When I first heard about the "Maria is assaulted by a top client" storyline, I was really worried that Carla would be unsympathetic. She'll do anything to support Underworld, and I figured the scriptwriters would make her put Maria under pressure to keep schtum.
Instead, she did quite the opposite. Maria practically had to wrestle her mobile from Carla's hand to stop her from calling the police. Carla was caring, understanding and full of anger towards Frank and his actions. She didn't hesitate or waver; she stepped up to a woman in distress and supported her, no matter what decision she took.
And when Frank finally turned up, she was a seething ball of anger, back to the ice cold queen we love. Carla really is a classic character to me, cool and elegant and sexy, but with a strong sense of purpose and duty (remember her emptying her purse to pay for food and supplies following the tram crash? Or giving Sally whatever time she needed following her cancer scare?). I loved that she was firmly on the side of a woman she once dismissed, as a sister under the skin. She allowed Maria to do what she felt was right, and kept her own opinions to herself. Kudos to Alison King, and kudos to the writers for the way they handled it all.