It's the question on the lips of every Hollyoaks fan right now – who shot Mercedes McQueen?
Hollyoaks' mystery is expected to run on screen for around a month, so we're keeping track of the case in this regularly-updated article – with all of the clues, motives, suspicious moments and (inevitably) red herrings all in one place.
Could this be the tool you need to help crack the case?
Who shot Mercedes McQueen? – The background and her movements before the shooting
Mercedes McQueen was shot at The Loft club on the night of Monday, November 4, just hours after Harry Thompson's funeral had taken place at a local church. The shooting's on-screen air date was slightly later in the week (Tuesday, November 5 on E4, Wednesday, November 6 on Channel 4), as three episodes of the show were set on that fateful Monday.
Prior to the shooting, Mercedes had a number of her secrets publicly exposed during an argument at Harry's wake at The Dog In The Pond. Grace Black set the ball rolling by playing a damning audio recording, which proved that Mercedes was responsible for her hit-and-run accident in May.
The audio file, recorded in July, also contained a threat from Mercedes that she'd kill Harry if he exposed the truth about the crash, arousing suspicion that she could have murdered him to keep him quiet. Hollyoaks fans know that Mercedes' mother-in-law Breda was the true culprit behind Harry's death.
In the fallout of this recording being played at the pub, Mercedes' husband Sylver discovered that she had an affair with Liam Donovan earlier in the year. He also learned that Mercedes secretly had an abortion as she didn't know who the father of her baby was.
With her world crashing down around her, Mercedes later went into self-destruct mode by insulting a number of her family members and neighbours during Harry's wake. Heading outside afterwards, she rowed with Liam and told him about the abortion too, leaving him upset and wanting revenge.
Mercedes used keys to The Loft, given to her by Grace, to get access to the club. She raided the safe and found drugs and money inside, as well as a gun. When Mercedes hit the dance floor, seemingly without a care in the world, someone entered the club, picked up the gun from the bar and shot her.
Who shot Mercedes McQueen? – The seven suspects
The seven suspects are:
1. Sylver McQueen – the betrayed husband
2. Grace Black – the frenemy
3. Liam Donovan – the lover
4. James Nightingale – the vengeful lawyer
5. Breda McQueen – the serial killer mother-in-law
6. Joel Dexter – the secret keeper
7. Diane Hutchinson – the betrayed friend
Goldie McQueen is also featured in the suspects photo, although the show claims this is because she'll be playing detective to help solve the crime and shouldn't be considered as a possibility.
All of the suspects have a motive for wanting revenge against Mercedes. Sylver has been badly betrayed by Mercedes just months into their marriage, while Liam may have been pushed too far by her constant rejections and the revelation over her abortion.
Grace has already taken revenge for the hit-and-run by publicly exposing Mercedes's true colours, but may have taken things a step further by trying to get rid of her for good. She does have form for murder, after all.
James and Diane both have a score to settle over Mercedes's poor treatment of Harry before his death, and they suspect that she could have been responsible for killing him.
Breda already has past victims to her name and has considered killing Mercedes before. Visibly angered by Mercedes's betrayal of Sylver, she could have broken her own "bad fathers" rule by trying to get rid of her.
Finally, Joel has been aware of Mercedes's guilt over the hit-and-run for a while now, and she took great pleasure in humiliating him at Harry's wake. As the son of fearsome Warren, was the Fox gene suddenly activated?
Who shot Mercedes McQueen? – The suspicious moments and key evidence
All airdates refer to the E4 broadcast.
As with all whodunit storylines, Hollyoaks has offered up plenty of suspicious moments which could ultimately have a bearing on the case. But which are the clues and which are the red herrings?
Episode 5292 (November 4): Prior to the attempt on Mercedes's life, Liam confided in his brother Jesse about the strength of his love for her. Liam spoke darkly about how he imagines shooting Mercedes.
Episode 5293 (November 5): Vengeful Diane was seen breaking a wine glass in her hand before storming off, leaving her father-in-law Edward concerned over what she might do. Diane was later seen approaching the club while Mercedes was inside.
Episode 5293 (November 5): James told Marnie, Romeo and Juliet that he wanted Mercedes found dead or alive. Fearful of what James might do, Marnie put pills in his glass of wine to take him out of action for a while. It was unclear whether James drank the full glass or not.
Episode 5293 (November 5): Grace consoled Liam following the revelation over Mercedes's abortion. She told her brother that Mercedes was at the club – and he declared that she needed to die.
Episode 5293 (November 5): A thoughtful Joel took off his clerical collar at the McQueen house. Was he considering his next move?
Episode 5293 (November 5): Breda was seen with a creepy Mercedes doll, putting it in her bag before walking purposefully out of The Dog.
Episode 5294 (November 6): James woke up on the sofa in his flat, telling Marnie that he knew she spiked his drink. The glass was empty, although it was left uncertain as to whether James had drunk from it or simply poured it away.
Episode 5294 (November 6): As the McQueens speculated over Mercedes's whereabouts, Sylver told his family that he'd already made sure his marriage to her was over – and that she'd never come back. Goldie and Nana speculated over what this meant.
Episode 5294 (November 6): Grace stopped Jesse from going into the club – a possible sign that she wanted to delay Mercedes being found. She and Liam later quizzed each other over their whereabouts the night before, seemingly ruling out the possibility that they dealt with Mercedes together.
Episode 5294 (November 6): DS Cohen quizzed Liam on why CCTV footage from The Loft had mysteriously been wiped.
Episode 5294 (November 6): Diane sought Edward's medical knowledge over whether Mercedes could die from her injuries, seeming rattled by the possibility.
Episode 5294 (November 6): Flashbacks showed that Sylver slept with Grace at The Dog on the night of the shooting. Grace didn't return home until the next morning.
Episode 5294 (November 6): Flashbacks showed Liam burning his clothes on the morning after the shooting.
Episode 5295 (November 7): When quizzed by the police, Liam was reluctant to give a proper alibi, only vaguely claiming that he was "out and about" when Mercedes was shot.
Episode 5295 (November 7): Liam tried to pin the blame on Sylver by planting the gun that was used to shoot Mercedes under his bed at The Dog flat, then tipping off the police. Liam's efforts were thwarted when Grace spotted the gun and got it out of the building. Liam himself was then arrested when the police caught him with the gun.
Episode 5295 (November 7): Goldie questioned Joel on why he seemed confused over his alibis for the night of Mercedes's shooting, first claiming he was out walking, then suggesting he was at the church. Joel later explained his shifty behaviour by revealing that he has been planning a surprise proposal for Goldie with help from Darren.
Episode 5926 (November 8): A flashback scene showed Liam standing over an unconscious Mercedes at The Loft on the night of the shooting.
We will update this section as the whodunnit continues…
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look screenings at 7pm on E4.
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