WARNING: For those living in the states, and for that have yet to view last night’s ‘Downton Abbey,’ read no further if you do not want any spoilers from the most recent episode.
Not only did the last night’s episode of ‘Downton Abbey’ show one of the most beloved characters of the series facing horrible tragedy and cruelty, but it made die-hard fans question the series’ direction.
Season 4 of ‘Downton’ first aired in the U.K. and news traveled overseas that a controversial storyline was occurring. Well, now we know just what that was. As we saw, Anna (Joanne Froggatt) was brutally attacked and raped by Lord Gillingham’s (Tom Cullen) valet, Mr. Green (Nigel Harman).
In an exclusive interview with TV Guide, executive producer Gareth Neame defends the heartbreaking and violent plot point, "It is not us just being flashy and trying to get attention. It is definitely something that was an issue at the time and women did not have any of the recourse that they would have now. Anna is in a terrible predicament that gives us a great undercurrent that runs through our fourth season."
Froggatt agrees with Neame and creator Julian Fellowes. As she told BBC in October, "I was really proud of the show for tackling a subject like this ... I really do believe that Julian's written that in a way that is not gratuitous at all, he does very much go on to explore the emotional journey of Anna and Bates. He's done a beautiful job of hitting the right note with it. I think we all just felt a big responsibility to get it right."
Neame also tells TV Guide that he hopes Anna’s situation will get people talking, in addition to bringing light to the injustices rape victims have experienced, "After the episode aired in England, people came out saying they knew this happened to sexually vulnerable servants below stairs.” He adds, "I believe it's good for us to have done this story."
‘Downton Abbey' airs Sundays at 9/8c on PBS.