| Phyllis Baxter |
|Residence|| Downton Abbey, Downton, Yorkshire, England|
|Occupation||Lady's Maid to Lady Grantham|
|Loyalty|| Thomas Barrow|
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||Raquel Cassidy|
Baxter seems to have some sort of history with Thomas Barrow, he having suggested her for the role. He also seems to have some sort of hold over her and gets Baxter to relay to him the goings on of the house.
She also thinks Molesley lucky that he grew up in a village where everyone knows and respects him, suggesting that she may not have experienced those things herself. She also mentions having once lived in London, but that it did not work out for her.
Lady Grantham hired Miss Baxter as her lady's maid on Thomas Barrow's recommendation and after both her previous lady's maids left.
When Bates asks his wife Anna what she thinks of her, she thinks Baxter is nice. Cora herself is pleased with her as a lady's maid. She remarks that Baxter reminded her of her past following bringing her breakfast, which includes orange juice. She also later says Baxter is coming along splendidly to her husband.
Baxter brings with her a sewing machine to Downton, which Mrs Patmore at first is suspicious of, until it is used to repair an apron just in time for when Lady Grantham would be coming downstairs.
She turns out to have a past with Thomas, who uses a secret about her past to manipulate her. What her secret is remains unknown. She is however uncomfortable with spying for Thomas on the family and on Anna to find out what is wrong with her marriage. Barrow advises her to not make enemies downstairs, citing it as O'Brien's mistake.
Baxter becomes closer to Joseph Molesley when Thomas is away in America as valet to Robert, and when Thomas returns Molesley defends her against him, saying that "we'll have no bullying here". She also surprises him by saying he was lucky to live in a village where people know and respect him, suggesting she did not have that luxury.
Barrow still has hold over her in 1923, but Molesley approaches her at Grantham House while the Prince of Wales is dancing. He insists to her that he doesn't know what's in her past and doesn't wish to, but she cannot let Barrow bully her or pull her into his schemes. She feels that is easier said than done, but he insists that it is sometimes better to take a risk than do the wrong thing. She becomes encouraged not to be afraid of her past and what it includes, telling Molesley when they and the other servants while at the seaside that his strength has made her strong, much to his amazement.
Baxter's secret has been revealed: she stole jewellery from her old mistress of which included two diamond bracelets, a diamond necklace with a ruby clasp and four rings and pretended that a burglary had taken place and she served 3 years in prison. Thomas then got her a job after her prison sentence and keeps tabs on her and threatened to tell Lady Grantham (Cora) her secret. With some urging from Molesley who has not yet known about Baxter's past, tells Baxter to tell Cora about her past before Thomas does.
Cora is confused but shocked that she employed a jewel thief to look after her jewels and states that it does not make any sense. Cora does not know whether to let Baxter stay or fire her as she still feels that there is more to Baxter's story that meets the eye. Even when Molesley is told about Baxter's past, he feels that she must have had a specific reason for her jewelry theft like if someone she cared about was in trouble or something.
Both Molesley and Cora are torn between their fondness for Baxter and their own moral codes. However she then tells Cora that he was forced to steal her old mistress's jewellery because a footman in the house named Peter Coyle made her do it. She explains she let him make her evil like himself, and asked her to steal the jewels and meet him afterwards. But he had not; he had fled and she was left to take the blame. To this Cora lets Baxter stay. Baxter also asked not to bring it up again.
|Appearances and Mentions|
|Series 4||Episode 1||Episode 2||Episode 3||Episode 4||Episode 5|
|Series 5||Episode 1|
- She is the third of Cora's maids who has some kind of relationship with Thomas.
- She likes milk but no sugar in her coffee.