20 years of memorable departures (part two)
The Ferndale Serial Killer (July 2007 - March
The arrival of the Ferndale Serial Killer in July 2007 made for memorable departures of several of some Shortland Street's most popular characters. Claire Solomon was the first naked body to be found, leaving the staff of the hospital reeling. But it wasn't until the second body was found that people realised that this was not an isolated incident. The second victim was Meg Harris, a friend of Alice Piper's and a part-time nurse at the hospital. She was followed by much-loved lesbian, Jay Copeland whose body was found in the bushes outside of the hospital shortly after she headed off to move to Australia. Victim number four was a nurse called Beth Wilson who hadn't been working at the hospital for long. She opened her door to somebody she clearly knew and then disappeared for several weeks. Her body was eventually found in a similar scenario to Jay's. The fifth victim was alcoholic nurse Brenda Holloway who had been close to discovering the identity of the killer after she began going through records at the hospital. She was on her way to a meeting with Chris Warner to reveal her discoveries when she was stopped in the wards by a person with a mask on and was injected with a lethal dose of Suxamethonium.
Joey Henderson's own exit was also extremely memorable. Having kidnapped Alice Piper and removed her kidney, Henderson was on the verge of finishing her off once and for all when Alice fought back, wounding him with a scalpel. At the same time, Kieran and Craig (and finally the police) had put the clues together and figured out that Joey was hiding Alice in a storage building. Joey was chased to the top floor of the building and backed in to a corner by Detective Lara Wade and Kieran Mitchell. Realising that the game was up, Joey threw himself backwards over the side of the building and was killed instantly on the concrete below.
Caroline and Greg Feeney ride off into the sunset (1999)
Bad boy Greg Feeney (Tim Balme) wormed his way into the hearts (and beds) of several of Shorty ladies but it was nurse Caroline Buxton (Tandi Wright) who he just couldn't forget. Caroline had left her fiancé Dr Al Dubovsky for her bridesmaid Laura Hall but her new lesbian love couldn't match Greg's leather-clad charms. Unable to resist, she dropped Laura, fell pregnant to Greg and the two of them roared off into the sunset on the back of Greg's bike.
Tama and Shannon lose their baby (2003)
Shannon (Amber Curren)'s pregnant return to Shortland Street at the end of 2002 was a shock to Tama (David Wikaira-Paul), but the teenage pregnancy generated months of compelling storylines. Tragically, baby Ngakau died soon after he was born. The Tangi where Tama and Shannon said goodbye to their son was one of the show's most moving storylines. They couple had their ups and downs, but were finally married on Christmas Day 2004 and eventually had another child, Rangimarie.
Sam and TP's forbidden love ends in tragedy (1994)
The romance between ambo officer Sam Aleni (Rene Naufahu)and TP (Elizabeth Skeen)'s was a classic story of cross-cultural forbidden love. Despite both their families disapproval they were married but their happiness only lasted a few short months. On the way back from Gina and Leonard's farewell party, a fight broke out between Chris and Steve - and Steve lost control of the car he was driving. It crashed, throwing Chris from the car. Sam arrived at the scene and tended Chris, while Steve worked to free TP who was trapped in the car. As a horrified Sam and Kirsty (the other passenger) looked on, the car exploded killing Steve and TP!
Li Mei dies in a potential pandemic (2006)
Shortland Street faced every hospital's worst nightmare in July 2006 when multiple cases of the deadly Stryker virus lead to a chilling possibility; that the virus was spreading via human-to-human transmission and everyone was in danger. Faced with a potential Pandemic, CEO Huia Samuels (Nicola Kawana) called in national and international expertise and ordered Shortland Street into isolation mode. The hospital's frontline staff said goodbye to their loved ones and the barriers went up. Trapped in the hospital with no contact from the outside world, the pressure for the nurses and doctors was enormous and many almost cracked under the pressure of being trapped away from the outside world. Caught in the very centre of the crisis was Dr Li Mei Chen (Li-Ming Hu) who contracted the virus via one of the patients she was attending. With her health deteriorating, and no sign of a cure, Li Mei allowed Baxter to pray for her and said her final farewells to her colleagues. When she went into cardiac arrest Chris prepared to shock her, but decided against it, finally accepting there was nothing more he could do to save her.
Rangi's disappearance (2001)
It was a shock to everyone when Rangi (Blair Strang) went missing. Fans hoped that he might have done a "Tom Nielsen" and would turn up again eventually. But everyone, especially his wife Donna (Stephanie Tauevihi), were stunned weeks later when he was found dead and suspected of committing suicide. Donna set out to prove that Rangi did not take his own life so that his two children would be able to receive his life insurance. She was horrified to discover that Rangi had been cheating on her and that his mistress Adriana had killed him and disposed of the body with the help of her own husband.
Justine Jones fakes her own death (2008)
After Craig Valentine was killed by dodgy drug company Scott Spear, Callum's wife Justine Jones feared for her own life. Her family were devastated when it looked like Justine had been killed by a car bomb. But a mysterious phone call revealed that Justine was in fact alive! It turned out that Justine had discovered the car bomb just in time and had decided to set it off herself to make it look like she had died. To get Scott Spear off her trail, she asked to be declared dead and fled to Australia where she was given a new identity.
MacKenzie Choat blows up the clinic killing Oscar (1999)
One of the show's best bad girls, Dr Mackenzie Choat was also motivated by greed and when she discovered another of the clinic's villains, Oscar Henry (Christopher Brown), was embezzling funds she double-crossed him and attacked him, setting in chain a murder-mystery which culminated in disaster when she blew up the clinic, killing Oscar, and escaping with wads of cash, only to be double-crossed herself at the last minute by Greg Feeny. Rachel McKenna was trapped under a fallen ceiling panel but survived thanks to a daring rescue by Frank Malone
Jill Kingsbury is fatally stabbed (December 2011/January
Jill Kingsbury (Natalie Medlock) was a tragic casualty of ex-boyfriend Hunter McKay's methamphetamine addiction in Shortland Street's latest Christmas cliffhanger. Hunter's erratic behaviour had been arousing suspicion and Jill eventually worked out that Hunter had a serious drug problem. But before she and his father Callum could help, Hunter had disappeared with his drug-dealing mate Bailey who convinced Hunter to help him rob a pharmacy. Jill and Daniel tracked Hunter down to the pharmacy and when Daniel went in to confront Hunter, he was knocked unconscious by Bailey. Jill eventually went in too but before she could help Daniel and a panicked Hunter, a security guard picked up Bailey's discarded knife and, frightened, accidentally stabbed Jill in the stomach. A record number of viewers tuned in when Shortland Street returned for 2012 to find out whether Jill or Daniel would survive. Both were rushed to surgery but it was Jill who took a turn for the worst and she passed away on the operating table.
Shanti dies after an ectopic pregnancy (2009)
Scotty and Shanti were Shortland Street's most popular couple when tragedy struck their happy home. Shanti had been feeling unwell with fever and but her misery at being ill turned to joy when she and Scotty discovered she was pregnant. But their happiness was short lived as Shanti suddenly developed severe abdominal pain. She was rushed to the hospital where TK diagnosed that Shanti had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and had lost the baby. Despite his best efforts, Chris Warner was unable to save Shanti's life and Scotty was devastated to have lost his wife and his baby. Later Scotty was appalled to discover that their flatmate Oliver, who was obsessed with developing a cure for dengue fever, purposely gave Shanti the disease and it had masked the symptoms of the ectopic pregnancy that led to her death.
Celebrating 20 years of drama on Shortland Street