Sigrid Thornton has a message for Wentworth fans reeling after the death of her character Sonia Stevens: It had to happen.
For Sonia, it was always going to be a case of all or nothing, Sigrid says – she had to either run Wentworth or leave it forever. And when both of those plans failed, there was really only one option left: she had to die.
"She'd gone as far as she could go," Sigrid, 59, tells TV WEEK of her character's shocking demise. "It was do or die for her!"
Which is why she says she was delighted with Sonia's shock exit, pushed to her death from the prison roof after a fight with Top Dog Kaz (Tammy MacIntosh), and she wouldn't have had it any other way.
"There was a great deal of energy, thought and consideration that went into that departure on the part of the whole team," Sigrid says.
"We wanted to make it dramatic and unexpected and I think that's a marker of the show now, that it takes the bold step of going where a lot of shows don't dare to go in actually losing main cast."
The decision to kill off Sonia, who first appeared in Wentworth in June 2016 and quickly established herself as one of the most dangerous inmates, was mutual, Sigrid says.
As was the decision to fill Sonia's final days with what the actor called "an enormous amount of drama".
"I got a lot of what we call meat and potatoes in the lead up to her death and that was exciting," she says. "As an actor that's where it's at and what you look for."
And the chance to surprise fans of the show once again? That was just the icing on the cake.
"There's a particular formula in movies, TV, books or whatever where we know sort of what's going to happen, that this character isn't going to die because they're the hero or a main character," she says.
"And in the case of Wentworth I admire the fact there are no such guarantees. Goodies and baddies can lose their lives or suddenly disappear with no warning. That goes against some of the old rules of storytelling and I really love Wentworth for that. It's very bold."