Why Maggie Smith Got the Last Line on Downton Abbey

Smith's Dowager Countess delivered the final line in the crossover hit series

By Chris Harnick Mar 07, 2016 8:15 PMTags
Downton AbbeyCarnival Films/Masterpiece

Downton Abbey gave Maggie Smith a big honor in the series finale: the last line. The final episode of the crossover hit drama featured Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) finally finding happiness. She got married and everybody celebrated her big day, which also happened to be New Year's Eve.

The final dialogue was between Smith and Penelope Wilton.

Isobel (Wilton): "What else could we drink to? We're going forward into the future, not back into the past."
Dowager Countess: "If only we had the choice."

Creator Julian Fellowes told Variety it was only fitting for Smith to get the last line.

"I think she had to have the last word. I feel that Violet was our sort of Greek chorus throughout the show. She often didn't participate in stories but she commented on all of them. And she was a kind of tent pole figure observing how they were all getting on. In that she became the matriarch of matriarchs. I felt it was right to finish on her," he said. "Maggie's been fab. She's been great to write for. She never misses a trick."

"It felt fitting. Maybe Julian and I were too scared if we didn't give her the last line," Gareth Neame added.

And just like that, Downton Abbey ended until the inevitable movie or TV reunion special. Nothing has been confirmed, but both Fellowes and Neame have said they are open to revisiting the Crawley family down the line.

Watch: What Michelle Dockery Will Miss About "Downton Abbey"