Days of our Lives storylines

Days of our Lives storylines

This is an "overview" of "major" historical storylines from the daytime drama "Days of our Lives".


The Hortons

When the show debuted in 1965, it centered around the Horton family. Dr Tom Horton and his wife Alice had five children: Tom Jr., who had been presumed dead in the Korean war; Addie, who was Tom Jr.'s Twin; Lawyer Mickey; Bill, a doctor, and the youngest daughter Marie. Addie married Ben Olson and had two teenage children: Julie and Steve. Because Addie married into wealth and status, Addie tended to look down upon her siblings, particularly Marie. Meanwhile, Marie was engaged to Tony Merrit.

Problems soon beset the Horton Family. Tony learned he had a terminal illness and cancelled his engagement to Marie; Marie then attempted suicide. Tom was forced to save his daughter's life, but unfortunately another patient of his died while waiting for his care. A malpractice suit followed and Marie eventually confessed that her father chose to save her life while the other patient was in need of more urgent care. Tom was cleared.

David, Julie and Susan

Addie's daughter Julie always felt neglected by her parents, and in the opening episode of the first show Julie stole a fur to get arrested on purpose in a dramatic bid for attention. Julie's sense of abandonment worsened when her parents and her brother moved to Paris early in 1966. Julie, who had been left behind in Tom and Alice's care, began seeing David Martin on the side. Unfortunately, David slept with Julie's best friend Susan and got her pregnant. David married Susan to give the baby a name, intending to divorce her after the baby was born to marry Julie. However, after Susan gave birth the baby died while in David's care. Susan blamed David and shot and killed him. Susan stood trial for the murder, but was let off thanks to her lawyer, Mickey and the testimony of psychiatrist Laura Spencer. Julie, who was now pregnant by David, ended up giving her baby away.

Bill, Laura and Mickey

Susan's trial leads to two storylines that would be the main focus of the show for several years. The first of these was of course the rivalry between Susan and Julie, while the second of these was the battle between brothers Bill and Mickey over the affections of Laura Spencer, a storyline that is still fondly remembered by Days fans today. Laura had been engaged to Bill, but after Bill learned that he had tuberculosis of the hand, he left town, devastating Laura. Laura soon picked herself up and attempted to move on. During Susan's trial, Laura became close to Mickey and the two married. Bill had returned at this point, and was stunned to learn that his brother married the woman that he still loved. One night in 1968, A drunk Bill visited Laura and forced himself on her. Soon after the rape, Laura learned that she was pregnant. Tom was aghast at the news because he knew that Mickey was sterile and thus Laura must have been with another man. Tom confronted Laura and learned the dreadful secret that she had been raped by Bill. When Tom learned that his son had raped his own brother's wife, he agreed with Laura that Mickey should never know the truth about what happened.

The 1970s

Mike Horton's paternity, "Marty Hansen" and Maggie Simmons

The storyline began when a temporarily insane Bill Horton raped Laura, impregnating her. Laura sought to pass the child (Mike Horton) off as Mickey's son but ultimately, it was revealed that Mickey was sterile and the truth about their son's parentage was revealed. Mickey had a heart attack and a subsequent stroke, which caused him to have amnesia. He checked himself out of the hospital and wandered to a farm, calling himself Marty Hansen. During this time, Mickey would meet a crippled farm girl.

Doug and Julie had a rough time getting together, as Doug had once married her mother Addie whom he married first for money, then they fell in love. Though he still loved Julie, Addie's bout with leukemia cemented his bond to her Addie bore him a child named Hope while she was in a coma and near death from cancer. Not long after, Addie was hit by a truck and killed, but not before she pushed her young child's stroller to safety. Even then, Doug and Julie were not free to be a couple. Julie was trapped in a loveless marriage to Bob Anderson based on security. Eventually, Doug's ex-wife Kim tricked him into returning to her by saying their divorce was never final. En route, Doug was in a car accident and Julie rushed to his side. Julie was divorced quickly and the two were married within weeks.

Marlena Evans

By the late 70s, the popular character was Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), who was a favorite of then head writer Pat Falken Smith (who took over after the departure of Bill Bell). Marlena became the show's main heroine and started a popular romance with lawyer Don Craig (Jed Allan). They had a son (D.J., who died of SIDS). After her marriage to Don ended, Marlena became the focus of the Salem Strangler, a serial killer whose unwanted attentions caused Roman Brady to move into Marlena's apartment. Proving opposites attract, Marlena and Roman became romantically involved. The romance appeared to be short lived, when the Salem Strangler was seen killing Marlena. Fans picketed NBC studios, but writers quickly revealed that it was Marlena's evil twin sister Samantha (who had been played by Deidre Hall's real-life twin Andrea for five years) who had died instead of Marlena, and the show finally reunited Marlena and Roman, and they became the show's main "supercouple".

The end of Laura and Bill

The show ended the 1970s with a literal bang as longtime favorites Bill and Laura Horton were written out of the show in a controversial storyline involving mental illness and adultery as Bill began cheating on Laura, whose mind had become horribly unstable due to years of hiding the identity of her son Mike's father from him. Laura began a slow and steady breakdown culminating in a nightmarish sequence where Laura forced her daughter Jennifer on a bus all by herself. After which, Laura attempted to hang herself. Laura was placed in a mental institution and entered into a catatonic state while Bill shamefully left Salem. Jennifer was sent to boarding school.

Bill and Laura's exit was part of a shift in the show that would come to be known as the Valentine's Day Massacre. Over six months, and around Valentine's Day, fourteen characters were written out of the show. They included Bob Anderson, Brooke Hamilton, Margo Horton, Linda Anderson, Phyllis Curtis, and Robert LeClair. As part of new head writer Nina Laemmle's attempt to "spice up" the show, nine new characters were written in to make up for the absences.


Behind the scenes chaos

By the end of the 1970s, the show had gone through numerous creative changes behind the scenes. Falken Smith left in the late 70's over a contract dispute and through a slow but steady decline in numbers, turmoil gripped the cast and crew. At one point Susan Seaforth Hayes' mother was head writer. Al Rabin, the executive producer at the time began to phase out people he viewed as contributing to an atmosphere of "negativism". In 1979 and 1980, nearly a dozen characters were written out of the series.

To the surprise of the show, fans were not impressed by the characters who took their place. Nearly one million viewers defected between 1980 and 1981, and of the nine characters introduced in that year, only chanteuse Liz Chandler (Gloria Loring) gained a following and stayed around. Falken Smith was again rehired and her Salem Strangler storyline, along with the intense focus on Marlena and Roman, propelled the show to a revival. Falken Smith left again in the early 80's due to another contract dispute. Perhaps the only low point in her era was a storyline where Doug's long-lost wife Lee (Brenda Benet) agonized over her child's extended hospitalization and illness. Falken Smith did not realize Benet's own child had recently died. Benet performed the scenes without complaint, but one day in 1982 she committed suicide. "Days" dedicated Lee's remaining episodes in memory of Benet, and said Lee left town.

The Brady Clan

The writers created a brand new family in the form of the middle-class Irish-Catholic family "The Bradys", who were anchored by Shawn and Caroline Brady and featured an assortment of children including Roman (originally played by Wayne Northrop) and Bo (played by Peter Reckell). Meanwhile the show began to focus more and more on an assortment of doctor characters introduced onto the show, who gained popularity amongst viewers.

tefano DiMera

Unlike Victor, who was more of a "traditional" mobster, Stefano was much more refined and intellectual, more of an Blofeld in contrast to Victor's Don Corleone. On a personal level, Stefano had a burning hatred for the Brady family over some unknown slight that occurred in the distant past in Ireland that somehow involved a young Shawn Brady. Stefano also had an obsession with Marlena that was complicated when it was revealed that Roman had previously been married to Stefano's daughter-in-law Anna (Leann Hunley) with whom he had a daughter named Carrie (notably played by Christie Clark). Marlena and Roman would go on to have twins named Samantha (for her late sister) and Eric (for his late uncle). The struggle to eliminate Roman Brady would ultimately result in a complicated, long-running, and often retconned storyline over the "real" Roman Brady and the identity of John Black.

