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Introduced in Series 1
Mr Charles Carson
"Downton is a great house, and the Crawleys are a great family. We live by certain standards and those standards can at first seem daunting."
- Badass Baritone: He speaks with a booming, bass rumble.
- Bittersweet Ending: Although he is very happily married to Mrs Hughes, by the time of the Series grand finale he has developed essential tremor, and must necessarily retire from his cherished role of Downton Abbeys butler. In a dignified, though understandably emotional manner, he passes the baton to Thomas.
- British Stuffiness: He's incredibly strait-laced, and views any sort of frivolous behavior or modernity with deep suspicion, disapproval, and occasionally outright horror.
- The Comically Serious: His stuffy nature can become so excessive that it's an inside joke among some of Downton's other residents. Among his more memorable moments include his epic rivalry with the new telephone, and the reveal of his shameful past as a stage performer, which to him seems to be on a par with murdering someone. There's this lovely little exchange too:
Carson: We may have to have a maid in the dining room.
Lord Robert: Cheer up, Carson. There are worse things happening in the world.
Carson: Not worse than a maid serving a duke.
- Consummate Professional: He has a very strict code of conduct to which he adheres meticulously, and expects all the staff to follow his example.
- Dark Secret: He used to be a Vaudeville music hall performer before he came to Downton Abbey, but doesn't pine for those days in the slightest — he can still carry a tune, though!
- Deadpan Snarker: Deadpan everything, actually. Rarely intentional, with the exception of those people he dislikes (Molesley, Thomas, Jimmy). He is usually meant to be serious, but his comments sometimes are so old-fashioned and snobbish, that he becomes the mixture of The Comically Serious and Deadpan Snarker.
- Death Glare: He readily produces one whenever he feels a servant is crossing the line, such as merely exchanging a word too many with the people upstairs.
- The Eeyore: In his tails, he has the look of a very large, chronically depressed penguin.
- Enraged by Idiocy:... and any hint of sloppiness.
- The Finicky One: He's an enormous fusspot all throughout the series, but this trait is ramped right Up to Eleven in Series 6, after he moves in with his new wife Mrs Hughes, who discovers that he is compelled to find fault with everything from her cooking, to how she makes the bed.
- Friendship Moment: A lovely example from Series 5; When Robert is snubbed by the villagers over the leadership of the War memorial committee (Carson is their preferred candidate), and is then teased about it over dinner by the impertinent Miss Bunting, Carson immediately steps in to shut her down, telling the assembled party that the villagers did indeed want Robert to be involved — as patron. Privately, Carson reveals to Mrs Hughes that he only agreed to be involved if Robert could be included too.
- Friend to All Children: The nature of his work means that he spends far more time around the adults than the children, but from what we see of Carson's interactions with little ones he fits this trope to a tee. He recalls an occasion when a child Lady Mary gave him a kiss with beaming reverence, and on hearing baby Sybbie cry he immediately goes into her nursery to pick her up and comfort her.
- Good Old Ways: He always looks to the past for comfort and reference in general, and exhibits outright hostility towards any new-fangled gadgetry. Telephones, toasters and the wireless are viewed with particular suspicion.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Although very low-key, when he learns midway through Series 1 that Mrs Hughes has met her old suitor, who has asked for her hand again, he makes a remark that her sort of Old Flame Fizzle must have become fat, horrible, and red-faced and Mrs Hughes probably doesnt even know what she saw in him. It might be the first hint for the audience that Carson has feelings for Mrs Hughes.
Carson:(to Mrs Hughes) And he proposed again... and you accepted?
- Grumpy Bear: He's a model of somber sobriety, rarely smiles, and finds any sort of frivolity an absolute anathema.
- Ironic Nickname: Back when he was an entertainer, the unsmiling Mr. Carson was known as "Cheerful Charlie".
- The Jeeves: He's the most senior servant at Downton, and exhibits the loyalty, dignity and authority required to be the perfect English butler.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Grumpy, gruff, classist and bigoted, he's vocally reluctant to bend the old ways, but in the end he always comes around as a very decent man.
- Just Friends: With Mrs Hughes, allegedly, despite five series' worth of Ship Tease. By the series 5 Christmas special, he's proposed. She says yes.
- The Leader: Of the downstairs staff at the Abbey.
Carson: (to Mrs Hughes) They respect you, of course, but I'm their leader.
- Like a Son to Me: He loves Lady Mary like a daughter he has never had. As the Word of God says, Carson has never had a child of his own, and in his head Mary's become his daughter, whether he is aware of it or not.
- Longing Look: Very discreet and 'Carsonesque', but we can see how he looks at Mrs Hughes every now and then - although it can be due to the improvisation of the actor who has been a Shipper on Deck from pretty much of the beginning. It becomes overt in Series 5, when he decides that he is no longer content with being Just Friends.
- Love Martyr: He forgives Lady Mary for all her faults, even if she behaves unkindly and shocks other people. Mary usually treats him well, but in Series 2, when he refuses Carlisle's offer to go with Mary and be their butler, thinking he couldn't work for a man he doesn't respect, Mary is waspishly dismissive and insults Carson.
:(to Lady Mary) Mr. Carson would forgive you if you attacked him with a brick
Lady Mary: Butlers will be two a penny now theyre all back from the war.
- Married to the Job: The Crawleys are all the family he has.
Carson: I had thought I would die in Downton — and haunt it ever-after.
- Marry for Love:
- He was madly in love with a girl, Alice Neal and wanted to marry her, but she chose Charles Grigg over him.
Mrs Hughes:(to Carson, about Alice) But you wanted to marry her.
Carson: So much I could taste it.
- In Series 5, he uses the idea of running a B&B with Mrs Hughes as an excuse to share his life with her. When she says she doesn't have money for it, he proposes to her.
Carson: You can take as long as you like - I won't press you. Because one thing I do know - I'm not marrying anyone else.
- When Mrs Hughes is afraid that Carson won't find her attractive, since she is a 'woman of late middle-age', she offers him a Sexless Marriage. Fortunately, in Carson's eyes, she is beautiful and he definitely wants a 'full marriage' with her. He would rather let her call off the wedding than accepting this term.
Carson: (to Mrs Patmore) I could never live in some 'pat-a-cake friendship lie'.
- Men Can't Keep House: His finicky ways and the constant nit-picking over her culinary ability compels Mrs Hughes to teach him a lesson;— after she fakes a sprained wrist, Carson must prepare their dinner himself, and manages to burn the roast potatoes, then himself on a boiling pan, and finally falls asleep at the table, exhausted.
- Milholland Relationship Moment: Carson's former stage partner Charlie Grigg turns up at Downton to blackmail him with his music-hall past. Lord Grantham, far from being horrified is actually impressed.
- Noble Bigot: When Thomas's sexuality is made public in Series 3, he makes it quite clear that he finds the whole matter "revolting". Arguably, he knew already, but having it made public required him to actually confront and deal with the issue head-on.
- Old Retainer: He's the longest serving member of staff, and has been with the family since before the Crawley girls were born.
- Papa Wolf: For Alfred — as Jimmy comes to find out.
- Parental Substitute: Having grown up with him her whole life, Lady Mary is very close to Carson (and he to her) and she often comes to him for advice and a confidence boost (and even a hug!) when she can't approach her parents.
- Perpetual Frowner: It's extremely rare to see him crack a smile, but if he actually does, it's usually in approval of one of the Dowager's withering quips, or during interactions with his favourite, Lady Mary.
- Principles Zealot: Carson's the enforcer of old-style etiquette and social class.
- Renowned Selective Mentor: Although he is initially flapped by Alfred's inexperience, he comes to admire the earnest newcomer's respectful manner and takes him under his wing, showing him the tricks of the servant trade. This is unusual for Carson, and Thomas can't hide his jealousy...
Thomas: Youre taking a lot of trouble with Alfred. I feel quite jealous.
Carson: I dont know why. He asked for help. You never did.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Sir Richard dangles a fat salary over his head.
- Serenade Your Lover: He doesn't sing TO Mrs Hughes, but ABOUT her - he has no idea she heard him.
- Serious Business: He treats anything related to Downton's quality of service with the utmost import.
- Ship Tease: With Mrs Hughes throughout all five series.
- His slightly Green-Eyed Monster behaviour towards her Old Flame Fizzle.
- He asks her if she will miss him after he goes to Haxby, and in a very moving scene she says, she will.
- He is cheerfully singing "She Stole My Heart Away" whilst polishing silver after he learns she has been declared cancer-free, while she looks on surreptitiously, biting her lips, fighting with laughter and tears at the same time.
- He is holding hands with her, while they are paddling to the sea together in the Series 4 Christmas Special.
- Their shy flirtings in Series 5 before They Do.
- His idea of 'investing in a property together'.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: He's incredibly stiff most of the time, but demonstrates a softer side with certain people and/or when no one will find out. For instance, he refuses to go to the fair with the rest of the staff, just because they'd feel the need to be on their best behavior if he was there, and instead spends the day with baby Sybbie.
- Tears of Joy:
- When Lord Grantham goes downstairs in Series 2 in order to inform the staff about the end of the Great War, we can see Carson fighting with tears.
- When he clumsily ask Mrs Hughes to marry him and she says an obvious "yes", he tries to suppress his happy tears.
- They Do: After years and years of Ship Tease, towards the end of the Series 5 Christmas day special he finally asks Mrs Hughes to marry him, and in what is undoubtedly one of the Series' most touching scenes so far, she delightedly accepts his proposal.
- Understatement: After Thomas's suicide attempt, he remarks that he has "been taken poorly", though he does this so as not to cause alarm.
- Undying Loyalty: To the Crawley family, especially Lady Mary, his favourite.
- Wedding Episode: Episode 3 of Series 6 depicts his wedding to Mrs Hughes. They marry in a sweet, simple ceremony in the village church, witnessed by both the staff and family, followed by a reception at the school hall. To top it all off, Tom and Sybbie show up as surprise guests, back for good from the US.
Mrs Elsie Hughes
: Phyllis Logan
"Don't push your luck Thomas. Now, tea's over. Back to work."
- Brave Scot: She has her moments throughout the series, but locking herself in a room with Anna's rapist and threatening him to keep a low profile if he values his life probably takes the cake. Don't Try This at Home.
- The Caretaker: In the Series 5 Christmas day special, she reveals to Carson that for years she has been financially supporting her mentally handicapped sister, Becky.
- Career Versus Man: She chooses career... twice. The third time one doesn't preclude the other, as the man in question is her co-worker, Carson.
- The Confidant: Throughout the series, most of the staff have confided in her with their problems — Thomas, Anna, Tom and even Carson appreciate her sympathetic ear and solid advice, knowing she can keep a secret. Taken Up to Eleven in Series 4.
- Deadpan Snarker: She also has her moments, particulalry when Carson says something stupid, snobbish, highbrow, or old-fashioned.
- Establishing Character Moment: We know from the very first time we see her that she's in a position of authority over the other servants because of her watchful eye, her ramrod bearing, and her slightly more formal dress.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: with Mrs. Patmore
- Hidden Depths: Mrs Hughes may be the kindly, practical Team Mum, but she is anything but naive (she is not at all shocked by Thomas's sexual orientation, even mentioning that he's not the first gay man she has ever known), or timid (she confronts Mr Green and tells him to his face that she knows what he did to Anna). As she herself puts it,
Mrs. Hughes: I may not be a woman of the world, but I don't live in a sack!
- Just Friends: With Carson, throughout series 1-4. In series 5 however, she delightedly accepts his proposal of marriage.
- Kindly Housekeeper: As Housekeeper, she is the second most senior servant, after Carson.
