Sep. 26, 2010
90 min.
ITV TV Network

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Downton Abbey (UK)

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.

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 Sarah O'Brien Downton Abbey (UK)
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Sarah O'Brien

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  Played by:
Siobhan FinneranSiobhan Finneran
Siobhan Margaret Finneran is an English television and film actress. She is known for her regular roles ...

Character Bio

 Sarah O'Brien photo
Sarah O'Brien, who is mainly known as Miss O'Brien by the other servants or just O'Brien by the family, was Lady Grantham's personal maid. She is especially bitter and resentful towards most of the other servants, perhaps due to her family circumstances; the animosity is common knowledge, even for the Crawleys. She had one favourite brother who had shell shock and later died during the Great War. She uses her position to curry favour with Lady Grantham to consolidate her influence, although her actions usually benefit them both. Although scheming in nature and always looking to manipulate circumstances to hers and Thomas' own benefit, she has a conscience and softens up over the second series. She is one of the few servants who smoke on a regular basis. This is at a time when most women did not smoke and it was very rare for a woman to be seen smoking in public.

O'Brien and Thomas were the only servants who never did like Bates and the duo constantly try to find faults and uncover his past in an attempt to force Mr Carson to sack him. She tells Bates' vengeful estranged wife Vera about the family's dirty secrets in an attempt to force Bates out and Vera uses it to blackmail Bates. In the last episode of series one, O'Brien comes to believe that Cora is going to replace her. Out of spite, she leaves a bar of soap on the bathroom floor while Cora is taking a bath. When she gets out, she slips on the soap, causing her to miscarry. O'Brien is racked with guilt and following the incident, she becomes even more loyal and devoted to Cora. When Thomas decided to buy extra food and supplies on the black market to sell to Downton's kitchen staff, she refuses to get involved in his business but sympathises with Thomas after he realises he has been swindled. After Lady Grantham is struck by a severe case of Spanish flu, O'Brien maintains a bedside vigil, attempting to atone for the miscarriage. Towards the end of the second series she becomes guilt-ridden when she finds out her meddling in Bates' private life has started a chain reaction which led to Vera threatening to expose the family secrets and bring the Crawley family into disrepute. O'Brien is one of several servants asked to testify at Bates' trial and is genuinely relieved when they learn that Bates had been reprieved. She also has a nephew, Alfred Nugent, who later becomes a footman at Downton.

In the second Christmas special, she accompanies Lady Grantham to Scotland to visit Duneagle Castle. While there, she apparently comes to like Lady Flintshire, and manages to arrange to become her lady's maid. She leaves Downton at the very beginning of the fourth series in the middle of the night to take her new position, leaving only a letter to explain her actions.

Episode Screenshots

03x06 - Series 3, Episode 6
Season 3, Episode 06
03x08 - Series 3, Episode 8
Season 3, Episode 08
05x03 - Series 5, Episode 3
Season 5, Episode 03
02x01 - Series 2, Episode 1
Season 2, Episode 01
[More Episodes]

Sarah O'Brien Photos

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