It's being reported today that Maggie Smith is done with her reign of clever terror as the matriarch of Downton Abbey. While it's tempting to start weeping and saying an endless "Noooooooo…" We must do as the Dowager Countess herself would do and simply say a curt, "Well, isn't that a shame."

While this news, which is being reported by the Daily Mail but actually seems to be legit, does not come as a total shock, seeing as there's been ongoing speculation that Smith would not renew her contract for season four of the show.

As for how exactly the Dowager Countess is going to make her exit, one hopes it involves quietly eviscerating a few of Downton's residents, but the exact details remain unclear. The cast is currently busy filming season three, and writer Julian Fellowes has apparently not nailed down the entire plotline yet. A source has said,

Maggie has asked Julian to write her character out. She is filming until August and then wants to leave, going out on a high. She thinks that three series is enough and she wants to get back to the stage and big screen.

Well, you can't argue with that logic, as painful as it might be for those of us who can never get enough of the DC firing verbal arrows like "What's a week-end?" We'll just have to get her fill of Smith, who is 77, during this coming season, and she'll also apparently be starring in a new movie, Quartet, coming out in November.

Dame Maggie poised to end her acid reign at Downton Abbey after third series [Daily Mail]