Enter John Black

Controversy began when Wayne Northrop left the show due to problems with the direction of his character. His character of Roman Brady was killed off in 1984 when he fell off a cliff on a tropical island in the Caribbean after being shot by Stefano. In 1986 it was decided by the writers to recast the role of Roman. Rather than just replace him, it was decided to outright explain why he was now being played by a different actor. It was explained that Roman was recovered by Stefano after his fall from the cliff, given immediate medical attention, brainwashed into believing that he was one of Stefano's assassins, given extensive training in the martial arts, and had plastic surgery to give him a brand new face. Temporarily nicknamed "the Pawn", he was actually "auctioned off" by a DiMera henchman named Petrov during an adventure in Miami, with the primary bidders being corrupt ISA Chief Ogden Vaughn, and Victor Kiriakis. Victor won, and returned to Salem with the Pawn, and set about trying to unravel the mystery of his identity for his own purposes. There was even a brief flirtation with the idea that the Pawn was Stefano himself. But the Pawn escaped Victor, adopted the name "John Black" after seeing it on a war memorial, and set about finding about his past on his own, and with his new friend Marlena. Now played by Drake Hogestyn, the character was eventually revealed to be "Roman", and the "Roman"/Marlena relationship once again became popular amongst viewers and they remarried. Deidre Hall left the show in 1987, and Marlena was presumed dead in a plane explosion. Hogestyn stayed on and John/Roman attempted to start several relationships, including an ill fated romance with Diana Colville (Genie Francis, of "General Hospital" fame), Peruvian mafia princess Bianca Torres, and French prostitute and con-woman Yvette DuPree. He eventually started a relationship with a new character named Isabella Toscano (Staci Greason) (Side note: Hogestyn complained about being on the backburner in several magazine articles before Hall's triumphant return several years later to bring the ratings back up and in the process, help make him the most popular male on soaps), who was the sickly daughter of crime boss Ernesto Toscano (before being revealed as the illegitimate daughter of Victor Kiriakis). The relationship between John/Roman and Isabella, and their connections to the various characters on the show, would lead to one of the most famous "umbrella stories" of the show's run: The Cruise of Deception.

"The supercouple phenomenon"

Meanwhile on rival network ABC, the intense popularity of the pairing of Luke and Laura on "General Hospital" in the 1980s, led to "Days of our Lives" to attempt to cash in on the phenomenon of the "supercouple" by pairing off their assorted characters into various relationships. Among Days roster of supercouples were Bo Brady (Peter Reckell) and Hope Williams (Kristian Alfonso), who quickly became the focal point of the show during the mid-80s and helped the show regain its popularity. The show also gained ground with addition of two new characters, Steve Johnson (aka "Patch", due to the fact that the character wore an eye-patch after losing an eye while a Merchant Marine) (Stephen Nichols) and Kayla Brady (most notably played by Mary Beth Evans), whose courtship became a major storyline for the series in and helped to lead to the introduction of another of the show's most popular characters—Jack Deveraux. Heading into the 90's, Carrie (Christie Clark) and Austin (Austin Peck) would become another supercouple, battling for the sake of their relationship against Carrie's scheming sister Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney).

At the same time, it was shown that Patch also had a past connection to Bo Brady. Both had once been in love with the same woman—a Russian agent named Britta Englund. In a fight over Britta, Bo put Patch's eye out. Because of this, Patch wanted revenge on Bo. Patch terrorized Bo and Hope for some time. On one occasion, he kidnapped Hope and placed a bucket allegedly filled with acid over her head. If she were to move, the plate would spill on her face. Bo rescued Hope, and they discovered that the bucket was actually filled with water. The immensely popular Bo and Hope reunited and were given a lavish wedding in London.

"Patch" and Kayla

After Patch/Steve terrorized Kayla in Cleveland at Emma's request, he was also hired by Victor Kiriakis to follow her around Salem and pick up on any information that would be relevant to Victor (regarding Bo/Hope, Kimberly's kidnapped baby, etc.). Steve found many excuses to hang around Kayla, and it was clear that he was developing an interest beyond what he was being paid to do. Kayla, meanwhile, was suspicious and frightened of Steve, but fascinated and attracted to him at the same time. Thus began a long period of "push and pull" between the two characters while they got to know each other and eventually fell in love. An ongoing theme in the early stages of their relationship was that Steve did not feel worthy of being loved by anyone, let alone a "good girl" like Kayla. Because of this, she had to work very hard to get him to let down his guard and accept her love. It took around six months before the two characters had their first kiss, and another six months before their relationship was consummated. They finally married in 1988, two years after they first developed an interest in each other. They had daughter Stephanie Kay in February 1990.

When the character of Steve became a central character of the show and a fan favorite in early 1987, the story of his past was revealed. The impetus of this reveal was the arrival of a young woman named Adrienne, who befriended Kayla and worked at the Emergency Center with her. Eventually it was revealed that Adrienne was the sister of Steve, who had never known he had a sister. As a child Steve and his younger brother Billy had been put up for adoption because his father, Duke, was an alcoholic who abused his mother, him, and his baby brother, Billy. In attempt to protect his family, Steve had set a fire at age 5 in an unsuccessful attempt to kill his father. Adrienne had been born after Steve and Billy were given up for adoption. Her appearance in Steve's life was the source of much turmoil and self-hatred for Steve as he tried to shut out the memories of his past.

When Steve's mother Jo (Joy Garrett) followed Adrienne to Salem and re-entered Steve's life, Steve was forced to deal with the realities of his past, and to share his pain with Kayla. Alcoholic father Duke showed up to force Jo to come home with him, but ended up raping his virginal daughter Adrienne in a drunken rage instead. Adrienne shot and killed her father in self-defense, but then blocked out the traumatic incident. Steve took the rap in order to protect his sister, and almost went to jail for the crime, until Adrienne remembered what happened and cleared him at the last minute.

Adrienne and Steve went on to develop a close relationship despite Steve's initial reluctance to accept her. He even became close to his mother Jo, after struggling to deal with his anger at her for giving him away.

Eventually, while still recovering from the incident with her father, Adrienne met and developed a popular fairytale romance with Justin Kiriakis (Wally Kurth).

Steve and Kayla were brought back and "reunited" in June 2006. It was revealed that Steve had not actually died in the accident that had been assumed to take his life in 1990. His most recent memory is waking up in a hotel room in Cincinnati about 3 years ago and having no idea who he was, and then finding an ID that said he was Nick Stockton. He had been working as a hospital orderly in Cincinnati since that time, having no memory of his past. Meanwhile, Kayla had moved to Los Angeles after Steve's "death" and has spent the past 16 years becoming a doctor and raising their daughter Stephanie. She has never gotten over Steve and did not remarry.

Kayla's first sighting of Steve upon his return was in the cemetery where she was visiting his grave. She was thrilled and shocked to see him, but he had no memory of her. Since that time, they have struggled to find some common ground and have started to investigate the mystery of what happened to Steve during those 16 years.

The Deverauxs

In a summer 1987 storyline, Patch helped Senator Harper Deveraux (Joseph Campanella) to fake his death in order to better investigate an explosion that was believed to have been caused by Victor Kiriakis's mob connections. However, when Patch fired the gun, there was a real bullet. Harper went into a coma, sending Steve, Kayla, and the other primary characters in search of who had really staged the shooting and the explosion. Earlier that year, a person from Kayla's past had come to town: the senator's son Jack Deveraux (originally played by Joseph Adams, then by James Acheson), whom Kayla had met at an earlier time in Hawaii, when Jack had saved her life. After the senator finally came out of his coma, it was revealed that Jack was suffering from Hodgkin's disease, which was diagnosed as very probably being terminal. The Deverauxs hired Kayla to be Jack's private nurse.

The Deveraux family, including Jack, his father Harper, and stepmother Anjelica (Jane Elliot), moved to Salem permanently after Harper's unsuccessful presidential campaign, and Jo Johnson (Patch and Billy's mother) was hired as the maid. Jack and Jo formed a tight friendship after surprisingly being drawn to each other. One day, Jack (now played by Matthew Ashford) showed Jo a ring that he hoped to give Kayla as an engagement present, telling her that the ring was special to him since it had been a present from "his mother", who had died when he was young. Immediately, Jo recognized it as the one she had given her son Billy—Jack Deveraux was Billy Johnson. However, when Harper discovered that Jo was the mother of his adopted son, he was willing to do anything to hide it and to keep the truth from Jack.

When Jo told Steve the truth, though, he renewed his vow to protect his brother. Now that he found Billy, Billy was dying, and he could not even acknowledge their relationship. Steve/Patch decided to give Kayla up to terminally ill Jack, so that Jack could marry her and live the remaining time he had happily. Devastated by the breakup, Kayla accepted Jack's proposal and married him. Then, thanks to Dr. Mike Horton (Michael T. Weiss), Jack's Hodgkin's Disease went into remission.

Meanwhile, Melissa Anderson (Mickey and Maggie Horton's adopted daughter) developed a crush on Jack and also discovered that Jack is really Billy Johnson. Also, Harper Deveraux's true homicidal nature began to be revealed, as he was willing to commit any crime to keep his image intact. Harper erroneously believed that it was Kayla (not Melissa) who had Jack's adoption papers—and because he never thought that the working-class daughter of people who ran a fish market was a worthy match for his son, he began to poison Kayla.

Despite months of marriage, Jack and Kayla never consummated their relationship, first because Jack was ill and then because of Kayla's mysterious illness. Realizing that Kayla had married him largely because she believed he was dying, and because Steve had rejected her, Jack offered Kayla a divorce so that she could be with Steve. Kayla, still believing that Steve didn't want her, said that she wanted to remain married to Jack. Becoming suspicious of Kayla's lingering illness, Steve kidnapped her from the Deveraux home. Desperate to find his wife, Jack tracked Steve down, only to discover Steve in bed with his wife. Steve and Kayla swore to Jack that things weren't as he believed; actually things were exactly as Jack believed. Steve and Kayla, still in love with one another, began an affair, vowing to tell Jack the truth after he won the election to City Council.

