Shortland Street cliffhangers
The annual Shortland Street Cliffhanger is a storyline at the end of each year's season that leaves behind a question to be solved the following year. This technique is used to lure viewers back after the long break. Cliffhangers are usually carefully written so that storylines from throughout the year come to a head and interconnect. The following is a list by year of Shortland Street's cliffhangers.
Though there was no break this year as Shortland Street screened throughout the holidays, Alison Raynor discovers she is pregnant with ex fiancé Chris Warner's child, while Marj Neilson meets up with Jane, the daughter she gave up for adoption.
Again there was no break as the show screened throughout the holidays but the hospital staff faced a difficult choice when Steve, Gina, Hone and Marj all held New Year's Eve parties - and competed for guests. They were all disappointed when Alex McKenna invited everyone to celebrate at the local bar, Kennedy's. Marj was pleasantly surprised to find lover Laurie at her door.
Shortland Street took a 2-week break over the Christmas/New Year period. Jenny was shocked to discover she was pregnant. Hone Ropata had to defend himself against Ant, a dodgy (and violent) associate of his nephew, Manny. He punched him and he never got back up. Darryl Neilson persuades Stuart Neilson to interrupt Lionel and Kirsty's until-then fairytale wedding.
Once again Shortland Street screened throughout the holiday period, but on Christmas Day, a truck driver drove into the hospital, knocking down Carmen Roberts and Kirsty. Kirsty was put into a coma and Carmen received a small injury to the head. Guy proposed to her and she died from a brain tumor moments later. Kirsty regained consciousness but suffered extreme amnesia and she told Lionel she could not remember loving him. Their marriage was over.
Shortland Street took a break from the end of November 1996 until late January 1997, the longest ever break for the show.
Rangi and Rachel broke up for good and wheelchair-bound Rangi found himself in a tight corner when he was trapped in the garage by a drunk Rachel - who then passed out leaving the car running.
Nick discovered the truth about the garbage company he worked for and found himself in danger. In Fiji Ellen told David she was pregnant. And Lionel and Kirsty decided to give their marriage another go. The year ended on their kiss.
Shortland Street took a 6-week break from early December 1997 to mid January 1998.
Jenny realised that her fugitive husband Ian Seymour was the mysterious good samaritan who had rescued her from a mugger. Donna and Rangi's romance came to a sudden halt when they discovered they were half-brother and sister. Tiffany was rushed to hospital after a potentially fatal collapse. Caroline was sentenced to life imprisonment for Annabel's "murder". And the small plane that Kirsty and Lionel were travelling in crashed.
Oscar's bad deeds began to catch up with him. Fergus attacked Oscar after learning he had raped Minnie and Rachel discovered Oscar had defrauded the hospital of a million dollars.
Lionel proposed to MacKenzie, unaware of her villainous activities. Oscar himself was nowhere to be found - until Minnie discovered him in Ellen and David's dining room, apparently dead.
Meanwhile, Minnie's mother Ellen (who'd just learned of her daughter's rape) and Mike were looking for Minnie, hoping to find her on the harbour cruise they'd planned. The boat hit a reef and began to sink and when Mike and Ellen tried to jump to safety Ellen hit her head. Mike frantically tried to find her underwater...
Moira and Dean were finally reconciled and Alesha told Frank she was pregnant - to him. Wave was shocked that her friend Minnie was using guys for their money. After a fight with lover Laura, Caroline turned to Greg for comfort.
Donna discovered Rangi wasn't her brother after all - but while trying to contact him with the good news he was pledging his devotion to policewoman girlfriend Janet, trapped in her vehicle as it went up in flames.
From the year 2000 onwards Shortland Street took a shorter break of 4 weeks every year.
A literal cliffhanger as nasty Eamon begged for his life, but would Kate Larsen (whom Eamon had raped) pull him up?
Fergus proposed to Waverley, then called off the engagement when Wave would not believe he was off drugs; Wave soon realised the error of her ways and proposed to him - but would he accept?
