Wentworth is not short of complex characters yet no one’s evolution compared to the devastating journey endured by Franky Doyle (Nicole da Silva). Over the course of 6 seasons, Franky jumped between antagonist to anti-hero, never quite knowing where she stood.
Prior to finding her happy ending, Franky experienced a number of hardships with the following 8 of these potentially being the worst of what she had to tolerate:
8. Having Her Hand Steam-Pressed
Three episodes into the first season, Franky teases and mocks top dog, Jacs (Kris McQuade), across the line and back. Her efforts are met with an ambush to teach the sharp-tongued inmate a lesson, burning her hand inside the steam-press. This is the first time in the show where this dreaded piece of equipment is used to cause damage, setting up waves of anxiety whenever the characters are around it. There’s only a few episodes to wait before Franky gives Jacs her comeuppance, using weights to crush the top dog’s own hand.
7. Swallowing the Balloons
Years of drug trading and evading responsibility, Franky’s past actions come back to bite with a vengeance – before her parole hearing no less. Kim (Ra Chapman), a former lover of Franky, plants heroin-filled balloons in the latter’s cell out of spite and rejection, but rather than handing them over, Franky swallows the drugs to Ferguson’s (Pamela Rabe) delight. It’s a decision that almost costs Franky her life; however, she refuses to let anything come between her and freedom, even if it means dying in the process.
6. Killing Meg Jackson
The relationship between Franky and Meg Jackson (Catherine McClements) is tense from the get-go. Governor, Meg, keeps the inmate under a watchful eye, scrutinising her every move in the hope to catch her off-guard in the midst of a drug trafficking deal; she never succeeds, Franky using her intelligence to fly smoothly under the radar until a riot breaks out. Believing Jacs to be her attacker, Franky acts fast and accidentally shivs the governor. The incident haunts her for the remainder of her sentence and threatens to destroy the blossoming kinship with Meg’s husband and prison guard, Will (Robbie Magasiva).
5. Getting Shot
One would think that getting shot would rank quite high on a list of worst things happen to a person but Franky deals with so much trauma that it barely scrapes the surface. Following her escape from prison, Franky is hunted down by police across the city, resulting in a close encounter that leaves her with near-fatal gunshot wound. Thankfully, Franky survives the ordeal but only by the skin of her teeth. Franky’s desperation to clear her name and finally be free proved to be worth more to her than her life.
4. Mike Pennisi
Much like her negative childhood upbringing, Mike Pennisi (Felix Williamson) triggered a domino effect in Franky’s life beginning with verbally abusing her into retaliation. Granted, his presence in her life did serve some benefits as Franky gradually learns to control her emotions through prison, though overwhelmed with guilt. Of course, season 5 thrusts Pennisi back onto her path as he relentlessly pursues her, flipping the life she is trying to maintain on its head.
3. Being Framed
Following her brief taste of normality and freedom, Franky winds up back at Wentworth when she is framed for murder. There’s a major tonal shift between season 4 and 5, mostly in part of how Franky’s story plays out; it burdens her relationships (romantic and platonic), takes an emotional toll and leaves her in a state of hopeless after Ferguson executes her final bid for freedom.
2. Assaulted & Blackmailed by Juice
In season 3, Franky finds herself in a load of hot water when a drug deal with another gang turns life-threatening for her. As a last resort, the inmate believes she has no other choice than to go to Juice (Sally-Anne Upton) for help, who blackmails and eventually assaults Franky as compensation for her own twisted desires. This point in the series marks a devastating low in Franky’s arc, believing to have become a lost cause to any help offered.
1. Abandoned by Her Dad
Franky’s long-standing battle with trauma begins back when she was a child; abused by her mother, the young Franky was made helpless as she watched her dad leave his family behind. Without someone to back her corner, she endures years of violent outbreaks at the behest of her mum that triggers a deep hatred and self-loathing within. Up until finding solace in her H-Block family, Franky lived her life surrounded by the walls she had built, eager to protect herself and fall into bad habits of which were expected of her.