A 'Downton Abbey' Villain Goes to Rehab

In her newest role on "Orphan Black," Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mr. Bates's scheming former wife, shows a softer side

by Barbara Kantrowitz
maria doyle kennedy image
Photograph: © Steve Wilkie for BBC America

As Catherine of Aragon on The Tudors, Maria Doyle Kennedy (above) patiently endured being divorced by Henry VIII. In Downton Abbey, as Mrs. Bates, she’s abandoned again, but this time avenges herself so diabolically that she’s been labeled the most hated woman in Britain. The Irish actress is husband free at last in her new project, BBC America’s 10-episode Orphan Black (debuting March 30). Kennedy says her character—Mrs. S., a foster mother—is “tough but fair and quite loving underneath it all.” But more meanies may be in her future. “I like people who are complex,” she says. “It’s so much fun to be bad without the real-life consequences of your actions.”

Next: A "Downton" Villain Takes a Cheerier Role

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First published in the April 2013 issue of More

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