I’m beginning to think there may be some sort of Downton Abbey curse going around. Either that or the cast members are itching for reasons to leave the show (and finding them left and right). The departure of this character is miles less devastating than the last few (SPOILERS: Matthew and Lady Sybil), but I can’t help but feel that each character that leaves the show will take a little bit of the heart and soul of Downton with them. This time actress Siobhan Finneran, who plays the less-than-nice maid O’Brien, has decided not to return to the period drama for its fourth season. She is not being written out of the show, but will be departing during the six month hiatus between seasons by her own choice.
A source says that Finneran has left the show to “go off to do something else”. She has not been killed off like the past two to depart Downton, and there is the small chance that she may return to the show at a later date. However, according to Finneran, she has no plans to reprise her role as the scheming maid. "I'm not doing any more," she revealed. "O'Brien is a thoroughly despicable human being - that was great to play."
I will miss the snarky banter between O’Brien and Thomas (and everyone else she came across at Downton) on season four. If creator Julian Fellowes’ new pilot goes through and he departs the show for his new venture (as he has mentioned he may do), I hate to say that it may be time they lay Downton to rest before the entire cast runs for the hills.