie Smith turned to me on one of our last days of filming this season and said: 'I must be 196 years old by now. What's in the water here?' ” Leech told E! Online. "I said, 'I don't know, Maggie,' and she goes: 'It's ridiculous. I should have been dead years ago.' "
While six seasons may not seem too long to viewers, they should remember that the show's storyline started in 1912; the Season 5 finale showed Violet in December 1925. Violet’s death would not be unexpected but it would still be heartbreaking to fans. Despite often appearing cold and distant, the Dowager Countess has shown that behind her cutting one-liners she does have a heart. If the writers choose to kill off Violet, fans will likely be just as sad as they were about Matthew Crawley’s (Dan Stevens) death at the end of Season 3.
Of course, viewers may not have to worry about Lady Violet dying if “Downton Abbey” itself is facing its final season.
“Downton Abbey” Season 6 is currently filming, but no release date has been announced. Do you think Violet should stick around or is it realistic for her to die? Sound off in the comments section below!