Emmy Episode Analysis: Can Michelle Dockery win as crying widow on ‘Downton Abbey’?

Will third time be the Emmy charm for Michelle Dockery as beloved Lady Mary on “Downton Abbey“? She’s yet to win despite two previous bids, but that could all change this year as the Best Drama Actress nominee submitted the two-hour season premiere in which Mary mourns the loss of her husband.

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SYNOPSIS: In “Episode 4.1,” the servants and family members are walking on eggshells around Lady Mary because she’s been cooped up in her room and silent for the past six months ever since the death of her husband. As Robert (Hugh Bonneville) tries to keep up the estate in the aftermath of Matthew’s death, Mary is bitter and rude to her family members and at times refuses to show any interest in her son George. It’s not until Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) confronts Mary that she finally breaks down in a tearful scene and admits just how sad she is without Matthew in her life.

Meanwhile, after the sudden departure of Miss O’Brien, Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) must hire a new lady’s maid; Thomas (Rob James-Collier) has a falling out with the new nanny; Anna (Joanne Froggatt) and Bates (Brendan Coyle) flirt on Valentine’s Day; and Isobel (Penelope Wilton) must deal with her life now that she’s no longer a mother.

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Can Dockery take home her first Emmy for this role for “Episode 4.1”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:


Dockery now has been nominated thrice as Lady Mary, so clearly she has great industry support even as “Downton Abbey” shows signs of aging at the Emmys (no Bonneville nomination, no writing nods).

Emmy voters are suckers for a good cry, and Dockery has a doozy of an impact scene as she breaks down in Emmy nominee Carter’s arms near the end of the episode. We dare academy members to watch that scene and not feel the urge to give Dockery a big ol’ hug.

Size often matters when it comes to episode submissions, and Dockery’s episode is two hours long, compared to just one hour for all of her rival nominees.


Lady Mary is quite polarizing in this episode as she gripes, complains and mopes around the house for much of the episode. Voters could find Dockery’s character overall too unlikable to reward.

Will lagging support for “Downton Abbey” have an effect on Dockery’s chances, especially when there are so many other buzzy performances clamoring for Emmy’s attention?

All year long, awards watchers have declared Best Drama Actress to be a race between Robin Wright (“House of Cards“), Claire Danes (“Homeland“) and Julianna Margulies (“The Good Wife“). Does Dockery have enough clout to take down all three frontrunners?

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Dockery is currently in sixth place in our predictions with 100/1 odds. Do you agree with those odds, or are we underestimating her? Make your own predictions below.

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