01/15/2013 01:54 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Downton Abbey Meets Scandal

Ok, let's get this straight.

On her deathbed, Lavinia wrote a letter to her father? And in effect this letter blessed Matthew, her intended who loved somebody else and humiliated her?

And then dying, magnanimous, saintly Lavinia entrusted this letter to a maid making up the fire in her room? And this letter solves all the financial problems of Downton, because now priggish Matthew can accept Lavinia's father's money?

Folks, there's clearly a conspiracy going on here.

Two, in fact: one with the bogus letter that seems made-to-order (no wonder Matthew is suspicious). And another with the show itself.

Julian Fellowes is obviously tired of Downton Abbey. How else can you explain his having hired a drag queen imitating Shirley Maclaine to play the real Maclaine on the show?

The letter scandal has all the earmarks of NBC's Scandal, that sizzling show written by Shonda Rhimes. What's ahead is pretty clear: a distant cousin of somebody-or-other will arrive from London. She'll be chic and brisk, and toting a briefcase. She'll bark at Lady Mary, "Tell--me--what--you--did. Now!" She'll be in the newish field of public relations, but we'll all know what she really is, a high-power "fixer."

Maggie Smith will shudder at the term -- if they use it -- and make snarky jokes about not feeling quite broken. This dynamic new character will stare her down, basilisk to basilisk. The servants will be in awe or puzzled. Sparks will fly upstairs and downstairs.

Shonda Rhimes, welcome to Downton Abbey. The show needs your electricity.