"Downton Abbey" star Allen Leech has a winning way with accents.
The Irish-born actor employs his native brogue in portraying Tom Branson, the former chauffeur who's now an insider on the PBS series that returns Sunday for its fifth season. But moviegoers hear a Scotch lilt from Leech's World War II code breaker in "The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Leech's Tom has become an integral part of Lord Grantham's estate and the series. Tom may lack the élan of the late, lamented Matthew, but his solid warmth and helpful handsomeness make him a worthy Downton leading man.
In an interview, Leech was careful to avoid giving away details of the latest season, but he was willing to revisit past threads.
Tom, a single father, is increasingly uneasy in the embrace of his wealthy in-laws. Fanning his discontent: an attractive woman who wants him to return to his onetime radicalism.
Teacher-firebrand Sarah Bunting, played by Daisy Lewis, "certainly has reignited his passion for political life but also for change," Leech said. That has Tom mulling life in America for him and his daughter.
Still, Leech sees Tom staying within the grand estate. "I believe he needs to find love, and he needs to find acceptance from that family for that person that he loves. Because I think Tom's place now is at the Abbey. I think it's his home."