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UPDATED: Is Maggie Smith Leaving 'Downton Abbey'? Answer is No, Thank Goodness.


The actress wants her character to be written out of the hit series.

British actress Maggie Smith has reportedly grown tired of playing the haughty Dowager Countess on the hit British series Downton Abbey, and has asked to be let out of her contract after season three of the show. Smith, who is to be joined by Shirley MacLaine in the upcoming season, has spoken with the show's creator, Julian Fellowes, about writing her character out of the show. According to the Daily Mail, this means we can expect Smith's acerbic and disdainful (if not highly entertaining) character to contract a fatal illness in the third season. But Violet Crawley's withering quips and taut-lipped grimaces are definitely one of the show's highest points of interest--whatever will we do without them? We're not sure Matthew and Mary's will-they-or-won't-they romance can keep us entertained without some saucy eyerolls courtesy of La Countess. Will you still be watching the show sans Smith?

Oh, thank the heavens above. Gawker just squelched the nasty, terrible rumor that Dame Smith was going to be offed of the show. There is nothing like a dame, especially a bitchy, catty one who hordes agricultural trophies and wears a cloche. Everyone may go back to acting "normal" now.

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