Downton Abbey Season 5 Story Recap

Downton Abbey Recaps

Downton Abbey: A New Era is now showing in the UK and releases in U.S. cinemas on May 20. If you’re interested in the new Downton Abbey movie, you may want to brush up on everything that’s happened at Downton so far.

We’ll be providing Downton Abbey recaps of all seasons, plus a recap of the 2019 Downton Abbey movie. This article details what happened in Downton Abbey season 5.

Downton Abbey Season 5 Recap

Does Lord Gillingham propose to Mary?

Once again, Gillingham proposes marriage to Lady Mary, but she hesitates to accept. She wants to be deeply in love with the man she marries, as she was with Matthew. It’s hard for her to know if Gillingham is right for her without having spent time alone with him. So, Gillingham arranges for them to spend a week away together.

What happens to Marigold?

Edith often visits her daughter Marigold at the Drewes’ household. Because Tim’s wife doesn’t know that Edith is Marigold’s biological mother, she doesn’t like Edith coming to visit them so often, thinking she has a crush on Tim.

Edith assumes the position of Marigold’s godmother, but Mrs. Drewe still gets fed up with Edith’s presence. She tells her not to come around anymore. 

Does Mary choose Charles Blake or Lord Gillingham?

Charles comes to Downton and encourages Mary to choose him over Lord Gillingham. Mary still goes on a scandalous week-long outing with Gillingham. She has Anna purchase birth control for her. She meets Gillingham in Liverpool, where they stay in neighboring hotel rooms.

Once the week is over, Gillingham still wants to get married, but now Mary isn’t so sure. She tries to reject him, but he doesn’t accept her decision.

Blake wants to keep them apart, so he invites Gillingham’s ex-fiancé Mabel Lane Fox to court the viscount again. Blake kisses Mary while Gillingham and Mabel are watching, leading the viscount to take up with the heiress again–while Blake leaves Mary behind, with no suitor to speak of.

Do Tom Branson and Sarah Bunting stay together?

Rose invites schoolteacher Sarah Bunting to dine at Downton, but her political opinions upset Lord Grantham. It worries Robert that Sarah might make Tom a rebel again and take him away from them.

Sarah begins teaching Daisy arithmetic and hangs around Downton more often. When she comes to dinner again, Robert loses his temper with her and bans her from Downton. She accepts a teaching position elsewhere and bids Tom goodbye.

What is Violet’s relationship to Prince Kuragin?

Rose starts helping Russian refugees find their place in England. She invites several of her new friends to come to Downton. One of them is Prince Igor Kuragin, who once romanced Violet when she visited the Winter Palace in 1874.

Kuragin wants Violet to be his lover, but Violet thinks his wife–the lost princess–may still be alive. She doesn’t give him an answer.

Does Cora have an affair with Mr. Bricker?

Mr. Bricker is a friend of Charles Blake’s. During his visit to Downton, he flirts with Cora and later invites her to go with him to an art gallery and dinner. Robert becomes jealous when he finds out that Cora went out with Mr. Bricker.

During a later visit to Downton, Mr. Bricker sneaks into Cora’s room without her knowing. When Robert discovers him, he becomes angry with Cora. Cora insists on her innocence and reminds her husband of his kiss with their former maid. This leads Robert to let it go and move back into the room with her.

Is Anna a suspect in Green’s murder?

Despite Green’s death initially being ruled as an accident, a police officer shows up at Downton regarding the valet’s untimely end. They have new evidence in the form of a witness who heard Mr. Green say, “Why have you come?” right before his death. The officer questions Bates, but then becomes suspicious of Anna.

Bates mistakenly thinks that Anna suspects he murdered Green. He insists he wanted to, but didn’t, and claims the ticket that Mary burned would have proven his innocence.

When it comes to light that Green’s killer was similar in stature to Anna, she is arrested.

What happened to Michael Gregson?

Edith receives news that Michael Gregson didn’t simply disappear; followers of Hitler killed him in Germany. Edith then inherits Gregson’s publishing company, so she decides she’s going to take her daughter and leave Downton.

Does Edith leave Downton?

Edith leaves Downton, so Rosamond and Violet finally Cora why. The three women find Edith at Gregson’s magazine, which she inherited. They persuade her to come back to the house and raise Marigold there, without telling the others about the child’s parentage.

Robert thinks Marigold is an orphan that Edith has kindly taken in. He eventually recognizes the child’s similarity to Michael Gregson and comes to know Edith’s secret.

Does Rose marry Atticus Aldridge?

Rose meets Atticus Aldridge among the Russian refugees. She finds out he’s been hiding the fact that he is Jewish from his Russian friends, as they are antisemitic.

The two become close, with Atticus eventually proposing to Rose. She accepts, despite their differing faiths.

Everyone goes to London for their wedding, and Downton Abbey sees the return of Rose’s parents, Shrimpie and Susan Flintshire. Susan tries to break up their union, but Rose and Atticus get married anyway.

What happened in the Downton Abbey 2014 Christmas Special?

In the Downton Abbey Season 5 Christmas Special, the Crawleys visit Atticus’ family in Northumberland.

Meanwhile, Bates is arrested when he confesses to Green’s murder to get Anna out of prison, Prince Kuragin’s wife is found, Violet refuses Kuragin’s proposal, Carson asks Mrs. Hughes to marry him, and Mary is intrigued by a driver named Henry Talbot.


That’s the story of Downton Abbey season 5 in a nutshell. Stay tuned for further story recaps in preparation for Downton Abbey: A New Era.

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1 thought on “Downton Abbey Season 5 Story Recap”

  1. I don’t usually let myself be pulled in by a show, but this show has. It was wonderful to watch people resolve life’s issues, the progression of history and loving one another through all kinds of difficult circumstances. Thank you!

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