downton abbey christmas special season 4 'Downton Abbey' Season 4 Christmas special photo: What does it tell us?ITV, the United Kingdom network that produces “Downton Abbey,” — and which just renewed everyone’s favorite period drama for Season 5 — has released a photo of the upcoming Christmas special, set to air Dec. 25 in the United Kingdom.

We’d like to examine it, so don’t keep reading if you don’t want to be spoiled on Season 4. You’ve been warned.

First off, Bates and Anna are conspicuously absent. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything because there are other staff members missing from the photo too, most notably Mrs. Hughes. But does it possibly mean something has happened with Mr. Green’s death? Hmm.

Secondly, Lady Edith is not pregnant. We’ve got our fingers crossed that somehow she managed to keep the baby, but more likely it’s that she and Rosamund are back from Switzerland and her baby is being raised by someone else. Poor Lady Edith.

Neither of Lady Mary’s suitors, Lord Gillingham or Charles Blake, are in the picture, so we hope that doesn’t mean they aren’t in the Christmas special.

And finally, it’s hard to tell, but the man standing Paul Giamatti and Allen Leech looks like maybe he is Lord Merton, Mary’s godfather. We certainly hope so, since he seemed sweet on Cousin Isobel in the Season 4 finale. A romance for Isobel would be lovely, don’t you think?

“Downton Abbey” returns to the U.S. on Jan. 5, 2014.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."