The rape of Kayla

On the night of the election, an unscrupulous reporter (financed by Harper Deveraux) produced photos of Steve and Kayla together. A furious and hurt Jack went home to confront Kayla with the evidence of her infidelity after months of her coming up with excuses not to consummate their marriage. The argument spiraled out of control, and Jack raped Kayla. Kayla left Jack and told Steve what his brother had done. Steve returned to the loft, confronting Jack in a violent fight that ended up with Jack plummeting off the roof of the building. Jack suffered extreme damage to his kidneys, forcing Patch to make the controversial decision to give Jack one of his kidneys.

Jack was loath to accept his rival's kidney, but ended up doing so. It didn't stop him from continuing to harass Patch and Kayla. Even while wounded, he approached Kayla, who was going in for rape counseling and accused her of ruining his reputation. In the aftermath of the marital rape of his wife, Jack lived in denial. He pled guilty only to a domestic assault charge, refusing to believe that it was rape. Soon thereafter, he tried to locate Steve's missing brother Billy in order to torment his rival some more with hidden skeletons in his closet. In doing so, he unearthed his own baby picture at Steve's house and finally discovered that he was actually Billy. Jo and Adrienne tried welcoming him, and even Patch/Steve tried to welcome him as a brother. Jack, devastated by the revelation of his parentage, rejected them all.

The Riverfront Knifer

Later, a serial killer began killing and maiming women in Salem. Both Kayla and Kimberly Brady were attacked. A few women were killed. Jack became the primary suspect for the Riverfront Knifer and was even arrested for the crime, only for Steve to discover that the real killer was Harper Deveraux. Due to the trauma that Kayla had gone through during the Riverfront Knifer attack, she developed hysterical deafness. When Jack saw what had happened to Kayla, whom he claimed to love, he finally let her go and secretly hired a specialist to fly to Salem to treat her for her illness.

At last free of all obstacles, and with Kayla healed from her traumas, Steve and Kayla finally married in a lovely outdoor ceremony on a yacht. The couple hoped to have happiness at last. Not so happy was Jack Deveraux who, trying to save his shattered reputation, struck up a relationship with Melissa Horton. Melissa was in love with Jack, but he was most definitely not in love with her. He only believed that the Horton name could salvage his image. Discovering that he was only using her, Melissa left Jack publicly humiliated at the altar.

Bring back the Hortons

As the show regained its popularity in the mid 1980s, it was decided to bring the focus back to the Horton family, which had been marginalized in the early 80s in favor of focus on the Bradys.

An outcast in Salem, hated for the villain that he was, left friendless and loathed, Jack purchased publishing rights to the local newspaper "The Spectator." The newspaper became his life, and it was there that he met the future love of his life, Jennifer Horton (Melissa Reeves). Laura and Bill Horton's daughter Jennifer had been brought back as a wild teenager, sent to live with Tom and Alice Horton, so as to provide the young girl with the stable home that her parents were incapable of giving her. Jennifer quickly became a popular figure and began a friendship with another new character, Frankie Brady (Billy Warlock).

Frankie was a teenager who had been legally adopted by Shawn and Caroline Brady. However, Frankie and Jennifer's teen romance suffered due to Jennifer's growing fear of inheriting her mother's mental instability, especially after she witnessed her mother catatonic in an asylum. These problems were exacerbated when Frankie began having a sexual relationship with his college professor. Feeling betrayed by Frankie, Jennifer broke up with him; when Frankie earned a scholarship to Columbia University, he left town. Jennifer went to Salem University and got an internship at the local newspaper, The Spectator. She also became involved with Emilio Ramirez (Billy Hufsey), who she later discovered was having an affair with the married Adrienne. Upset by this, Jennifer broke up with Emilio. Disgusted with romance in general, she wrote "Love Stinks" on her computer monitor at The Spectator. When Jack Deveraux read the bitter sentiment, he couldn't help but agree.

The "new" Jack and the Jack-Jennifer romance

In the aftermath of the Jack/Kayla/Steve triangle, Jack (under the portrayal of Matthew Ashford) had garnered increasing fan interest and had developed into a complex, conflicted character whose dark edge was complemented with a level of existential angst over his identity (after learning of his motley collection of dysfunctional parents) and over his growing realization of his guilt in raping his wife. Instead of whitewashing the rape, the writers exploited it as a source of great angst, guilt, and regret for Jack as he began realizing the enormity of the crime and the fact that he could never take it back no matter how much he wanted to. Realizing that his biological father had abused his wife and children, and that his adoptive father was a serial killer who had preyed on women, in addition to his own crime against Kayla, convinced Jack that he was unworthy of being loved by anyone and that he was most certainly unworthy of any relationship with a woman.

Enter Jennifer Horton and the beginning of one Days' biggest couples, Jack and Jennifer.

Having graduated from college, while working at the Spectator, Jennifer became increasingly aware that Jack wasn't all bad. He did in fact have a conscience. She became aware of the ways that he would surreptitiously help his mother, his sister, and even Steve and Kayla by anonymously donating money, sending gifts, or help even as he openly continued to reject all of his family. Jennifer became aware that his rejection of his family wasn't a rejection of them, but Jack feeling that he was not worthy of anyone's regard. She began to fall for Jack. And Jack began to fall for Jennifer, but he refused to acknowledge it because he didn't believe that a virginal ingenue like Jennifer should ever hook-up with someone like him.

When Emilio returned to Salem, he wanted to win Jennifer back. The uncouth Emilio felt that he didn't have the polish necessary to win a Horton and so he elicited the help of the urbane Jack Deveraux who agreed to play Cyrano De Bergerac to Emillio's Christian, as Jack gave Emilio the words (*his* words) to win Jennifer. The problem came in that it wasn't Emilio that Jennifer loved. It was Jack. Jack, however, was adamant that they couldn't become involved and used the excuse that he was her boss.

Feisty Jennifer wouldn't take no for an answer and pursued Jack for months, finally giving him the ultimatum that if he didn't admit that he was in love with her, she would marry Emilio instead. Faced with the ultimatum, Jack decided to admit to his love, only to arrive too late to stop Jennifer's engagement to Emilio. Haunted by the memory of his father's and their abusive pasts, Jack didn't again work up the resolve to confess his love until Jennifer and Emilio's wedding day when he dressed up as a fireman, pulled the fire alarm and absconded with the bride. Furious about the interrupted wedding, Jennifer was in no mood for Jack's confession of love... which he didn't make until she had fallen asleep anyway.


The Cruise of Deception

The Cruise of Deception was a massive umbrella storyline that resolved many longstanding plotlines and setting up new, more complex stories in its wake. It also saw the return of Bo and Hope and longtime "Days of our Lives" cast member Julie Williams.

The plot revolved around Ernesto Toscano's scheme to kill off his assorted enemies, most notably Victor Kiriakis and "Roman Brady"(John Black) over their ties to his daughter Isabella, as Victor was Isabella's biological father and that "Roman" was in love with Isabella, much to Ernesto's disapproval.

Also on board for the cruise were Isabella Toscano, Bo Brady (who was involved in an elaborate scheme to trick Ernesto into thinking he was on Ernesto's side), Hope Brady, Jack Deveraux, Jennifer Horton, and Julie Williams. Luring his enemies onto a cruise ship, Ernesto destroyed the vessel, shipwrecking the characters on an island he controlled. Jennifer Horton finally broke down all of Jack Deveraux's emotional walls to convince him to admit that he was in love with her, leading to the two finally making love (with Jennifer losing her virginity) in an abandoned cave.

As the shipwrecked characters tried to escape the island, the plot came to a climax when Ernesto got his hands on Hope and threatened to drop her into a vat of acid (later, it was retconned that Ernesto traded Hope for a decoy named Greta) and when both Shane and Steve arrived to rescue the castaways, Ernesto dropped "Hope" into the vat of acid (which then promptly exploded) as a final act of revenge against the group. The castaways returned to Salem where Hope was mourned by all.

The Alamain family

That fall, a young doctor, Carly Manning (Crystal Chappell), came to town and was instantly attracted to the grieving Bo.

Carly Manning was revealed to be oil heiress Katerina Von Leuschner, who had been Jennifer's best friend in boarding school. The aristocratic Carly had been promised since birth to marry Lawrence Alamain (Michael Sabatino) and claimed that she didn't wish to. Trying to extract her best friend from an unwanted (and forced) engagement, Jennifer impersonated Carly to break the engagement. Unknown to Jennifer, Lawrence was aware that she was an impostor, but he didn't care. He needed to marry *a* Katerina Von Leuschner to fulfill the Von Leuschener will and gain their fortune and if the real Katerina wasn't available, he'd take the fake one.

Meanwhile, Steve and Kayla were intending to renew their wedding vows when Harper Deveraux escaped prison intent on murdering them. It was Jack who rushed to save Steve and Kayla, begging his father to spare their lives, and—when Harper wouldn't give up his murderous plan—struggling to pull the rifle from his adoptive father's hands, killing Harper in the process. Steve and Kayla called Jack a hero for his actions, but Jack saw himself as a murderer. Once again Jack pulled away from Jennifer, citing his dysfunctional past as a reason the two could never be together. But for Jack, an even greater tragedy was about to happen that would shatter his world.

