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Guest Character Profiles > Samantha Fitzgerald Simone Buchanan

Samantha 'Sam' Fitzgerald (née Grieves)2008, 2008-2009, 2010
Lived: 22, 30 Ramsay Street
Born: 1980
Marital Status: Daniel Fitzgerald (?-2008; divorced)
Children: Emma
Family Tree: Fitzgerald/Grieves
Occupation: Lawyer, Legal Advisor at Erinsborough News

Whilst studying to be a lawyer, Samantha Grieves met trainee teacher Daniel Fitzgerald and the pair's friendship grew into love. They married, and soon after moved to Sydney, where Sam landed a job with prestigious law firm Shaw & Bracks. It wasn't long after they arrived there that Samantha's behaviour gave Dan cause for concern, as she started suffering from manic episodes and was eventually diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Though Samantha became a changed person once on her medication, she would often deliberately stop taking it, addicted to the thrill of manic behaviour, and Dan would struggle to cope as she dabbled in drugs and brought strange men home from clubs. After falling pregnant, then miscarrying at six months, Sam's behaviour grew worse and she walked out on Dan, realising how much she was hurting him, and the pair lost contact for almost two years. When Dan then moved back to his old home of Erinsborough and became attracted to fellow teacher Libby Kennedy, he realised that he still had to deal with issues from his past, before he could fully move on. He got in touch with Carli Chan, a musician and friend to both him and Sam, and she explained that she'd last seen Sam around nine months ago, when she was having a manic episode in a club one morning. Carli agreed to ask around and see if she could find Sam, while Dan promised Libby that he was only contacting his wife to ask for a divorce. But, just as Libby was accepting the situation and walking over to see Dan, she was surprised when Sam arrived, stepped out of a taxi and planted a kiss on her husband's lips.

Sam explained to her husband that she'd heard he was looking for her and, hoping he wanted a reconciliation, had come to find him. Dan was forced to explain that he had only tried to contact her in order to get a divorce, as he wanted to start a new relationship with Libby, and she was shocked, asking if he could honestly say that he no longer loved her. Their conversation was interrupted by the return of Dan's housemates, and Sam was surprised to find her husband sharing with Rosie Cammeniti, someone she'd done an articleship with at uni. The girls caught up on each other's news, and Dan was concerned as Sam learnt that Rosie was expecting a baby with husband Frazer. As he dropped her off at her hotel, Dan told Sam that they both needed to move on with their lives and, when she went to Ramsay Street to give him back his jacket the next morning, and found him talking to Libby, Sam realised that she was losing him. After being offered work with Rosie's law firm, Rebecchi Cammeniti, Sam decided that she was going to stick around for a while, and agreed to Dan's request for a divorce.

Sam quickly settled in at the law firm, though was reluctant to share details of her medical condition, telling Dan that it was nobody's business unless it affected how she did her job. She was frustrated to realise, however, that Dan had told Libby about it, but did her best to be pleasant to her love rival. When Libby visited Sam for legal advice about dividing up the business she'd owned with ex-partner Darren Stark, the conversation inevitably turned to Dan. But as Sam told Libby that she was welcome to see him, Libby said that there was nothing between her and Dan. Despite her best efforts, Libby couldn't dislike Sam and a friendship began to grow between them, with Sam confiding in Libby about the baby she'd miscarried. Just as they were starting to get along, the two women were united with worry when news came through that Dan had been involved in a serious accident whilst out working for the SES.

Though he appeared to be fine, Dan collapsed at the hospital, and was found to have internal bleeding and rushed into surgery. As he recovered, Libby took a step back to allow Sam to spend some time with Dan, and the estranged spouses finally started to talk about the baby they had lost. Sam admitted that, due to her bi-polar diagnosis shortly afterwards, she'd never really allowed herself to think about the baby or grieve for it, and Dan showed her some things he'd kept - a photo of her during the pregnancy, a scan of the baby and a short obituary for 'James' that he had put in the newspaper, without Sam knowing. This proved to be a turning point for the couple, and they spent time together as he recovered, even helping to find Libby's son, Ben, who, whilst trying to recreate Dan's accident, had become trapped in a drain. Soon after, Sam announced that she was planning to leave to visit her parents for a while, but when Frazer mentioned that Rosie was about to go for her first scan and could do with some support, Sam was persuaded to stick around and arranged a surprise baby shower, inviting most of the street. The party ended badly, though, when the expectant parents returned home with the sad news that there was no baby - Rosie had suffered a false pregnancy. However, she remained convinced that there was still a baby, and Sam told her to listen to what her body was telling her, even arranging for her to have another scan, putting her at odds with Frazer, who was concerned for Rosie's mental state. As Dan defended his wife and offered her support, they agreed to give their marriage another go, though Sam admitted that her medication made it difficult for her to fully appreciate what was happening. Things, however, took a positive turn when Rosie went for another scan and found out that she was pregnant after all, and Sam had been right to encourage her to listen to her body.

