Emmerdale's Pierce Harris backstory after his return to the village

Daniel Kilkelly
Photo credit: ITV

From Digital Spy

Note: The following article contains discussion of topics including rape and sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.

Emmerdale has delivered a highly ominous blast from the past, bringing back evil Pierce Harris after more than two years.

Pierce made a shock comeback in the closing moments of Thursday night's episodes (January 23), which saw him kill Graham Foster.

Need a reminder on Pierce and his past storylines? Look no further.

Who is Pierce Harris?

Photo credit: ITV

Pierce was an Emmerdale regular between February 2016 and August 2017, played by former Coronation Street actor Jonathan Wrather. Prior to his introduction, he'd been mentioned several times by his wife Tess Harris, who'd been having an affair with Paddy Kirk.

Pierce's first scenes aired after Tess was involved in a road accident, getting knocked over by Kirin Kotecha. He rushed to the hospital to be at his wife's side, but was devastated when she passed away shortly afterwards.

In the aftermath of Tess's death, Pierce discovered the truth about her affair and came to the village to look for answers. When he discovered that Paddy was Tess's other man, he unleashed his dark side by attacking him in The Woolpack.

Photo credit: ITV

Pierce also became determined to find answers over Tess's road accident, closing in on local lawyer Rakesh Kotecha, who was protecting his guilty son Kirin.

Through spending more time in the village, Pierce grew closer to Rhona, who'd split from Paddy when they were unable to fix their marriage following his affair.

The pair started a relationship, but Rhona was unsettled by glimpses of his darker side as their romance developed. As Pierce's jealousy, possessive behaviour and controlling nature began to concern Rhona, he agreed to go for counselling and admitted to an anger problem.

Photo credit: ITV

Pierce and Rhona became engaged and later tied the knot, but their relationship took a disturbing turn when Pierce raped Rhona on their wedding day.

Rhona reported Pierce to the police following the incident and when the case went to trial, the villain was sentenced to five years in prison. Pierce was last seen when Rhona paid a visit to him in jail, looking for closure.

Why did Pierce Harris kill Graham Foster?

Photo credit: ITV

Emmerdale has confirmed that Pierce killed Graham, even though he wasn't part of the original suspects list released by the show. Producers kept quiet about Pierce's involvement so that his return scene would be a shock for fans.

Pierce's motive will be fully explored in Friday night's Emmerdale episode (January 24), which shows Graham's perspective on his final day alive and fills in all the blanks.

For now, we can only assume that Pierce's possessive ways have returned, unhappy to see Rhona moving on with her life.

There are also mysteries still to be explored about Graham's behaviour over the past few weeks – from answerphone messages he deleted, to the bloodied knuckles he had after a late-night encounter. But all will be revealed soon…

Why is Pierce Harris out of prison?

Photo credit: ITV

Emmerdale first hinted at Pierce's return in December last year, when Rhona was contacted over the news that he was being considered for parole.

The revelation understandably left Rhona in turmoil and strengthened her desire to make a fresh start in France with Graham.

It seems that the authorities have gone ahead and released Pierce from prison earlier than planned due to good behaviour behind bars. But with blood on his hands, perhaps it won't be long until he's back in jail where he belongs...

Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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