AFTER reconnecting with his mother Shirley Carter off-screen, Dean Wicks made his way back to Walford.
Linda Carter was left horrified to see her rapist back in town in unsettling EastEnders scenes aired on Monday, October 30, 2023.
A long-awaited return
BBC One viewers have been expecting actor Matt Di Angelo to reprise his role as the troublesome Dean Wicks for several months.
The actor was last seen in Albert Square in 2016, after his on-screen alter ego chased out of the fictional London borough of Walford by his own father.
As mentioned above, Dean came back during the soap's Halloween instalment aired on Monday.
Linda Carter was horrified to see her attacker standing in the kitchen of The Queen Vic – the same room he attacked her in back in 2014.
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And while many fans of the London-based program may expect him not to have changed his ways and wreak havoc, EastEnders boss Chris Clenshaw revealed Dean has more on his mind than causing trouble.
"He’s back for his daughter, Jade. He's trying to make things right for her. She's got cystic fibrosis, and he's trying his best to support her", the producer told Radio Times.
Viewers may recall that Jade Green appeared on the show from 2015 to 2016 and was the daughter of Dean Wicks and Shabnam Masood.
The young girl was kept a secret and given up for adoption by her mother.
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While his motives remain unclear and as he is suspected to be Cindy Beale's new business partner, a huge hint teasing Dean's comeback was dropped months before he was seen again.
Dean was mentioned for the first time in seven years in February, 2023, when he reconnected with his mother Shirley Carter off-screen.
The Walford tough woman played by Linda Henry left Albert Square after the supposed death of her son Mick.
Shirley was unable to cope with the loss and still heartbroken over her sister Tina's murder.
After saying her goodbyes, sharing an emotional scene with long-term friend Jean Slater, Shirley left the Square with bulldog Lady Di in tow and found comfort with her daughter Carly Wicks.
Weeks of radio silence flew by and Linda (Kellie Bright) was finally sent news of Shirley during last night's instalment of the long-running soap.
But to her horror, Shirley not only reconnected with her daughter Carly, she also found a way to make peace with her son Dean.
Linda was soon approached by Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylorth) who comforted her and both women bonded over their past experiences.
One of Walford's biggest troublemakers
The half brother of Mick Carter, Dean Wicks is the son of Shirley and Buster Briggs.
When he initially rocked up the Square, years before the Carter family ever settled down in Walford, "Deano" managed to convince his great aunt Pat Evans to take him in.
Although he managed to reconnect with his long-lost mother Shirley while on holiday in Dorset, it wasn't until he was recovering from a horrific car accident that he allowed her into his life.
Dean had plenty of unrequited crushes, including Stacey Slater and Chelsea Fox and he was thrown behind bars for perverting the course of justice.
Prison traumatised and changed Dean and, following his release, he rejected his loved one before fleeing Walford altogether.
In 2012, his sister Carly told Shirley that things were back on the right track for Dean as he owned a bar and lived with his then-girlfriend in Australia.
But there was another twist ahead and Linda would be the one to suffer…
From wayward lad to family man
"Deano" decided to start afresh in Walford in 2014, thus dropping his nickname once and for all.
He quickly reconnected with his maternal family, striking up a bond with his grandfather Stan.
Dean followed him back to the Square and finds himself a new girlfriend, Lauren Branning, before opening up his own salon, Blades.
After getting to know Stan, acquainted himself with the rest of Shirley's family, the Carters, who owned The Queen Vic at this point in time.
Sadly, Dean didn't show Shirley the same kindness and verbally abused her for her poor parenting, which led to Mick punching him.
But when it came to Linda, Dean felt very differently.
His attraction to Mick's wife turned into obsession when she maternally hugged him after Shirley stole from him.
When Shirley fled the Square with her aunt Babe Smith, Dean was distraught, leaving Linda to comfort him again.
He took advantage by trying to have sex with her and, despite her protests, Dean raped Linda.
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A villain's downfall
Linda remained silent but also mentally traumatised by the ordeal, particularly as she discovered she was pregnant and feared the baby could be Dean's.
Meanwhile, Dean carried on with his life, moving on from Lauren to Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner).
A victim of rape herself, Stacey caught on to Linda's behaviour and noticed the landlady flinching whenever Dean was around.
Once she put two and two together, Stacey ended her relationship with Dean before urging Linda to expose him.
Linda opened up on Christmas Day 2014 and the accusation caused a massive rift in the family.
While Mick stood firmly by her side, finding out Shirley was in fact his mother and not his sister as he was made to believe, the tough woman refused to hear another word from Linda.
Dean temporarily left Walford before returning to exact revenge on the Carters as his reputation was ruined by Linda's accusation.
In doing so, he almost killed Nancy Carter by trying to set the Vic on fire but only gets beaten by Mick again.
Dean then found out he had a daughter, Roya, who was renamed Jade Green, years after a fling with Shabnam Masood.
Although he tried to clean up his act and make peace with Linda, it was too late – Dean's villainous nature catches up with him again.
He showed off his violent streak when he became romantically involved with Roxy Mitchell and even tried to isolate her from her sister Ronnie, who wanted her to end the relationship.
In an attempt at keeping Roxy by his side, he proposed to her and she accepted.
Yet when his anger caused her to get a cut on her face, Roxy decided it was time for her to call it quits.
Dean stopped her before attempting to rape her.
Thankfully, Roxy did not have to go through the same horrific ordeal as Linda due to Shirley's sudden appearance.
After trying to protect him and believing he could make something out of himself, Shirley was horrified to find out her son was a rapist and tried to drown him.
Dean retaliated during Linda and Mick's wedding by trying to drown his own mother but, luckily, the landlord intervened and saved Shirley before knocking him out.
The villain was arrested for the attempted rape of Roxy and tried to seek help from Shirley and Buster, only to be rejected.
Shirley later begged him to plead guilty at his hearing, threatening to disown him but he goes against her wishes.
Dean still remained in custody, awaiting for his trial as he failed to surrender to bail previously.
In August, 2016, Dean was acquitted of attempted rape off-screen and Buster payed him off, warning him to never returned to Walford again.
What kind of trouble is he preparing for Linda?
Could he have his own redemption arc, against all odds?
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EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
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