- Leitmotif: Her theme is sentimental and nostalgic in quality and tone.
- Longing Look: Towards Carson in Series 5 - although we can see the hints in Series 4 too.
- Mama Bear: Towards the younger maids, specifically Anna and Ethel.
- Married to the Job: She turned down a marriage proposal because she admits to this.
- Not So Stoic: When she sees Carson absent-mindedly singing "She Stole My Heart Away" (undeniably about her), all she can do is bite her lip and beam like a giddy schoolgirl.
- Old Maid: The "Mrs." is a courtesy title, because the housekeeper is always a "Mrs." She could have had a chance at marital bliss, though... see The Stoic, below.
- Old Retainer: She's not been around as long as Carson (he mentions that she didn't know Mary as a child) but her tenure is still loyally impressive.
- Ship Tease: With Carson, throughout Series 1-5.
- His slightly Green-Eyed Monster behaviour towards her Old Flame Fizzle,
- He asks her if she will miss him after he goes to Haxby, and in a very moving scene she says, she will.
- He is cheerfully singing "She Stole My Heart Away" whilst polishing silver after he learns she has been declared cancer-free, while she looks on surreptitiously, biting her lips, fighting with laughter and tears at the same time.
- He is holding hands with her, and they are paddling to the sea together in the Series 4 Christmas Special.
- Their shy flirtings in Series 5 before They Do.
- His idea of 'investing in a property together'.
- Stiff Upper Lip: If any staff member can be relied on to keep their act together in a crisis, it's her.
- The Stoic: She sacrifices her own personal happiness when given the opportunity of marriage to continue serving the family.
William: You're a kind woman Mrs Hughes. I don't know how this house would run without you.
- Team Mom: To the staff in general, but notably for Anna and Branson.
- That's an Order!: She's a decidedly decent sort, but doesn't stand for any back-chat from her staff.
- Tears of Joy: After she learns that she is cancer-free, then hears Carson singing his happy love(?) song, she tries to hold back her happy laughter and tears - due to her previous distress, relief, and the affection she got from Mrs Patmore, Cora, and Carson.
- They Do: Carson finally proposes in the Series 5 Christmas day special and she delightedly accepts.
- Thrifty Scot: As housekeeper, she oversees the household's bookkeeping and deals with suppliers of household products.
- The Topic of Cancer: Early on in Series 3, she finds a lump on her breast and meets with Dr Clarkson for diagnosis. She asks Mrs Patmore to tell Carson that the lump is benign, but it is left unclear as to whether she tells him this so as not to cause a fuss and worry him.
- Trying Not to Cry: Her professional cool is rarely shattered, but when it is...
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: It's hinted in the first episode that she sometimes longs for a family on her own, with husband and children. When she gets her 'last' chance, getting a second proposal by her old suitor, Joe Burns, she realizes, she has changed and may not want things she used to want. Although it's clear, it was a very hard decision for her, since she is still fond of him.
- Women Are Wiser: She's sensible, grounded, calm and usually impartial to the mayhem surrounding her.
Mrs Beryl Patmore
: Lesley Nicol
"Daisy! What's happened to you? I said you could go for a drink of water, not a trip up the Nile."
- Apron Matron: She runs the kitchen with a rod of iron.
- Blind Mistake: She's diagnosed with cataracts in Series 1, which causes her to make mistakes in the kitchen... and exacerbates her temper.
- Double Standard
Jimmy: Ow! I've jiggered my bloody wrist.
Mrs Patmore: Erm! I'll have no swear-words in here thank you very much, unless I'm doing the swearing.
- Establishing Character Moment: Enters the kitchen asking if Daisy has completed a long list of morning tasks, then immediately sends her on another, checking on things the whole way through. Daisy replies to all of her inquiries with a meek "Yes, Mrs Patmore."
- Fiery Redhead: A definitive example — she sports curly red hair, and the nature of her work exacerbates her temper to the point that she frequently blows up at the other staff members, especially in the early series.
- Gaydar: She's well aware of Thomas's preference... unlike poor Daisy.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Her work is hot, stressful and requires perfect timing, so woe betide any staff who muck about or indulge in idle chatter when she's got hot salvers ready to be taken upstairs.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Mrs. Hughes, her long-standing co-worker. As the two senior female servants, who are essentially on equal levels of authority, they (for the most part) naturally gravitate towards each other.
- Hopeless with Tech: Played for Drama in the Series 4 premiere. After a disastrous run-in with the new electric mixer, she lets it slip to Mrs. Hughes that she's afraid all the new electrical kitchen gadgets will make her job unnecessary, saying it makes Daisy look like part of the future and leaves her stuck in the past.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her tempestuous temper, she does care about the other staff (William in particular), and definitely cools off a bit after her eye surgery at the end of Series 1.
- Kick the Dog: She's fairly beastly to poor Daisy in the early series.
Mrs Patmore: Take those kidneys up to the servery before I knock you down and serve your brains as fritters!
- The Matchmaker: A personal loss (her nephew was shot for cowardice) renders her meddlesome and tenacious in her belief that soldiers should not be denied hope, so she frantically encourages Daisy to agree to be William's sweetheart before he leaves for war.
- Meal Ticket: Literally, for lecherous local supplier Jos Tufton, who wooed her purely for her tasty cooking. She wisely declines his proposal.
- Meta Guy: Type B. Her take on the Series 3 love quadrilateral:
Mrs Patmore: You know the trouble with you lot? You're all in love with the wrong people!
- Not What It Looks Like: Hilariously realised in the (otherwise very tense) Series 6 finale;— having opened her b&b, Mrs Patmore unwittingly hosts a couple having an illicit affair. This is soon picked up on by a lurking paparazzo, and her innocent little b&b is quickly dubbed a "house of ill repute", to her utter horror and the entire households' amusement.
- Old Maid: Never married, like other servants with demanding schedules. Like housekeepers, cooks are always "Mrs" as a courtesy title.
- Old Retainer: She's a senior member of staff and mentions she's worked with O'Brien for 20 years, and as she's clearly older than her, her tenure may well be much longer - perhaps even since girlhood.
- Pair the Spares: In the Series' grand finale, it's clear that she has developed requited feelings for Mr Mason, and with a twinkly smile, he invites her to spend more time at the farm with him and Daisy.
- Parental Substitute: Following a rocky start in the early years, the mother/daughter friendship that gradually forms between her and Daisy is heart-warming to watch.
Mrs Patmore: If you were my own daughter I couldnt be prouder than I am now.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Daisy is always on the receiving end of these, being blamed for real but more often imagined mistakes she makes whilst struggling to manage her worsening sight.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Having autonomous authority over her kitchen domain means she's unafraid to tell it like it is, and as the series has progressed, her quips and witticisms have become a more prevalent character trait.
- Shipper on Deck: for William and Daisy
- Supreme Chef: Although she is no Escoffier (as the Dowager Countess snarks in the fifth episode), she is by all accounts excellent at her craft. Thanks to her training, Daisy, her protégée, even makes Harold Levinson—who had a strong prejudice against British cooking—enjoy English food. Also, together, she and Daisy train Alfred to the point where he could earn a place at Escoffier's own school at the Ritz.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: When Mrs Bird temporarily takes over her role whilst she undergoes eye-surgery, she gets Daisy to sabotage her menu, so the family and staff won't prefer Bird's cooking.
- Team Chef: She and her team work laborious hours to provide up to 8 hot meals daily, staggered throughout the day for the family, and the servants.
- Tears of Joy: In Series 5, she receives word that her nephew's town, like Downton, is erecting a war memorial for the local soldiers who died, but her nephew is to be left off because he was executed for cowardice. She is very hurt by this snub, but in the finale Lord Grantham invites her to the remembrance ceremony and reveals he has commissioned a special plaque for her nephew's remembrance next to Downton's memorial. Mrs Patmore is deeply touched and moved to tears by this act of unexpected kindness, saying her sister will be happy to know of it.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Cooks were notoriously protective of the running their kitchens and she clashes with Mrs Hughes on occasion with regard to access to the food storage (controlled by the housekeeper).
Mr John Bates
: Brendan Coyle
"You can change your life if you want to. Sometimes you have to be hard on yourself, but you can change it completely — I know."
- The Atoner: For his unsavory past as a quick-tempered drunk.
- Battle Butler: He served under Lord Grantham in the Boer War as his batman — that is, as his military valet/gofer/bodyguard.
- Be All My Sins Remembered: He doesn't take praise easily, and seems to take the view that he doesn't deserve the kindness meted out to him at Downton — mostly due to his rather shady past.
- Being Good Sucks: His self-sacrificial inclination and compassion for others (especially Thomas) is rarely self-serving, more often worsening his own circumstances.
- Be Careful What You Wish For
Bates: I wish she was the former Mrs Bates, or better still the late...
- Beware the Nice Ones: On the surface, he's an incredibly polite, softly spoken man who walks with a limp. However, woe betide those who forget that he served in South Africa during the Boer War, and that he was at one time a man with both a drinking problem and a temper, or he might remind you that, bad leg and all, he could easily kill you.
- Our first taster of this side of his character occurs in Series 1 when he aggressively threatens Thomas over his bullying of William.
- He also gets his buttons pressed in Series 2 when his estranged wife Vera threatens to ruin the Earl's reputation, as well as the Earl's family and Anna, if he doesn't return to her.
- In Series 4, he forces Mrs Hughes to tell him the details of Anna's rape ordeal. She lies about the culprit's identity on Anna's request (it was Green), but he suspects, and is perhaps the angriest we have ever seen him, darkly threatening to have revenge on the perpetrator.
- Blackmail: He is forced to come back to his wife when she finds out about the Kemal Pamuk scandal. Yes, he's blackmailed with someone else's dirty secret.
- Bully Hunter: The persecution of those less able to defend themselves causes him to see the metaphorical red mist, so woe betide those caught being mean to William or Daisy. At one point he slams Thomas into a wall in William's defense.
Bates: You listen to me, you filthy little rat: if you dont lay off I will punch your shining teeth straight through the back of your skull.
- Cannot Spit It Out: For a variety of reasons, the man refuses to explain anything.
- Can't Stay Normal: Attempted to correct his limp, but the prosthetic proved rather less effective than advertised.
- Chekhov's Gun: The return train ticket to London that Lady Mary found in his jacket and burned in the fire, probably believing that it would incriminate him in Green's murder. Actually, it would have (being untorn, hence unused) proved that he didn't go to London after all the day that Green died.
- Chekhov's Skill: Partway through Series 4, we find out that Bates picked up forging while in prison when he uses it to remedy Molesley's dire finances by writing a fake loan contract, stating that he owed Molesley thirty pounds. This comes back later in the Christmas Special, when Bates forges a note as part of Lord Grantham's plan to retrieve certain scandalous letters written by Freda Dudley-Ward — see her entry in the Guest Characters section for detail.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: He pretty much says this word for word to Anna.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: He and Anna have been through some of the series' most gruelling dramas, what with psycho ex-wives turning up, false murder charges (twice for Bates, once for Anna), imprisonment, and Anna's traumatic rape experience, so when their much longed-for son is born during the series' grand finale, he represents a well-deserved happy ending for the couple.
- Enemy Mine: Despite years of rivalry throughout Series 1 & 2, he's one of the few people to come to Thomas's aid in Series 3, following O'Brien's plan to out him and get him sacked without reference. After Thomas tells him O'Brien's own dark secret (just 3 little words - "Her Ladyship's soap"), Bates uses it to blackmail her into calling off her unrelenting scheming against the defeated valet. However, he comes to regret being so charitable when Thomas is kept on by Lord Robert — as Under-Butler.
