O’Brien The Maid Is Leaving ‘Downton Abbey,’ Shirley MacLaine Coming Back

Sarah O’Brien is leaving Downton Abbey, the actress Siobhan Finneran, who plays Lady Cora’s scheming maid, has confirmed.

"I’m not doing that anymore," Finneran said. "O’Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being — that was great to play." Instead she’s working on a BBC1 drama called The Syndicate about nurses who win the lottery. 

Downton fans may not be sad to see Finneran go — I mean, she caused Lady Cora to miscarry the male heir! — but she’s yet another key loss for the ensemble cat. Season Three saw the departures of Jessica Brown Findlay, who played the sweet, feminist Sybil, and Dan Stevens, who played Cousin Matthew. Both actors saw their bloody demise presumably so they could take advantage of new acting opportunities that came with Downton Abbey‘s success. 

The good news, though? Shirley MacLaine, who plays Cora’s American mother Martha Levinson, is returning for the Season Four finale, PBS has confirmed.  Please just don’t kill her off, Julian Fellowes, okay?

Email me at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.