Pierce's father Tim died when he was a young man. Pierce had no choice but to raise his sisters, as his mother Martha was unwilling or unable. His sisters went on to have children, and his mother was to them what she had never been to Pierce or her other children. Likely as a result of being a parent to his siblings, he had no desire to have children with his wife Tess.
2016: Tess' death and relationship with Rhona Goskirk
In September 2015, Tess began cheating on Pierce with Paddy Kirk. A few months later Tess feared she was pregnant, although the test was negative. She confided in Paddy that Pierce did not want any children, unlike herself who wanted to be a mum.
In February 2016, Pierce was called to Hotten General Hospital as Tess had been run over by Kirin Kotecha. At the hospital Pierce was informed that Tess had died. Pierce confided in Paddy and his wife Rhona that he thought he and Tess would be able to work out their issues. Paddy lied to him that Tess's last words were that she loved Pierce.
The following month, Pierce was given the personal items that had been in her car. He discovered Tess had been having an affair and had a secret phone. He also found a brochure for the Mill Cottage development and wanted to have a look. Before looking at the development he went into The Woolpack for a drink where he saw Paddy and Rhona. He revealed that he had Tess's affair phone, which made Paddy squirm. Paddy's best friend Marlon Dingle came to his rescue but Rhona, who knew about the affair, agreed to meet Pierce the following day. Pierce showed Rhona some of the texts Tess had sent to her lover, and after learning they were texting on Christmas Day and planning to go to Paris, Rhona cracked and revealed to Pierce that Paddy was Tess's mystery man.
Pierce wrote numerous bad reviews for Paddy and Rhona's vet's surgery on a local business review site. Rhona realised he was behind them and confronted Pierce. Pierce tried to make Rhona realise that she was kidding herself, thinking she could patch up her marriage to Paddy. A few days later, Pierce handed out flyers on Hotten Road hoping to find a witness to Tess's accident. Pierce handed Rhona and her friend Vanessa one, so Rhona invited him to Smithy Cottage for a cup of tea. Pierce explained he had moved into a hotel since Tess died, so Rhona allowed him to temporarily stay with her and son Leo for a few days as she and Paddy had split up.
Pierce continued looking for answers on how Tess died, and questioned Rakesh Kotecha about if he knew Tess, as Rakesh's was the owner of the flat development Tess had a brochure of. Rakesh denied knowing Tess but Rhona later admitted that Rakesh's son Kirin was the police's main suspect in Tess' death before he scarpered. Pierce confronted Rakesh and called the police to say Rakesh was covering for his son. PC Williams visited Pierce and told him as there was no evidence of Rakesh being in contact with Kirin, the police couldn't do anything, although she told him the investigation was still ongoing.
Pierce took Rakesh's job at his old firm, although told Rakesh he would reject the job, on condition that Rakesh told him where Kirin was. Rakesh refused. Pierce stole Vanessa's phone and became suspicious when she received numerous missed calls from Rakesh. Vanessa's housemate Carly Hope allowed Pierce into the house. Vanessa became distressed at Pierce being in her house but Pierce insisted Vanessa was hiding something and Vanessa threatened to call the police. Pierce refused to allow Vanessa out of the house until she revealed everything she knew about Kirin's whereabouts. Vanessa let slip about a letter Rakesh received from Kirin and Pierce lost his temper, waking Vanessa and Kirin's baby son Johnny. Rhona walked in as Pierce grabbed Vanessa's arm. Vanessa demanded Pierce leave, and she questioned why Rhona would allow him to live in the same house as Leo. Rhona explained that the reason Rakesh was calling Vanessa was that he wanted to set up a trust fund for Johnny. That night Rhona and Pierce kissed and slept together. They decided to give the relationship a go, as long as it wasn't made public.
After a short time, their relationship did become public, with some questioning and resistance from loved ones, especially Paddy's best mate Marlon Dingle, who also worried Pierce would replace him in son Leo's life. In a petulant act, he laced Pierce's food with laxatives, only to be mortified when Eric Pollard ate the food instead. Pierce chose not to take action against Marlon when he learned of the stunt, leading Marlon to change his mind about him. Pierce and Carly Hope began training for a marathon, leaving Rhona jealous over their closeness. She told Pierce she was in love with him; he eagerly said he felt the same way about her. They made more plans for their future, only to be surprised by Paddy's return from Germany.