Bo Brady had found himself at odds with Lawrence Alamain over Lawrence's illegal corporate activities. To silence Bo, Lawrence hired Nick Corelli to blow up Bo's boat. It wasn't Bo, however, that was on the boat when it exploded, but Steve Johnson. Steve survived the initial explosion and with Kayla, Jack, Jo, and Adrienne at his bedside, he rallied. Only Lawrence, fearing that Steve had evidence of his crimes, hired a hospital employee to poison Steve's IV. Steve was pronounced dead but Lawrence's henchmen swapped Steve's coffin (in order to set up a way to bring back the character at a later date), leaving nothing but an empty grave.

The death of his estranged brother led to Jack finally having the courage to commit to a relationship with Jennifer, but Jennifer was at this point occupied with pretending to be Katerina Von Leuschner and being engaged to Lawrence Alamain. Jennifer stubbornly refused to give up the charade and Jack couldn't figure out why. She never told him that Frankie Brady (now revealed to be Carly Manning's brother Francois Von Leuschner) was being held prisoner in order to blackmail Jennifer into going through with the wedding and fulfilling the terms of the Von Leuschner will. Jennifer went to Lawrence's bedroom to meet Jack as they had earlier planned, so they could escape through an elevator to the tunnels underneath the villa. But Jack had been forcibly detained by Lawrence's men, and was trapped in a room adjacent to Frankie's. Both men conversed through the wall with neither on of them aware who the other really was. Lawrence showed up instead of Jack and Jennifer tried to talk him out of his suspicious anger at finding her there. She offered him champagne, and then the situation rapidly spiralled out of control. Lawrence seemed to lose his grip on reality and seemed to think that she was really Carly and he forced her back down on the bed and raped her, angry about Carly's abandonment of him years ago.

Jack escape from his prison, but Frankie wasn't so lucky. Jack wandered around looking for Frankie in the grounds outside the villa and finally ran into Kayla, Julie and Shane, all who had come to Lawrence's country in an attempt to get answers about Steve's death and Alice's and Jennifer's whereabouts. Shane informed Jack that he believed Lawrence had killed Steve and Jack insisted on working with them, despite Shane's belief that he would only screw things up for them. Kayla supported Jack by reminding Shane that Jack was Steve's brother and had every right to help.

Jack rescued Jennifer from Lawrence clutches several days later, but she would mention nothing about the rape. In retaliation, Lawrence blew up his villa trapping Alice Horton, Bo Brady, Carly Manning, Jack Deveaux, Jennifer Horton, Frankie Brady, Kayla Johnson and Shane Donovan in the wreckage. It took them days to dig themselves out.

Still grieving Steve's death, Kayla drifted into a relationship with Shane Donovan (whose marriage to Kim had imploded months earlier). The pairing of these two popular characters was anything but popular, however, and when their contracts expired both actors separately left the show in 1992. Nick Corelli was later killed by an emotionally distraught Jo Johnson (Joy Garrett), in retaliation for Steve's death. Pleading temporary insanity, Jo was made to serve her sentence in a mental institution.

Bo (who was eventually recast with Robert Kelker-Kelly) and Carly's burgeoning relationship grew as Jack and Jennifer's fell apart in the wake of the incidents in Lawrence's home country. Lawrence had followed the Salemites back Salem and continued to torment his many enemies. Jennifer, fearing Jack's reaction, kept the secret of what Lawrence had done to her. Every time Jack tried to get close to Jennifer, she pulled away. She rejeted his suggestion that they live together, inviting Frankie to be her roommate at the loft. Jack began to be suspicious that Jennifer and Frankie were rekindling their love, a belief that was exacerbated by his untimely arrival at the loft when a half-dressed Frankie was holding Jennifer after she had a nightmare about Lawrence. Jennifer vehemently denied any interest in Frankie, but Frankie was still in love with Jennifer and Jack knew this. He didn't believe that Jennifer wasn't starting to remember her feelings for Frankie and he continued to operate under the suspicion that once again, he was being deceived by the woman he loved. Desperate to save what he had with Jennifer, he kept begging her to share with him what was wrong with their relationship.

He asked her to marry him, something that Jennifer had once feared would never happen given his past with Kayla and Melissa, but Jennifer had no choice but to turn him down for now. She begged him to just give her time to work things through. Jack came back later on down her chimney dressed as Santa, and told her that Mr. Deveraux had begged him to plead his cause. Touched by this amount of love and romanticism, and touched also by the fact tha Jack was opening his heart up to her, Jennifer agreed and things seemed to be back on track.

Then, Jack asked Jennifer to go away with him for New Years and she turned him down, telling him that she had no choice but to cover the new years benefit for work. Jennifer's boss disabused him on the notion that Jennifer had been forced into covering the benefit and Jack began to become even more suspicious of Jennifer and Frankie. A suspicion that was being fanned into flames by Eve Donovan, who also believed that Frankie was drifting back to Jennifer. Jack furiously confronted Jennifer at the loft, backing down after she broke into a panic at his anger.

Jack tried to get her to go away from him by showing up at work one day and telling her he had arranged it with her boss and packed her bags. Jennifer consented to go with him, but once at the cabin she began to withdraw into herself. Jack put his emotions on the line and he kept begging her to work with him to save their relationship. In a desperate move, he kissed her hard, trying to remind her of how great things had been between them and that triggered flashbacks which caused her to slap him and then call him a rapist. Jack was immediately devastated and he recoiled from her when Jennifer desperately tried to apologize. He bitterly told her that she shouldn't apologize for telling the truth. He is a rapist. He had raped Kayla. He'd always known that he was unworthy of Jennifer, and now Jennifer realized it too. Jennifer kept pleading with him to understand but Jack couldn't see that Jennifer was going through her own trauma because he was still caught up in his own.

Both heartbroken, Jack called off their engagement. Jennifer refused to remove her ring off her finger, forcing him to do it for her. Jack insisted it was now time for them to go their separate ways, and Jennifer still kept trying to find a way to fix things. She was still unable to tell him what happened because she believed based on his past behavior with her that if he knew, he would never be able to be in a relationship with her again.

Meanwhile, Lawrence was enjoying his time in Salem, tormenting his enemies as the writers established Lawrence as the new main villain of the series. In particular, Lawrence sought to gain ownership over the Spectator just to spite Jack - a move which mirrored Jack's own hostile takeover of the paper just a few years earlier. In order to stop that from happening, and because he believed Jennifer had fallen back into a relationship with Frankie, a heartbroken Jack married Eve Donovan (Charlotte Ross) so that they could inherit Nick's fortune. This resulted in a brief but widely popular arc where Jack and Eve were forced to pretend to be a loving and utterly devoted couple in spite of their obvious disdain for each other.

After Frankie urging Jennifer to tell Jack the truth about what was really going on, Jennifer finally confessed the truth about Lawrence having raped her, which led to more angst for Jack over whether or not Jennifer would be able to love Jack now that she had been a victim of rape as well. The rape revelation made him view himself as a mirror image to Lawrence; though with Lawrence, Jack saw what he could have been, had Jack never abandoned his evil ways and sought redemption for his villainous misdeeds. This was made clear when Jennifer insisted that she still loved Jack despite his dark past and could no longer imagine life without him by her side.

Eventually, Jennifer pressed charges against Lawrence. This forced Jack to come full circle with what he had done to Kayla as Lawrence discovered and sought to use Jack's own history of rape against him, culminating in a fight between the two in Jennifer's loft. Fearing his own loss of control and desperately seeking that Jennifer receive justice for what had happened to her, Jack committed himself to seeing that Lawrence did not escape punishment for his crime.

This led to Jack and Kayla gaining a level of closure towards their own past together, as Kayla forgave Jack for raping her, though Jack continued to feel guilty over the way he had denied that what had happened was rape. This led to a tense moment on the witness stand, as Lawrence's attorney goaded Jack (called to the stand as a hostile witness for the defense) by saying that Lawrence didn't rape Jennifer, just like Jack didn't rape Kayla - as both couples were married at the time of the incidents. Pushed to the edge, Jack yells out that he did rape Kayla, just like Lawrence raped Jennifer.

As the trial drew to a close, Shane Donovan feared that the jury would acquit Lawrence and controversially took matters into his own hands via recording a conversation between himself and Lawrence with Lawrence admitting to raping Jennifer. While the tape could not be admitted into evidence (as it was illegally obtained), fear of it being leaked to the press was enough to blackmail Lawrence into accepting a plea-bargain for 3rd degree marital rape.

With Lawrence temporarily defeated, Jack and Jennifer reunited in the wake of the trial and finally married in a wild-west rodeo themed wedding.

John Black

Meanwhile Isabella and "Roman" (John) grew closer and Isabella became pregnant just as "Roman's" wife, Marlena Evans returned from the grave. Marlena's death had been faked, and she had been the prisoner of Stefano DiMera. If that twist wasn't enough it was then revealed that Roman Brady (Wayne Northrop) was still alive meaning that the Drake Hogestyn Roman who had been in Salem for the last half of the 1980s wasn't Roman Brady after all. Returning to the name "John Black", John found himself confused as to who he was. Isabella said it didn't matter to her. She knew the man, not the name, and she loved him anyway. On the day that their son, Brady Black, was born, John and Isabella were married. Unfortunately, poor Isabella was soon diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. And on the evening that Abigail Deveraux (Jack and Jennifer Deveraux's child) was born, Isabella quietly slipped from life while held cradled in her husband's arms.

