Who would have thought you could describe the PBS Masterpiece Theater hit series ‘Downton Abbey’ by using the word “scandal”? Yes, the Crawley household is no stranger when it comes to scandalous moments, including covering up affairs and deaths. Recently, I binge watched the entire first three seasons, and I totally get why everyone is constantly talking this show up. Well, I thought it’d be fun to feature some of the top scandalous moments throughout the series. Now, don’t get me wrong, most of the people at Downton are good, kind folks, but some are sneaky, lying, backstabbing scoundrels. Do you think we should call Olivia Pope to help clean up their messes? Here are just a few of those shocking moments, and beware, spoilers do follow.
1. Mary and the Turkish Diplomat
Lady Mary, you’re one “filthy” woman. Not only did Mary sleep with Turkish Diplomat Kemal Pamuk, but he also died in her bed after their “special moment.” So, what did she do with the dead body? Logically, she, lady’s maid Anna and Cora Crawley (her mother) carried Mr. Pamuk’s body back to his bedroom to be discovered in the morning. Oh, and thanks to Mary’s sister, Edith, the scandalous moment did not remain top secret.
2. Slippery O’Brien and the Soap
What’s a woman to do when she thinks she’s being fired? Well, if you’re Mrs. O’Brien, you place a bar of soap on the floor and cause your boss (Cora Crawley) to slip, fall and lose her unborn child. Really? That’s how you get back at your boss when she’s not even replacing you? She stooped to a whole new level of low this time.
3. Thomas’ “Foul” Predicament
Oh, Thomas. Usually, I despise you and your schemes, but when it comes to you finding love, I can’t help but feel for you, especially when Mr. Carson calls you “foul.” As a gay man, Thomas has been unlucky in love. However, his love life hasn’t gone unnoticed. Remember that time he thought Jimmy liked him, and then he snuck into Jimmy’s room and kissed him? Not only is Mr. Barrow’s sexuality considered a scandal, but his kiss with Jimmy caused an uproar and even more hell for Thomas.
4. Robert Seduces the Help
Seriously Robert? You’re going after housemaid Jane? It didn’t help that they both encouraged the flirting, but for Robert to actually kiss her and almost score with her was not cool. Have you not seen how pretty your wife is? Thank goodness Jane got fired and Robert kissed her goodbye, literally. Sayonara, Jane!
5. Edith Grazes the Farmer
Can’t Edith just catch a break in the romance department? She’s had to work hard to find her one true love (which has yet to really happen). Before Edith became truly likeable, she was busy causing her own scandal by helping a farmer and his wife on their farm. That work turned into sparks for Edith and the married farmer. They shared a kiss, but as soon as the wife spotted the liplock, she kicked Edith to the curb. Don’t worry, Edith, you can do so much better!
6. Rose + Terence + the Blue Dragon = Trouble
For just coming on last season, Rose has already caused quite a stir with the Crawley’s. While in London with Rosamund, Edith and Matthew, Rose scurried off with her married lover. Not only did they spend two hours in Warwick Square, but they also danced and drank the night away at the Blue Dragon club. Luckily, Matthew was there to rescue Rose from an even more scandalous situation.
7. Ethel: Soldier’s Wife or Prostitute Life?
If Ethel would have just stayed away from Major Charles Bryant, she would have never ended up getting kicked out of Downton. That’s not even the worst part. She got pregnant. She became a single mother (Charles wanted nothing to do with her, and then he died). Charles’ parents wouldn’t help her. Then, Ethel gave up her son to Charles’ parents, and she eventually turned to prostitution to survive. Man, Nathaniel Hawthorne would have had a field day with her.
8. Mr. Bates. In the Kitchen. With Arsenic.
Poor Mr. Bates and Anna! Mr. Bates lived a life very similar to the game of Clue. Did he kill his wife, Vera, at her house with arsenic? That was one of the major scandals that resonated throughout Downton. Despite barely escaping the death penalty and getting sentenced to prison for his wife’s death, Bates was eventually cleared and released. Whew! That was a close one.
9. Rosamund’s Maid Steals Her Future Man
All Rosamund wanted was to find a man she could spend the remainder of her life with. Is that too much to ask? It is if the man you have your eye on is sleeping with your lady’s maid. Just think: Rosamund’s mother was concerned Lord Hepworth was going to steal all of her daughter’s money, but she should have been concerned about him sleeping with the help.
10. Tom and Sybil -- Against All Odds
The chauffeur and Lady Sybil? Gasp! When Tom and Sybil announced their love for one another, Robert almost had a heart attack. His daughter wasn’t going to spend the rest of her life with someone of lower status! What kind of scandal would that cause? However, he eventually caved and somewhat accepted the duo as husband and wife. Sybil always went after what she wanted. You go girl!
‘Downton Abbey’ returns to the U.S. on Jan. 5.