Bates on Downton Abbey

His character was interesting to me. He was very tough minded and realistic, but had a dangerous streak in him that was very capable of revenge. Yet there was also the romantic in that he was so in love with her and, again realistically, saw the goodness in her — perhaps in contrast to his own twisted personality. In other words, a character out of a 19th century Russian novel — seriously flawed but capable of higher things.

That he had legal problems was consistent with these character traits. You could see him actually killing someone, and doing it in a grimly dispassionate way, though with controlled anger — because the victim deserved it.

Another aspect of his personality that I found fascinating was how concealing he was, as if he knew down deep he was this vengeful and menacing person, but he never wanted the world to realize this — for good reason.  So what he ever revealed about himself was always very measured and calculated, never impulsive.

That he walked with a limp and so an impairment was a perfect metaphor for his overall character — a subtle character portrait worthy of Dostoevsky.

Downton Abbey