Coronation Street 's Gary Windass seems set for danger in upcoming scenes, with the police hot on his trail following the murder of Rick Neelan.
Burying Rick's body in the woods last year, Gary, played by Mikey North, was convinced he'd got away with the dark deed – mistakenly leaving a trail of evidence behind him.
On top of that, Gary has made enemies of everyone from Ray Crosby (Mark Frost) to Adam Barlow (Sam Robertson), signaling danger for the street's resident hard man.
However, while Gary is a villain of sorts on the cobbles, Coronation Street producer Iain McLeod has assured fans they have no plans to kill him off.
Speaking about the 2021 storylines to come, McLeod pointed out Gary is more human than the evil Richard Hillmans and Geoff Metcalfes of Corrie lore.
He said: "I'm in no hurry to see the back of him [Gary] at all, really. For the most part, the stuff he's done has been very justifiable.
"I mean yes, he killed Rick, and in pure terms, a court of law would deem that to be a murder. But actually, he was doing it because had he not done so then Rick was coming for Sarah and coming for Bethany, and coming for him and his family.
"I always felt like what he did there was relatable, although in pure terms, morally fairly indefensible."
McLeod added: "He's not an out and out dead-eyed murderer. He's a human being that's made some horrific mistakes."
The Corrie boss praised actor Mikey North's ability to deliver the scenes of violence and suspense, predicting more drama in the months to come.
He said: "I'm enjoying, as we're reading the scripts for next year, sort of seeing him claw his way back up the slippery moral slope that he slid down."
"I'm enjoying watching Gary and hopefully will continue to do so for as long as we can," McLeod added.
Following the explosive New Year's Eve episode, which saw Gary's sister Faye (Ellie lEach) confess to assaulting Adam, the Windass family will be forced to face up to their criminal past.
However, Faye's confession gives Gary the opportunity to prove himself, leaping in to save his sister and covering up her involvement in the attack.
McLeod explained: "I really like the morally complicated Gary that we've got now. He's still capable of doing all the nice heroic stuff that Gary might once have done.
"The story around Faye and his efforts to save his sister I think is a good example of that. But he's also capable of doing scurrilous things as well. Whenever I talk about Gary I do like to remind people that when he came into the show he was a proper wrong un.
"Actually he's always had that as part of his character DNA and I like the fact that we've got both elements of him very much in focus across the first part of 2021."
While Gary looks set to survive, will he be a free man – or could he end up behind bars?
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8pm on ITV.