The behind the scenes reason for such a massive swerve in story was that the producers had approached Deidre Hall about returning to the show in the role of Marlena. Hall agreed to return only if the producers also brought back her close friend Wayne Northrop in the role he originated, Roman Brady. The producers were interested but knew quite well that Hogestyn was extremely popular with viewers and they couldn't just fire him. However, since Hogestyn's Roman had moved on to Isabella, a compromise was struck: Northrop returned as Roman, who had been held prisoner by arch-villain Stefano DiMera for seven years, and it was revealed that Hogestyn's character, John Black, was one of Stefano's mercenaries who had his memories taken from him and was brainwashed into thinking he was Roman as punishment for betraying Stefano (as well as a means of carrying on Stefano's favorite hobby—the continual torment of the Brady family).

In fairness to the writers and producers, it should be noted that the idea that Hogestyn's character was not the real Roman Brady was nothing new; various magazine articles in 1988 hinted at the idea during a story arc that involved the return of Stefano and explored what really happened to Roman during his 2 years in Stefano's custody. One idea floated in the press at the time centered around the possibility of Hogestyn's character actually being one of Stefano's unknown sons. However, this was never fleshed out and the storyline concluded with a fairly clear resolution that Hogestyn's character was truly Roman Brady who had been captured by Stefano, given a new face via plastic surgery, brainwashed into believing he was one of Stefano's assassins (but not successfully to the point where he actually assassinated anybody), accidentally caused an explosion that caused the deafness of Stefano's son Benji Hawk, and was found by the ISA but abandoned again when its other agents in Stefano's organization were discovered and killed. Roman remained in Stefano's clutches until Stefano went into hiding during one of his faked deaths, and Roman was auctioned off to Victor Kiriakis as "The Pawn".

Nevertheless, the return of the "real" Roman was particularly amusing to fans who paid close attention to the obvious physical differences between Northrop and Hogestyn, and wondered how anyone, particularly Marlena who had been married to (and slept with) both men, would readily accept one in place of the other. Hogestyn was taller, darker, hairier, had straighter hair, and was right-handed, in contrast with the shorter, fairer-skinned, smoother, curly-haired, left-handed Northrop. It was also apparent that Hogestyn was either a few years younger than Northrop, or it was just that being cooped up in Stefano's prison for 7 years had caused Roman not to age quite as well as his Salem-bound counterpart.

Through many different writing regimes, John's past would change considerably. He is, to date, quite possibly the most continually rewritten character in the history of television. His character has been retconned at least 6 or 7 times over the period 1986-2008. First it was revealed that he was a member of the wealthy Alamain family, and then he was a priest who Stefano's mistress confided in. Eventually it was revealed that John was a mercenary, con artist, and jewel thief who worked with Gina von Amberg, a royal princess who was a con artist like her lover on the side (and who, like Hope Williams, was portrayed by Kristian Alfonso). Years later it was rewritten yet again that John was actually the illegitimate son of Daphne DiMera, Stefano's deceased common law wife and Alamain sister, and an as-yet-unrevealed father. By 2008, John's origin was re-written once again and he was revealed to be Stefano's half brother and the secret love child of Santo DiMera and Colleen Brady, Ryan Brady. Before all of these various revisions, Marlena reunited with the real Roman while John and Isabella were together.

Much had changed since Roman was last in town, and he struggled to fit into the canvas. Meanwhile, John and Isabella's happiness was short-lived, as Isabella was given fatal pancreatic cancer to accommodate the exit of Staci Greason when contract talks broke down because the actress demanded too much money. After dealing with his grief, John began a controversial affair with Marlena, which culminated with Marlena and Roman's daughter Sami (Alison Sweeney) catching them having sex on a conference table at Victor Kiriakis's new Titan Industries office building. When she became pregnant as a result of this fling, she believed the child to be Roman's and was aided in this belief by Sami, who altered a paternity test to make it appear that Roman was the father. Ultimately, Sami was exposed after kidnapping and attempting to sell her younger sister Belle (named for the late Isabella Black). Unable to forgive Marlena, Roman fled town in disgrace at being cuckolded by John. The scandal would force Marlena to raise Belle alone while John found comfort with a new arrival in Salem, social worker Kristen Blake (Eileen Davidson). Sami, meanwhile, never forgave Marlena and John (who Sami considered a second father) for betraying Roman like they did, with the incident triggering a serious turn to the dark side for Sami.

Buried alive: the James E. Reilly era begins

In 1993, the show began to drift towards more supernatural storylines with the hiring of new head writer James E. Reilly. One of his first major storylines was to have Carly Manning buried alive by John and Lawrence's insane aunt, Vivian Alamain (Louise Sorel). The show shot up in the ratings as NBC heavily promoted the storyline with lurid commercials showing actress Crystal Chappell in a coffin screaming while Louise Sorel laughed like a mad woman while lying on top of Carly's grave. With ratings at a high level, Reilly decided to fire several popular actors who Reilly had dislikedFact|date=April 2008; most notably Matthew Ashford, Michael Sabatino, and Crystal Chappell. Carly and Lawrence's complicated and often adversarial relationship ended up turning to love in a rather rushed storyline where they reclaimed Nicholas, the child that they long believed dead from Vivian. The happy family ended up leaving town for a life together in Europe. Jack Deveraux meanwhile would not get a happy send-off; Jack was controversially written out of the series so that Reilly could pair Jennifer up with a newly created character of his named Peter Blake (Jason Brooks), who was a mob boss and Stefano DiMera's adopted son. Jack fled his wife and newborn daughter Abby after Abby recovered from cancer, after it was publicly exposed that Abby's illness was caused by toxic chemicals Jack (while working for his adopted father Harper as a teenager) had ordered dumped near where the couple lived.

Carrie and Austin and Sami and Lucas

Reilly also began to fill the show with new young actors to help promote the show to younger viewers. Besides Carrie (Christie Clark, who had been a cast member of the show since she was a little girl), there was her half-sister Sami Brady (Alison Sweeney). There were also two dysfunctional half-siblings Lucas Roberts (Bryan Dattilo) and Austin Reed (Patrick Muldoon). Lucas himself was the offspring of a relationship between his mother Kate Roberts (Deborah Adair, Lauren Koslow) and Bill Horton, retroactively inserted into "Days" canon as the event that caused Laura Horton to have her nervous breakdown. Austin and his sister Billie (Lisa Rinna) were children of a previous marriage of Kate that had ended in Kate having to abandon her children to an abusive father. Austin was a boxer whose budding romance with Carrie suffered after a mobster threw acid in her face (Austin was the intended target).

Reilly quickly created a love "rectangle" between Austin, Carrie, Lucas, and Sami that would borrow from previous love triangles, most notably the Bill/Mickey/Laura triangle from the early 1970s. Carrie was a very attractive young woman who had to endure the manipulation and lukewarm relationship of her jealous sister, Sami. At one time, Sami was infatuated with a young man named Alan, but Alan wanted Carrie and had planned to rape her. When he was unsuccessful in this, he instead raped Sami. She eventually shot him in the testicles, effectively castrating him. Carrie convinced Sami to press charges against Alan but when Sami lost in court, she sank further into manipulative and self-destructive behavior. Austin showed her kindness and she then became obsessed with him. Sami drugged Austin and seduced him, only to run from his house the next morning when Austin told her he would only love Carrie. She ran to Lucas's arms, and they slept together in an effort to get over their mutual heartbreak over Carrie and Austin's relationship, as Lucas also wanted Carrie. With help from Vivian, Sami convinced Austin he was her baby's father and attempted to get him to marry her. The truth about Will's paternity came out, resulting in a wedding for Carrie and Austin. Lucas declared his undying hatred for Sami for not telling him he was in fact Will's father, as he had longstanding issues with his own absent father.

The role of Austin was recast mid-way through the storyline. Patrick Muldoon played Austin but left the show and Austin Peck became the new Austin Reed. The recast took place between episodes where Austin and Sami were married.

The Bo, Hope and Billie love triangle

Then Hope (Kristian Alfonso) returned from the dead, only she had amnesia. While there were lingering questions as to whether Hope was really Hope or Gina, another impostor created by the DiMeras, Bo continued in his relationship with Billie. They married. However, when Robert Kelker-Kelly was fired and replaced by Bo's originator Peter Reckell, there was an emotional shift in the story as the writers decided to reconcile Bo and Hope. Hope was revealed to really be Hope and it was only a matter of time before Bo and Hope reunited and Billie left for Europe. Later, Billie (Krista Allen) returned to the show and made trouble for Bo and Hope. In a convoluted plotline that involved Bo leaving Hope as part of an undercover operation, Bo was forced to make love to Billie, who was captured by drug dealers who rehooked the former addict onto drugs.