Sofia met a stranger who introduced himself as the new head of the hospital - Chris Warner.
Angela and Nick's son Lucas was born (but it was bittersweet for Nick, as he knew Angela's cancer was spreading). And Frank came under fire when he treated a murderer - and was later seen lying in the carpark in a pool of his own blood.
Disappointed suitor Jack Hewitt attacked Chris and kidnapped Rachel, later staging a creepy mock wedding.
Nick declared his love for Waverley and asked her to come to the UK with him. And Barb's Christmas party turned to tragedy when Marshall's garage drug lab exploded.
2002 saw Waverley be diagnosed with breast cancer and Shannon announce that she was pregnant - to Tama.
Rachel and Chris's relationship was on the rocks and as her alcoholism took control she moved into bartender Zac's place, and nearly drowned in his pool. Chris called it quits and decided to pursue his feelings for Donna. As they celebrated, Rachel was on her way over. Trying to talk to Chris on her mobile while driving drunk she had a serious car accident!
Back at the hospital prisoner Kurt Matakuare (Victor's nemesis) had been brought in for treatment. When everyone else was at the staff Christmas party he overpowered his guard and headed for Victor's office. When Adam tried to stop him, Kurt stabbed Adam with a scalpel leaving him bleeding in the deserted corridor too weak to cry out.
As 2003 drew to a close the question on everyone's lips was 'Who killed Geoff Greenlaw?' and as Geoff's sister Delphi prepared to leave Ferndale for Sydney in the company of Dominic Warner, she was horrified to uncover new evidence suggesting Dom was the murderer!
Chris Warner's world crumbled around him when his girlfriend Donna discovered he'd been unfaithful, and he was arrested on trumped up charges of sexual molestation, both thanks to Dominic.
The on-again, off-again romance between Toni Thompson and Logan King was all on when Logan announced he'd left his wife for Toni.
At the Christmas party, Vinnie kissed Jesse and Waverley fainted for the best possible reason - she was pregnant! And across town at a charity function, Anne and Tama were trapped when the building collapsed around them.
Called to the scene, ambo officer Nelson Copeland tried frantically to get Anne out before the building was completely destroyed...
This year Shortland Street ran right up to Christmas and the year's final episode was a celebratory one-hour special that screened on Christmas Day.
The centerpiece was Tama and Shannon's romantic beach wedding, attended by old favourites Victor, Donna and Mihi. Across town, the hospital social club was performing A Christmas Carol charity and back at the Emergency Department, Sarah and Andrew were coping with the demands of the festive season.
The year ended with a combined wedding reception and A Christmas Carol wrap party at Coltrane, the romantic reunion of Barb and Sticky and the start of Sarah and Andrew's ill-fated relationship.
The final episode of 2005 saw Craig, Sarah, Judy and Maia form a band to entertain their colleagues at the hospital Christmas party it was all to raise money for a good cause, and even though Sarah was dating Hamish and Craig was with Huia, their chemistry was clear as they sang the Dance Exponents hit 'Why Does Love Do This To Me?'
Meanwhile, Tania Jeffries discovered that her boyfriend Mark Weston was a sex addict. During the Christmas party, Tania punched Mark and ended their relationship.
Sarah finally chooses TK Samuels over old flame Craig Valentine at the staff beach party.
Chris Warner begins his ill-fated affair with Justine Jones when they share a passionate kiss.
Tania and boyfriend Kingi get kidnapped by the Whitetails Gang, meanwhile Ethan Pierce decides to ditch the country, stinging several people along the way. He arrives to his house, packs his gear and is then shot three times by an unseen assailant.
Attempting to leave the party to stop him, Kieran was forced to borrow drunk Rachel's car and ended up hitting and killing nurse Morgan Braithwaite.
He pulled a comatose Rachel across to the driver's side of the car, effectively framing her for the death.
