By FRANCES GRANT
Poor old Geoff Greenlaw, he didn't deserve death by cool storage.
There's a lesson in the Shortland Street murder for doctors who run illicit drug trials on the day job while moonlighting in the hospitality industry. You might end up sleeping with da frozen fishes.
Losing the show's gay character is a sad blow for sexual-cultural diversity, too. There ought not to have been a dry eye in Grey Lynn or Ponsonby on Friday night.
Why did the gay guy have to go, when one of the whinging heterosexual nurses - one of those blonde clones always banging on about her love life over the bedpans - could so easily have been dispensed with?
A devotee of soberly checked shirts and jeans, indeed a man who could never stand accused of being a fashion plate, Geoff provided some much needed balance to the style excesses and shallow obsessions of that gaggle of gay men over on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
He had interesting weaknesses and character flaws - a spot of euthanasia, tormenting a young terminal cancer patient with a defective drug - though this being Shortland Street he also had the old clinic standby of an infallible talent for falling for the wrong bloke.
Still, somebody has to be the sacrificial victim in the interests of turning up the tension for the end-of-year cliffhanger. You can't have a hotbed of intrigue and suspicion without a body in the restaurant fridge.
So, Dr Watson, let's the have the list of three prime suspects: who most wanted to get Geoff out of the way?
Clinic head, the dour Victor Kahu tops the list.
He fired Geoff when he discovered the errant doctor had kept a drug trial going against young cancer patient Missy's wishes.
The drug trial was a scam, anyway, played on Geoff by his lover Jeremy, the drug company rep.
Then there's that ticklish matter of Kahu turning a blind eye to Geoff's euthanasia incident. Geoff was threatening to go public with the whole scandal and take the ambitious Kahu down with him.
Geoff's lover Jeremy, who so callously dumped the doctor the moment he was no longer of use to him, has tasted the chilled dish called revenge and has a distinctly homicidal glint to his eye.
Then there's Dom, whom Geoff caught slipping a dash of poison in the wife's tucker.
Forget the facts of the case, officer. More importantly, who would we most like to see locked up with key thrown away?
Jeremy's not really core cast and, therefore, to have him as the murderer would simply be far too convenient and boring.
Dom simply cannot go to prison as he's just warming to the role of uber villain and all the requisite eye-goggling and smirking to camera.
Kahu tops my list. The end for Kahu would also bring a welcome respite from the reunion storyline with the simpering Anne. This, too, would bring much needed relief from one of the show's strangest sights: Anne (Emmeline Hawthorne) being romanced by sleazy old power broker Rex (played, as any theatre-goer would know, by Emmeline's dad Raymond). Even for our sudser, this is just too weird.