Billie became pregnant, but the child, Georgia, was apparently stillborn, ending their relationship as Bo and Hope reconciled again

Return of Tony DiMera

Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) returned under Reilly's pen in 1993 to take care of an ill Stefano and to marry his longtime sweetheart, Kristen. Tony had reconciled his differences with Stefano during their absent years from the show. Tony was now portrayed as a protagonist, who wanted to legitimize the DiMera business. After a few mishaps, Tony was able to marry Kristen but she ultimately left him for John, resulting in Tony faking his own death and making it look like John had murdered him. [In 2007, however, it would retroactively be determined that Tony's 1993 return to Salem was really the return of his dead 'identical' cousin, Andre DiMera, once again impersonating Tony. Andre would pretend to be Tony until the real Tony returns in 2007.]

Mike Horton: Returns Again

Mike Horton moved back to Salem and next door to Marlena Evans, having recently returned from the Middle East where he worked for a medical relief agency. Unfortunately, Mike's return came at the same time that the relief agency he worked with was busted for smuggling explosives into the region (Mike wasn't involved in the smuggling plot but due to his high ranking position inside the agency, was terrified that the scandal would ruin both his reputation and that of the Horton family if his involvement in the scandal ever became public). Stefano knew about this and one day showed up at Mike's door and threatened to expose Mike's unwitting involvement in the smuggling ring to disgrace the Horton family name, if Mike didn't give Stefano regular access to his apartment. This storyline was dropped in favor of Mike becoming Salem's all-purpose doctor at University Hospital. Mike slowly developed a life that included more than just helping his family and saving lives. Mike helped his childhood friend Carrie Brady work through her troubled relationship with Austin, who was married to her half-sister Sami at the time. Mike’s feelings for Carrie intensified but she reunited and later wed Austin despite Mike’s gentle urging against it.

Mike eventually revealed his feelings to Carrie after they kissed for the first time underneath fireworks at the July 4 Horton-Brady picnic in 1998. Despite this, Carrie helped Mike with his campaign to become Chief-of-Staff at University Hospital. Mike won despite facing his Dr. Craig Wesley and his wife Nancy (played by Kevin Spirtas and Patrika Darbo, respectively). Craig and Nancy made Mike’s his life hell and tried to use Mike’s secret love for the married Carrie Brady against him. When Mike won the position Craig and Nancy schemed to replace him and pushed Nurse Ali McIntyre (played briefly by Carrie Genzel and then Lisa Linde), with home Mike had a brief relationship, into suing Mike for sexual harassment. Ali was disgruntled that Mike did not make her head nurse and then later broker her heart when Mike dumped her. Ali’s obsession with Mike grew deeper and more dangerous leading a critical moment where she tried to kill Mike be driving him off a cliff. Ali was institutionalized but the ordeal had brought Mike and Carrie closer together. After months of fighting their feelings for each other, Mike and Carrie had an affair (on a flying bed) in Las Vegas while she was still married to Austin. Austin and Carrie’s marriage broke down and she and Mike eventually got together and the rode off into the sunset. Years later it was revealed that Carrie and Mike’s love would not last; he remained off screen in Israel with his son Jeremy and Carrie eventually reunited with Austin in Salem.

Enter the devil and the OJ Simpson trial

Stefano was now turning taking extreme measures to try and force Marlena to love him, leading to him casting a spell (one that required Stefano be in close proximity to Marlena) that would brainwash Marlena into loving him. Unfortunately for Stefano, he utterly failed to realize what dangerous forces he was involving himself in and instead of brainwashing Marlena, he instead accidentally offered Marlena up to Satan, who promptly possessed Marlena. Marlena, now under the devil's domination, tormented local churches via mass acts of vandalism and nearly killed Stefano and John Black before being subdued. Afterwards began a lengthy "exorcism" storyline that coincided with the retcon that John Black was a priest, leading to John being forced to perform the lengthy ceremony to save Marlena from the devil's clutches.

The demonic possession storyline was extremely controversial, as many fans and critics began to turn against Reilly's writing for taking the show into a direction that was more supernatural-based than reality-based. But the storyline, which gained mainstream attention from the media for its lurid twists (such as Marlena floating in mid-air), was a ratings goldmine for NBC. Adding to this was the fact that the possession storyline ran at the same time as the O.J. Simpson murder case, when the big three networks all preempted their soap line-up so as to devote the time for coverage of the real life trial. The fact that Days, with this controversial storyline, could keep its ratings high while suffering from multiple hiatuses helped solidify Reilly's power base with network executives.

The Jennifer, Jack and Peter love triangle

Writers were not satisfied with the Jennifer Horton and Peter Blake pairing and decided to recast the role of Jack Deveraux and bring him back to Salem to seek to reclaim his family from Peter Blake's grasp. Now played by Mark Valley, Jack's return was added to the metatext-esque storyline of Jennifer's mother Laura's (now sane and played by Jaime Lyn Bauer) utter disapproval of Jennifer's relationship with Peter. Laura was suspicious of Peter and desperately wanted to expose his villainy to her daughter, so Peter had Laura's office painted with toxic chemicals to send her around the bend and make it look like she had suffered another nervous breakdown. Rather than force her mother back into a mental institution, Jennifer sent Laura to a mental health spa where Laura had a one night stand with Jack. They had no idea of the other's identity as Jack had never met Jennifer's mother before. They were using assumed names and in spite of wanting to see Jack and Jennifer reunite, Laura was torn with her own attraction to her former son-in-law.

A monkey wrench was thrown into the now love rectangle story when Melissa Reeves quit the show in the fall of 1995 without advance notice, amid rumors that Melissa Reeves had begun an affair with co-star Jason Brooks and had quit the show in order to try and salvage her marriage.

The result was the recasting of the role of Jennifer with look-alike Stephanie Cameron, along with a brand new recast of Jack (Steve Wilder) when Mark Valley's contract was not renewed. The Jack/Laura relationship was quickly dropped and the writers rushed a quickly reconciliation between Jack and Jennifer, just as Stefano faked Peter's death and framed Jack for the murder (in truth, Peter had gone insane and gained super-strength due to a rare tropical illness he had contracted -- the Jungle Fever).

After a year of sporadic appearances while working with a traveling circus, Jack and Jennifer cleared Jack's name and exposed Peter as being alive. Peter was promptly arrested at long last and the characters of Jack, Jennifer, and Abby left the show for Africa in 1998.


Another big storyline was the Aremid storyline. Aremid was a town not too far from Salem, and Stefano DiMera convinced many Salem Residents to visit this small, creepy town. Many Salem Residents were first brought to this town to attend Jennifer Horton and Peter Blake's wedding. Also, during their visit, Kristen Blake schemed to win John Black's love, but he still loved Dr. Marlena Evans. Next, Dr. Lexie Carver looked into her past and discovered the people she had thought were her parents were not her birth parents. That in truth, the woman she called "Aunt" Frankie was her mom, Celeste Perrault - Stefano's Call-Girl many years ago. However, Celeste wanted to keep her father's idenity a secret (Her father was no other than Stefano DiMera, and he did not even know he had a daughter). Next, a jealous Andre (posing as Tony) faked a suicide but made it look like John Black had killed him. John went on trial for Tony's apparent death and was found guilty of murder. He was sentenced to die by lethal injection. However, during the trial, Marlena Evans did some searching and found Tony's (Andre's) diary containing tha plans for his suicide. Marlena brought the diary to the death chambers and proved John's innocence just in time. The climax of this trip was when Hope was "killed" in an avalanche in the nearby mountains. After these events, many Salem residents left Aremid.

The Paris Adventures

Another big storyline was the Lady in the Cage storyline. Stefano kidnapped Marlena and kept her in a golden cage in the catacombs of Paris. John Black's trial resumed in 1996 and Peter Blake put Kristen Blake on the stand. Kristen admitted to the court that she believed that John killed her husband, Tony DiMera. John was sentenced to death because Stefano blackmailed the judge. The death sentence was to be carried out immediately. On the night of John's execution, Stefano dined with Marlena Brady at the Blake House. Marlena managed to get Tony's diary and give it to the Woman in White. The Woman in White dropped it on the way to the courthouse, but Jack Devereaux found it and got it there in time to save John from the gas chamber. Meanwhile, Marlena told Stefano that she knows he ordered John's death sentence and she hates him. Stefano abducted Marlena and tried to make his getaway, but Celeste followed him and demands he take her too. Stefano refused, so Celeste tells him that Lexie is his daughter, in hopes of staying with him. Stefano escaped with Marlena into some underground tunnels below Aremid. Lexie tried to reason with her father, but he and Marlena are lost in a cave in. Stefano managed to escape to the ocean, but John rescued Marlena. Stefano escapes via helicopter and vowed to return for Marlena.

Stefano returned to Salem like he vowed. He arranged for Jonah Carver to return to Medical School to please his daughter, Lexie. Stefano contacted Kristen and asked her to help him kidnap Marlena. Kristen refused to at first, but after learning that John loved Marlena more she agreed to help. Kristen gave Stefano the plane number that Rachel and Marlena would be flying to San Fransico on. Stefano told Kristen that he would return her mother to her later. Unfortunately, the police got tipped off that Stefano was back in town and his plan to kidnap Marlena was foiled. Stefano forced Vivian and Ivan to help him flee Salem.