Isaac learns that Luke Durville has been "taken care of" by the Russian gang that kidnapped him, Jennifer learns that Maia has a crush on her, Scotty brutally starts strangling fiancé Tracey Morrison on the dinner table and Evan accidentally starts a fire in Rachel & Callum's apartment block, trapping himself, Chris, Rachel and Callum inside. The year ends with Callum jumping on top of passed out lovers, Chris and Rachel as another huge explosion rifts the building.
Schoolgirl - Ula Levi, realizes she is pregnant, Chris and Gabrielle start an affair and Hunter breaks into a pharmacy, desperate for a drug fix. Daniel and Jill try to stop Hunter, only for Daniel to get bludgeoned with a crowbar by Bailey and Jill to get stabbed by a security guard.
The wedding of Luke Durville and Bella Cooper goes ahead, after some last minute wedding jitters when Luke found out the day before that he has a brain tumor and most likely only has 3 months to live which he revealed to Bella and suggested they call off the wedding. On the day of the wedding, Chris Warner finds out that Gus Afeaki died and he later informs Vasa Levi. Before the wedding begins, Zac Smith who was previously revealed to the audience as the person targeting TK Samuels, spikes a drink and tricks Josh Gallagher in to giving it to TK. After the wedding Murray Cooper tells extranged wife Wendy that he wishes to get back together and Wendy agrees to consider it. Under the influence of the spiked drink, TK starts behaving noticeably strangely and gets into his car to chase Josh when he sees him leaving. TK drives into the surrounding group of people with Murray and Wendy in TK's way. The final shot is TK colliding with Murray as he pushes Wendy out of the way.
The final episode for 2013 was screened midweek and was an hour-long episode.
After Vasa and Travis break up Vasa finds Travis has over $30,000 in cash despite having declared bankruptcy days earlier and leaving both Murray and Nate out of pocket. Vasa manages to get Travis to agree to half of the money and the Cooper's are paid back but not Nate. Ula is called to an Ambulance call out to Vasa's address, Ula rings Vasa in advance but receives no answer, the call out is due to a body found in the car park of Vasa'a apartment which happens to be Travis's body. Vasa and Vinnie are seen coming back into the house drunk but have no idea what has happened to Travis.
Brooke finally has a kidney transplant, a kidney becomes available after Dayna's mother is involved in a car accident. Dayna's mother initially arrived in hospital in a stable condition but Bree and Josh chose to drug her so that she was brain dead and her kidney could be used. Initially Dayna had refused to go ahead with allowing her mothers kidney to be used but agreed at the last minute. The Cooper family agree to take care of Dayna and her brother.
Josh is arrested at the end of the second to last episode of 2013 on a charge of intent to harm for tampering with vitamins given to Wendy.
Chris plans a Christmas party at the Warner family batch. In the lead up Chris and Rachel have run into problems, Chris is wanting to marry Rachel and have children Rachel initially doesn't want either. Grace Kwan has also indicated she wants a baby to which Chris offers to be the father to but stay in a relationship with Rachel. At the end of the episode Rachel accepts Chris's proposal and accepts that Chris and Grace may have a child together. Nate tries to set Dallas up for a fall, as payback for Dallas suggesting Nate play Santa, Nate finds a ring and places it in a gift-box with a note and hands it to Emma. When Emma sees the ring and reads the note she instantly thinks Dallas was proposing and is keen on the idea but Dallas is surprised and instantly responds with the words "as if." This leads to Emma and Dallas not talking to each other and Kylie also mad at Nate for playing such a prank. After unsuccessfully trying to talk Emma around, Dallas and Kylie are talking together and this leads to Dallas and Kylie kissing only to have Emma catch them both out. Josh is released on bail and places a home made bomb on a timer underneath Chris's batch. Josh then crashes the party saying the Police had dropped the charges and he was free and made an attempt to take Bella away with him. Bella was not interested in having anything more to do with Josh and Harper, TK and Roimata did everything to keep Josh away from Bella. After a long altercation between Josh and the rest of the group Roimata discovers the bomb underneath the batch with just seconds on the clock, with no time to stop the clock the bomb explodes and the audience are left wondering who dies. At the end of the episode a trailer is played showing Rachel, Roimata, Chris, TK, Emma and Josh in a funeral like scene. The audience are told one of these people will die, the audience are given clues as to who will survive.
