By Nuzhat Naoreen
Updated March 04, 2013 at 06:33 PM EST
Credit: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 for MASTERPIECE

Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) may be in mourning when Downton Abbey returns (see the first official photo from the fourth season above), but she won’t be lonely for long.

British actor Tom Cullen has been cast to play Lord Gillingham, an old family friend of the Crawleys who has known Lady Mary since childhood. Per TV Line, the character is being brought on as a suitor for Mary. (See what exec producer Gareth Neame told EW about what’s ahead for Mary here).

He won’t be the only fresh face at Downton next season though. As previously reported, in addition to Shirley MacLaine, who will be returning to reprise her role as Cora’s American mom, a number of new characters are joining the series. Considering the number of recent exits, they certainly won’t have trouble finding rooms to fill.

Are you excited to see Gillingham romance Lady Mary? How do you feel about the slew of new characters joining Downton?

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Episode Recaps

Downton Abbey

The war is over, but intrigue, crisis, romance, and change still grip the beloved estate.

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