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You see Owen. You were given a chance. I wanted you to take that chance, but you wouldn't. So now.... the judgment falls on you!
~ Lucas to his love rival Owen Turner before he kills him after admitting to killing his ex-wife Trina and before Lucas proceeds to marry Denise Fox.

Lucas Johnson is a fictional character and major antagonist of the BBC British soap opera drama EastEnders.

Lucas appeared as a central character in 2008, the secondary antagonist in 2009, the main antagonist in 2010, a minor antagonist in 2016 and a anti-hero/protagonist villain in 2020-2021.

Since his first stint on the show, Lucas was the old lover turned former husband of established character Denise Fox as well as the father of both their daughter Chelsea Fox and his own young son Jordan Johnson.

He is portrayed by actor Don Gilet.

Development

From his first appearance on the show, Lucas was a reformed criminal and former drug addict who rekindled his relationship with old lover Denise Fox before eventually marrying her on 26th November 2009. It was then Lucas' reign of villainy emerged as he ended up causing the death of his former wife Trina Johnson, murdered Denise's ex-husband Owen Turner, drowned his son's dog Sugar, and locked Denise in a basement for nearly a month after she discovered his murderous spree. In the latter case, he faked Denise's death to the point where he killed a prostitute named Gemma Charleston to cover-up the incident. Lucas also had developed feuds with both Denise's surrogate father Patrick Trueman and local hardman Phil Mitchell during his duration on the show.

Biography

Lucas Johnson first came to Albert Square as the community's local preacher. He recognizes his estranged daughter Chelsea Fox among the crowds and talks to her, explaining that he was seventeen when Chelsea was born and abandoned her since Lucas could not cope with fatherhood. He became a drug addict but overcame his addiction and joined the church. Lucas manages to convince Chelsea to give him a chance to make up to her and later introduces her to his young son Jordan.

Lucas soon meets Chelsea's mother Denise Fox and it becomes clear they had a past when Denise confronts Lucas for abandoning her in the same incident when he left Chelsea. Thereafter Lucas apologizes to Denise and attempts to make amends with her. Denise begins to accept Lucas and the two become engaged. They make plans for their wedding. But Lucas is unhappy when Jordan reveals that he is still married to Jordan's mother Trina Johnson and she later comes to the Square to harass him. Denise's surrogate father Patrick Trueman is also skeptical of Lucas and begins clashing with him until Lucas uncovers some of Patrick's illegitimate past and blackmails him into supporting his relationship with Denise for both her sake and for his children.

Trina eventually agrees to give Lucas a divorce and in exchange she and Lucas must have sex. Lucas obliges but Trina later invites him for a chat in a shed. She tries kissing Lucas but he shoves her into rake, which impales Trina. She begs Lucas for help but he instead leaves Trina to die so that she cannot intervene with his wedding plans for Denise. Trina's death is depicted as accidental and Lucas appears to get away with it. But then Denise's ex-husband Owen Turner appears and begins a feud with Lucas. Owen soon suspects Lucas' involvement in Trina's death and confronts him on the day Lucas is supposed to be marrying Denise. Lucas indirectly admits to killing Trina and Owen tries to go to the police. But Lucas stops Owen by foiling his getaway before strangling Owen to death. Lucas then marries Denise and buries Owen's body in near a tree that he planted with Jordan in Trina's memory.

Lucas' efforts to cover-up the murders of Trina and Owen manage to keep his marriage with Denise going but is unable to stop him from killing more victims. He first drowns his son's dog Sugar in a canal after the dog begins sniffing at Jordan's tree that would likely unveil Owen's corpse. Lucas claims that Sugar ran away to keep secret of what really happened. Lucas later meets a woman named Jade in a bar and takes her to a secluded area where he forces her to kneel and pray. It later becomes alleged that Lucas killed Jade when Denise notices deep scratch marks on Lucas' neck and confronts him about it. But this turns out to be false when Lucas takes Denise to visit Jade and she claims to Denise that Lucas baptized her and washed away her sins. She says it will help her give up her alcohol dependence and get her daughter back. Denise tells Lucas that she is proud of what he has done. They later clash with the square's local hardman Phil Mitchell and his girlfriend Shirley Carter when Phil's son Ben hospitalizes Jordan after a fight between them in the local garage. Lucas later confronts Ben and ends up having a breakdown, blaming himself for what Jordan is going through ever since he killed his son's mother.

