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No Love/Hate reprieve: Romantic Darren is dead and gone, let the real tragedy begin

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Robert Sheehan starred as Darren in Love/Hate

Robert Sheehan starred as Darren in Love/Hate

Robert Sheehan starred as Darren in Love/Hate

When Robert Sheehan was seen floating around the set of season four of Love/Hate as it was shot in Dublin earlier this year, a glimmer of hope burst into life in the hearts of Irish womanhood.

Could Darren, our favourite ocean-eyed, ice-hearted killer, be coming back from the dead? We'd seen him being killed in cold blood by Lizzie, the girl whose passionate love for him had turned to murderous hate. Had we seen a ghost? Or was the character being resurrected.

But alas, romantic Darren is dead and gone. And if Robert was seen shooting in the spring, it's no indication that he's going to be back in the action.

Writer Stuart Carolan has confirmed that there is to be no 'Bobby Ewing moment' on the cards. Which means, in turn, that Lizzie will undoubtedly have a lot on her plate when Love/Hate returns to our screens in the autumn. Darren's struggles are over. And as for Robert Sheehan, the actor who played him, he's moved on too – last seen making waves in Hollywood, joining Lily Collins in the cast of the latest teen drama mega-franchise, The Mortal Instruments, which looks set to make him a star of Robert Pattinson proportions.

It will be left to Lizzie then to come to terms (or not) with what she's done. And what a bloody aftermath. In the ultimate revenge act, she extinguished the man that she loved, the focus of her intense ardour, as revenge for his murder of her brother.

"Love and hate have always been closely linked in our drama," says Suzanne McAuley, the series producer. "Just as Darren's journey is one of a classic tragedy, so too is Lizzie's. After the death of her two brothers, one at the hand of Darren – Lizzie transformed (symbolised by the shaving of her head) into a vengeful, aggressive woman determined to destroy all that remained of love. Darren, the object of her desires, was responsible for the destruction of the only love she had. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!"

There was something groundbreaking about this particular twist. Imagine if Juliet, as revenge for Romeo's murder of her cousin Tybalt, had turned her knife on her lover instead of herself. With women in drama so regularly portrayed as either heartsore victims or two-dimensional villains, it's rare that they are allowed such an epic emotional journey as has been written for Lizzie. When we see female revenge on-screen, it's usually stylised and hyper colour (as per Uma Thurman in Kill Bill) or hysterical and supernatural (like Stephen King's Carrie.)

Female love, we like to believe, is too soft, too yielding to have such a violent end. Only women possessed by madness can kill. And yet, real life shows otherwise. Just this year 50-year-old Limerick woman Rose Lynch was found guilty of the assassination-style killing of innocent bystander David Darcy. Lynch, who described herself, as "an IRA volunteer" believed she was carrying out a reprisal killing but got the wrong man.

But while real life confirms the plausibility of the plot, it was up to actress Caoilfhionn Dunne to create a convincing arc for her character. "I approached her as an animal-like child," she has previously said. "She is trusting and loyal. She is constantly surrounded by strong men, aggressive men and to react off them was interesting."

Just like her audience, Caoilfhionn seems to relish the scope the show has given her character. "I was excited for them to go that way with the character of Lizzie and bring in a woman who was different from the others," she said.

With her crime of passion now behind her, what remains to be seen is whether there's any semblance of a normal life in store for Lizzie.

The most famous scorned woman in drama, Medea, got off the hook. Will it be the same for Lizzie? We'll have to wait for season four to find out.

Sunday Independent