Marlena and Rachel made plans for another trip and Marlena gave Kristen a list she was to obey. Kristen was not to sleep with John and she was not to wear his engagement ring. Stefano arranged for himself to be captured, so it appeared that Marlena and Rachel were safe to fly to San Fransico. After their plane took off, John learned that the man they captured was wearing a latex mask. Upon searching the DiMera Mansion they found Rachel Blake bound and gagged. Stefano, disguised as Rachel, had snuck onboard the plane with Marlena. Stefano faked a plane crash which convinced Salem that Marlena and Stefano had both died.

Stefano took Marlena to some caverns below Paris which he ruled as King and he intended to make her his queen. Marlena became deeply depressed and a doctor told Stefano that if she wasn't cheered up soon she could die. Stefano produced a set of goggles that allowed the person wearing them to view people who were dear to them. Marlena was able to see John and her children though these goggles. However, Stefano learned that the other set of goggles he had left in Salem were being used and realized John was the one using them. In the Paris underground, Marlena began to write things in a daily journal. Stefano planted a bomb in the warehouse where the second set of goggles were in order to kill John. The plan failed, but Stefano convinced Marlena that John died in the explosion. Stefano agrees to let Marlena out of the cage and takes her to a street carnival where they are spotted by Vivian and Ivan. Upon learning John was in Paris, Stefano sent a forged fax from John to Kristen and Rachel asking them to come to Paris.

John realized that Stefano is holding Marlena prisoner in the Paris underground. To lure him out, John set up a huge ball, where Marie Antoinette's crown would be displayed. John knew that Stefano would try to steal it for his "Queen" Marlena. John also knew that if Stefano follows the game, Marlena would show up wearing a gold gown. Unfortunately, Stefano anticipated this. Stefano took Marlena to the ball, but he arranged for many women to be dressed exactly like Marlena. John, Kristen, Abe, Lexie, and John's French cop friend Renee combed the ball looking for Marlena and each had a mini TV set that was hooked up to many cameras at the ball. Marlena and Kristen came face to face and they argued. Marlena ran off and eventually found John. Unfortunately, Stefano stabbed John with a needle and drug him off while Kristen watched. Stefano also managed to steal the crown by having someone impersonate Renee.

In the Paris Underground, Stefano put John on trial for his crimes against him. John was found guilty and was sentenced to be executed by beheading. Marlena attempted to stop the execution, but failed. Luckily, Vivian and Ivan were searching for Stefano and managed to free John from the guillotine he was in. John and Marlena ran for the tunnels and Stefano pursued them. Kristen decided to find the Paris Underground to try and save John and her mother, Rachel, insisted on going. An explosion in the underground buried Kristen and Rachel, but Abe and Lexie managed to save them. They all searched for John and Lexie. When they found him, John had a gun and was holding it on Stefano. Marlena was hurt during the explosion and John gave his gun to Rachel to hold on Stefano so he could carry Marlena. Stefano managed to escape and Rachel followed him. Rachel and Stefano ended up near a gas tank. Rachel, knowing the consequences, shot at Stefano. The tank exploded and Stefano and Rachel were presumed dead.

Kristen, Susan and Marlena

One of the other memorable storyline was Kristen Blake's character played by Eileen Davison.

ami on Death Row

1999 was a tough year for Sami Brady. She was embroiled in a bitter custody battle with Lucas and struggling to find love and acceptance. When her relationship with Austin took a turn for the worse, she turned to Franco Kelly for comfort and support. Franco took advantage of her vulnerability and saw it as a perfect chance to get his green card. He proposed marriage and she happily accepted. Kate, however, knew about Franco's plans and tried to expose Franco as a con artist. Franco attempted to permanently silence Kate but Lucas fatally shot him before he could kill her. When Sami saw her fianc dead on the floor, she blacked out. Thinking quickly, Kate wiped the fingerprints off the gun and planted it in Sami's hand! When she awoke, Sami didn't remember a thing; she was convicted of murdering Franco and sentenced to death by lethal injection.

From her cell, Sami fought to clear her name and urged Austin to stay with Carrie so that they could get custody of Will. She watched the court case via television and was devastated when Nicole and Lucas were awarded custody of Will. She faked an anxiety attack and was rushed to the hospital where she poisoned a guard, stole his uniform and escaped. She kidnapped Will and fled to Canada with Austin, the only person who believed in her innocence. Roman managed to convince her to return to Salem to fight for her freedom. Once in custody, however, DA Palmer persuaded the judge to order her immediate execution and the countdown began!

Meanwhile, Romanc began questioning Roberto about Franco's murder. Kate prevented him from speaking and gave him a coma inducing injection of saline. When he awoke, she desperately attempted to bribe him into taking the fall for Franco's murder.

Back at the prison, Sami was strapped to the deathbed while her friends and family watched in silence. Tears streamed down her face as the lethal drugs were injected into her veins. All of a sudden, Lucas burst through the doors and confessed to killing Franco. At the same time, the governor called to stop the execution. Moreover, Kate announced that Roberto had confessed to the murder before dying! Sami went into cardiac arrest but was revived back at the hospital. The DA dropped all charges against her and Lucas quickly recanted his confession when he discovered that Roberto took the fall for the murder. Roman, however, was determined to uncover the truth and refused to drop the investigation.

Austin picked Sami up from the hospital and they had a heartfelt reunion. As a free woman, Sami thanked Kate for her assistance and she devoted her energy to working things out with Lucas for Will's sake. (Source: []

The Gina/John Black storyline

As the 1990s ended, the writers finally ended up resolving the mystery of Hope's missing years with it revealed that Stefano had brainwashed Hope into thinking she was the famous art thief Princess Gina Von Amberg. In one of John's many retconned pasts before he arrived in Salem, he had been a cohort of the evil Princess Gina, travelling with her under the guise of being a priest (removing that particular aspect of John's background) and stealing valuable artwork for Stefano.

Needing Gina for one last score, Stefano restored her brainwashed persona shortly before John and Marlena were married again. In a controversial storyline that would devastate the show's ratings, a brainwashed Hope (now calling herself "Gina") stole John from Marlena on her honeymoon, brainwashed John, and then made love to him on a submarine. The "Sub-Sex", as it was called by fans, created an outcry as many saw it as being a massive betrayal of the characters and their respective marriages, even though both John and Hope were under mental control when they had sex. Furthermore "Gina" seduced Stefano and had Bo kidnapped and brainwashed into thinking he was a mime and left to wander the streets of Paris, his mind conditioned to prevent Bo from remembering who he was or from even being able to speak.

The storyline was horribly controversial and reached even further heights of anger when Hope became pregnant and the writers ran a fan contest to decide if Stefano or John was the father, with Bo not being offered up as a possible father.

This proved to be a bad move ratings-wise as ratings fell precipitously even as the real Princess Gina surfaced, determined to claim John from her doppelganger. Bo was rescued and freed from being forced to spend the rest of his life as a mute amnesiac and exposed the real Princess Gina (now pretending to be Hope, after locking Hope and Stefano up in her European castle dungeon) as she lay dying after her scheme was exposed. Hope and Stefano were rescued and Hope gave birth to a child who was revealed to be John's.

The storyline was horribly unpopular and when the writers changed in 2001, the new writers created a hastily conceived retcon where it was revealed that the brainwashed Hope slipped out from Stefano's sight one night after they brainwashed Bo and decided to have a little "fun" with him, in terms of "Gina" having sex with the mute, amnesiac, mime-clad Bo, resulting in Bo being the father of Hope's child after all.


Jack and Jennifer's return

In 2000 Bo traveled to Ireland where he ran into Jennifer living with Abby above a pub where she worked and Bo, Jennifer and Abby all returned to Salem. Jennifer was very quiet on what happened in Africa with Jack, only making it known that it didn't work out. While Jennifer was in Paris for Greta's coronation in 2001, Alice managed to get a hold of Jack in Italy to inform him of where Jennifer was, with the hopes of getting them to work out their difference. Jack surprised her in Paris, where the two had a heated confrontation, and they both ended up returning to Salem with the plan of figuring out a suitable custody arrangement of Abby for both of them. Eventually Jack, who secretly wanted a reconciliation, came up with the idea of the three of them all moving into a house together, and a reluctant Jennifer agreed for Abby's sake. The two spent the rest of 2001 and 2002 bickering and yet growing closer as both pursued other romances (Jennifer with Brandon Walker and Dr. Colin Murphy, Jack with Princess Greta von Amburg, Billie Reed and a small flirtation with Sami Brady) Eventually the two realized they wanted to be together, although Colin wasn't in agreement. Gone crazy, Colin told Jennifer he would kill Jack if she didn't sleep with him and a heartbroken Jennifer had no other choice. Less than a few days later, on New Year's Eve 2002, Colin was found murdered. Jack, having recently learned what Colin demanded of Jennifer, and seeing Jennifer's intensely emotional state, figured it was Jennifer who had killed Colin and confessed to protect her. After finding out that it wasn't Jennifer who had committed the crime, Jack recanted his story and the charges were dropped. Jack and Jennifer were officially back together and remarried in the summer of 2003.