The campaign "Shortland Street Clues" was launched after the episode with one clue on who lives/dies given to fans each day until the show resumed.
The final episode of 2014 was screened on Thursday, in a double episode/one hour special. Boyd, TK, Garrett, Murray, Vinnie and Dallas hesitantly agree to participate in the calendar set competition by Kylie and Leanne, in which the winner becomes the front cover. The final two are narrowed down and Dallas beats out Vinnie through audience appreciation.
Meanwhile, Rachel is still trapped in the elevator with Shelley, who threatens to attack her with a knife if she does not get her termination pills. Rachel calls Boyd and references the name 'Derek Foster' - the detective responsible for Toby's father's death. Initially, Boyd doesn't understand the call but Kylie explains who he is and both Boyd and Chris rush to the hospital, sensing something is wrong.
Chris and Boyd begin to search for Rachel, while Leanne calls security and orders them to search for Rachel. Shelley refuses to wait any longer and forces Rachel to a drug room to find the pills herself. She repeatedly says she does not have access to a drug room, but a door is left open by a fellow nurse, granting access into the room.
Rachel begins looking for the pills when Chris, Boyd and the security guards arrive outside the room. Chris is granted access after he states he is a doctor. He asks Shelley questions and asks whose choice it is to abort the baby. After reassurance that everything will be okay, she lets Rachel go, doesn't take the pills and is taken away by the police.
While at the calendar competition, Ula breaks up with Garrett, saying he is trying to be something he isn't. After claiming victory, Dallas calls Bella but to no avail. Dallas and Ula converse as they both relate to each other in which both their relationships have ended.
While being treated in ED, Chris and Rachel share a moment together, and Chris sees this as a golden opportunity to reunite with her, although Rachel is only grateful and does not want anything more. The following morning, she is treated to a large bouquet of flowers and expensive jewellery. Chris and now Harry continue to misread these actions. Chris forces Rachel over to his house where she tells him again that she does not want to get back together.
Back at the hospital, Shelley escapes from the police and subsequently runs into Nicole who is knocked over. She is rushed to ED but is cleared of any damage to her or the baby. After the calendar competition Nicole goes into labour.
At the conclusion of the episode, Rachel convinces Garrett to let her cheer him up after he is still suffering from the break up. Chris tries to reconcile with Rachel one last time at her apartment, but ends up seeing her with Garrett and is shocked. Dallas invites a mystery woman over to his place, and Nicole gives birth to a baby boy (Pele), only to suffer a seizure right after, leaving Vinnie and Leanne devastated.
The campaign "Love Hurts" followed and fans were given the chance to write endings for the story lines in the Finale (Nicole's Seizure, Dallas' mystery woman, Chris & Rachel's break up and Harper anguish over TK & Boyd) to win an exclusive perfume of the same name.
The 2015 cliffhanger aired on Monday 14 December as a 90-minute triple episode.
Gareth Hutchins (Jarrod Martin) seeks revenge against Drew McCaskill (Ben Barrington) and the hospital, after Drew's intervention resulted in daughter Millie (Brittany Clark) being taken into foster care. Arming himself with several firearms, he sneaks into the hospital and takes out the hospital security cameras and the guard. Gareth confronts Drew in his study and shoots him in the leg; Drew wrestles the gun from Gareth's hand but in the process he is shot in the chest.
After attempts to escape via the underground carpark and ambulance bay are foiled, Gareth enters the hospital cafe and takes the staff Christmas party hostage. Michael manages to escape with Vinnie's call, but when Gareth wants Stevie as a shield, Len Cooper lunges forward and confronts him despite still recovering from a shoulder injury. He is shot point-blank in the stomach and passes away having lost a lot of blood. After Len dies, Gareth again wants Stevie, with Bella resisting to obey.
