It's been almost a year since "Downton Abbey's" shocking season-three finale, which ended with Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) lying dead in a ditch on the side of the road.

Heartbroken fans were left with similar questions Mary (Michelle Dockery) will be asking when season four of the PBS hit returns on Jan. 5: How can she go on now that she's lost the love of her life? What effect will his death have on the running of the estate?

According to executive producer Gareth Neame, Matthew's death was actually…good?

"It's the best thing that could have happened because it's brought a new energy to the show," he shares with Closer.

That energy takes shape in a host of new characters, plenty of romance and lots of Jazz Age glamour. Continue reading for the inside scoop!

downton abbey cast

Secrets of Season 4

Trouble in paradise for Anna (Joanne Froggatt) & Bates (Brendan Coyle)? Say it ain't so! But according to Neame, a shocking event threatens their happiness.

Battle of the Grand Dames: Shirley MacLaine returns as Cora's mother Martha to stir up trouble with the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith).

Edith in Love? Edith's (Laura Carmichael) relationship with her editor Michael Gregson (Charles Edwards) takes an interesting turn, according to Carmichael. "He's so different from any of the other men in Downton."

Work vs. Family: Raising baby Sybil proves challenging for Tom Branson (Allen Leech) as he juggles his role as a single father and agent of the estate.

New Suitors For Mary: Though Mary is still grieving the death of her husband, she won't have to grieve alone. Some new suitors will be joining the fray this season! "They're all so handsome!" gushes Michelle Dockery.

Among them is family friend Lord Gillingham (Tom Cullen), government official Charles Blake (Julian Ovenden) and back from Season 1, Mr. Evelyn Napier (Brendan Patricks), hopeful for a second chance with Mary.

Who do you want to see win Lady Mary's heart? Tune in this Sunday, Jan. 5 (9 pm ET) to PBS for all the upstairs-downstairs drama!