- Frame-Up: As Series 2 concludes, he is carted off by the police, following his estranged wife Vera's last desperate act of revenge — framing him for her murder, when she had in fact killed herself with a poison-laced pie.
- Green-Eyed Monster: In Season 4, Bates clearly dislikes the mutual sympathy between Anna and Mr Green, being convinced that Mr Green is up to mischief. Later he shows his true colours.
- Handicapped Badass: He walks with a pronounced limp due to an old injury he sustained fighting in the Boer War.
- Hell Hole Prison: At the start of Series 3, he is incarcerated in a particularly grim prison, serving a life sentence for the murder of his ex-wife Vera.
- Honor Before Reason: God yes. Bates displays a homeric level of compassion, even towards those who treat him far less sympathetically.
- Insecure Love Interest: To Anna, especially whilst he is incarcerated in Series 3.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Bates to Anna. She essentially tells him where he can shove it, and they get married anyway as she refuses to have no legal standing in his life, whatever happens.
- Leitmotif: A sad, mournful piano/violin piece usually accompanies his time on-screen.
- Manly Tears: He cries private tears when he finds out about his wife Anna's rape.
- Miscarriage of Justice: See Frame-Up above — this forms the basis of his character arc from the end of Series 2, right through Series 3.
- Mysterious Past: Which is only revealed midway through Series 1, when he discloses that he was once a drunkard, and had also spent time in prison for a theft his wife Vera had committed.
- Oops! I Forgot I Was Married: Everyone is pretty shocked when the vile Vera turns up at Downton, looking to drag her "Batesy" back home.
- The Pardon: By Series 3 Episode 6, Anna's sleuthing finally pays off and he is cleared of Vera's murder. The case against him crumbles when Anna speaks with Mrs Bartlett, who reveals that she had seen Vera making the crust of the fatal pie in the evening of the day that she died after Bates had left by train to return to Downton. Bates had bought the rat poison, but the poison was only found in the pie and not in the ingredients. So if the pie was made after he left, Vera had to have poisoned it herself. By Episode 7, He's Back! at Downton and receives a hero's welcome.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: As of the final episode of Series 4, it is strongly implied that he travelled to London and dispatched Green by shoving him in front of a bus on Piccadilly in revenge for Anna's rape. A train ticket in his coat pocket places him in London on the day of the murder, which Lady Mary burns before it can be used to implicate him. Ultimately the whole matter is completely averted, see below.
- Red Herring Twist: In episode 6 of Series 5, he finally explains to Anna that although he had bought a ticket to London that day and did indeed plan to kill Green, he didn't go through with it in the end. It is simply enormously bad luck that Green happened to die that day. Ultimately, a witness places him in a pub at the time of the incident, putting Bates in the clear.
- The Stoic: Most of the time, but also the Stoic Woobie, as seen when he is initially asked to leave Lord Grantham's service, due to his bad leg, in Series 1.
- Sympathy for the Devil: It seems if there's one person who Bates can't stand more than Thomas, it's Sarah O'Brien, and his sense of justice will not let her get away with scheming against an already broken man. His time in prison has given him compassion for those with absolutely no power, as he explains.
- Taking the Heat: After Anna is carted off by the police and imprisoned for Green's murder at the end of Series 5, he writes a confession to the police to implicate himself and goes on the run to Ireland. By Christmas, thanks to Molesley and Baxter's sleuthing, a witness has been found to place him in a pub in York at the time of the murder and the case against him (and later Anna) finally appears to collapse. It's something of a character trait, as above, he'd done pretty much the same thing to protect Vera after her thieving.
- Team Dad: To the younger staff. He's the older male figure most of them come to when in need of advice or support.
- Vigilante Man: Oh yes. Although he's an undoubtedly good person, he has no compunction with taking the law into his own hands when required. He'll intimidate, beat up, and even seriously contemplate murdering those who threaten the ones he loves.
- Will They or Won't They?: His love for Anna moves one step forwards and two steps backwards. Finally, it is resolved with They Do when they have a sweet, simple ceremony towards the end of Series 2.
- You Didn't Ask!: As said when the staff are surprised to find out his comrades-in-arms relationship with Lord Robert.
Miss Sarah O'Brien
: Siobhan Finneran
"Hell be lucky if he gets a civil word out of me."
- The Atoner: Briefly, and only to Cora, after she deliberately causes her to miscarry.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Ostensibly, with Thomas.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Culminating in her stealthy Series 4 exit, detailed below. As of the end of Series 5, she's abandoned Lady Flintshire too, and is in the service of the new governor of Bombay's wife.
- Chronic Villainy: Despite a few brief Hazy Feel Turns, and one genuine My God, What Have I Done? incident in Series 1 (see below), over the course of her tenure on the series, she never loses her predisposition for malevolence.
- Consummate Liar: O'Brien's all honey around Cora. ...and arsenic with everyone else.
- Dark Secret: She's furious after she overhears gossip and mistakenly thinks Cora is going to sack her, so plants a well-placed bar of soap on her bathroom floor, causing her to slip and miscarry her baby. This comes back to haunt O'Brien in Series 3, following her campaign of revenge against former ally Thomas, and after he has been publicly outed and reduced to a defeated shell by her constant scheming, he relays this one vital weakness to Bates, who only has to whisper "her Ladyship's soap" in her ear (not knowing what that means) to see her backing down in terror.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Didn't See That Coming:
- A reckless plan to save her job turned into a Type 5 situation. After miscarrying, Cora's baby was revealed to be male, which would have helped to secure the future of the whole estate. Furthermore, Cora had planned to keep O'Brien on anyway.
- Type 2 occurs when she summons Vera to collect Bates. Instead of focusing her wrath on Bates himself, Vera finds out about Mary's dalliance with Kemal Pamuk and threatens to tell the newspapers. Mary is forced to accept Sir Richard's proposal of marriage in order to kill the story. Whoops.
- Dirty Social Tricks: Exhibits a practiced knack for humiliating her enemies, both socially and professionally.
- Driven by Envy: So it would appear — she hates her lot in life.
- Evil Duo: With Thomas.
- Evil Mentor: For her bumbling nephew Alfred, having managed to blag him a job as a footman at the start of Series 3. This blatant Nepotism angers Thomas, as he feels he had to fight to be promoted to Footman.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Mess with her nephew at your peril...
- Even Evil Has Standards: Most often not, but she is sympathetic to Mr. Lang's PTSD (her brother suffered it as well), is saddened by William's demise and finds out that Vera Bates is despicable even by her standards.
- Evil Versus Evil: In Series 3, O'Brien's championing of Alfred leads to an almighty fallout between her and Thomas, easily her closest companion at Downton and perhaps in life generally. See Revenge Before Reason below for detail.
Thomas: (smirking) Everything alright, Miss O'Brien?
O'Brien: Oh everything's alright with me, but it'll be all wrong with you before too long, mark my words.
- Fag Hag: For Thomas.
- For the Evulz: Some of her malice is inexplicable, such as disseminating info about Mary's sexual dalliances to Edith. It's possible that O'Brien enjoys the game of exploiting secrets for its own sake.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The two evil characters frequently plot whilst having a sneaky fag.
- Hate Sink: Especially in Series 1, although she's still a highly complex, interesting character.
- Hazy Feel Turn: The business with the soap obviously preys on her, and she does soften up a bit in Series 2, but by Series 3 she's back on form as the scheming old cow we know and love (to hate).
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: She appears to show a kinder side after Cora's miscarriage, but it doesn't last and for the most part her motives are selfish and petty, and unlike Thomas, has no excuse for being so nasty.
- Karma Houdini: Cunningly, she has remained Cora's most beloved and trusted servant, despite the fact that the rest of the Crawley family appear to know exactly what she's like — even Sybil, who never has a bad word to say about anybody refers to O'Brien as an "odious woman".
- Maid: As a highly skilled Lady's Maid, she represents the professional zenith of the Maid world.
- Maiden Aunt: Having no children of her own (or any chance at having any), she seems to treat Alfred as something of a surrogate son.
- Malicious Slander: Her specialty.
- Manipulative Bitch:
- In Series 1 & 2, her schemes include: trying to get Bates fired and to expose Lady Mary's affair with Pamuk, riling Cora up against Sybil becoming a nurse, repeatedly sending Ethel on fool's errands, getting Thomas transferred to the Downton hospital, and then getting him placed in charge of the convalescents in order to take Isobel down a peg, trying to get Mrs. Bird and Mrs. Patmore in trouble for feeding the indigent veterans and telling Vera that Bates is back at Downton.
- In Series 3, after her falling out with Thomas over Alfred's arrival, she does what she can to advance his crush on the new, pretty footman, Jimmy. She manipulates Jimmy so he won't confront Thomas about his unwelcome advances, but tells Thomas that Jimmy is interested, all as part of a twisted plot to get Thomas outed and sacked.
- Mirror Monologue: Briefly, just before she regretfully realizes the implications of placing a bar of soap on the floor of Lady Cora's bathroom...
O'Brien: Sarah O'Brien, this is not who you are.
- My God, What Have I Done?
- O'Brien first only seems to show moderate guilt when she knows that she is the direct cause of her mistress' miscarriage, but the look of this trope is truly visible on her face when she learns that Cora had never intended to get rid of her and she's now caused them exquisite pain for no reason whatsoever.
- During her testimony at Bates' trial, she's clearly regretful of how bad it makes Bates look; apparently sending him to the gallows for murder is a bit beyond how vindictive she felt toward him.
- Old Maid: She's in her 40's, and unlike fellow old maids Mrs Hughes and Mrs Patmore, she shows (and is shown) no romantic interest whatsoever. Unsurprisingly.
- Perpetual Frowner: It's very rare to see her crack a smile — but if she does, it likely denotes some sort of self-satisfying scheming is afoot.
- Pet the Dog: As of Series 2, O'Brien gets a few nice moments when she's the only one to really sympathise with Shell-Shocked Veteran Lang, as her brother went through the same thing. Lady Cora becomes one for her as well after Cora's miscarriage, though O'Brien is still not above underhanded schemes to protect her.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Thomas sneers at Bates's limp, too. But O'Brien is the one who kicks Bates's cane out from under him.
- The Resenter: Despite her skills, it's clear that a life serving her social superiors has rendered her embittered and underhand.
- Revenge Before Reason: What starts out as a petty squabble between her and Thomas over the arrival of Alfred in Series 3 escalates into a dangerous series of pranks and retaliations at each other's expense. This back and forth reaches its alarming zenith in episode 7, when she convinces Thomas that his feelings for Jimmy are mutual, leading him to enter Jimmy's bedroom for a midnight kiss. Alfred walks in at the most inopportune moment and witnesses the resulting fallout. It isn't long before O'Brien is whispering in her nephew's ear, encouraging him to report the incident to Mr Carson. Thomas is publicly outed and her revenge is complete. In the Series 3 finale, her plan to ruin Thomas is foiled when Bates (surprisingly) comes to Thomas's aid, by threatening to reveal her own darkest secret — "Her Ladyship's soap" (see above), is all he needs to whisper in her ear to frighten her into backing down.
- Sneaky Departure: Siobhan Finneran confirmed she would not return in Series 4, and as the series begins, we see O'Brien (in shadow and played by a stand-in) up and leave in the middle of the night, having accepted a post with Robert's cousin, the acidic Lady Susan Flintshire!
- Thicker Than Water: Despite his obvious flaws and inexperience, she's got Alfred's back covered at all times and always leaps to his defense.
O'Brien: Pay no attention. You've a nice manner Alfred, you're not VAIN like Thomas.
- True Craftsman: Believes very strongly in the importance of mastering the hard skills expected of a lady's maid—mending, hairdressing, et cetera—and has little patience for maids and valets who don't share this belief.
- Two Rights Make a Wrong: For all her lecturing at Thomas about playing it smart, O'Brien's schemes have an uncanny knack of blowing up in her face.
- Ultimate Job Security: Carson comes down a lot harder on other servants for smaller offenses. Mrs. Hughes catches O'Brien ransacking her room in search of a stolen snuff box, which seems pretty damming, but nothing comes of it. This is because Lady's Maids were answerable only to their mistress — Mrs Hughes can forcefully ask O'Brien for her cooperation, but only Cora can hire/fire her, which doesn't seem likely, given Cora's blindness to O'Brien's malicious side.
- Would Hurt a Child: Deliberately facilitating the death of Cora's unborn baby is easily her most monstrous moment during her tenure as the series's lead villainess.
Mr Thomas Barrow
: Rob James Collier
"This isn't her territory. We can say what we like down here."
- All Love Is Unrequited:
- He appears genuinely crushed in Series 1 when Crowborough spurns his affections, dismissing him as no more than a "youthful dalliance".
- In Series 3, he falls head over heels for pretty new footman Jimmy, and is clumsily flirtatious, despite Jimmy's clear discomfort and unreciprocal reaction — see Lured into a Trap below for full detail.
- Beauty Is Bad: As dishy as he is devious.
- Blackmail: In Series 4, he offers up Phyllis Baxter as a candidate to replace Edna as Lady Cora's Lady's Maid, with the sole purpose of using his knowledge of her apparently shady past (she stole jewellery from her previous mistress) to force her to act as his eyes and ears below stairs.
- The Bully: To William (Series 1), Alfred (Series 3) and Miss Baxter (Series 4).
- But Not Too Gay: In Series 1 and 2. The pilot episode showed that Thomas certainly was able to have a love life, but he only has brief crushes for the next two series. His attraction to Jimmy Kent in Series 3, however, ended this by making his sexual orientation a bigger part of the plot.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Ostensibly, with O'Brien.
- Character Development: While he never quite loses his habit of scheming and plotting and manipulation, he does become a very slightly kinder and more grateful person toward the end of the series.
- Chronic Villainy: According to an interview with Rob James-Collier, Thomas didn't learn a damn thing from the events of Series 3, and is still as scheming and conniving as ever. This shines through in the first episode of Series 4, when he conspires to get Nanny West fired for simply giving him attitude — see her entry below for full detail.
- Conspicuous Gloves: After being shot in the war, Thomas is left with a scarred-over hand. Since Series 2, he's seen wearing a glove at all times, and when off work he wears a flesh-coloured, fingerless one.
- Cure Your Gays: Self-administered when he tries some shady reparative therapy promoted in a newspaper advert that eventually lands him in the hospital.
- Deadpan Snarker:
Daisy (on Mrs Patmore's love-life): Why not? She's a woman isn't she?
Thomas: Only technically.
- Depraved Homosexual: His encounters with Pamuk, Crowborough and in Series 3, Jimmy.
- Despair Event Horizon: He's faced a variety of different obstacles over the years (some self-inflicted) but his arrogant pride has usually carried him through and allowed him to bounce back. However by Series 6, as it becomes clear that his job (the only thing he really has) is on the line, he grows increasingly isolated, bitter, and resentful of his fellow staff, and his lot in life. In the finale, he attempts to take his own life — see below for detail.
Mr Carson: You seem unusually disenchanted with life these days, Mr Barrow.
Thomas: I can't see the future, Mr Carson.
- Desperately Craves Affection: He's cold, haughty and is shown to be an incorrigible bastard on many occasions, but his unsubtle flirtations with men he finds attractive (Pamuk, Jimmy) reveal a side to him we rarely see — that of a desperately lonely man in a world where he can never fully be himself.
- Dirty Social Tricks: He gets a real kick out of humiliating his colleagues, and uses a number of nasty techniques to do so.
- Driven by Envy: Mrs Hughes thinks he's just jealous because everyone likes William.
- Drunk with Power: He's on the make, to put it lightly.
- Dude, He's Like, in a Coma!: He plants a kiss on Jimmy's lips whilst he sleeps, during a midnight visit to the young footman's bedroom. All hell breaks loose, as mentioned below.
- Earn Your Happy Ending:
- In the Series grand finale, it becomes instantly apparent that his suicide attempt, and the compassion meted out to him thereafter, has caused Thomas to have a genuine Heel Realization. He concludes that Being Evil Sucks and decides he wants to become a better person, but feels he cannot stay on at Downton. He therefore bids a tearful, heartfelt farewell to the staff and family before taking on the role of butler in a smaller house. However, the job is limited, boring and he ends up hating it, but salvation comes in the form of Mr Carsons retirement, and Thomas's story concludes with Carson approvingly passing the baton to him as the new butler of Downton Abbey.
- In the film, he finds a potential love interest in Richard Ellis, second valet to King George.
- Easily Forgiven: Given the various examples of his appalling behaviour over the past five series listed here, it beggars belief that he's managed to hang on to his job at the Abbey...
- Emerging from the Shadows: In the Series 4 Christmas special, he emerges menacingly from a darkened hallway on the upstairs landing to confront (and surprise) a very shocked Branson, who was at the time giving Miss Bunting an unsolicited tour of the Abbey gallery.
- Establishing Character Moment / Bitch Alert:
Thomas: You're late when I say you're late.
- Evil Duo: With O'Brien through Series 1-2.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Evil Former Friend: Of the Baxter family; Thomas and his sister were friends with the family growing up, which is how he knows (and is able to exploit) Phyllis' Dark Secret — see her entry for detail.
- Evil Is Petty:
- He's constantly trying to get Bates fired (admittedly, he was after Bates' job at the time), and flirts with Daisy, just to hurt William.
- With Bates in prison, he shifts his cross-hairs to Alfred, the new footman. Not only is Thomas protective of his position as Valet, but he kicks out the ladder to prevent anyone else from following him.
- Evil Mentor:
- In Series 3, he busily grooms his new protégé Jimmy to become 1st Footman, whilst simultaneously sabotaging rival candidate Alfred's chances.
- In Series 5, Thomas takes it upon himself to look after new footman Andy, and actually does something nice in catching on to Denker's schemes and getting Andy's money back. It's unclear whether he is doing it to have Andy in his pocket, or is actually being genuinely kind for once. Or does he simply have a bit of a crush?
- Evil Versus Evil: In Series 3, he and O'Brien have an almighty falling-out over the arrival of her nephew Alfred as the new footman, which causes huge damage to their once tight friendship. See Lured into a Trap below for detail.
- Eviler Than Thou: In the Series 5 Christmas day special, both the acid-tongued Lord Sinderby and his uppity butler Stowell really don't know who they're dealing with when they insult him, and Thomas takes pride in exacting revenge. After Stowell (whilst drunk) carelessly reveals details of Lord Sinderby's mistress, Thomas anonymously invites her to join a lunch party with the whole Crawley clan present — which leaves Lord Sinderby reeling and Stowell fearing for his job.
- Fool for Love:
- Although the opportunity for him to have a same-sex relationship in the Edwardian era is both slim and more importantly dangerous, Thomas is shown to take great risks in the pursuit of love, and is not shy about coming on to men (Kemal Pamuk, Jimmy) he finds attractive, despite the obvious jeopardy this puts him in.
- Exemplified during the Series 3 Christmas Day Special, where despite Jimmy's previous rebuttal and attempts to get him sacked, Thomas still jumps to his aid when the young footman is attacked by thugs at the village fair and is left beaten black and blue for his efforts.
Jimmy: Why were you following me?
Thomas: You know why...
- In the film, he follows without hesitation a guy he meets at a pub to a clandestine gay nightclub. Sure enough, the police raid the place ten minutes later.
- Friend to All Children: Surprisingly perhaps, given his character, he's genuinely fond of the Crawley family children, and is quick to oblige when Master George and Miss Marigold gleefully demand piggy-back rides.
- Freudian Excuse: He was picked on for being "different," hence the rather large chip on his shoulder.
- This is fully revealed when his mask slips a little during his chat with Lieutenant Courtenay.
Thomas: All my life they've pushed me around just cos I'm different...
- Also when he confesses to Bates he envies him — he can never experience being a part of a happy couple that everyone supports.
- He gets slammed hard with this again in Series 5, the catalyst being Jimmy's departure in episode 2, which upsets him greatly and causes him to again question how he is to ever find happiness. Episode 4 reveals that he has started some sort of course — "Choose Your Own Path" — that offers medical treatment for the "condition" of homosexuality. This quackery, which includes electric shock therapy and saline injections, ultimately ends up poisoning him, and it takes Miss Baxter's intervention (with Doctor Clarkson's medical advice) to make him see sense.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The two evil characters frequently plot whilst having a sneaky fag.
Mr William Mason
: Thomas Howes
"My mum was so excited when I came here. They're proud of me, and I'd hate to spoil that."
- Anyone Can Die: Having bravely saved the life of Matthew by shielding him from an explosion during the final push at Amiens.
- Battle Butler: He serves as Matthew's batman in France, and dies from injuries sustained saving his life at Amiens.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Despite his sweet nature, he can definitely handle himself in a scrap, as seen when he gives Thomas a much needed thrashing after he insults his late mother.
- Break the Cutie: He tries to be positive, but Thomas's cruel teasing eventually causes him to snap.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He's clearly in love with Daisy although she doesn't want to know with Thomas in the picture. She eventually does see it, once she gets over Thomas, and while she doesn't feel for him quite as intensely, she agrees to marry him in a rushed death-bed service right before he dies.
- Dramatic Irony: He repeatedly insists that he should be allowed to fight in the Great War, as he believes so much in the British cause. This for what is now recognized as one of the most pointless and wasteful wars in history.
- The Dutiful Son: He'd rather be working with horses at the family farm, but took the role of Footman to please his parents, so it's a bit of an inversion in his case.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Thomas vs. William and our Will valiantly carries the day.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Easily one of the warmest characters in the series, with a heart as golden as his flaxen hair.
- Heroic Wannabe: At the start of Series 2, he's desperate to sign up to the army.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Daisy. Thomas Howe is a clear foot taller than Sophie McShera (Daisy).
- Jumped at the Call: When he is finally called up, he can't wait to do his duty for King and country.
- Naïve Newcomer: Earnest, sweet and vulnerable, he's perfect bullying-fodder for Thomas.
- Nice Guy: And a complete Foil to his devious fellow footman, Thomas.
- Taking the Bullet: For Matthew at Amiens.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: His angelic death scene, surrounded by the staff and family united in grief, is particularly upsetting.
Mrs Anna Bates (née Smith)
: Joanne Froggatt
"Its always sad when you love someone who doesnt love you back, no matter who you are."
- Amateur Sleuth: In her efforts to prove Bates' innocence.
- Big "NO!": At Bates' trial, when the guilty verdict is read out.
- Break the Cutie: Following her Series 4 rape ordeal detailed below, the normally confident, vivacious Anna becomes (understandably) withdrawn and full of self-loathing.
- Bully Hunter: She will always tenaciously leap to the defense of anyone being harassed or picked on — even Thomas and O'Brien keep her at a respectful arms-length, never targeting her directly.
- The Confidant: For Lady Mary, who leans on Anna a lot. Along with her mother, she is the only one she can trust when Kemal Pamuk scandalously dies in her bed.
