It was less than ideal for fans of the British-American drama Downton Abbey to have to bid farewell to their beloved Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) in the middle of Season three, due to her unexpected death.
However, Findlay wanted to leave the program, so her character had to ultimately be killed off, which is a scenario that surely doesn't bode well with the show's loyalists.
Unfortunately, the respective predicament is a similar one to that of Dan Stevens, who dons the role of Matthew Crawley.
In the final episode of the season, which will be the Christmas special, a pregnant Lady Mary goes into early labor. While attempting to rush back to be by his significant other's side, Matthew will be killed in a car accident.
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 character deaths 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 thinks that 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," he added.
Downton Abbey will next air on Sunday, Feb.10 at 9 p.m. EST on the PBS network.