Owen's body is eventually discovered when Trina's tree ends up getting broken by accident. The police identify the corpse as Owen and question Denise about it. She then asks Lucas about it and Lucas finds himself no longer being able to cover his secret any longer. He confesses to killing Owen but claims that it was in self-defense. Denise is horrified but tries to stop Lucas from going to the police because she loves him. Lucas argues with her about this and proceeds to reveal the truth about how Trina died. Lucas tells Denise that he killed Trina and insists that he will turn himself in the police. Denise eventually relents and agrees to accompany Lucas to the police station. But this turns out to be a ploy when Lucas instead takes Denise to a canal and plans to baptize her. Lucas ends up strangling Denise after she refuses to submit to God and she apparently dies. Lucas later makes out that Denise has gone missing and implicates her for the murders of both Trina and Owen. Then a woman's body is found at the canal where Lucas strangled Denise and he identifies the body as her. Lucas hosts Denise's funeral and comforts his and her family about her death. But it is later revealed that Denise is alive when Lucas visits her in an abandoned warehouse, having faked her death to the point where he ended up killing a prostitute named Gemma Charleston (Rita Balogun) before dumping the latter's body in the canal to make it look like Denise had committed suicide.

Lucas keeps her locked in a basement for a month but Denise convinces him that his actions were wrong and he allows Denise to escape. She returns to her family and reveals what Lucas has done. He takes his family hostage and attempts to justify his killings of Trina and Owen to keep his family together. But this fails and Owen and Denise's daughter Libby ridicules Lucas for killing her father. They eventually escape before Jordan comes back to confront his father over Trina while Patrick publicly reveals that Denise is alive and innocent and that Lucas was the one who killed Trina and Owen all along. Lucas explains to Jordan how his mother died and urges him to forget about him and that Denise and her family would take care of him. Jordan sadly accepts this and runs back into Denise's arms as Lucas thereupon gets arrested by the arriving police. Lucas is later sentenced to life imprisonment and Denise divorces him in order to move on from the man who she thought was perfect for her.

Lucas contacts Denise six years later when they each learn that Jordan has been in trouble with the police. Lucas urges Denise to visit him in prison and she reluctantly obliges. Jordan later visits his father and it turns out that they are planning to help Lucas escape prison. But Denise learns about this and convinces Jordan to not go through with it. Jordan agrees and tells the police about Lucas' plan after getting arrested for trying to help him escape prison. Denise and Patrick then visit Lucas to explain his plan had failed and Lucas declares that he wants Denise. But Denise rejects Lucas and warns him to stay away from her in future. Denise then leaves prison and Lucas is left to serve the rest of his sentencing on his own, appearing to have lost everyone and everything around him this time.

In Christmas 2020, Denise goes to the church with her son Raymond father by Phil. She is surprised when Lucas reappears before they are joined by Chelsea who claims that Lucas is a changed man. Denise warns Lucas to stay away from her family. Her policeman boyfriend Jack Branning and Patrick both learn and try to keep an eye on Lucas. So much so that Patrick asks Phil to deal with Lucas at one point while Jack and his colleague Callum Highway take Lucas for questioning. But it appears that Lucas has changed when Denise learns that Chelsea is in fact planning to incriminate her father behind her drug trafficking troubles. Lucas uncovers the plot but agrees with Denise to help their daughter.

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Trivia

  • Don Gilet (the actor who played Lucas Johnson) was nominated for "Villain of the Year" at the 2010 and 2011 British Soap Awards respectively.
  • The BBC received 103 complaints from viewers after it was hinted that Lucas had killed Sugar the dog, compared to "a handful" following his murders of Trina and Owen. The BBC responded saying they do not condone the killing of dogs or people, but iterated that the behavior was in keeping with the character's insight - before adding in that "no animals were harmed in the making of this story."
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