Sam continued to struggle with her feelings, and decided not to go when Libby invited her and Dan to dinner. When Dan went over, with the excuse that Sam was unwell, and then agreed to stay for a drink, Sam then changed her mind but as she approached number 32, she saw Dan and Libby playing and laughing with Ben and, confronted by the happy family scene that her husband could be a part of, she ran off but was spotted by Libby's mum, Susan. The awkwardness continued as Libby, Dan and Sam were all thrown together as they searched for Frazer's younger brother Ringo, who had gone missing whilst out swimming. As the search continued, Sam and Libby went back to Ramsay Street, where they prepared food for everyone and got chatting, with Sam apologising for lying about being ill and missing the dinner party, while Libby said that she would never be the other woman in their marriage, as she knew how it felt to be cheated on. But just as Dan and Sam looked to be picking up where they left off, she decided to surprise him when he was working late, only to find him practising for dance lessons with Libby, and from the position she was standing in, it looked as though the pair were kissing. When he arrived home, Sam asked about his meeting, and he failed to mention the dance lessons, so she said nothing either, but broke down at work the next day, confessing to colleague Rebecca Napier that she suffered from bi-polar disorder and felt guilty for the way she'd made Dan suffer, though Rebecca pointed out that this didn't allow him to do the same to her in return. Later that evening, Sam caught Dan counting her pills to check she was taking them regularly, admitting that he was worried that she wasn't coping. He decided to confess about the dance lesson with Libby, and Sam admitted that she already knew, but had managed to cope with keeping it to herself because she was now able to manage her condition. She then admitted that she was beginning to wonder if she'd moved in with him too soon, as she wanted a husband, not a psych nurse, but he promised that he wouldn't fuss so much, and surprised her the next morning with a romantic breakfast.

Whilst babysitting Chloe Cammeniti, Sam's thoughts turned to trying for another baby, though her medication would make this impossible. Though Dan assured her that she was enough for him, she decided to stop taking her medication, in the hope that she might get pregnant. After a couple of weeks, Sam spoke to Libby's dad, GP Karl about monitoring her condition, as she'd stopped taking her pills in order to fall pregnant and had been fine, lying that she'd discussed the whole situation with Dan. Dan, meanwhile, was forced to borrow Sam's computer when his failed him and, whilst looking for paper in the office, he was shocked to find a cabinet drawer full of baby clothes. Dan tried speaking to Karl, who explained that he couldn't break patient confidentiality, but as time went on, Sam's symptoms started to show as she became stressed at work and struggled to keep her composure. Later, Dan confronted her about the baby clothes, and she admitted that she'd stopped taking her medication, as she was worried that she might miss out on her only chance to become a mother, insisting that she'd be able to cope if things didn't work out again. Though Dan was uneasy, he agreed to try for a baby, but when Libby bumped into Sam, and realised she was carrying a pregnancy test, then later saw her at the law firm with the box open, Sam lied that the result was positive. Soon enough, word had got out about the pregnancy, with Dan learning the news from Libby. Though slightly taken aback by how quickly it had happened, he was happy, and bought Sam a gift of a toy stork - the closest thing he could find to go with the paper cranes she made as a coping mechanism for her disorder. But when everyone was having a drink at the bar to celebrate, Sam couldn't cope and ran off to the office, with Elle going after her to check she was OK. Sam admitted that she'd lied about the baby, but hoped to fall pregnant soon so Dan would never have to know the truth, and Elle agreed to keep her secret.

