Over a barrel
Susan finds out who attacked her, then uses a gun to get him right where she wants him. By Pam Francis
When Merseybeat's Supt Susan Blake discovers that her trusted ex-husband Guy (played by Mark Aiken) and the beast who savagely raped her in the police car park are one and the same person, her world collapses around her.
And, as the series comes to an end this week, Susan vows to get a confession from Guy. Even if she has to hold him at gunpoint.
For Haydn Gwynne, who plays her, the shocking finale marks the end of two months of emotional drama for her character, who was raped in this series' first episode. The controversial storyline meant some soul-searching for the actress as she met victims of rape.
"You can't possibly know how you're going to react to a rape unless it happens to you," says Haydn, 41. "One woman I spoke to when I was researching the part was back at work the same day. Another woman couldn't even go out the door. For her it was a complete life-changing event. I needed to speak to them to feel reassured that in the series we were portraying something that was believable."
But what is hard to believe is that Supt Blake held back in reporting her rape until further on in the series. "I don't think she made a conscious decision not to report it, because she initially bagged up her clothes to use as evidence," says Haydn.
"But her fear was that if she did report it, she'd be treated as a victim and would have difficulty retaining her authority. Plus things were difficult at home with her husband Al. She felt if she didn't tell him, things would go back to normal. "One thing I learned about rape victims is that they often try to protect the feelings of those close to them."
Susan is shocked that Guy, who she turned to in her hour of need, is not the man she thought. "Can you imagine that the man you have confided in, and even slept with, is the same man who raped you? She wants to make him confess and explain why he did it," says the actress.
The actress rents a cottage in Runcorn, Cheshire, so sons Harry, two, and Orlando, five, by partner Jason, can stay while she's off wielding a gun.
Haydn first learned how to assemble a gun when she appeared with Rik Mayall in the TV comedy Remember Me? "You think of guns as being smooth polished metal. But they're quite crude - my hands were lacerated after handling a machine gun," she says.
"In Merseybeat, it was an automatic pistol, and the problem was that my arms ached from pointing this heavy weapon over a three-day shoot."