"Downton Abbey" won't return in the U.S. until early next year, but sneak peeks at the fourth season have now been obtained through photos. One of them is the traditional cast photo which features the Crawley family and their maids lining up together, this time sans Matthew and Sybil who have been written out of the story.
In addition to the familiar faces like Lady Mary, Tom Branson and Lady Rose, some of the photos feature new characters. They include Julian Ovenden's Charles Blake, an aristocrat, and Tom Cullen's Lord Gillingham, a family friend of the Crawleys, who are both Lady Mary's possible new love interests.
The show will also introduce Jack Ross, a charming, suave and charismatic jazz singer from Chicago, who is played by Gary Carr. He is the first black character on the show.
During the show's panel at the TCA press tour, star Michelle Dockery explains more about Lady Mary's relationship with Lord Gillingham. "He is an old family friend who she's known since the girls were children and they haven't seen him since she was tiny," she said. "She's kind of slowly throughout the series coming back to real life and of course it's important for her to eventually move on, so he is a potential love interest."
The actress ruled out a possible romance between her character and Allen Leech's Tom Branson, arguing, "They are very much friends and he is her brother-in-law, still. I think they become close because of what they've both been through." She added, "And also, Mary becomes far more involved in the running of the estate with Tom, so we do have a lot of scenes together. But romantically, I don't think it's going anywhere."