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Because... being compared to a paedophile when I have done nothing... NOTHING WRONG! I'm supposed to... just let the whole world walk all over me, am I?
~ Pierce Harris' outburst to his wife.

Pierce Harris is a fictional character and a major antagonist of the long-running British soap-opera Emmerdale. He appeared as a supporting antagonist in 2016, the secondary antagonist in 2017, an unseen character in 2018-2019 and a minor antagonist in 2020.

First appearing as the estranged husband of Tessa Harris prior to her death, Pierce feuded with Tessa's secret lover Paddy Kirk for their affair. He later married Paddy's ex-wife Rhona Goskirk, but on their wedding day ended up raping her in the end. Pierce was eventually arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. However, he got released after three years and killed Rhona's boyfriend Graham Foster whilst stalking her in some personal vendetta against her. His plan was ultimately foiled when Rhona subdued Pierce before he was rearrested and sent back to jail for his crimes.

He is portrayed by Jonathan Wrather, who also played Joe Carter in fellow long-running British soap-opera serial Coronation Street.

Biography

Pierce Harris first appeared in Emmerdale when he turns up at the local hospital to see his wife Tess, who was admitted after being struck by a car driven by a drunk Kirin Kotecha (Adam Fielding). Tess' friends, Paddy and his wife Rhona Goskirk (Zoe Henry), introduce themselves to Pierce, but he is led away by the doctors who want to discuss Tess' operation. Pierce is later told that Tess has died during surgery due to her injuries, and he rushes from the hospital.

The following month, Pierce was given personal items of Tess' that were in her car. He discovered Tess had been having an affair and had a secret phone. He also found a brochure for the Mill Cottage development and wanted to have a look. Before looking at the development he went into The Woolpack for a drink where he saw Paddy and Rhona. He revealed that he had Tess's affair phone, which made Paddy squirm. Paddy's best friend Marlon Dingle (Mark Charnock) came to his rescue, but Rhona, who knew about the affair, agreed to meet with Pierce the following day. Pierce showed Rhona some of the texts Tess had sent to her lover, and after learning they were texting on Christmas Day and planning to go to Paris, Rhona cracked and revealed to Pierce that Paddy was Tess' mystery man.

Pierce wrote numerous bad reviews for Paddy and Rhona's vet's surgery on a local business review site. Rhona realised he was behind them and confronted Pierce. Pierce tried to make Rhona she was kidding herself that she could patch up her marriage to Paddy. A few days later, Pierce handed out flyers on Hotten Road hoping to find a witness to Tess' death. Pierce handed Rhona and her friend Vanessa Woodfield (Michelle Hardwick) one, so Rhona invited him back to Smithy Cottage for a cup of tea. Pierce explained he had moved into a hotel since Tess died, so Rhona allowed him to temporarily stay with her and son Leo for a few days as she and Paddy had split up.

Pierce continued looking for answers on how Tess died, and questioned Rakesh Kotecha (Pasha Bocarie) about if he knew Tess, as Rakesh's was the owner of the flat development Tess had a brochure of. Rakesh denied knowing Tess but Rhona later admitted that Rakesh's son Kirin was the police's main suspect in Tess' death before he scarpered. Pierce confronted Rakesh and called the police to say Rakesh was covering for his son. PC Williams visited Pierce and told him as there was no evidence of Rakesh being in contact with Kirin, the police couldn't do anything, although she told him the investigation was still ongoing. Pierce's manipulative relationship with Rhona ended in marriage but his insecurity and jealousy caused him to rape her on their wedding night.

In December 2019, Rhona was horrified to find out that Pierce was up for parole. A month later, he made a shocking return to the village, bashing Rhona's then-boyfriend Graham Foster over the head, knocking him out. As he dragged Graham's body through the woods, Graham regained consciousness and the two got to talking. It was revealed that Graham had visited Pierce in his flat after he got released from prison on 13th January 2020, and had proceeded to warn him to stay away from Rhona before beating him up. Pierce had then returned to the village and spied on Rhona. After realising she was planning to move away to France with Graham, he decided to take him out before they had a chance to. Graham attacked Pierce and a fight ensued where Graham got the upper hand. however, he refrained himself from killing him in an act of mercy which he later came to regret when Pierce came after him again. Pierce hit Graham with his car, causing him to fall off a cliff. Graham was surprisingly still alive and another deadly fight brought out ending when Pierce struck him with a final fatal blow to the head.    

After the murder, Pierce set up Rhona's ex Marlon Dingle by leaving the murder weapon, the torch, in his house and he was subsequently charged with the murder. Meanwhile, Pierce continued to stalk Rhona going so far as to enter her house when she wasn't home and hiding behind a curtain, listening to her conversations. In February 2020 after overhearing Rhona telling Vanessa she blames Kim Tate for Graham's death, Pierce sets his sights on Home Farm.

After noticing Kim driving near Home Farm, Pierce suddenly emerged from the shadows and deliberately crash his bike into Kim’s car. Believing it was an accident, Kim invited Pierce into Home Farm. to check him over, oblivious to who he really is. Posing as a solicitor called Ollie, probing Pierce made small talk with Kim and soon had her in the palm of his hand, as the conversation turned to the bitter custody case her son and daughter-in-law are embroiled in. Kim introduced ‘Ollie’ to Jamie and promised to tap him up as the battle with Andrea over Millie’s future continues. Little does Kim realise she has let her husband’s killer into her life and put herself in danger: Pierce is fixated on framing someone for Graham’s demise believing him and Rhona can run off into the sunset together. That night, Pierce snuck into Rhona's house while she was asleep, and told her that he still loves her and will take her away from all this very soon.

On 13th February 2020, Pierce is spotted by Vanessa walking around the village. In desperation, he picks up her 4-year-old son Johnny and runs into the empty Mulberry Cottage with Vanessa in tail. There, he takes them both captive but separates Vanessa from her son who he puts in a room upstairs whilst tying her up downstairs. He decides to keep her and Johnny captive to give him time to carry out his plan and win Rhona back. After weeks of holding her captive and separated from her son, Pierce used Vanessa to call Rhona to lure her to the house. On 25th February 2020, Rhona met Pierce at Mulberry Cottage in order to save Vanessa and Johnny. She managed to outsmart him, getting him to confess to Graham's murder whilst she filmed the whole thing. Rhona then injected him with a vial strong enough to take down a bull and told him once and for all that he was not her hero and protector, just before police stormed in and arrested him. Police soon assured him they had enough evidence to get him sent down for a long time.

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Trivia

  • The storyline where Pierce raped Rhona has been referenced throughout his 2018 and 2019 absences prior to his 2020 second stint on the show.
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