2016: Paddy's return and the Hotten Bypass car crash
Paddy was furious to realise Rhona was now involved with Pierce, and that Pierce had moved into his home, complete with reorganising everything to his tastes. He brawled with Pierce on the front steps. To get away from the tension, Pierce and Rhona went on holiday, but while they were gone, Paddy moved in and tried to reclaim his home, making a mess of Pierce's system and pocketing an item of Rhona's clothing. Chastity Dingle convinced him to move on, and he tried to put on his best face when Pierce and Rhona returned. Pierce quickly worked out from a flummoxed Pearl Ladderbanks what Paddy had done. Rhona was annoyed, but still willing to move on. Not happy at Rhona's lack of interest in going for the jugular in her divorce from Paddy, Pierce planted another item of her clothing in Paddy's belongings. Still, Rhona and Paddy made amends, helped when he agreed to let her keep the house and their only real arrangements were for Leo and the vets. Pierce became paranoid about their relationship and his own relationship with Rhona became filled with tension and doubt.
After believing that Rhona was going back to Paddy, Pierce finally made a decision to leave Emmerdale for good. On the way to Leeds Airport, there was a massive car collision on the Hotten Bypass which Pierce, Paddy and Rhona were involved in. The accident was caused by a crazed Emma Barton, after she pushed her helpless fiancé James from the bridge above the bypass. James landed through the windscreen of Ashley Thomas's car. Pierce looked at Ashley's overturned car and skidded to a halt. A van smashed into Ashley before smashing into Pierce. Rhona and Paddy come along, moments later. Paddy was distracted before the car overturned. Pierce watched as another van smashed into his car. One more car and two vans crash, one of the vans crashed by smashing into Paddy and Rhona. Another car smashed into Paddy and Rhona. As Pierce saved Rhona, he decided to leave Paddy for dead as more cars and a motorbike collide on the bypass. Rhona is lifted into the ambulance as Pierce runs back to the car, pretending to notice that Paddy was just found. Rhona suffered a heart attack, but was released within several weeks. Pierce tried to convince her to take pain medication, but due to her addiction, she refused.
2016-2017: Aftermath of car crash and anger issues
Paddy tried to take a step back for Rhona's sake, but Pierce continued to stew with jealousy over their relationship. Aaron's sister Liv clashed with Pierce, and, being friendly with Paddy, she decided to try to wind Pierce up by sending Rhona flowers with a card that was only identified by the letter "P." Pierce was humiliated when he falsely accused Paddy. After learning Liv was the culprit, he berated her, and was furious when she compared him to her father, Gordon Livesy, who was a paedophile. Back home, Rhona tried to calm him down, but he smashed the mirror in a rage. Seeing that he'd frightened her, he left, but the next day Paddy tracked him down as he knew Rhona was unhappy without Pierce. Pierce agreed to go to therapy, and had a breakthrough while sharing his past with Rhona. He began to feel less anger.
2017: Rape of Rhona and imprisonment
On their wedding day he raped his new wife Rhona who went to the police and reported him. During the trial he attempted to defend himself by claiming that they had an active and rough sex life, even trying to use a sex tape that Rhona had unwillingly consented to on a previous occasion as "evidence" for this. Despite this he was found guilty and sentenced to jail. However, as the rape classed as consummating their marriage in the eyes of the law, Rhona was unable to get an annulment.
In December 2019, Rhona was horrified to find out that Pierce was up for parole.
"I'm here for Tess Harris, she's, uh, been in an accident. Yeah, Pierce Harris, I'm her husband." - First line
"That's for sleeping with my wife! Admit it! You slept with my Tess!" (After punching Paddy to the floor for his & Tess' affair
"Tess. They say you left with your memories. I don't even know if I have that much. Turns out most of them were...were a lie. How did it come to this? I wish I'd known that you were unhappy, I wish you could've told me what I was doing wrong. We could've talked about it. Instead of this...now...a man in a field, who...doesn't know whether to...grieve for you or...or to shout at you! I loved you, Tess. Yeah I did. But it ends now. I won't let you own me! I won't let you own the rest OF MY LIFE!" - Pierce, in a field with Rhona, as they commit to moving on from their unfaithful partners.
"Because...being compared to a paedophile when I have done nothing- (Pierce picks up a mug and hurls it at a mirror, smashing both) -NOTHING WRONG! I'm supposed to...just let the whole world walk all over me, am I?" - Pierce's outburst at the climax of his anger issues storyline
"You are not leaving me! You can't! No. You love me!" - Pierce, right before raping Rhona on their wedding day.
Pierce: Apparently she's said I've assaulted her.
Pierce: She can't help the lies. She's delusional.
-Pierce to Paddy and Marlon whilst he is being arrested for raping Rhona.
"Rhona's an addict. She's...she's mentally unstable." - Pierce to Paddy, right before Paddy punches him in the face for raping Rhona.
Pierce: I didn't know...didn't know that I was capable...of that. That's why it wouldn't sink in. And...and it's only now...I'm so sorry, Rhona.
Rhona: You're sorry?
Pierce: Yeah. I've never said it, but...I am. It's...it's the biggest regret...it's the biggest mistake I ever made. We...could've had a life together. I loved you...so much.
-Pierce finally admits what he did to Rhona, and finally apologises for it.
"Rhona..." - Final line