Boyd makes a last-minute dash to the hospital with best man Chris Warner having left the wedding rings in his office desk. However he becomes trapped inside as the police and Armed Offenders Squad surround the hospital. Boyd and Harper are forced to postpone their wedding. Amidst the chaos, Dayna was late to the wedding with George, and had no idea about the situation at Shortland Street, they got married, knowing the Coopers would still have reservations about them getting married.
Deciding rather than waiting any longer, Mo and Vinnie rush Gareth; in their attempts to bring him to the ground, Gareth gun fires repeatedly. Hearing gunshots, the AOS storm the cafe. Drew attempts to crawl for help, but before he manages to reach the phone, an unknown person picks up the gun and shoots Drew.
The campaign "The Living Moment" was launched on TV and through the website - www.thelivingmoment.co.nz. Each week a password was given on Facebook/Snapchat/Instagram for an exclusive peek into the lives of a character affect. Photos, 111 Calls, Evidence, Christmas Cards and Maps were also unlocked with the password.
When unscrambled the 5 password spelled TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN.
Shortland Street resumed on 18.1.16.
Trina dies from wounds inflicted from Hayden. TK takes Trina's phone and calls Hayden who is upset about Trina dying. TK and Kylie head to TK's house while they are there Hayden abducts Kylie and forces TK to go with him.Meanwhile, Glen, Lucy and Ali leave Ferndale as Ali believes they are not safe. They head to a bach bought by Glen. Nicole and Ruby share an moment and leave the IV together. TK admits he never loved Trina and that Kylie is the one, TK is forced to dig Kylie's grave by Hayden who shoots TK in the arm.DI Cochrane stalks Glen, Lucy and Ali and makes them crash their car before dousing it in petrol and blowing it up. Ali manages to pull Lucy out in time as they watch the car blow up with Glen inside. TK and Hayden engage in a fight where TK drowns Hayden.
The 2016 finale was followed by the "Past the point of no Return" campaign which will continue through the year of the shows 25th Anniversary. Three videos were released showed the three characters most affected by Ferndale's Christmas - Lucy, TK & Nicole. Each week a video was launched on the shows Facebook page showing memories of the past, parts of the ad, and the character's solemn face.
In the 2017 Finale, A shooter hired by Mason Coutts attempts to shoot Finn after Finn receives numerous death threats. Frank jumps in front of the bullet and is shot, but after extensive care, he recovers. The shooter then enters the hospital and then attempts shooting Finn again, but is killed by Chris.
Esther is then kidnapped and is threatened to have her throat slit by one of the prisoners who killed his own son.
A prison bus that was transferring prisoners to a high state max security facility, which is holding Mason, 'deliberately' crashes and Mason escapes. Sass went on a boat with Jasper, only to find that Mason had hijacked the boat, forcing Sass to either sail with him or die trying to make it back to Ferndale. Later, in a heated exchange, Mason kills his own son, Jasper, and then tries to kill Sass, who he accuses of turning Jasper against him. Mason is then shot with a harpoon by Sass and falls overboard, dragging her into the water with him. Eventually, Mason dies of his injuries.
Meanwhile, Leanne takes on the role of Santa during Christmas celebrations, but when the costume is supposedly sabotaged by Dawn (leaving Leanne with a red rash on her face), Leanne sabotages Dawn's Trifle by adding vodka to it, which is completely demolished by Ali in attempt to make Dawn feel better. Drunk, he goes in to kiss Dawn, only to vomit all over her.
The season ends with the boat travelling away, leaving Sass treading water in the middle of sea, Virginia is found unconscious at the bottom of Chris' stairs, and Esther goes into cardiac arrest after escaping from the prisoners car, with Curtis and Finn doing everything in their power to save her.