Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

Giles Keyte/Carnival Film & Television

Four words for you: Dowager Countess' shady past. You have our attention, Downton Abbey!

Season five of the hit period drama will introduce new characters and dive deeper into the lives of the Crawley family, specifically Violet (Maggie Smith), known to viewers as the Dowager Countess. In a new video released by PBS and Masterpiece, we get a glimpse at the drama ahead, including some friction between Violet and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), and the new faces who are sure to shake things up.

Look for the Dowager Countess to condemn Mary for "inappropriate behavior," executive producer Gareth Neame said. "Violet herself had a bit of a shady past that has been buried for a very long time," Neame said.

The Dowager Countess will also get a new lady's maid played by Sue Johnston. The new maid will spar with Spratt (Jeremy Swift), the butler, with a little help from Violet in stirring the pot.

This season, Richard E. Grant of Girls and Doctor Who joins the show this season as Simon Bricker, an art historian who instantly clashes with Robert (Hugh Bonneville) when he comes to Downton to look at an old painting. Perhaps there are some sparks between Mr. Bricker and Cora (Elizabeth McGovern)?

"He's very keen on things of beauty, and I don't just mean paintings," Bonneville teased.

Get a load of more Downton Abbey happenings, including the threat of major secrets being revealed in the trailer above.

Downton Abbey premieres Sunday, Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. on PBS.

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