- Clear My Name: After it is revealed at the end of Series 5 that Bates wasn't involved in Green's murder, suspicion shifts to Anna. By the finale, she finds herself summoned to a Police Line Up, and is subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder as the series comes to a close. During the Christmas Day special, she is freed from prison after Bates confesses to the crime in her place, despite a witness placing him in York at the time the murder took place. Ultimately, her accuser's testimony wobbles, and in the Series 6 premiere, the real guilty party is identified, confesses her crime, and the case against Anna finally collapses. The entire staff celebrates with a Dance Party Ending.
- Clear Their Name: Her quest throughout Series 3 is to help prove Bates' innocence. By episode 6, she manages to coerce Vera's friend Audrey Bartlett into giving a testimony, which clears his name and secures his release.
- Earn Your Happy Ending / Babies Ever After: She and Bates have been through some of the series' most gruelling dramas, what with psycho ex-wives turning up, false murder charges (twice for Bates, once for Anna), imprisonment, and Anna's traumatic rape experience, so when their much longed-for son is born during the series' grand finale (in Lady Mary's bed!), he represents a well-deserved happy ending for the couple.
- Good Is Not Soft: Although she's sweet, kind and compassionate, Anna is absolutely not a walk-over and doesn't take any shit from Thomas or O'Brien, frequently calling them out on their dreadful behavior.
Anna: Fight fire with fire, that's what my mum says.
- I Will Wait for You: Confirms this to Bates, just before he is hauled off by the police.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Thomas directly describes her as such.
Thomas: She's not an enemy, but she's incorruptible, so we have nothing in common.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: In Series 6, Anna is desperate to start a family with Bates, but following three miscarriages, she despairs over the fact that she may never be able to bear children. Luckily, Lady Mary is on hand to provide the services of her own personal physician, who makes his diagnosis and a plan to operate — she falls pregnant soon after.
- Maid: Anna takes to the role of plucky girl detective like a duck to water.
- Morality Pet: For Lady Mary. No matter how nasty Mary may be to others, she's unfailingly kind to Anna, genuinely valuing her opinion and going far above and beyond what a lady of the time might be expected to for their Lady's Maid.
- Nice Girl: She's well liked and respected by the family and staff alike.
- Parental Incest: In the Series 5 Christmas day special, she reveals to Bates that she was systematically molested by her step-father, to the point where she had to defend herself and eventually stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Her mother tried to hush it up, but not before the police were informed. This incident forms part of the prosecution's case against her.
- Plucky Girl: Anna flatly refuses to have "no proper place" in Mr Bates' life when Vera's final scheme takes effect, and orders him to marry her despite his protests. He doesn't want to drag her into his troubles, but she swears that they "will face [this crisis] as man and wife" and finally lays down the law.
- Rank Up: As of Series 3 Episode 5, she is officially promoted to Lady Mary's lady's maid. This change heralds a simpler, more mature style of dress for her, more akin to the plain black outfits of Mrs Hughes and O'Brien.
- Rape as Drama: In Series 4, she is attacked and raped by Green, Lord Gillingham's valet, in harrowing scenes whilst the rest of the household is distracted upstairs during the Nellie Melba concert. After Mrs Hughes finds her in a broken, sobbing state, Anna insists she must tell no one. The repercussions for her marriage are clear when Bates turns up (not knowing what has happened) and she won't let him touch her or walk her home. Even when he does find out the truth, Anna suggests that she is Defiled Forever, and it takes some time for her to be comfortable with Bates again.
- Secret-Keeper: See Undying Loyalty, below.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: John Bates fits the bill perfectly, luckily for her.
- Team Mom: For the younger staff.
- Trojan Gauntlet: In preparation for Mary's illicit weekend away with Anthony Foyle in Series 5, poor Anna is dispatched to the local chemist and is mortified by the whole experience, especially as the chemist is something of a disapproving Sour Prude.
Chemist: There is always abstinence!
- Turn the Other Cheek: Despite the fact that Thomas actively tried to get Bates fired all throughout Series 1 & 2, she is shown to possess a dignified level of compassion, lending him a shoulder to cry on and hushing Alfred when he insensitively tells him to cheer up following Sybil's death.
- Undying Loyalty: Anna knows enough secrets that, if she ever truly desired to do so, she could sink the Crawley family easily. Fortunately, Anna is too kind to do that, and she and Mary are friends.
- Will They or Won't They?: With Bates. They Do — finally.
Mrs Gwen Harding (née Dawson)
"Dad will think I'm a fool to leave a good place and Mum will say I'm getting above myself, but... but I don't believe that."
- Back for the Finale: She returns to Downton for a brief moment in episode 4 of Series 6, having left the Abbey staff at the end of Series 1.
- The Suffragette: Gwen Dawson, later Mrs Harding, reappears in season 6. It is revealed that she has made a successful career in government alongside her husband John, and helps to support young women from similarly disadvantaged backgrounds to progress their careers. John is named as a trustee at a woman's college for middle-class girls who want to do other jobs aside from service.
- You Go, Girl!: Shes breaking every rule — In 1912, women were not expected or encouraged to have a profession and work in an office, so she represents the pioneering new wave of female independence coming through at that time.
Mrs Daisy Mason (née Robinson)
: Sophie McShera
"Thomas is lovely in every way. Hes funny and handsome, and hes got such lovely teeth."
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Her crush on Thomas early in the series (which he exploits to make William jealous).
- Because You Were Nice to Me: She bonds with Mr Mason (following initial reservations - see below), William's widowed father, after he tells her how special she is to him following William's death.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In Series 3, she bugs Mrs. Patmore to hire a kitchen maid for months. Just when she's finally about to tell Alfred that she fancies him, she's introduced to new kitchen maid Ivy, who he immediately starts flirting with.
- Better as Friends: She and Alfred, although it's a tough, upsetting decision for her as she did love him.
- Break the Cutie: A couple of instances cause her great upset — notably the guilt she felt at marrying William on his death-bed, and in Series 3, Alfred's disinterest in her and pursuit of Ivy breaks her heart.
- Butt-Monkey: Due to being one of the youngest, most junior staff members, and for having a rather gullible personality.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: In season 3, she's very jealous of Ivy, due to Alfred's crush on the latter.
- The Cutie: Especially in the first season, she's vulnerable and innocent.
- Call to Agriculture: In the Series' grand finale, she finally decides to take up her father-in-law Mr Mason's offer, and moves onto the farm with him.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Where Alfred is concerned, but in general she has this problem on most matters.
- Dark and Troubled Past: She is stated to have had a tough childhood and is from the very lowest, dysfunctional end of the working classes.
- Hero's Muse: For William, who always says he will bear anything if she is with him.
- Horrible Judge of Character: In Series 1, she's in love with Thomas of all people, which seems less forgivable in light of the revelation in Series 3 that just about everyone else knew that Thomas was gay.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With William.
- Green-Eyed Epiphany: In Series 3, her interest in newcomer Alfred is only piqued when she sees him enjoying Miss Reed's attentions.
- Green-Eyed Monster: She's furious that Ivy is the subject of Alfred's affections, and takes her anger out on the poor girl.
- History Repeats:
- In Series 3, her aggressive attitude towards junior member of staff Ivy draws parallels with her own poor treatment at the hands of Mrs Patmore during Series 1.
- Jimmy flirting with Ivy, supposedly to bully Alfred who is genuinely interested in her, parallels the former Love Triangle between Daisy, William and Thomas. Especially if we consider Jimmy as Armoured Closet Gay...
- Limited Advancement Opportunities: It's likely down to the series's Comic-Book Time, but she remains a lowly scullery maid for a good 8 years before she is promoted to Assistant Cook. She has to complain to make it happen.
- Literal-Minded: Not quite as extreme as the trope usually suggests, but she does get ridiculously stuck on the fact that she didn't quite feel for William what he felt for her, and acting like that completely invalidates their marriage. There's also the fact that, as the Dowager Countess points out to her later, her marrying him in order to "keep his spirits up at the end" was actually a very strong expression of love.
- Love Triangle: In Series 3, she's part of the Love Quadrilateral of herself -> Alfred -> Ivy -> Jimmy, with Thomas also making his own moves on the latter.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: She's one of eleven, as her mother was a true Victorian and produced a vast brood of children.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: In the war years of Series 2, a dramatic scene of William (and Matthew) getting caught in an explosion quickly cuts to Daisy back at Downton, who is visibly shaken and falters mid-task.
- Naïve Everygirl: Although she has toughened up a lot since the first series, Daisy still, at times, reveals herself to be a highly impressionable young woman. In Series 5, she falls under the influence of socialist firebrand Sarah Bunting, who, as well as teaching her rudimentary mathematics, fills Daisy's head with revolutionary ideas.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In the first episode of Series 6, Daisy's father-in-law Mr Mason faces eviction from his farm at the hands of a newly-rich couple, the Hendersons, who have bought the whole estate. Daisy, outraged at this situation, lays into Mr Henderson at the estate sale with an impassioned speech, but he instantly shuts her down, making it very clear that she has now made her father-in-law's situation far worse. Daisy decides that she Must Make Amends, and campaigns to have Mr Mason re-housed thereafter.
- Pair the Spares: In the Series' grand finale, she decides to give Andy a chance (following initial reservations) and begins a proper relationship with him.
- Rank Up: As of Series 3, she is promoted to Assistant Cook.
- Rear Window Witness: Whilst up early to light the bedroom fires, she catches Lady Mary, her mother and Anna moving Pamuk's body across the landing back to his own room in the bachelor's corridor, after he has scandalously died in Mary's bed.
- Scullery Maid: Her role through Series 1, to the first part of Series 3.
- She Knows Too Much: Having witnessed the corpse-related escapade above, it plays on her mind, and in the end it is she who informs Edith (after coaxing) of Mary's bedroom antics, thus starting the whole Kemal Pamuk scandal.
- Supreme Chef: As early as the Series 2 Christmas special, Miss Shore remarks that Daisy could be a sous-chef in London or head cook of any house in England less grand than Downton. By Series 4, she's really come into her own in the kitchen, and her food is by all accounts excellent if a bit plain (but of course, that's what the English have prided themselves on since the 1700s). She even gets invited by Lady Grantham's brother Harold—who came to England fully expecting to hate English cooking—to become his cook in New York, but she turns him down.
- Unwitting Pawn: In Thomas's Series 1 plan to get Bates sacked. The scheming footman convinces her to give a false report to Carson, incriminating Bates in the theft of wine.
- Widow Woman: Becomes one after William's death, only a few hours after their marriage.
Mr Thomas "Tom" Branson
: Allen Leech
"Sometimes a hard sacrifice must be made for a future that's worth having."
- Actual Pacifist: While he might occasionally engage in personal violence when necessary (see: tackling that assassin) or when emotion overcomes him, he appears to be mostly genuinely opposed to hurting people for any cause (the Easter Rising may have caused him to question these principles, but it was all over before he had a chance to make a final decision). His horror at the effects of his one brush with destruction of property (the burning of the Anglo-Irish castle that triggered his return to Downton from Dublin in Series 3) seems to have strengthened these beliefs.
- Affectionate Nickname: His big brother, Kieran, calls him "Tommy".
- Best Friends-in-Law: With Matthew.
- Big Damn Heroes: In the movie, Tom tackles an assassin, saves the life of the King of England, inadvertently persuades a princess to give her terrible marriage another try, and gets a big thank you from the king. Oh, and he also gets the girl, who is the heir to a wealthy estate.
- Birds of a Feather: Begins a friendship with Sybil based on their shared interest in politics and women's rights. Later episodes reveal their rebellious natures and disregard for society's class divisions.
