Mick and Linda in crisis as Danny Dyer returns to EastEnders

The Carters' marriage could be over after the Stuart debacle

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Danny Dyer’s return to EastEnders as Mick Carter is set to be an emotional affair as the Queen Vic landlord is thrilled to be out of prison and reunited with his family, but when he discovers the lengths wife Linda was prepared to go in order to prove his innocence the couple find their future is under threat.

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Viewers saw Mick turn up unannounced in the barrel store of the iconic boozer on Monday 17 December, after new evidence pointing to the fact the landlord did not shoot arch-enemy Stuart Highway came to light and exonerated him.

New images from the episode airing on Tuesday 18 December show Mick in his element as he embraces mum Shirley (Linda Henry) and sister Tina (Luisa Bradshaw-White) who, along with L, are all delighted to have him back where he belongs following his ordeal behind bars having been framed by sinister Stuart.

The happiness is cut short, however, when Mick realises what Linda did to get him out of jail. In a tense two-hander between Linda and Stuart last week, the plucky publican put her master plan of pretending to seduce her husband’s nemesis in order to elicit a confession he actually shot himself and framed Mick. It nearly went awry when Stuart busted her ruse and found a recording device in the bedroom as she made her move, but after a violent showdown he eventually admitted Mick did not pull the trigger unaware Linda had hidden a second microphone in her piled-high hairdo.

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Stuart then turned his attention on another hapless old friend from childhood, Dylan Box, who he forced confess that he shot Mick, threatening his mother if he did not comply. So while Mick is out, Stuart also remains a free man and is yet to be held accountable for his crimes.

How will Mick react when he learns Linda allowed Stuart to think she would sleep with him, even if it was to trap the bad guy and catch him out?

Is Mick and Linda’s marriage over?

“Linda wants to forget about what’s happened, draw a line under it and move on,” says Kellie Bright, who plays the queen of the Queen Vic. “That’s what she wants, but it can’t happen straight away. Linda isn’t fearful about what her husband could potentially do to Stuart by way of revenge, just where it’s going to land Mick.”

Meanwhile, Stuart is making his presence felt around the Square and has even attempted a sob story on Dot Branning as he seeks allies in his corner. Later this week, Mick will turn to Phil Mitchell in his quest for vengeance, but will Stuart be one step ahead and outsmart him? And can the Carters’ marriage survive the last few months?

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