Dastardly DI Malone's days could be numbered after Cain Dingle (Jeff Hordley) caught him threatening Moira Dingle (Natalie J Robb), who will soon be fighting for her life after a hit and run. Could Cain seek revenge and make the corrupt cop (played by Mark Womack) the victim of Emmerdale's upcoming murder?
Spying Malone leaving Butler's farm after a charged altercation with his ex-wife, Cain initially suspects the couple are having an affair, unaware Malone was putting pressure on the feisty farmer to keep quiet about his secret affair with vicar Harriet Finch (Katherine Dow Blyton).
Later this week, Cain receives a call confirming his estranged spouse has been mown down and left for dead by an unknown motorist.
All eyes will be on Malone being to blame, seeing as he has motive to want to permanently silence Moira after rumbling his and Harriet's sinful fling, right under the nose of her oblivious fiance Will Taylor (Dean Andrews).
Moira's infidelity with stepson Nate Robinson wrecked her marriage, but Cain still loves his other half and would want vengeance on anyone who hurt her, in spite of their split.
Additionally, Blyton has dropped huge hints Harriet and Malone's fumbles in the vestry are soon to become public knowledge, which would give both cuckolded Will and Cain joint motive to want rid of the poisonous police man.
Joining the dots, Malone stands out as the most likely victim of the murder set to rock the village in the coming weeks.
John Whiston, ITV's head of continuing drama, confirmed in June how Emmerdale was planning its first 'socially distant murder', as it became the first UK soap to resume filming post-lockdown within strict COVID-safe measures.
Working around the logistics of maintaining no physical contact on set to ensure cast and crew safety, the production team face a number of challenges as they try and keep the soap's storytelling as compelling as possible within the new guidelines, which ironically means making murders safer to shoot.
Similarly, Coronation Street are staging their first post-pandemic stunt, a car crash, that will employ camera trickery to make it look like actors are closer together than they actually are.
The identity of Emmerdale's doomed local is, of course, the subject of widespread speculation, but with the reasons for wanting Malone out of the way increasing among his rivals, the callous cop has shot to the top of the list.
However, Malone may not be to blame for Moira's accident at all, as a recent trailer showed Jamie Tate driving down a dark, deserted country road and hitting something - or someone.
Could the mysterious murder end up being committed in vain?