- Blood on the Debate Floor: His conversations on political reform impress Lady Sybil, but land her in a dangerous situation at an aggressive rally in Ripon. (He's absolutely aghast when Sybil is injured; his anguished "Oh no, please God no" is the first overt clue to his feelings for her.)
- Bromance: With Henry Talbot, throughout Series 6.
- Character Development: He becomes much less dogmatic and prickly about his politics as time goes by, even eventually admitting that there might be some good things about capitalism.
- Commonality Connection: He and Matthew bond and find mutual support over their both marrying Crawley girls, as well as the fact that Matthew recognizes that he, like Branson, was once an outsider at Downton.
Matthew: If we're mad enough to take on the Crawley girls, we've got to stick together.
- Didn't See That Coming: He sings the praises of the Second Russian Revolution, and confidently insists the revolutionaries won't harm the Romanov family in captivity. In a later episode, his effusive, slightly smug passion for the revolution is drastically muted when he finds out that the Soviet government has executed the family, including putting innocent children to death...
- Dogged Nice Guy: He's really determined to win Lady Sybil, having fallen head over heels in love, and spends a great deal of time trying to convince her that she should do the same.
- Fanservice: His medical exam for entrance to the army features three! whole! buttons undone on his shirt. (Hey, you take what you can get with these period pieces.) And in the Series 3 Christmas Special, he is actually shirtless for roughly three seconds.
- Fee Fi Faux Pas: Once married to Lady Sybil, he makes loads, from not changing for dinner to using the wrong forms of address — not that he gives a shit.
Violet: He's still dressed as the man from the Prudential I see.
- Fish out of Water: In Series 4, whilst attending a particularly glitzy party at the Abbey, he describes himself as such word-for-word.
- Get Out!: After Larry Grey rears his ugly head again at a dinner in Series 5, and once more voices his disgust over Sybil marrying him (amongst other things), Tom explodes with rage, calls Larry a bastard (which would be shocking for the period), and tells him to get the hell out.
- Intergenerational Friendship: He forms a very unlikely one with Violet after Sybil dies; she gives him social advice at parties and dances with him, and also goes out of her way to find ways of including him in the family business.
- Kissing Under the Influence: He enjoys an illicit one-night encounter with Edna in Series 4, but is quick to tell her the next day that It Doesn't Mean Anything. She, of course, has other ideas...
- Like Brother and Sister: By about Series 5, Mary and Edith fully consider him their brother, due to his marriage to their late sister Sybil, and refer to him as such several times.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: When an important general is dining at the Abbey in Series 2 during the war, he hatches a plot to attack him with something concealed inside a soup tureen. When the other staff catch onto his plan, they assume that he has a gun or a bomb and intends to murder the general. Instead, the tureen contains ink, engine oil, cow excrement and other icky substances to render the general Covered in Gunge.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: After Edna is fired for coming on to him in Series 3, Tom asks Mrs. Hughes to write her a good reference, out of guilt that he may have led her on. This comes back to bite both of them hard in the fourth Series premiere, when Edna uses that reference to get herself back into Downton when Cora interviews her.
- Not Helping Your Case: He doesn't exactly receive a red-carpet welcome (perhaps understandably) when he revisits Downton as Lady Sybil's husband, but he doesn't help himself with his tetchy, chippy attitude and over-zealous politicking. Matthew even calls him out on it:
Matthew: You don't make it easy for them. D'you really think you can recruit Cousin Robert for Sinn Féin?
- Odd Friendship: With Mary of all people. After the deaths of Sybil and Matthew, they form a bond over their shared grief at having lost their spouse, close friend/sister, and at being single parents.
- Panicky Expectant Father: As seen whilst Sybil is in labour — with good reason.
- Patriotic Fervor: His storyline addresses this the most. He's very active in Irish Nationalism (although, as he points out, he's hardly limited to that in his politics) and he had a cousin killed in the Easter Rising. There's also a moment where he and Sybil spar over it when she doesn't understand (due to mostly being given the English side of things) why Tom has such a strong dislike of the English government and military.
- Please, Don't Leave Me!: Says this to Sybil over and over again as she dies of post-partum eclampsia.
- Principles Zealot: His high-minded ideals are often a little too inflexible.
Branson: (on wearing morning dress) You see I don't approve of these costumes, I see them as the uniform of oppression and I should be uncomfortable wearing them.
Violet: Have you quite finished?
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In Series 3, finally.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of the Series 5 Christmas special, after a suitably moving farewell speech led by Lord Grantham, he and Sybbie bid farewell to the family and leave Downton for good to start a new life in America.
- Rags to Royalty: He starts out as the family chauffeur, but through dogged perseverence, he ends up married to Lady Sybil and a member of the noble Crawley family.
- Rank Up: As of Series 3 Episode 7 he is made Estate Manager for Downton.
- Rant-Inducing Slight: Don't bring up politics over dinner.
- Saying Too Much: In the Series 6 finale, he is the one who tells Mary about Marigold's true parentage, thus kicking off the biggest row ever witnessed on the show between the Crawley sisters.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: When Robert offers him money to forget about Sybil, he refuses.
- Second Love: Tom, widowed for seven years, falls for Lady Bagshaws ladys maid Lucy Smith in the movie.
- Ship Tease: A budding relationship with Edith's editor, Miss Edmunds, is teased in the grand finale.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Due to the veritable class-chasm between him and Lady Sybil.
- Start My Own: In the grand finale, he and Henry Talbot open a car dealership — Branson & Talbot as joint owners, which acts as an outlet for their shared love of cars.
- Strawman Political: Used as a Plot Device to encourage Sybil's rebellious streak.
- The Bus Came Back: In episode 3 of Series 6, he and Sybbie show up as surprise guests at Carson and Mrs Hughes' wedding. To the delight of all gathered, he vows to stay on at Downton for good.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He delivers an almighty one to Mary in the Series 6 finale, after she cruelly tells Edith's fiancé, Bertie Pelham, about Marigold's true parentage.
Tom: You're a coward Mary. Like all bullies you're a coward.
- Token Minority: To some degree, a token Irishman. There might well be other Irish servants, and there are certainly Irish-descended ones (O'Brien for one, and Bates's mother was apparently Irish), but he's the only named character who is born in Ireland and a member of the Irish Nationalist movement.
- Tsundere: Privately, Sybil reveals to Mary that he really isn't as anti their family as he appears to be — in fact, he's hoping for their approval.
Sybil: He puts a tough face on it and says things that make everyone angry, but he so wants your good opinion. I can't tell you how much.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Mid-way through Series 3, his revolutionary ideals turn ugly and he arrives at Downton on the run from Ireland, having been present at the ransacking and burning of a noble Anglo-Irish family's castle. The Crawleys are disgusted, especially as he left the heavily pregnant Lady Sybil behind.
- Will They or Won't They?:
- With Sybil — They Do.
- Then with Sarah Bunting in Series 4/5 — they don't; her over-zealous, firebrand behaviour puts even him off.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Following his anarchic escapades in Ireland, detailed above, Lord Grantham uses his influence to call off the authorities, on the condition he does not set foot on Irish soil.
- You Keep Telling Yourself That: How Robert, Carson and the more conservatively inclined residents of Downton generally react to his socialist diatribes.
Mr Joseph Molesley
: Kevin Doyle
""I'll do this" he says. "I'll take the other. I'll tie that."... I'm just stood there like a chump, watching a man get dressed."
Mrs May Bird
: Christine Lohr
"I do not believe it is part of my duties to wait on the likes of her."
- Apron Matron
- Deadpan Snarker
Mrs Bird: ...If you want your garden party to be run by Blind Pew.
- Didn't See That Coming: She's shocked when Isobel gives her her notice in Series 3, after she refuses to work with ex-prostitute Ethel.
- Old Maid: Cooks are always "Mrs" as a courtesy.
- Pet the Dog: Mrs Bird is justifiably pissed when she finds out that Daisy had tried to sabotage her cooking, but she is also the first one to comfort Daisy since she was acting out of loyalty to Mrs Patmore.
- The Rival: Initially for Mrs Patmore, who was very worried the family would prefer Bird's cooking whilst she was away in London for her eye-surgery. They eventually discover they a Commonality Connection and bond through shared exasperation over Mrs Hughes' control of the food store.
- Servile Snarker: As evidenced by her very first exchange:
Matthew: Mrs Bird, Lord Grantham has rather a favour to ask of you.
Mrs Bird: I'm surprised Lord Grantham knows that I exist, sir.
- Slut-Shaming: Her brief and entire role in Series 3 is doing this to poor Ethel. However, due to Deliberate Values Dissonance, even some of the more regularly seen and well-rounded characters (Mrs Patmore for one) are shown to have much the same prejudice towards Ethel, believing that even being near an ex-prostitute is enough to "taint" their own reputations
- Sour Supporter: She's a bit of an old grump, but does mellow a little.
- Team Chef: For Crawley House, the home of Isobel and Matthew.
folder:Introduced in Series 2
Miss Ethel Parks
: Amy Nuttall
"I want the best, and I'm not ashamed to admit it."
- Break the Haughty: Goes from a cocky, self-assured maid to being pregnant and bare-foot in the space of an episode.
- Defiled Forever
Mrs Hughes: You've broken the rules, my girl, and it's no good pretending they're easily mended.
- Don't Split Us Up: Ethel's reaction when Major Bryant's parents ask her to let them adopt her baby, Charlie, and have her walk out of his life. She refuses. Until Series 3 that is, when she finally relents and hands Charlie over so that he may enjoy a better life.
- False Widow: How she explains away her illegitimate child, Baby Charlie. Luckily, this is the late 1910s, the era of World War I and The Spanish Flu - both providing good excuses for the existence of young single mothers. Ethel chooses the latter, as it also explains why she isn't getting a war widow's pension.
- Fiery Redhead: Well, definitely gobby redhead.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: She appears to have very little sense of propriety, given her lowly position in the staff pecking order.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Mrs Hughes bursts in on her and Major Bryant getting it on in an unused room — which leads to her immediate dismissal, and Surprise Pregnancy.
- Lethal Chef: In Series 3, Isobel's charitable act of taking her on as a cook/housekeeper blows up in her face when she finds out just how bad a cook Ethel actually is.
- The Oldest Profession: As Series 3 begins, it is confirmed she is working as a prostitute, after Isobel spots her at the charitable centre for 'ladies of the night' she is supporting. This ultimate fall from grace finally convinces her to hand Baby Charlie over to Mr & Mrs Bryant (his paternal grandparents) in heart-breaking scenes mid-way through Series 3.
- Put on a Bus: All works out in the end for Ethel, and she leaves the series at the close of Series 3 after Mrs Bryant kindly orchestrates a job for her closer to the Bryant household (and therefore Baby Charlie) so she may watch over her son.
- Rebellious Spirit: As O'Brien says:
O'Brien: You've got a cheek for your first day.
- Servile Snarker: Amongst the cheekiest of the staff.
- Small Name, Big Ego: She is convinced she's going to make it big as a movie star, for no apparent reason.
- Small Town Boredom: Which likely motivates her rather rash behaviour and poor judgement.
- Stigmatic Pregnancy Euphemism: She admits to Mrs Hughes that she's been telling people Baby Charlie's father "died from Spanish Flu", so as to avoid any further scandal.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: An ambitious redhead that doesn't want to stay in service but go out and make it big. Where have we heard that before? Though the show is quick to differentiate her from Gwen; Gwen has a more realistic goal (becoming a secretary) and is also willing to do the work it takes to achieve that goal, whereas Ethel expects glory to just be handed to her.
- The Tease: With the officers convalescing at Downton, which leads to a Surprise Pregnancy — her illegitimate son with Major Bryant is born mid-way through Series 2.
