VIV WAS KILLED
It's no exaggeration to say that DC Viv Martella was one of the coolest officers on the block. A long-standing member of the Sun Hill team, the raven-haired Mediterranean beauty was a target of the casual chauvinism of the day, with pretty much every male officer trying his luck with her in the clumsiest possible way. But Viv just shrugged them all off, never once letting anyone get the better of her. Funny, irreverent and passionate about her job, she was a great copper. Her death would have been a tragedy under any circumstances, but it made it so much worse that she was brutally executed in the line of duty.
Having missed an essential police briefing because her car broke down on the way to Sun Hill, Viv didn't know how to recognise armed robbers who were on the loose in the area. Unwittingly approaching them, she was shot by the villains, and Tony Stamp was wounded in the same lethal encounter. A sad loss for the station, and a trauma which took Tony a long time to get over.
June Ackland has been through a LOT since we've last seen her. Case in point: her ill-fated affair. Yes, the saintly Sun Hill stalwart showed her more rebellious side by having an illicit fling with a new arrival at the station called Gordon Wray, who just happened to be very married indeed. Wray's priority should have been investigating the possibly-dodgy dealings of Frank Burnside (more on him in a moment), but instead he got embroiled in all things Ackland, leading to lots of smirking gossip, leading to Wray being transferred, his reputation in tatters.
And that's not all. As well as enduring the emotional angst of an affair, Ackland has also found herself the target of a lethal vendetta. A vengeful criminal (or actually, a criminal's mum, as it turned out) was out to get June, and it turned into a bloodbath, with innocent bystanders getting shot and Ackland's much-loved colleague Jo Morgan being killed as she tried to save Ackland from the assassin. Yes, June's been through more than most - and there are still plenty more shocking twists to come.
DON BEECH JOINED UP
There's been a very significant addition to the station in recent times: veteran copper Don Beech, who is destined to be a major (and notorious) figure in the story of Sun Hill. Charming, darkly handsome and utterly his own man, Beech doesn't kow-tow to anybody, and his maverick nature is the reason he hasn't risen far in the ranks of the police. So far, he's stayed just on the right side of the law (most of the time), and could probably sell himself to cynics as a rogue with a heart of gold. But just watch - things are about to take a darker turn with Don Beech, and the shockwaves will be felt throughout Sun Hill.
QUINNAN SETTLED IN TOO
Another notable newbie at Sun Hill is Dave Quinnan, a cocky jack-the-lad type who was quick to settle into his new nest. Unlike the more idealistic, crusading members of the team, Quinnan just sees himself as a regular bloke doing a job he enjoys - namely, nicking bad guys. A former electrician who used to work on oil rigs out at sea, he came relatively late to policing, after his previous career came to an end. He's a practical chap, is Quinnan, and the pay cheque is first and foremost on his mind.
That said, he immediately showed himself to be a natural at nabbing villains, and he's so far been a likeable and very effective addition to Sun Hill - even if he's just a bit too sure of himself when it comes to the opposite sex. But keep an eye on Quinnan, because dark events will soon be knocking the confidence right out of him, and he'll have to draw on all his inner strength to keep things together.
No, don't worry, we don't mean "vanished" as in being killed off by mobsters and buried in a shallow grave somewhere. Although, Burnside being Burnside, such a fate would surprise precisely nobody. Sun Hill's toughest, most enigmatic detective just dropped off the radar in recent years, apparently becoming part of a top secret "special assignment". This probably means he's gone undercover - which is something he's very good at, probably because he gives off villain vibes without even trying. But just wait, because it's certainly not the last we've seen of the legendary Frank Burnside.
As a new era unfolds at Sun Hill, we'll soon be meeting a new face: PC Eddie Santini. And "face" is the key word, because handsome Eddie is used to having women fall under his charms. The problem is, it's gone to his head, and Santini's darker impulses may well be his undoing - especially when it comes to another addition to Sun Hill called Rosie Fox. Watch this space...