Downton Abbey: Is Bates heading back behind bars?

As the police start investigating Green's death, might the the Free Bates campaign need reviving?

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He’s already had a couple of run-ins with the law and he’s only been out of prison, where he was being held for the murder of his ex-wife, since the end of series three. But it looks as though Anna’s loyal husband John Bates is in trouble again…

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The end of this week’s Downton Abbey episode revealed that the police are looking into the death of Gillingham’s valet Green. And, although they might not realise it yet, Bates is prime suspect.

Green, who brutally raped Anna in series four, died in an apparent accident at the end of the series after falling in front of a bus. It soon transpired that Bates, who knew about Green’s actions, had been in London on the day of his death, confirming our worst suspicions that Green was, in fact, pushed. 

Mrs Hughes and Lady Mary had their doubts during the Christmas episode after finding an incriminating train ticket but we thought, perhaps naively, that it was all forgotten about and Anna and Bates would be allowed to live happily ever after.

However, this week saw the arrival of Sergeant Willis. 

“A man stayed here last year. A Mr Alex Green. Worked for Lord Gillingham,” he told Carson and Mrs Hughes. “I’ve just been told to check that you remember him and to give warning that we might need to ask some questions.”

“Something’s turned up and before they take it further, they are trying to establish its significance,” he said, adding that “a witness” had emerged. 

Cast your mind back and you’ll remember Mrs Hughes found evidence that Bates was in London – the incriminating ticket that Lady Mary threw into the fire – which means they’re both complicit in Bates’ crime (if it is indeed a crime) for perverting the course of justice and destroying evidence.

Could all three of them be headed behind bars before too long? Now that would be a scandal and a half…

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Downton Abbey continues on Sunday at 9:00pm on ITV