- Trash Talk: Easily amongst the gobbiest of the staff.
- What Were You Thinking?: Shacking up with random men (and getting pregnant) was a massive no-no in the Edwardian era.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: She really wants to become the protagonist of a Rags to Riches story, like in the magazines she reads.
Mrs Jane Moorsum
: Clare Calbraith
"I want to be with you. Let me."
- Leitmotif: Scenes of the dalliance between her and Robert are accompanied by a rather melancholy theme.
- Maid: She's a young widowed mother who works as a maid in Downton Abbey.
- The Mistress: Robert considers an affair with her, and they share an illicit, passionate kiss. She offers to leave her position to make it easier for him, but Robert doesn't want her to suffer a lower income because of his indiscretions. However, later they both agree she must leave as it will be better for all involved.
- Put on a Bus: She leaves Downton before the affair gets out of hand.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Jane Moorsum is a brunette with pale skin and piercing blue eyes. Lord Grantham (possibly responding to the similarity to his wife) likes her looks and personality so much that he starts an (ultimately unconsummated) affair with her.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Has no shame in asking Lord Grantham to influence Ripon Grammar Schoolnote to award her son a place. After breaking off an attempted affair with her, Robert then uses his connections to set up Jane's son in future employment after he leaves school.
- Widow Woman: Her husband was killed in the War. She has one son.
- Will They or Won't They?: Robert likes her and she likes Robert, as much as a humble maid can raise her eyes to an earl. Robert considers being with her and it also appears his wife might die of Spanish flu. Ultimately, Robert and Jane don't get together. After a few stolen kisses, they both realise nothing can come of it, and she leaves Downton soon after.
Mr Henry Lang
: Cal Macaninch
"Have you any idea how scared they are? How scared they all are?"
- Catapult Nightmare: He is shown to suffer from vivid night-terrors due to his experiences in the War and bursts from his bed screaming, terrified that he will have to go back to the trenches.
- Morality Pet: For O'Brien, whose brother suffered similar trauma.
- Put on a Bus: Suffering from shell shock, he is dismissed after his condition makes employment in a private house impossible.
- The Quiet One: He's very softly spoken, so much so that Lord Grantham has to angrily ask him to speak up at one point.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Following his horrific experiences of trench warfare.
- There Are No Therapists: More or less true at the time.
- War Is Hell: One of the characters used to fully embody this trope.
Miss Marigold Shore
: Sharon Small
"Is Mr Bates the one Lady Rosamund told me about? The murderer?"
- Bodyguard Betrayal: She is revealed to be having an affair with Rosamund's suitor Lord Hepworth, and presumably leaves her service soon after.
- Brutal Honesty: Like her mistress, she tends to rub other people up the wrong way.
- Christmas Episode: Her sole appearance was in the Second Series Christmas Day Special.
- Interrupted Intimacy: After Anna notices Hepworth taking her by hand upstairs during the servants ball, she notifies Mary, who in turn speaks to Rosamund. The three go upstairs and catch Hepworth and Shore in bed together, thus revealing their affair.
- Jerkass Has a Point: She's a complete stirrer, and is shown to have rather loose morals (see below), but she does advise and encourage Daisy to stand up for herself and demand career advancement, even if the approach she suggests is unsuitably petulant.
- Maid: She's presented as Rosamund's new lady's maid and spends most of her time at her Ladyship's London residence, 35 Eaton Square.
- The Mistress: For Lord Hepworth.
- Servile Snarker: For a visiting servant, she is very opinionated and causes disruption among the Downton staff, especially between Daisy Mason and Mrs Patmore.
- The Unapologetic: After she is discovered in bed with Hepworth, she's not sorry at all and defiantly says "Don't worry, we will!" when told she is expected to leave by morning.
Introduced in Series 3
: Lucille Sharp
"Mrs Levinson knows you make fun of her — but she makes fun of you."
Mr Alfred Nugent
"Tea spoon, egg spoon... melon spoon, grapefruit spoon, jam spoon..."
Mr James "Jimmy" Kent
: Ed Speleers
"It's not what you think!!"
- The Charmer: He has a natural air of confidence and grace that Alfred does not possess, and so sees the role of First Footman as his natural right.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Carson has his number, and gives him a severe bollocking on more than one occasion for picking on Alfred, who he has firmly taken under his powerful wing.
- Deceptive Disciple: Thomas is very quick to take Jimmy under his wing and teaches him how to win Carson over — by sabotaging Alfred. Cordial relations are fleetingly short, however, as Thomas's unwelcome flirting starts to grate...
- Dirty Social Tricks: As Series 3 progresses, he does whatever he can to discredit Alfred, both socially and professionally, in his goal to be First Footman — as shown when he sabotages Alfred's service, causing him to slop langoustines all over the Dowager Countess.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": He's not happy at all that Carson insists he go by his proper name "James" when in presence of the Crawley family.
Carson: I don't care if you were Father Christmas to Lady Anstruther, here you are "James".
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Indulges in a quick smoke and cards with Thomas & Alfred in Series 4.
- Hired for Their Looks: Footmen were employed to be noticed, with good looks and poise that brought pride to the family they served. Carson has to concede that Jimmy fits the bill perfectly.
- Honey Trap: Unknowingly, as part of O'Brien's plan to out Thomas.
- Incompatible Orientation: In Series 3, Thomas falls for O'Brien's lies that his feelings for Jimmy are mutual, leading him to enter the young footman's bedroom for a midnight kiss. Jimmy angrily rebuffs his unexpected advances and barks it's Not What It Looks Like at Alfred, after he witnesses the resulting fall-out. Jimmy then gets a bad case of Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today? the next morning, after O'Brien frightens him into aggressively convincing Carson to refuse Thomas a reference, by suggesting that his silence on the matter may imply compliance....and enjoyment.
- Interrupted Intimacy: In Series 5, he and his amorous ex-employer, Lady Anstruther, are caught in bed together by Lord Grantham of all people, after he bursts into her room to warn her of a fire on the upstairs landing. This offence leads to his immediate dismissal.
- Laser-Guided Karma: He walks in and insults Alfred's attempt to learn to dance with Daisy, while also shooting down Daisy's hopes that Alfred's interested in her rather than Ivy. He then starts to dance with Daisy himself... only for Carson to walk in and start berating him for it, specifically comparing him to Alfred who is not dancing.
- Love Triangle: In Series 3, he's part of the Love Quadrilateral of Daisy -> Alfred -> Ivy -> himself. He also finds himself on the receiving end of Thomas's not-so-subtle advances.
- Lust Object:
- Thomas welcomes him with a beaming smile and clearly takes an instant shine to the handsome newcomer.
- Lady Anstruther, his much older ex-employer clearly sees him as such too.
- Meet the New Boss: Essentially, Jimmy is a rebooted Thomas, with Alfred as the new William.
- Mistaken for Gay: By Thomas, thanks to O'Brien's meddling.
- Mistress and Servant Boy: The risqué mistress-servant relationship he shared with his much older ex-employer, Lady Anstruther, which has been alluded to since his debut, is explored further when she visits Downton in Series 5. Turns out, she can't keep her hands off him, and takes him to bed the night she arrives.
- Mr. Fanservice: In-universe. He causes quite the frisson of excitement amongst the ladies below stairs, and even Lady Mary is impressed.
Lady Mary: Well done, Carson, that must have cheered up the maids.
- Pretty Boy: With his curly blond hair and cheeky, cherubic face.
- Pride: He's ambitious and confident in both his good looks and ability, which leads him to act in a rather selfish, rude manner on occasion.
- Put on a Bus: After Lord Grantham discovers him in bed with Lady Anstruther, he sacks Jimmy immediately. He leaves Downton the next day at the beginning of episode 2 of Series 5, after bidding a genuinely fond farewell to Thomas.
- Rank Up: As of the Series 3 finale, he finally gets his way and is promoted to First Footman.
- Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: During the Series 3 Christmas Special, he is attacked by thugs at the village fair and Thomas leaps to his defense, ending up beaten black and blue in the process. This spurs Jimmy into making peace with Thomas, although he insists he can never give him the romantic relationship he is looking for.
- The Rival: With Alfred — for the position of First Footman.
- Shirtless Scene: Within 10 minutes of his arrival, Thomas catches him en déshabillé.
- Sleeping with the Boss: Well, ex-boss, but even so it's pretty clear from Series 5 that his relationship with Lady Anstruther was always of a physical nature.
- The Social Darwinist: As Series 3 progresses, it becomes clear he is something of a lone wolf, and is not above using underhand actions to achieve what his sees as his natural right — the role of First Footman.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating:
- To Alfred mostly, over his feelings for Ivy and her lack of reciprocity — behaviour which frequently lands him in hot water with Carson.
- Also seen at the village fête during the Series 3 Christmas special, where his cocky posturing following the Downton team's victory in the tug-of-war directly leads to both he and Thomas being assaulted by the furious losing team.
- Unwitting Pawn: In O'Brien's scheming to bring down Thomas.
Miss Ivy Stuart
"I hope were going to get on."
Miss Edna Braithwaite
"Must I? I said I'd meet Tom Branson for lunch in the village."
: Simone Lahbib
"It's a treat to have a kindred spirit come to stay, it really is."
- Beleaguered Assistant: To the acidic Lady Flintshire.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: O'Brien finds a kindred spirit in her opposite number.
- Christmas Special: She makes her debut in the Series 3 Christmas Day Special.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Wilkins is furious that her mistress Susan gushingly praises O'Brien's hair-dressing skills whilst dismissing her own, and sets out to humiliate her opposite number.
- Hoist by Her Own Petard: Believing that O'Brien is trying to upstage her and steal her job, Wilkins attempts to spike her drink to get her drunk and embarrass herself. When an angered O'Brien finds out, she starts to actively try to steal her job, and actually succeeds at the beginning of Series 4.
- Maid: Whether it's justified or otherwise, her mistress Lady Flintshire finds her stylistic skills to be sorely lacking.
- Old Maid: Just like O'Brien.
- Prim and Proper Bun: Which adds to her austere, dour character.
- Similar Squad: Stern, dour, resentful and envious, she's a literal north-of-the-border facsimile of O'Brien.
- Slipping a Mickey: She tries to spike O'Brien's drink with whiskey in an attempt to humiliate her at the Gillies Ball. She fails — O'Brien is far too savvy to fall for one of The Oldest Tricks in the Book.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In Series 4, it becomes clear that Susan has actually poached O'Brien from Cora — Wilkins therefore presumably loses her place.
: Ron Donachie
"I'll announce dinner in ten minutes."
- Christmas Special: He appears in the Series 3 Christmas Day Special.
- The Jeeves: For Duneagle Castle.
- Large and in Charge: Hes an enormous great polar bear of a man, and it's doubtful he stands for any nonsense from his staff, who appear to remain in respectful silence during the somewhat monastic servant's dinner.
- The Leader: He heads up the Duneagle Castle staff, and is a local Scot.
- Perpetual Frowner
- Similar Squad: He's stern, somber and reserved, and in the same way that Wilkins = OBrien, he's a north-of-the-border facsimile of Carson.
- The Stoic: His manner is solemn and rather grim.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: It's entirely possible that due to his employer Shrimpie having to sell up, he lost his job soon after the events depicted in the Series 3 Christmas Special.
Introduced in Series 4
"Please don't touch the children, not without my permission."
- Adult Fear: Incarnate — the very idea of a trusted, live-in employee secretly abusing one's children is every parent's worst nightmare.
- Babysitter from Hell: Of the incredibly dark variety.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Friendly and jolly to the family — viciously sneering to poor Sybbie behind their backs.
