Lord Robert Crawley and his family live a life of leisure, while a fleet of servants, including butler Carson, attend to their every need. But two events conspire to shake things up: the sinking of the Titanic, which claims Crawley's heirs, and the return of his valet, Bates. Since Crawley and Lady Cora have three daughters, his distant solicitor cousin, Matthew, becomes heir to the estate. With that, the scheming begins, since Thomas the footman views Bates as an interloper and Crawley's mother, Violet, feels the same way about Matthew's mother, Isobel.
Downton Abbey is a historical drama written by Julian Fellowes. The series follows the lives of the Crawley family and the servants who work for them in an Edwardian country house just after the turn of the 20th century.
Matthew Crawley and his mother Isobel arrive at Downton, and have difficulty settling in. Carson is mortified when confronted by his past. Violet attempts to promote a match between Matthew and Mary. Isobel is elected to serve on the hospital board.
Cora's tries to set up Mary with Evelyn Napier, who falls for his friend instead, with significant consequences for the household. Bates takes action to help cure his limp.
Mrs Hughes finds herself the focus of speculation when she meets a former suitor who makes her question her position. Violet and Isobel clash over a medical ailment affecting Molesley. Carson is concerned there is a thief at work in the grounds.
Isobel finds herself at odds with Violet. Mary is introduced to a potential suitor but wants to be with Matthew. Anna works out who stole a valuable snuff box. O'Brien plans a way for Edith to get even with Mary.
Sybil puts herself in danger when a fight breaks out. Sybil's sisters notice Matthew's feelings for her. Mary is surprised by a marriage proposal. Bates clears his name over the missing wine but resigns rather than name the real culprit.
Cora's pregnancy throws the inheritance issue into doubt. Matthew must wait for an answer to his wedding proposal. O'Brien discovers more compromising information about Bates. Thomas leaves.