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Report: Maggie Smith Leaving 'Downton Abbey' After Third Series

April 15, 2012 (7:10 pm) GMT
The veteran actress reportedly has told the drama's writer to create a story where her character Dowager Countess will be gone for good.

The third series of "" could be 's last. There's a report out there that the depicter of Dowager Countess is not going to renew her contract after the end of the season because she wants to go back to theater and feature films.

Smith, according to Daily Mail's source, has notified writer Julian Fellowes that she wants her character to be written out. "Maggie has asked Julian to write her character out. 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," the source said.

Although it is yet confirmed whether Smith really wanted an exit, Fellowes said in a TV interview, "I can't pretend it won't be a knife in my heart when she decides to move on." Dowager Countess is one of the beloved characters in the ITV series for her well-put one-liners. It is assumed that Fellowes will make the countess dead at the end of the series due to fatal illness.

"Downton Abbey" is filming in Hampshire and inside London studio. The third series will premiere in September but some of the cast including Smith and have yet to renew their contracts.

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