When Dan was diagnosed with chicken pox, he sent Sam out of the house, worried that it might harm the baby if she caught it. Libby then called by with some marking for him, and offered to take Sam some food at the office, where she found her frantically scrubbing at a filing cabinet. Though Sam insisted she was fine, Libby became concerned, but Sam realised this and promptly lied to Dan that there was a plague of ants caused by a discarded piece of pizza. When Libby called by with some more marking for Dan and found Sam cleaning again, she decided to check that everything was OK. Dan explained about the ants, and told Libby that she should keep her nose out of other people's business, and later, when alone, he warned her off trying to make trouble for him and Sam. Things went back to normal for a while, as it turned out that Dan's rash was actually caused by an allergy to Bob the dog's blanket, but as more of Sam's symptoms started emerging, Dan suggested that she speak to Karl, and see if there was a medication she could try that would be safe for the baby. Though Sam spoke to Karl, she insisted that everything was fine, but he forced her into making an appointment with an obstetrician. As Dan and Karl waited at the hospital, however, Sam had other ideas, getting drunk in the bar and announcing that her marriage to Dan was over, instead heading to a hotel suite with manager Oliver Barnes. When Sam didn't come home, Dan started to blame himself for the whole mess, and the next morning, he and Libby found her and Oliver leaving the hotel. Oliver insisted that they'd just talked, while Sam angrily told Libby that she'd won, and could have Dan. Back at home, Sam went off for a shower, while Dan called the crisis assessment team, who arrived to find that Sam had climbed out of the bathroom window. Elle found her in tears at Lassiter's Lake, and having calmed down and gone home, she finally confessed to Dan that there was no baby.

Seeing Dan's angry reaction, Sam lied that she'd lost it and he insisted on taking her to the hospital, where Karl chastised her for keeping up the charade, but put her back on her medication. When Dan returned home after collecting her tablets, she told him that he should divorce her, as she was a bad person. Meanwhile, talking at cross purposes, Elle managed to tell Libby that there was never a baby, and, despite wanting to, Libby didn't tell Dan, but encouraged him to go and speak to Sam, as he worried that she didn't seem to be reacting at all to her second miscarriage. At home, Dan confronted Sam and, after making Dan promise that he wouldn't leave her, she confessed that there had never been a baby. Blaming Libby as the marriage started to break down, Sam went to the school, interrupting one of Libby's lessons, and asked her why she had to tell Dan the truth. Libby explained that she simply told him to go and speak to his wife, but Sam continued to rant, accusing Libby of wanting Dan to herself and stooping to any level to get him. Dan separated the argument, and later at home, he asked Sam how many times he was going to have to prove his love to her, before storming out. Later finding Sam still angry and ranting about Libby, Dan tried to calm her down but she walked out of the house and drove off, with he and Libby chasing in her car while Elle called the police. When they all failed to find her, she ended up accepting help from criminal Pete Ferguson, who took her home where, in her manic state, she decided to throw a party. With Sam's behaviour spiralling out of control, Dan and Libby arrived back. Dan threw Pete out of the house, while Sam started ranting at Libby about how she was not needed, and Dan just needed his wife. After spending a few days in hospital recovering, Sam returned home and immediately threw herself into work, helping Toadie prepare an appeal case for Steve Parker, but realising that her marriage needed a fresh start too, she suggested to Dan that they leave Erinsborough.

While Dan tried to make up his mind, she quickly put plans in motion to move to New Zealand and be closer to her parents, telling him that she was going in 24 hours, with or without him. Though Dan reluctantly decided to go, he later admitted to Sam that he was unhappy about leaving Libby. Sam told him that he would just have to choose - her or Libby, and he agreed to go to New Zealand and try again. But Sam still had a niggling doubt and the next day, as she watched Dan and Libby share a powerful farewell hug, she realised that she was always going to be second best for him. At the airport, she said that she was going to the bathroom, but disappeared, leaving a letter and divorce papers at number 30, telling Dan not to come after her.

Less than six months later, Sam made a shock return to Erinsborough, just as Dan and Libby were preparing to get married, walking in on their joint hen and buck's night. Heavily pregnant, Sam had arrived, claiming not to know about the imminent wedding, to tell Dan that he was set to become a father in a few months. As Elle offered Sam a room at number 22, she began to realise how unwelcome she was with the rest of the residents of Ramsay Street, but Libby tried hard to be nice, inviting her to a pre-wedding barbecue at number 28. But when Libby saw Dan feeling the baby kick, knowing that she was unlikely to be able to give him a child of his own, she declared that the wedding was off. Later, Elle challenged Sam about her reasons for returning, and Sam explained that she wanted her baby to know its father, in case her bi-polar flared up again, but insisted that she'd had no intentions of ruining Libby and Dan's wedding. However, it then emerged that she'd known about the wedding all along, having been told by Dan's brother, Lucas, who himself had a history with Libby and reason to want the wedding spoilt. As Dan tried to deal with what was happening, Sam paid him a visit to apologise for her bad timing, and Libby then arrived, with Sam forced to watch as they reconciled and declared that they would still get married and would make the situation work. Finding herself with very few people to turn to, Sam turned on the crocodile tears and asked Paul for a job, and he promptly employed her as the legal adviser at the Erinsborough News.

