Tonight kicks off season four of Downton Abbey, which I am eagerly anticipating. I enjoyed season one so much I could have eaten it with a spoon, but I felt seasons two and three were a letdown. I’m hoping that this season, the series will return to its season one peak — though I’m sure I’ll continue to be hooked, regardless.

I’m also fairly confident that my favorite character will continue to be the Dowager Countess, and my favorite performer will be Maggie Smith. The series is scripted by Julian Fellowes, but Maggie Smith performs some kind of acting witchcraft that will make you swear that each of her lines were penned by the ghost Oscar Wilde. How does she do that?

Here’s a retrospective of some of the Dowager’s finest moments. Enjoy!

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee