The New Season of Downton Abbey Premieres on PBS, Sunday, January 6.

January 3, 2013

We’re days away from the return of one of our favorite period dramas: Downtown Abbey, the irresistible British series starring Hugh Bonneville and Dame Maggie Smith, returns this Sunday. Season 3 will follow the Crawleys and their servants as they try to put the war behind them and welcome the arrival of Lady Grantham’s mother, Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine.

To get ready for the new season, let’s recap what happened in Season 2. As the season began, drama was already in high gear at the lavish estate. Preparations are underway for Matthew and Lavinia’s wedding. Lady Sybil approaches her parents about her desire to marry Branson. Lady Grantham, Carson, and Lavinia fall ill with the Spanish flu. Having witnessed Matthew and Mary kiss, Lavinia later confronts Matthew and feels they should cancel the wedding. Guilt-ridden, Matthew refuses to end their engagement, but fate intervenes when Lavinia succumbs to the flu and dies. Anna and Bates marry in secret. Still tormented by his transgression while Lavinia was ill, Matthew tells Mary that their relationship can never be consummated. But in the end he proposes and she accepts. Meanwhile Lord Grantham gives his blessing to Sybil and Branson. And Bates is arrested for the murder of his wife.

What will happen next? Tune in to the two-hour season premiere of Downtown Abbey on PBS, Sunday, January 6, at 9 p.m.