Having decided to take their honeymoon break to Broome, despite not getting married, Libby and Dan were making the preparations when Sam called by to invite them both to her ultrasound at the hospital the next day. When she heard about their plans, she offered to bring them back a DVD of it, all the while plotting to ruin their trip. As she and Dan returned from a trip to buy stuff for the baby, she deliberately turned off his phone while his back was turned, meaning he missed Libby's attempts to call him and they missed their flight. Though Sam denied any involvement, Libby and Dan quickly saw through her and Dan warned her that if he was going to have any sort of relationship with his child, she would have to be honest with him from now on. Though Sam insisted to Elle that she had accepted that Libby and Dan were now together, she was still disappointed when both of them turned up at her ultrasound and Dan realised this, but was still shocked when Sam told him that she didn't want Libby to have any involvement in their baby's life. Though Dan made it clear to his ex that he had absolutely no intention of cutting Libby out of the new baby's life, he failed to tell his fiancee about the ultimatum. But on Christmas Day, Sam called Dan complaining of pain in her stomach, and Dan, Libby and Karl went over there, where Karl said that there was no cause for alarm. When alone, Sam told Libby about the ultimatum she'd delivered, and Libby was disappointed that Dan hadn't said anything. Worried about Sam's interference, Susan went to see Sam and warned her off. With the pair both working at the newspaper, battle lines were quickly drawn and Sam, knowing Susan had just walked in, pretended to be flirting with Dan on the phone. As an argument broke out, Sam then pretended to have stomach pains, just as Paul walked in, and Sam ended up taking out a restaining order against Susan. As Sam complained that she would take out a restraining order against the whole Kennedy family if she could, Dan suggested that she return to New Zealand if the stress in Erinsborough was harming her or the baby.

A furious Sam then finally snapped when Susan arrived at the office to pick up a few things, and called the police. Susan was humiliated as she was taken away by the police, while a desperate Sam then started making paper cranes and when Dan pushed her away, she showed them to him, implying that her bipolar was flaring up again. Conflicted, Dan sent Karl to check up on her, and Karl admitted that she seemed more self-aware than ever, but obviously Dan had reason to be concerned. Having decided not to go with Libby on a school rafting excursion, Dan went to see Sam and told her that he'd come to a decision, and was going to apply for sole custody of their child, taking her to court if he had to.

When the rafting excursion went badly wrong, and Libby ended up in hospital, Sam visited her, making sure to mention Dan's threats of applying for sole custody, delighted to realise that Libby knew nothing about it. Sam twisted the knife further as she implied that the baby was more important to Dan than Libby. But, proving she wasn't completely heartless after all, Sam then helped Elle and Lucas, as they tried to stop Paul from printing an article about school principal Andrew Simpson. With Andrew dating Paul's ex, Rebecca, he was determined to ruin him, convinced that he wasn't good enough for her. But Elle was determined that the article, which detailed an accident in which a man died when Andrew was in the army, shouldn't be run, and Sam gave her the Freedom of Information papers that proved that Andrew was acquitted. Whilst Paul used the article to blackmail Rebecca into dumping Andrew, she then told Elle that she was planning to leave Erinsborough, and Elle tracked down one of Andrew's old army buddies, who helped her write a new article, that painted him as a hero, as Sam and Lucas helped her to keep Paul away from the office just long enough. Though Paul was angry, and reluctant to print it, he soon changed his mind as he realised that his plotting had backfired and Rebecca was planning to go.

Things took a sudden downturn for Sam, however, when Cassandra Freedman moved into the neighbourhood. Her sights set on bagging Paul and his money, Cass saw Sam as a threat and made it her mission to get rid of her. Having scored a trial as a receptionist at the hospital, Cass was shocked to read that Sam was bi-polar and decided to blackmail her about it. But Sam had bigger things to worry about, having just learnt during her appointment that her original due date was wrong, and the baby was conceived around three weeks later than first thought. This meant that Dan couldn't possibly be the father, and when Cass began her blackmail, Sam blurted out that she hadn't known that Dan wasn't the father, not realising that Cass hadn't known either. A panicky Sam decided she had to leave, but when Dan finally started showing her attention and treating her like a human being, she had a rethink and decided to stay, though this meant facing Cass. Cass forced Sam to help her get her daughter, Donna, who had also been lodging with the Robinsons, to move in with her, and despite earlier telling Donna she'd support her where her mum was concerned, Sam went along with it, convincing Paul to make Donna move out.

But, as Sam and Cass were discussing their shared secret, Steph overheard them and immediately reported back to Libby, who told Dan the truth. Dan confronted Sam, who lied that she wasn't 100% certain that Dan wasn't the father and, in a last act of desperation, she decided to have a prenatal DNA test performed, which could harm the unborn baby, to get to the truth. However, at the last minute, she realised that she couldn't go through with possibly harming her baby, and admitted to Dan that the child couldn't be his. With nothing left to keep her in Erinsborough, she then said her goodbyes to Paul and left to return to her parents in New Zealand, with Dan and Libby watching from across the street as she went.

