Executive producer Gareth Neame says Mary is 'still not quite sure' whom she will choose, while actor Allen Leech says Branson and Mary are 'looking for love... but not with each other.'
"Downton Abbey" season 5 is not airing until 2015 in the U.S., but the cast and executive producer Gareth Neame have shared tidbits from the upcoming season. One of the most interesting plotlines is Mary's search for a new love following the death of her husband Matthew.
After introducing her suitors in season 4, the show will still be toying with this in the next installment as she hasn't made any decisions yet. "Everyone wants Mary to be happy and for her to marry again, but nobody would want that to happen too quickly because they want to respect the memory of Matthew," Neame said. "It's about timing all those things correctly."
"I really like the way we juggled two, maybe even three, suitors in the last season," he went on teasing. "She's still not quite sure, and I think there's a good hook for the audience in the fifth season to see which decision she's going to make."
He added that Tom Branson "seems to have the upper hand, but there are other people who prefer Charles [Blake]." Echoing Neame's statement that his character Tom is not a safe bet yet, Allen Leech said that Branson and Mary were each "looking for love... but not with each other."
Anna's rape was a controversial story last season. Asked whether Anna and Bates would be still dealing with the aftershocks in season 5, Neame said, "I think it would be a bit soft of us to say that [they won't]. There are certain stories on this kind of show that you pick up for a few episodes, then let fall away. This doesn't seem like something that could happen to a character and be easily forgotten."
While Neame recently told TVLine that "no one's safe" on the show, he hinted in another interview with Today.com that all major characters would survive season 5. "It did occur to us to find out if we could keep our actors before (plotting this season)," he said with a laugh, referring to creator Julian Fellowes' decision to kill off Matthew when actor Dan Stevens decided to quit the show. He added, "We've all come to comfortable arrangement that is mutually beneficial."
"Downton Abbey" season 5 will premiere January 4, 2015 at 9 P.M. ET/PT on PBS, months after it airs in the U.K.