Wentworth: Why Bea had to die
Will Jackson crosses the line in this week's season finale of Wentworth – with a big push from actor Robbie Magasiva.
"After season four I wasn't happy with where he was going, which was nowhere, so I had a word to the writers and they agreed and hence this is where Will is," says the Kiwi actor, at the end of what has been a monumental season for his character on the hit Australian prison drama.
Wentworth shocked fans when it killed off its main character, Bea Smith (fellow Kiwi Danielle Cormack), at the end of its fourth season – a move Magasiva says was both risky and necessary.
"The first four seasons were driven by Bea. That was the main driving force of the whole show and then, when Bea passed, it opened up the door to other characters," he says.
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"Much as we missed Bea, I think the show needed that turn for it to carry on. There was nowhere else for the character to go.
"Bea fans won't agree with that, but to ensure the standard remained where it is now, Bea needed to go."
Prison top-dog Bea died after impaling herself on a knife that was held by former prison governor-turned-raging psychopath Joan 'The Freak' Ferguson (Pamela Rabe). The current season has focused on her fellow inmates' need for revenge and Magasiva hints this could be coming soon.
"Pamela's journey – like Danielle's – can only go so far," he says, revealing it might be Will who tries to put a stop to her reign of terror. "It's like that thing when you've got someone for years just pointing the finger at you – those people who just keep poking you in the chest and going, 'Is that annoying, is that annoying, is that annoying?'. It's kind of like that with Will.
"It got to the point when he was like, 'This is annoying' and he had to do something about it."
Whatever eventuates between the pair, it caps off what has been a roller coaster of a season for both Will and Magasiva. There were times when the actor got to play the hero and others where – off screen at least – he was left more than a little red-faced.
His hero moment came when he had to repeatedly dive into a Melbourne river during the filming of the scenes where Will rescues inmate Kaz (Tammy McIntosh) after the prison van that is taking her to court plunges into the water.
"It was just coming into the end of winter when we filmed that so it was freezing," the actor says, adding he still had a ball filming the rescue.
"They had a spa pool for us right next to the river and they had stand-ins for us.
"So when they were ready to shoot, myself and Tam would go in, do our stuff and then we would hop back into the spa. It was a real taste of what it would be like to film in Hollywood."
However, it was his reaction to what has been described as one of Wentworth's most shocking scenes ever that proved his undoing.
As part of her campaign to become prison top dog, The Freak demonstrated her ruthless capabilities by cutting out the tongue of fellow inmate Juicy Lucy (Sally-Anne Upton), earning her begrudging respect and fear from her fellow prisoners.
"Lucy puked the fake blood or strawberry or whatever on to Kate (Kate Atkinson who plays prison governor Vera) and I saw it and I totally dry-retched and I had to look away," Magasiva confesses.
"The funniest thing was I'm the biggest guy in the whole of the cast and crew and no one could believe it. They were laughing their heads off that this guy was dry-retching from watching a whole lot of strawberry being puked on to Kate.
"I struggled that whole scene. Every time they cut, I'd have to walk away from it. Heads up to make-up, they did a great job ... I've never touched a dead tongue but it felt pretty legit."
Wentworth, TVNZ 2, Mondays.
- TV Guide