Eighteen months later, Sam was back in Erinsborough, having given birth to a daughter of her own, Emma, and just in time to find a missing Charlie Hoyland, who'd been separated from his friends whilst Halloween trick or treating. Sam revealed that she'd returned to town as the prosecutor in the case against Steph, who'd run over and killed Ringo Brown on her motorbike several weeks earlier. With Toadie defending Steph, a lot of pressure was on Kate Ramsay, who was a key witness and had admitted that Steph had time to react, but because she'd been drinking, she didn't, leaving huge doubts over whether Steph would be able to avoid jail time. Sam's presence also upset Libby, who'd already had a difficult few months with Steph falling pregnant with Dan's baby and keeping it a secret from her, pretending that Toadie was the father. Giving the baby away to Dan had been behind Steph's struggles, which had in turn led to Ringo's death, and although Steph and Libby's friendship had suffered, they had become close again, with Libby determined that Sam wasn't going to get Steph sent to prison. Unfortunately, as one of the last people to see Steph before she headed out on her bike and killed Ringo, Libby had already claimed that Steph had been in no fit state to drive, but now with Sam's return, she changed this statement and said that Steph had been fine and perfectly capable of controlling her bike.

Though her antics had quickly put most of Ramsay Street offside, Sam found an ally in Paul, who wanted justice for Ringo, as he'd only been married to Donna for a few weeks when he died, and Paul had come to see Donna as one of his own. As editor of the Erinsborough News, Paul quickly put together a lead story about making drunk drivers pay for their crimes and, when another driver came forward, a witness to Steph driving off on her bike in an erratic fashion, it looked like the case had gone completely against Steph. Things continued to go Sam's way when Steph's mum Lyn sacked Kate from her job at the store, after finding out that she blamed Steph for what had happened, and her evidence was enough to send Steph to jail. But as the trial began, Kate had changed her mind, after visiting the scene of the accident, and when questioned by Sam, she declared that Steph could have done nothing to prevent the accident, whatever state she was in. When Sam then tried to rattle her by mentioning her mother, who'd died in a hit and run accident the year before, her line of questioning was quickly stopped by the judge, and even Paul, Kate's uncle, was left unimpressed with Sam's tactics.

As the trial was about to resume, Sam continued to pester Libby to be honest, and Susan realised that this whole thing was simply Sam's way of hurting the Kennedys. But there was no time to do anything about it, as Libby took to the stand, and Sam pushed and pushed her, bringing up Steph's lies over her baby, as well as a motorbike accident that Steph and Libby had almost a decade earlier, and Libby finally snapped and admitted that she had doubted Steph's ability to ride and had tried to stop her. Although Toadie did his best to show that Steph had been suffering from depression after giving her baby up, it wasn't enough for the jury and Steph was found guilty. But Sam's satisfaction didn't last long, as the people of Erinsborough turned on her, with Donna declaring that Sam had never been trying to get justice for Ringo, she'd simply been looking for petty revenge. As the time for Steph's sentencing came, Donna stood up in court and announced that she wanted to make a change to her original statement, saying that she'd forgiven Steph for what she did, and if she could forgive her, then the judge could be lenient. Steph was sentenced to six years in prison, with a non-parole period of two years, and Sam was never seen in Erinsborough again.

Trivia Notes
• Simone Buchanan's sister, Beth, appeared in Neighbours between 1990 and 1991 as Gemma Ramsay
• According to Dan and Sam's divorce papers, her birthday is 16/06/1980

Episodes Featured
5415, 5416, 5417, 5418, 5421, 5422, 5423, 5424, 5425, 5426, 5427, 5428, 5429, 5430, 5431, 5432, 5433, 5434, 5435, 5436, 5440, 5442, 5443, 5444, 5449, 5450, 5451, 5453, 5454, 5456, 5459, 5460, 5462, 5463, 5464, 5465, 5467, 5468, 5469, 5473, 5474, 5475, 5476, 5477, 5478, 5481, 5482, 5483, 5591, 5592, 5593, 5594, 5596, 5597, 5598, 5601, 5602, 5603, 5604, 5608, 5609, 5610, 5613, 5614, 5615, 5618, 5620, 5622, 5623, 5624, 5628, 5629, 6036, 6037, 6040, 6041, 6042, 6046, 6050, 6051, 6052, 6053

Biography by Steve

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