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Downton Abbey: Who's leaving and who's coming?

Downton Abbey will say goodbye to housemaid Sarah O'Brien. But Downton Abbey will welcome New Zealand-born soprano Te Kanawa. Shirley MacLaine will be back to Downton Abbey too.


'Downton Abbey' finished airing its third season in the US on Feb. 17. But the buzz has already begun about the casting for next season.

Nick Briggs/PBS/AP

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Shirley MacLaine will be returning to "Downton Abbey" next season, and opera star Kiri Te Kanawa is joining the cast.

MacLaine will reprise her role as Martha Levinson, Lord Robert Crawley's freewheeling American mother-in-law, Carnival Films and "Masterpiece" on PBS said Saturday. MacLaine appeared in episodes early last season.

New Zealand-born soprano Te Kanawa will play a house guest. She will sing during her visit.


Other new cast members and characters include:

— Tom Cullen as Lord Gillingham, described as an old family friend of the Crawleys who visits the family as a guest for a house party (and who might be the one to mend Lady Mary Crawley's broken heart).

— Nigel Harman will play a valet named Green.

Harriet Walter plays Lady Shackleton, an old friend of the Dowager Countess.


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