Casualty nurse Faith Cadogan is at the centre of one of the series’ most shocking storylines that not even seasoned viewers saw coming.
Earlier this year in episode Baby, I Don’t Care it was revealed that Faith (played by Kirsty Mitchell) was addicted to prescription drugs following a horrific sexual assault that had occurred a year earlier. The truth was explained through flashbacks after Faith came face-to-face with perpetrator Angus (guest star Jack Ashton) when he was admitted to the ED…
*Casualty spoilers beyond this point*
Fast forward to Saturday's shocking episode Too Much Too Young where, completely overwhelmed by her addiction, Faith overdosed and almost died.
Yes, Faith’s friends and colleagues at Holby ED managed to stabilise her after she stopped breathing and went into respiratory arrest but even so, her future looks uncertain…
Here, in this exclusive interview with What to Watch, Kirsty Mitchell shares the intricacies of this storyline, revealing interesting observations, subtle details, and backstory bombshells…
Kirsty, when you were filming Faith and Angus’ original one-night-stand storyline with Jack Ashton back in 2019, did you know that things were headed in this direction?
“No, we had no idea. It was about a year later when they flipped the storyline. As soon as I found out it was coming up I started inserting things relating to her drug addiction. Things like her reactivity to situations.”
Can you give us some examples?
“If you go back to when her daughter Natalia (Zoe Brough) comes into the hospital after being strangled during sex you see Faith get the boyfriend and strangle him in the toilets. She absolutely loses the plot on him. I tried to insert these temper tantrums and make it so, if you go back, you can see the beginnings…”
Like that vicious argument she had with Stevie Nash?
“Yes, all the kinds of things where you think, ‘Oh her temper was so frayed — that’s why she was nought to 10 in seconds'. It wouldn’t have been like her to do these things before. We were introducing things to make you think ‘What’s going on with her there? That’s really odd.’ Quite a lot of Casualty fans picked up on it as the truth came out and I thought ‘Oh good!’”
What other backstory details are important?
“First of all, Faith started taking diazepam to sleep. She can’t sleep because she’s thinking about the rape and that she brought Angus to her home.
“There’s also this fear of ‘what if he comes back?’ It’s really horrible. We know he stole her stuff, yet you don’t know exactly what he stole because she covered it up, saying he took a few store cards… but did he take her keys? So there’s all this stuff that would keep you lying awake at night.
“When her son Luka (Tom Mulheron) gets taken by a paedophile it’s because Faith was tired from the diazepam and lack of sleep. She forgot to tell her mum to pick him up… After Luka’s abduction she thinks she needs to be more alert, and starts taking uppers. This is why, after she does drugs at work, she comes back like she’s superwoman.”
And then it escalates from there?
“Yes, she starts having panic attacks after Angus comes into the hospital as a patient, so she starts taking diazepam at work and during the day too.
“Remember the episode when Luka’s friend Johnny ends up in hospital and Faith tells everyone she thinks he’s accidentally taken some ADHD pills? She's taking ADHD medication in the morning to wake up and diazepam when she’s having a panic attack or to calm down at night. She doesn’t know whether she’s coming or going.
“I don’t know if anybody has noticed but it’s all been there. Visually, the colours of the pills are different. One’s yellow and one’s white…”
How do you feel about this story for Faith?
“The amazing thing about doing a long running TV series is that you get to show every side of your character. You also get to investigate them for yourself. The fact that Faith was known for being together and on top of her game, and how she’s hidden something that’s been going on for so long… It shows that this can happen to anyone, and that’s really important.
“This is a disease that can take away the people you love so quickly. They become demonised by it — it takes away their personality, and becomes all about protecting the addiction. To see people disappear like that is heartbreaking. So you’re behind her, championing her to come through and fight back against these inner voices.
“If Faith manages to pull through, hopefully it will be an inspiration to people that if she can do it, I can do it. It’s a very clever storyline from the producers.”
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Casualty is taking a break, but will be returning to our screens later this year. Check this page for Casualty scheduling updates.