"Who Shot Phil?" was a storyline which evolved during 2001.
Events leading up to the shooting
Upon the departure of his brother Grant Mitchell in October 1999, Phil Mitchell developed a more menacing side to his personality, bought on upon the emigration to South Africa of the love of his life Kathy Beale, whom Grant had snatched from Phil knowing Phil wanted a reconciliation with Kathy and another chance to be with his son Ben Mitchell. Being betrayed by his brother and losing 2 other important people in his life, plus his mother Peggy Mitchell not saying a word against Grant, Phil gradually truned more nasty starting in very late 1999 and he got nastier during 2000, insulting his girlfriend Lisa. Steve Owen was due to marry Melanie Healy on 1 March 2001, but found out that she had slept with Phil Mitchell — one of his deadliest enemies — and refused to pick up the telephone in his office when she left a message on his answer phone. Steve later had a change of heart and decided to go ahead with the wedding.
Steve's mother Barbara arrived at the registry office to attend her son's wedding, and took an immediate dislike to Mel. Barbara also took a shine to Phil Mitchell. When the wedding guests returned to the Queen Victoria for the wedding reception, Barbara told Mel about Steve's first girlfriend who had cheated on him at the age of 16. Barbara implied that Mel was that sort of girl.
Ian Beale started to question Phil about his fling with Mel (who was briefly Ian's wife). Phil told Ian that Mel was good, but not as good as his mother (Kathy, who was once Phil's wife). Phil then left the e20 nightclub and Ian followed him out, taunting him. Ian picked up a metal rod to intimidate Phil, who lost his temper and began to throttle Ian with the rod, and only stopped when Mel shouted for him to stop.
When Phil returned home, he received a hoax phone call from an anonymous caller. Dan was then seen walking away from a nearby telephone box.
The scene returned to Steve's office, where we found that Steve's gun had disappeared from the drawer where it was being kept.
As the wedding reception drew to a close, Barbara finally lost her temper with Mel and branded her a tart. Before leaving, she stubbed her cigarette out on the wedding cake.
Steve and Mel jumped into Charlie Slater's taxi and were ready to depart for the airport to begin their honeymoon, but Steve went back to ensure that Billy Mitchell was keeping everything under control at e20. Steve returned minutes later and he and Mel headed off for the airport.
Phil's doorbell rang and he went to answer it. He opened the door and found nobody there, but as he turned around to re-enter his house, he was shot in the back and fell down the steps.
Phil was found minutes later by Beppe di Marco. He was rushed to hospital and doctors performed an emergency operation to remove the bullet. They told Phil's mother Peggy that there was no guarantee that Phil would recover. The police later visited Ian Beale in his fish and chip shop, but they left after he told them to go and question Steve Owen — who is now at Heathrow Airport waiting for a flight to the Caribbean.
- Mark Fowler - was resentful towards Phil for his callous treatment of Lisa.
- Dan Sullivan - was a long-standing enemy of Phil's, and was seen leaving a telephone box after Phil received a hoax call.
- Lisa Fowler - had attacked Phil with a plate earlier in the week, and was angry with him for his abusive behaviour towards her.
- Ian Beale - another long-standing enemy of Phil's, who emerged from nearby bushes after Phil was found shot. They had also got into a fight just hours before the shooting.
- Steve Owen - had just found out that Phil had slept with his wife Mel, and a gun that had been hidden in Steve's office was missing just before Phil was shot. His mother had also taken a liking to Phil, much to Steve's disgust.
Events following the shooting
Three weeks after Phil's shooting, he was still in hospital recovering from his injuries.
Steve and Mel returned from their honeymoon and as soon as they stepped into the Queen Vic, Peggy accused Steve of trying to murder Phil. Jamie Mitchell later tried to attack Steve, but Mark and Lisa Fowler dragged him away.
Steve was soon arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, and admitted to the police that he had never got on with Phil, but would not want to shoot him, and insisted that he was away from the Square by the time Phil was shot. Steve suggested that the police should quiz Dan, who was meanwhile visiting Phil in hospital and taunting him.
On 5 April 2001 when Phil was allowed home from hospital, five weeks after being shot, he received a visit from Lisa. She retrieved the gun from inside a game of Monopoly, and Phil threatened to kill her with it. Lisa soon confessed that she shot Phil, but insisted that she still loved him.
Phil decided to conspire against Dan in the hope of getting him convicted of attempted murder. Strangely enough, Dan was already plotting to murder Phil and was waiting in the Arches at that very moment — with the gun that Lisa had shot Phil with! The police quickly arrived in the Square and arrested Dan on suspicion of attempted murder. He was quickly charged and remanded in custody.
Dan went on trial at the end of July, and Steve agreed to back up Phil's plot to frame Dan. But at the same time he taunted Jamie, vowing that Phil would soon be caught for trying to frame Dan. Steve took the witness stand and testified that he heard Dan vowing to 'shoot through' Steve and put Phil out of business.
Meanwhile, Steve's mother died and while he was clearing out her flat, the jury found Dan not guilty of attempted murder.
The week after Dan's release, Steve entered his office at e20 to find the furniture turned over and the safe open, but worst of all, Mel was nowhere to be seen.
Steve soon guessed than Mel had been kidnapped by Dan Sullivan, and persuaded Phil to help him in his quest to get her back. Steve phoned Dan and heard Mel screaming in the background. Dan later phoned back and demanded a £100,000 ransom for Mel's release.
Phil soon obtained the £100,000 for Mel's release and also took possession of a gun. When they arrived at Dan's flat, Phil threatened Dan with the gun and was about to shoot him when Mel suddenly appeared and knocked Phil out before he could pull the trigger. Dan then turned the gun on Phil, but when he pulled the trigger he quickly discovered that the gun was not loaded.
Steve, Phil and Mel left the flat after Dan got his £100,000. The police were summoned to arrest Dan, but by the time they arrived, Dan was gone.
Back in the Square, Mel lost her temper with Steve and accused him of shooting Phil as well as framing Dan. She also informed him that she knew about his affair with Karen, and later set fire to e20 before throwing her wedding ring at Steve and leaving the Square in a taxi.
Mel and Steve got back together two months later, but the following March — on their first wedding anniversary - he was killed in a car explosion.