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"Downton Abbey" Exclusive Season 5 Video Hints At The Dowager's "Shady" Past

Watch executive producer Gareth Neame and the cast of Downton offer up some playful hints about the show's upcoming guest stars and storylines. "You have to take control of your feelings before they take control of you."

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Nick Briggs

Richard E. Grant as art historian Simon Bricker; Ed Speleers as footman Jimmy Kent; and Anna Chancellor as Lady Anstruther in Season 5 of Downton Abbey.

When Season 5 of British costume drama Downton Abbey — which will launch on Sunday, Jan. 4, on PBS's Masterpiece — kicks off, the Crawley family is once again contending with shifting societal tides in the interregnum period in England. As new opportunities arise for the working class, the landed gentry must find new ways of staying afloat. Season 5 of the Julian Fellowes-created drama features a few new faces turning up at the Crawleys' country estate, perhaps to aid them in this quest, as the below video indicates:

PBS/Masterpiece

Richard E. Grant (Girls) appears in a multiple-episode story arc as art historian Simon Bricker, who arrives at Downton with a keen appreciation for beauty.

PBS

Anna Chancellor (The Hour) guest stars as the oft-mentioned (but never before glimpsed) Lady Anstruther, who has a bit of unfinished business with footman Jimmy (Ed Speleers).

PBS

Oh, Jimmy.

Sue Johnston (Waking the Dead) appears in several episodes as a new lady's maid, Miss Denker, for Violet (Maggie Smith). She may spell trouble for the carefully ordered existence in the Dower House.

PBS

Watch out, Spratt (Jeremy Swift).

But that's not the only thing that may disrupt Violet's patrician facade: Rade Serbedzija (Red Widow) appears as Kuragin, a man with a certain connection to the Dowager Countess.

Rade Sherbegia as Kuragin; Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham; Lily James as Lady Rose.
Nick Briggs

Rade Sherbegia as Kuragin; Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham; Lily James as Lady Rose.

Wait, what?

PBS

Violet!

PBS

In fact, this sounds *exactly* like something Violet would caution against.

PBS

So who is Kuragin? And what exactly does he mean to Violet? Well, you'll have to wait until January to find out. But as executive producer Gareth Neame points out in the above video, Mary (Michelle Dockery) will "discover that Violet herself had a bit of a shady past that has been buried for a very long time."

Scandal!

PBS / Via giphy.com

Season 5 of Downton Abbey begins Sunday, Jan. 4, on PBS's Masterpiece. Check your local listings for details.

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