Home and Away spoilers follow for Australian and UK viewers.
Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.
Home and Away's Ari Parata will make a shock plan when the soap returns to Australian screens next week for a new season, after November's dramatic season finale saw Ari's new fiancée Mia Anderson faced with a horrifying dilemma.
The soap's final week of 2021 saw Mia (Anna Samson) bravely confide in her daughter Chloe Anderson (Sam Barrett) that Chloe's newly-arrived father Matthew Montgomery (James Sweeny) had sexually assaulted her in the past, which resulted in Chloe's conception.
Upset Chloe supported her mum and made it clear to Matthew that she wanted nothing more to do with him, but when Matthew became violent towards Mia, Chloe panicked and hit him over the head with a brick to get him away from her mum.
Mia was stunned to realise that Matthew had been killed by the blow and she quickly told Chloe to go inside and forget about the incident, before dragging Matthew's body into the boot of her car and driving away at high speed.
TV Week reports that, when the soap returns, Mia will be panicking as she speeds away from Summer Bay, with the police hot on her heels after her erratic driving catches the attention of Cash Newman (Nicholas Cartwright).
"Sheer panic takes over Mia," said Anna Samson, who plays Mia. "She had no plan other than to protect her daughter."
Realising that she has nowhere to escape to, Mia eventually pulls over and allows the police to come and speak to her. As Cash approaches the driver's seat, Mia hastily wipes down her blood-stained sweater – but it's too late for Mia, as Cash inspects her car and finds Matthew dead in the boot.
Back at home, Ari (Rob Kipa-Williams) is busy consoling Chloe, who is traumatised by the incident with Matthew. Things go from bad to worse for Ari when he gets a call from Cash to tell him that Mia has been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Ari races to the police station and begs to speak to Mia. While Cash is aware that this is not allowed, the look on Ari's face causes him to relent, as he suspects that there's more to the situation than meets the eye.
Ari and Mia share a hug, and Ari vows that he will sort out the situation and that he won't allow either Mia or Chloe to go to jail for defending themselves against Matthew. Tearful Mia, however, feels that her fate might be sealed, as she will do anything in her power to keep Chloe out of things.
"Ari is fiercely protective and will always try to help, but Mia has to protect Chloe," Anna explained.
While Mia waits to be formally charged with Matthew's murder, Ari hatches a bold plan that could save Mia – but his idea could also turn his whole life upside down.
"Ari sometimes acts first and thinks later," actor Rob explained. "He'll do anything to keep his family safe."
Just what is Ari planning, and will it really save Mia from prison?
Home and Away airs weekdays at 1.15pm on Channel 5 and 6pm on 5STAR (UK) and Mondays to Thursdays at 7pm on Channel 7 (Australia). Selected classic episodes are available via Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
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