- Bullying a Dragon: Bossing Thomas around is never a good idea, and he conspires to have her sacked.
- Control Freak: She is very controlling with her young charges, and when Thomas shows a soft spot for Sybbie, she tells him to back off politely, but very firmly. She also won't even let Isobel see her grandson when she pays a call, citing unsuitable timing.
- Drunk with Power: The position of Nanny is unique in that it falls somewhere between the family and the servants, but doesn't really belong to either group. She doesn't report to Carson or Mrs Hughes like the other staff, and enjoys an elevated autonomy, which is why she feels she can boss Thomas about.
Nanny West: You're a member of staff, and the orders I give are to be obeyed.
Thomas: And aren't you a member of staff?
Nanny West: Not in that way.
- Evil All Along: Throughout her episode she's full of bluster and very bossy to Thomas (which he probably deserves) but she appears to be good with the children, so initially it's even possible to feel slightly sorry for her when Thomas gives a false report on her actions to Cora out of spite. However, it's genuinely shocking when, just before the episode finishes, Cora catches her calling Sybbie a "chauffeur's daughter" and a "wicked little cross-breed" in chillingly aggressive tones — an offense which leads to her immediate dismissal. Turns out Thomas was inadvertently right.
- Hate at First Sight: Thomas — and it's mutual.
- Monster of the Week: Downton-style.
- Parental Substitute: As expected of the English aristocracy, the Crawleys employ a nanny to take care of young Master George and his cousin, Sybbie.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Has no trouble bullying and starving a two year-old due to her mixed-class and mixed-nationality parentage. When Isobel tries to visit with George, she comes downstairs visibly shaken, explaining to Carson that "Nanny West didn't think it a good time"implying that her classism extends to George's middle-class grandmother as well.
- Villain Ball: A few ill-timed, particularly nasty words are her undoing.
Mr Septimus Spratt
: Jeremy Swift
"I'm perfectly capable of serving luncheon to three ladies, so why are you here? I think it's my job you're after."
Mr Sam Thawley
: Jonathan Howard
"I had to come. I had to see you....were, you know, all right after that ruckus."
- Boy Meets Girl: He's instantly smitten with Lady Rose, having met her whilst she was posing as a maid to gatecrash a tea-dance organised for local servants (he's a gardener on the neighbouring Easingwold estate).
- Dogged Nice Guy / Love Confession: He follows Rose back to the Abbey in the hopes of pursuing a romantic relationship, convinced she is a fellow servant.
- The Dulcinea Effect: He gets into a huge fight protecting Rose from a thuggish type who tries to force her to dance with him.
- Forbidden Friendship: Rose does genuinely like him, and they make a handsome couple, but the class-chasm between them precludes her from taking it further.
- Genre Blindness: With her cut-glass RP accent, Rose is quite clearly not a maid.
- Hunk: For Rose, Sam is clearly a handsome "bit of rough".
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: After he turns up at the Abbey, Rose, feeling guilty for leading him on, borrows Anna's old maid uniform so as to keep up the pretense, and lets him down gently by saying she is already betrothed to a local farmer.
Mr Alex Green
: Nigel Harman
"Youre not telling me that sad old cripple keeps you happy?"
- Asshole Victim: By the Series 4 finale, he's reported dead, having supposedly slipped and fallen in front of traffic on London's Piccadilly. The Series 4 Christmas Day Special strongly implies Bates was the responsible party, exacting vengeance for Anna, though it turns out in Series 5 that Bates is innocent—he never made the journey. In the Series 6 premiere, it is revealed that his killer was one of his previous rape victims, and her confession puts both Bates and Anna in the clear.
- Bait the Dog: He uses his jocular charm to lull Anna (and the audience) into a false sense of security, whilst biding his time to strike (see below).
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Harman states his character is "too good to be true and has absolutely no redeeming qualities" — he's right.
- The Charmer: Shamelessly flirts with Anna upon his arrival at Downton, to Bates's chagrin.
- Evil All Along: As detailed below.
- Hate Sink: The single biggest one of the second half of the series, inspiring nothing but hatred even in death courtesy of both his assault of Anna and the subplot of his murder taking up all of Series 5 and lasting all the way to the Series 6 premiere.
- The Hedonist: He organises a frantic game of cards for the staff during the upstairs dinner party.
- I Have You Now, My Pretty: Before he strikes, he pens Anna off in the kitchen and toys with her awhile.
- Jerkass: A complete and utter bastard, as it turns out.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: His true colours are revealed when he forcefully attacks and rapes Anna downstairs in the boot-room during Dame Nellie's concert. He is utterly remorseless afterwards, and when challenged by Mrs Hughes, he tries to slime his way out of it by suggesting both he and Anna were to blame. In Series 5, the investigation into his death reveals that Green was a serial rapist, and had attacked several other women previously to Anna.
- The Slacker: During the entire episode, he doesn't actually do any work.
- The Sociopath: Ticks most of the boxes...
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
- Villainy Discretion Shot: We're spared seeing him actually sexually assault Anna, but her screams betray his actions.
- Weasel Co-Worker: He loves having a good time and a laugh and quite often palms off his work to other people so he can spend time hanging around.
Miss Phyllis Baxter
: Raquel Cassidy
"I'm grateful for this job Thomas and we both know why, but what's this all about?"
Mr Ethan Slade
: Michael Benz
"Would you care for one of these? I think they're quite nice!"
Introduced in Series 5
Miss Gladys Denker
: Sue Johnston
"There's fun to be had round here — if you know where to look for it."
Lady Mary's Hairdresser
Lady Mary's Hairdresser
: Jamie Bradley
"Oh! It eez wonderful on you Milady! Mais, supérbe!"
Mr Andrew "Andy" Parker
: Michael Fox
"I want to be a footman now, and this is the first step."
- The Apprentice: Thomas takes him under his wing soon after he joins the staff.
- The Con: Poor naïve Andy finds himself the subject of Miss Denker's schemes (see her entry above for detail) just as soon as he joins the staff.
- Deceptive Disciple: A mild example — when Andy first joins the staff, he allows Thomas to take him under his wing, and is pleased that a senior member of the household has his back. However, come Series 6, Andy has cooled right off, and is almost downright rude to Thomas, who (quite correctly) theorizes that the other staff members have warned Andy off him, following the Jimmy fiasco in Series 3.
- Dogged Nice Guy: In the latter half of Series 6, he develops a crush on Daisy that remains unrequited (Daisy initially feels she could do better) until the grand finale.
- Last Episode, New Character: Debuts in the finale (episode 8) of Series 5, and joins the household staff permanently in the Christmas special.
- Naïve Newcomer: In his debut episode, he's only just been promoted from Hall-boy, which is about as junior as it gets in service.
- Never Learned to Read: Thomas discovers his troubling secret, but offers to teach him on the quiet to spare his embarrassment.
- Pair the Spares: In the Series' grand finale, Daisy finally decides to give Andy a chance (following initial reservations) and begins a proper relationship with him.
: Alun Armstrong
"I know a lot about his dirty-fingered Lordship, and he's forgotten that."
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: He's obsequiously polite to the Sinderbys in public, but due to their Jewish heritage and recent ennoblement, he cuts them to pieces in private.
- Break the Haughty: He foolishly decides to boss Thomas about — and almost loses his job over it (see below).
- Christmas Special: He makes his debut in the Series 5 Christmas Day Special.
- Control Freak: Runs the Sinderby household with a rod of iron.
- The Jeeves: At Canningford Grange, the home of Lord Sinderby and family.
- No Fame, No Wealth, No Service: He's a complete snob, and views Branson as an irrelevant upstart as well as, in private, the very family he serves.
- The Stool Pigeon: He's one of the few who knows Lord Sinderby's dirty little secret — the fact that he has a mistress, Diana Clarke, and even a young son with her — and it doesn't take much for him to blab to Thomas.
- Villain Ball: Whilst slightly tiddly, he foolishly reveals details of Lord Sinderby's mistress and illegitimate son to Thomas. Having been previously offended by Stowell's haughty ways and Lord Sinderby's rudeness, Thomas uses said information to his advantage and invites an unwitting Ms Clarke (and her son) to Brancaster, which leaves Lord Sinderby reeling and Stowell fearing for his job.
Introduced in Series 6
Miss Rita Bevan
: Nichola Burley
"Don't you know me Lady Mary? Because I know you."
Introduced in the Downton Abbey film
Miss Lucy Smith
- Adopt-a-Servant: Lucys biological mother, Lady Bagshaw, takes her into her household and eventually hires her as a ladys maid. Lucy was told the truth when she grew up, has a close, loving relationship with Lady Bagshaw, knows she is her mothers heir and thinks Lady Bagshaws reasoning is fair. However, the Crawleys think Lady Bagshaws relationship with her maid is a little too close.
- Child of Forbidden Love: Lucy is actually the secret, illegitimate daughter of the Earl Granthams second cousin Maud, the Dowager Baroness Bagshaw, and her late husbands army servant, Jack Smith. Maud loved Jack passionately and would have married him if she had been more brave, but she feared her fathers disapproval and loss of social status. Lucy lived with Jack and her paternal grandmother until her fathers death when she was six. Maud then took her into her household, sent her to the village school, and later made her a ladys maid. She told Lucy the truth about her parentage on her 18th birthday and has made her the heir to her estate, much to the Crawley familys chagrin.
- Dance of Romance: Lucy and Tom Branson dance together at the end of the movie.
- Rags to Riches: Ladys maid Lucy Smith has been made the heiress to Lady Bagshaws estate.
- Second Love: Tom Branson, who has been a widower for seven years, is attracted to and begins to fall in love with Lady Bagshaws sweet, pretty ladys maid. It isnt surprising as Lucy, who is actually Lady Sybils third cousin, bears some resemblance to Lady Sybil in both looks and manner. The family encourages the relationship once they learn Lucy is Lady Bagshaws heir because they want Tom to have his own establishment.
Mr Richard Ellis
Portrayed by: Max Brown
- Armoured Closet Gay: When Thomas is arrested in a raid on a gay bar, Mr. Ellis tells the police that Thomas was only there to play a joke. For good measure, Mr. Ellis tells the officer how disgusting he finds men who are gay and mentions Thomass employer and his own. In actuality both Mr. Ellis and Thomas are closeted gay men who are beginning a new romance they must keep hidden because they live in a time period when acting on their sexual preference was illegal.
- Maybe Ever After: After their misadventure in York, Ellis parts from Thomas with a kiss and the promise to keep in touch.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: After the gay speak-easy is raided, he is able to bust Thomas out of prison by showing the police his affiliation to the King.
- Second Love: For Thomas, and he thankfully is friendly and non-manipulative (not for evil intents, at least) compared to the Duke of Crowborough.
- Token Good Teammate: He's the only member of the Royal Household who isn't a Haughty Help, and even outright helps the Downton staff in taking back their home.
Mr Wilson, the King's Page of the Backstairs
Portrayed by: David Haig
Portrayed by: Richenda Carey
- Haughty Help
- Out of Focus: Compared to the other named Royal Household members, she doesn't do much plot-wise (like Mr Ellis, Mr Wilson or Miss Lawton) or is comic relief (like the chef).
Portrayed by: Susan Lynch
- Stealing from the Till: Miss Lawton steals small objects from the houses the Royal Family visits. Anna discovers the thefts and blackmails Miss Lawton into altering a ballgown for Edith.
- Sticky Fingers: She has stolen something of value from every house she has served in.
- Villain Has a Point: When confronted about her thieving, she makes a very fair point about the difference in wealth and status between nobles and servants.
Portrayed by: Philippe Spall