'Downton Abbey': Maggie Smith asks to be written out - report

maggie-smith-downton.jpgAccording to a report by the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper, Maggie Smith has asked to be written out of "Downton Abbey" after Season 3.

Smith plays the extremely popular, acid-tongued Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess of Downton. The show is currently filming its third season and according to the Daily Mail's source, Smith has agreed to do the Season 3 Christmas special, but has asked that Season 3 be her last season.

"She is filming until August and then wants to leave, going out on a high. She thinks that three series is enough and she wants to get back to the stage and big screen," says the source.

Zap2it previously reported that Smith had not yet renewed her contract for Seasons 4 and 5, as many of the main actors have. It was also revealed recently by PBS executive producer Rebecca Eaton that Season 3 will feature a major character death.

There is no word as to whether that character will be Lady Violet, but narratively it does kind of make sense. Will it be a very dark Christmas at Downton as they all mourn the passing of Lady Violet?

As fans, we aren't sure that's how we want Violet (and Maggie Smith) to go out, but on the other hand - where else would she go? She's probably not going to move away. Hmm.

What do you think, "Downton" fans? Will the show be the same without her?
Photo/Video credit: PBS