At the end of episode 3999 of Shortland Street (TV2, 7pm, weeknights) the new consultant roared up on his big black motorbike. It was, surprise (well, not for anyone who pays any attention to Shortie St news), Dr Hone Ropata, played, as anyone who hasn't been in Darfur for the past 10 years will know, by Temuera Morrison.
What a brilliant idea, especially for those once-regular viewers like me who haven't popped in for a long time. It was like a reunion. It was a reunion - between Dr Chris Warner, now chief executive under threat, and Dr Ropata, now consultant, who has been doctoring in hot spots around the world, including Darfur.
Episode 4000 on Friday was Dr Ropata's episode. Given a tour of the clinic, he said, "Well, the whole building is after my time".
I knew how he felt. There he was in the caf, which now sports an espresso machine the size of his motorbike. He had a cup of tea, a nostalgic gesture, I like to think, recalling the days of Lionel's muffins.
He figured out pretty quickly that the horrible Riley had brought him in to help unseat his old buddy Chris from the hot-seat. You'd think Riley might have asked around and found out Hone and Chris were mates. But this is a soap; little details like that don't matter. And because this is a soap, you can walk back in as though you never left - as a viewer and an actor.
He might not say much - "Mmm hmm", he said a lot - but he got straight into the operating theatre to save a bloke with a bullet wound. The theatre staff were amazed by his clamshell incision: "I've never seen one done before." "Mmm hmm," said Hone. "I'm not here to talk about myself." He took the time to hit on Tania. He took the time to hit on every sheila he came across - even Maia, who is gay. "I can work with that. Anyway," he said to Alice, "she's not my type. I prefer warm blondes." To Toni, when she told him the pub across the road offered lodging, if he was looking, "Yeah, I could be. I like a, aah, firm bed." Was he always this much of a lech?
It must be the trauma that's turned him into a dirty old doc. His Aids hospital in Africa was attacked by men with guns; he lost five of his best friends. He has demons. Now he's "kind of down with this bleeding heart, do-gooding business, it comes to nothing ... That's why I'm back, I'm actually here to find me a tasty wahine ... 98 Easy St, that's my next address."
His first address is at Chris's place. Chris: "You're staying at my place. I have rooms for Africa. Yeah, stupid saying."
Hone: "Blame Bob Geldof." Or the script writer. But never mind a few clangers. This is terrific stuff and there can only be trouble ahead, involving many, if not all, of the tasty wahines about.