O'Brien Exiting Downton Abbey; Shirley MacLaine's Martha Levinson To Return

Access Hollywood
O'Brien, Martha Levinson in PBS' Masterpiece series 'Downton Abbey' -- Giles Keyte/Carnival Film & Television Limited 201

Lady Cora's scheming maid, Sarah O'Brien, is departing "Downton Abbey."

A rep for Masterpiece confirmed to AccessHollywood.com that the maid to Cora Crowley, The Countess of Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern), who in Season 3 caused major trouble for Thomas, is leaving Downton to do other things.

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But, the rep adds, the door is left open for the character, played by Siobhan Finneran, to return.

Fans who saw the Season 3 finale might have had an inkling that the character was working on her exit plan.

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While in Scotland - and after she realized Wilkins, the maid to Lady Susan MacLare, had attempted to spike her drink at a party - O'Brien went up to Shrimpy's wife and had a conversation.

The presumption, of course, was that O'Brien was working an angle. O'Brien did indicate her delight over the idea of a change of scenery when Wilkins whined earlier in the episode about having to move to India with the MacLare family.

In related "Downton Abbey" news, Shirley MacLaine is coming back.

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The Masterpiece rep confirmed that Shirley's character, Martha Levinson, will appear in the Season 4 finale. Shirley's Martha is the opinionated and wealthy mother of Cora.

-- Jolie Lash

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