Downton Abbey Spoiler Alert: ITV Addresses Cast Member Departure

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With Downton Abbey Season 3 not even premiering in the U.S. until January 6, ITV has come out and revealed a MAJOR plot point from the Christmas special that just aired overseas.

WARNING: Read no further if you wish to remain in the dark...

Mary and Matthew at the Altar

Matthew Crawley is dead.

Considering Dan Stevens' desire to leave the program after three seasons, ITV has released a statement in which it spoils Matthew's impending fatal car crash for American viewers and explains why it chose such a dark path:

“Over the last three years, audiences across the world have been captivated by the ups and downs of Mary and Matthew’s relationship. It is for this reason that the producers decided Matthew and Mary could not simply be estranged or parted, resulting in his untimely and tragic death at the end of the Christmas episode.”

His contract up, Stevens recently told Great Britain's The Telegraph that he simply "wanted a chance to do other things."

The post-Season 3, pre-Season 4 Christmas special in which Matthew dies will air at the end of 2013 in the U.S.

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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The Reason "his contract is up"?Come on Downton is such a good show to pass on plus its given him the break a lot of actors dreams of. So Mary will end up with the douchey publishing tycoon please no.....I mean if he planned to leave his character should have ended during the war or the Spanish influenza Story Lines,we were stringed along Oh well I hope they give Mary a rich dashing American or a kind good looking English gentleman.

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I will miss him but Downton Abbey has so.many good characters so I think it will not hurt the show. As for leaving a hit show to do better David Caruso has to the actor who did the worst. He left NYPD Blue and it took him ten years to get back in CSI Miami. I am really looking forward to season 4.

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Actually most British actors leave their shows and end up with stellar careers. Heigl's move was bad as she was talking crap on her way out and as she thought she could be a movie star. Stevens' exit is very similar to Aidan Turner's exit from Being Human key difference is Turner asked to be killed off as he thought having his character aline off screen would be a cop out. Actually most British shows allow for their actors to star in more than one show (which is why most shows only have 8-13 episodes a season) and are okay with them leaving for other options. So Stevens is not doing nothing new and this won't hurt his career.

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I wish US media would stop harking on the spoilers bit. Once the show has aired its first run, it's unrealistic to avoid spoilers for it (although, I will admit the Matthew bit did come out fast and furious compared to others). We get nearly every other show before the rest of the world, let them have DA first since they made it.

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His departure will prove as bad an idea as for Katherine Heigl leaving Grey's Anatomy. How can you leave a show at its best, a show that made you famous, how can you leave a character that was so beloved, only to "explore other options"? Directors will stay clear of him, knowing that can't really commit to long-term projects. I wish him well, but I am not optimistic about his career, which I think peaked with "Downton Abbey".

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Actually, his departure is due to his career, he's gonna act in Broadway in 2013, that's why he cannot be part of the show anymore. But I've already watch the Christmas special, he's gone okay, but it doesn't mean he didn't have a happy moment before he past away. Of course, it's not gonna be a great journey for Mary, but she will handle it...

Mahta7a

it was a stupid move.i have no idea why he wanted to leave the show but he ruined everything.i really thought after everything that they have been through mathew and mary deserved a happy ending but of course they had to kill him off cause he wanted to leave....

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It's Crawley, not Crowley.