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7 Times Downton Abbey Has Jumped the Shark

4. Tom’s Hanging Offense           

Tom, the absurd and improbable chauffeur turned son-in-law from Season One, was complicit in the firebombing of an earl in Dublin. Tom, you see, is a Republican and a Catholic, now improbably married to Lady Sybil with the begrudging acquiescence of his former boss, now father-in-law, the Lord Grantham. (Yes, if you have not seen the series, that sentence alone should keep you away.)

In 1925, firebombing the home of an earl was a hanging offense. No matter, not in the improbable world of Downton Abbey. A few phone calls to the Home Secretary from Lord Grantham, and the crime is neatly sorted out as long as Tom lives in a sort of house arrest at the estate. But if he returns to Ireland, all bets are off and Tom might swing. Of course the same civil law governed both Dublin and Downton, but no matter, Tom got a break, and Fellowes (either the absurdist or the 15-year-old girl) got a new character he could write around each week.