In the strictly regimented world of "Downton Abbey," you’re only as good as your skeletons. A rich, fulsome closet bustling with terrible secrets, each one threatening ruin at any moment, means screen time, Golden Globe nominations and international acclaim.  

On the other hand, whether you are upstairs, down or just visiting, a wholesome, blameless life is a sure ticket to the margins of life on the Masterpiece Theater production.

Not all skeletons are made equal though. Here is your tip sheet on the current standing of all rattling bones ready to ruin lives at any moment:


1. Skeleton: Lark in Liverpool
Closet Owner: Mary
Latest Rattle: Retroactively delegitimizing her week-long frolic, Mary hands Tony his papers, sparking the spurned lover to argue convincingly that she does in fact want to marry him because, “I refuse to believe that  a lady would have slept with a man without being sure that he is the one."
Consequences of Exposure: Stories of foreign ambassadors slain by her embrace are bound to resurface, after which – the deluge.

2. Skeleton:  Youthful pre-revolutionary dalliance with Prince Kuragin
Closet Owner: Lady Violet
Latest Rattle: After visiting him in the basement where he keeps his cot, the Dowager determines to track down his lost wife.
Consequences of Exposure: Violet would be forced to give someone her most withering stare.


Richard Rushfield is Editor in Chief of Hitfix