DOWNTON ABBEY, PBS
SPOILER ALERT - For Downton Abbey fans who have not yet viewed the final Season 3 episode of the series, proceed at your own risk!
The season three finale of Britain's popular historic drama Downton Abbey ended in tragedy last night, as Matthew Crawley, portrayed by actor Dan Stevens, met his fate in a fatal car accident. Entertainment Weekly spoke to the show's executive producer, Gareth Neame about the decision to write off the popular character in that manner.
"I think we weren't really faced with an alternative storyline, because I think audiences would not have accepted Mary and Matthew becoming estranged," explains Neame. "It was too big a journey that the audience had been on with this relationship. The idea that he would go off on the journey and she wouldn't go with him, or the idea that he would leave her or she would leave him, I think that would have been so disappointing and unbelievable to an audience. The only course open to us was that the character had to die."
The producer also hinted at what viewers can expect when Season 4 returns next year. "I think there's a sense from that [last] shot that Mary is going to be taking us through [the next season]. The destiny of Mary and her child is a big spine of the new season."
He continued, "You will still have the 20-25 characters, with all of their lives sort of intertwined. You're going to have have the usual mixture of big dose of romance in there, you're going to have laugh-out-loud comedy, and you're going to have highs and lows of strong drama. And you're going to have all of those three moments thrown together, which is at the root of the success of the show."