Shortland Street star Grace Palmer talks about the soap's upcoming return
Nurse Lucy Rickman-Karim came close to death when the car she was travelling in with her husband Ali and father Glen was run off the road by a mystery vehicle and then set on fire.
While she survived the terrifying ordeal, the fate of one of the men remains unknown, and Glen is apparently dead.
During the soap's dramatic final episode for 2016, viewers discovered Detective Brent Cochrane (Kevin Keys), who was meant to be keeping Glen (Will Wallace) safe from particularly nasty thug Hayden (Aaron Jackson), was actually working for Hayden's secret boss.
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Cochrane was behind the wheel of the vehicle which ran Lucy's car off the road. He then set fire to the wrecked car.
Pregnant Lucy was horrified to see her husband and her father at the centre of the explosion. Now the two most important men in her life could both be dead.
"Things in Lucy's life were just coming together," says Grace Palmer, who has played Lucy for two and a half years.
"She'd re-established her relationship with her father which had previously been pretty dysfunctional."
When Lucy was around 12 years old, her parents separated. It transpired that Glen, an alcoholic, had been having an affair with Rachel McKenna (Angela Bloomfield).
Things had been tense between father and daughter for years, but the pair had started to patch things up.
Glen was looking forward to becoming a grandfather and Ali (Tane Williams-Accra) was excited about impending fatherhood.
So how will Lucy deal with the possibility that both her father and her husband could be dead?
"I'd like to think she'd cope because she's very tough and incredibly resilient, although she doesn't seem so on the face of things," says Palmer.
"I think with her childhood, growing up she's had to deal with a lot of stuff.
"Her parents don't get along or talk and she's always felt stuck in the middle. Obviously she would be heartbroken and gutted.
"Ali is the love of her life and their baby is their little miracle. It was a long time coming. They'd wanted a baby for a while. They should make wonderful parents."
Glen's apparent death is particularly galling for Lucy.
"She had finally come to terms with who her dad is," says Palmer.
"They had made amends and were working through things."
Palmer says Shortland Street's car explosion scenes were filmed at night and were "pretty tiring".
"But it's great because you're working in the elements," she says.
"You've got a burning car there, there are things to work with and you've got a little bit more time.
"Everything's quite fast-paced in the studio, but on location you have a little more time and we had a great crew.
"I got to work with Tane, who I've done most of my stuff with all year. I love Will Wallace who plays my dad. He's a real character so we had a lot of fun. It was nice to do some more dramatic stuff."
For part of those scenes, Palmer was kneeling on the ground.
"I'm covered in a lot of mud," she says. "I'm pretty sure it was actual s***. It was really smelly."
She hopes viewers tune in to watch Shortland Street's first episode for 2017 – not just for her character's storyline but also to see how the other storylines featured in the Christmas cliffhanger episode pan out.
In case you are not up to speed, Dr TK Samuels (Ben Mitchell) killed Hayden in a violent rage while married mother Nicole (Sally Martin) had a romantic encounter with Ruby (JJ Fong).
Is TK set to swap his scrubs for a prison uniform? Is the marriage of Nicole and Vinnie (Pua Magasiva) doomed? Palmer won't say.
"There is a lot of sacrifice that goes on," she says.
"You see a lot of vulnerability come from lots of different people."
Shortland Street, TVNZ 2, weeknights from Monday January 16.
- TV Guide