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Downton Abbey season 2 ends: What's next for season 3?

For those of us mourning the end of season two of Downton Abbey, it’s going to be many months before season three of the British period drama picks up again. How will it turn out?

By Staff writer / February 20, 2012

In this image released by PBS, front row from left, Iain Glen as Sir Richard Carlisle, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, and Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley are shown in a scene from the second season on 'Downton Abbey.'

Nick Briggs/Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE/PBS/AP

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For those of you (us) now mourning the end of season two of PBS’s "Downton Abbey", it’s going to be many barren months before season three of the British period drama picks up again next January. Meanwhile, we can only wonder what will be.

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Will Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley really settle their passionate-but-prickly relationship? Will the valet Mr. Bates be released from prison and into the arms of his beloved lady’s maid, Anna? Will the footman Thomas and lady’s maid O’Brien – ever the schemers – finally be found out?

And perhaps most titillating, will Shirley MacLaine as Lady Cora’s American mother strike acting sparks with Maggie Smith as the dowager countess? The clash of the Oscar-winning septuagenarian mothers-in-law? That alone makes it worth catching up on the first two seasons on Netflix and PBS.org.

Bloggers are going nuts, and there’s some actual reporting to note.

“On my Irish trousers... The 3rd series rocks more than the Cliffs of Moher!! (Irish national treasure!)” tweets Allen Leech, who plays the Irish chauffeur, Branson, love interest to Lady Sybil, youngest of the three Crawley daughters.

Naturally, Julian Fellowes, "Downton Abbey" creator and writer (who won an Oscar for his "Gosford Park" screenplay and who also played the wonderful Lord Kilwillie in the terrific BBC series "Monarch of the Glen") plays it very close to the vest in a New York Times interview.

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