"Downton Abbey" continues to flourish in the U.S., but although many fans remain loyal to the British-American drama, there are several who aren't too thrilled with the recent death of Lady Sybil.
While losing characters in a show will always be a mixed bag in terms of fan response, executive producer Gareth Neame told People that he sees the situation of Sybil's death when giving birth to her child as an opportunity for the series to go in a new and exciting direction.
"These exits can be good opportunities for the drama because they allow you to take the story in a different direction and change things in a way you hadn't quite thought of," he said. "It can be seen as a blow to lose characters, it can very often be as much an opportunity as it is a loss."
"Downton" creator Julian Fellowes said the public is smart enough to realize "that when Sybil dies or when [another character, whose identity is being concealed] dies, it is because the actor wanted to leave" the series - rather than a character dying just for the sake of the plot.
"So, however sad it is, and we're all sad, it isn't a question of anybody being killed off in that way. They would both be in the series till the end of it, if it was up to us," Fellowes added.
With Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) now gone from the program, the creator said the dynamic between Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) and Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) will a different direction both on and off the set.
"The three girls became very, very friendly. They were sort of like sisters, really," Fellowes said about the actresses. "Because they were always going about in each other's trailers and gossiping and all that stuff. I think they wanted to be like a group of sisters and they made it happen."
"Downton Abbey" airs in the U.S. on PBS.