Return of Tony DiMera

Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis) returned to steal Marlena away from John. His motives remained unclear for many months as he put subtle plans into motion and worked at creating tension among many characters. Stefano had left him a blue key that he said would unlock the secrets to his past and future, and John and Tony spent many months racing to learn the secrets of the key first. It turns out that the key unlocked the bracelets of the Gemini Twins, mind-controlled teenage-aged pawns of Stefano. Tony's fugue states led him to a DiMera island compound on a string of islands shaped like the Gemini constellation. On the island, he used the blue key to open a box containing Stefano's diary. The diary contained all of the information pertaining to the Brady-DiMera feud, revealed that John was the son of Daphne DiMera (and therefore, Tony's half-brother), and further solidified Tony as the new antagonist of the show. He also served as a catalyst for Sami and Lucas to finally acknowledge their feelings for each other, when Sami was nearly killed by Tony when she confronted him over his helping Lexie ruining her relationship with Lexie's stepson Brandon Walker (Matt Cedeno). Finally, the new struggles against Tony resulted in the sudden, surprise revelation that John Black, rather than just just being a semi-amnesiac former mercenary, thief, and priest-turned-wealthy local businessman, was in fact Salem's resident ISA agent-in-place, and naturally his #1 assignment was to wage the ongoing battle against the DiMera clan (the exact timing of his employment by the spy agency was never revealed; it was just sprung on the audience out of the blue one day with a brief return by Shane Donovan).

The Salem Stalker

With ratings at an all time low and NBC threatening to cancel the series, James Reilly was brought back as head writer in the summer of 2003 and given carte blanche to "fix" the show. His major storyline to save "Days" was the ultra-controversial Salem Stalker storyline. The storyline began with the shooting of Abe Carver (James Reynolds), which stunned the city of Salem. Even more stunning was that he pointed to Maggie Horton (Suzanne Rogers) as he lay dying, though she was never considered a suspect in his murder. Jack Deveraux (Matthew Ashford) was killed by a brick to the head, since he had been working with Abe on a story. Maggie, who had seen Abe's death but mentally blocked it out, found herself a victim of the serial killer, who bludgeoned the recovering alcoholic with a liquor bottle. Caroline Brady (Peggy McCay) was poisoned at church during a memorial service, and her granddaughter Cassie (Alexis Thorpe) was stabbed to death and placed in a pinata on Thanksgiving. Roman's (Josh Taylor) throat was slashed at his wedding to Kate Roberts, and Tony DiMera was mutilated by a tiger the killer let loose at a fundraiser where he had promised to reveal the Salem Stalker's identity. Tony survived the attack, but was given a lethal dose of medicine by the murderer who was revealed to be none other than Marlena Evans.

In the meantime, an insane Jan Spears (Heather Lauren Olson, then Heather Lindell) electrocuted Victor Kiriakis in a convoluted attempt to win the heart of Shawn Brady. The death was at first attributed to the Salem Stalker, but later the police became unsure. Doug Williams (Bill Hayes) discovered Marlena's treachery and was stabbed to death in the cemetery. He left a note that was found by Alice Horton. Marlena confronted Alice, who despite heavily interventions by Abe, Maggie, Caroline, and Roman, was suffocated by one of her homemade donuts. Alice, however was able to call John Black and warn him that Marlena was the killer. After a nasty fight. Marlena ended up in the hospital, where under the influence of truth serum admitted that she killed everyone because Abe had discovered that she intended to stop Roman from marrying Kate, though a non-drugged Marlena apparently didn't remember any of the crimes. The storyline was extremely controversial as many of the victims were longtime fan favorites. In the midst of this, original cast member John Clarke (Mickey) left, ratings (when the shock of the killings wore off and it had been revealed that Marlena had been the killer) ratings began to fall. Faced with angry fans, the show re-hired all of the fired actors and claimed that the resurrection of all the characters had been the plan all along (though apparently none of the actors were aware of this). In the wake of Jack's death, Jennifer discovered that she was pregnant. Dr. Lexie Carver advised her to abort the child claiming that it had a serious birth defect.

It was during this time that a curious phenomenon appeared on the show-for several months, no matter what time of day the action was occurring, any clock shown onscreen showed the time as "". Rumors spread like wildfire among fans and on the internet blogs that this was a clue to the storyline's resolution, especially those in-the-know of the various meanings of the time and/or number. It eventually got around that this was merely a gag being perpetrated by the props department and had no relevance to the show's storyline.

After Marlena was "killed" in a prison riot arranged by Nicole, Marlena found herself alive in a seemingly deserted Salem. As she explored the town she met Alice Horton, who was alive after all. Alice was later joined by Roman and Abe, who revealed that the entire charade had been faked by an unknown enemy, though most believed it to be Stefano or Tony (who was the only victim not to be found on the island). Victor, though not a victim of the Salem Stalker, was also on the island of Melaswen, or "New Salem" spelled backwards. Tony eventually revealed himself to the survivors, though he claimed to be a victim as well. However, Tony was responsible for everything, (Recently revealed every evil deed Tony did, was in fact his twin cousin, Andre, impersonating Tony) and had done so to destroy Salem's greatest love stories and prove that he was more powerful than his father Stefano ever had been. The plan was part of his revenge against his half-brother John Black, who he could never surpass, or forgive for his betrayal with Kristen. The seemingly dead Colin Murphy was also a prisoner of Tony's island, as was Billie Reed, now played by Julie Pinson. Bo, Hope, Jennifer, John, and Patrick all made it to the island, and were reunited with their lost loved ones. Jennifer gave birth to hers and Jack's healthy baby son who was eventually named Jack Patrick Deveraux.

Tony and John had a final duel to the death in Tony's faux Zen chamber, resulting in Tony's apparent demise. The captives ultimately were rescued from Melaswen, but Tony triggered a volcanic explosion resulting in a tidal wave. Marlena, Roman, Jack, Cassie, Victor, Caroline, and Colin were presumed dead.

The remaining islanders returned to Salem to attempt to regain the lives they had lost. Maggie found that Mickey, now played by veteran actor John Ingle, had remarried, while Abe began to suffer from migraine headaches that led to blindness. Eventually, it was revealed that the six victims were in fact being held by a very much alive Tony in a European castle (the fate of Colin Murphy is unknown, though he is believe to be dead). Victor and Caroline became close again, while a segregated Jack and Cassie began to scheme to escape. Roman and Marlena were thrust together in yet another part of the castle, though they weren't seen often, and began to fall in love again. Devastated at losing her parents and her new found love with Lucas Roberts, Sami began to act out again, and disguised herself as a man named Stan (while Alison Sweeney was on maternity leave). She caused John to be wracked with excruicating pain, which led to him becoming hooked on drugs. While battling his addiction, John became involved with Kate Roberts. Marlena and Roman saw John and Kate having sex and, out of grief and desperation, had sex, too.

After a fire in the castle, Jack, Cassie, Roman, and Marlena escaped and returned to Salem. Victor and Caroline were spirited away yet again by Tony, who was later apprehended, and Victor and Caroline were allowed to return to Salem. Immediately after his reunion with his family in Salem, Jack was diagnosed by Lexie Carver with a fatal illness, A couple of months later he "died" again after a car wreck on a bridge. Fulfilling Jack's wish that when he died, Jennifer would turn to Frankie Brady. Jennifer and Frankie grew closer and became engaged.

As 2004 progressed, the slow-paced storylines continued, and ratings fell to ever new 'all-time lows.'

In a homage to Marlena's many visits to the prison cages of Stefano, Shawn was kidnapped by his insane childhood friend, Jan Spears (Heather Lindell), and kept in a cage for months while she attempted to trick him into having sex with her. Meanwhile Belle and Philip found themselves forced together (Belle and Shawn had left on bad terms when Belle refused to give vital information about her mother being the serial killer, which resulted in the "deaths" of Shawn's maternal grandfather Doug and his maternal great-grandmother Alice) by Kate, who spent time manipulating the love lives of her children. She also did damage to Lucas and Sami's relationship by having Sami drugged and placed with her ex-boyfriend Brandon, resulting in Lucas canceling their planned wedding. Another more controversial storyline was Mimi's decision to have an abortion after becoming with pregnant with Rex's child on the basis that Rex would not want a child due to the couple's poor financial status. The truth was kept from Rex for many months and fans were forced to watch Rex and Mimi perform the same scene of Mimi trying to tell the truth to Rex only to have something interrupt her before she could tell Rex the truth. Meanwhile, Jan found out about the abortion and blackmailed Mimi, culminating in Mimi accidentally knocking Jan out and putting her into a coma, then pleading guilty so she would receive a lengthy jail term and never have to face Rex again. Ultimately, Mimi was released from jail when it was proven that Jan's coma was an accident, but Belle accidentally revealed to Rex the truth about Mimi's abortion, resulting in Rex dumped Mimi as a result of her lies. Many fans complained that rather than using the storyline as a discussion on the pros and cons of abortion, viewers watched as Mimi was 'punished' for her choice by developing an infection which rendered her barren and losing Rex's love. Actress Heather Tom wrote an op-ed in "Soap Opera Digest" criticizing the story as inaccurate and irresponsible.

While Victor was presumed dead (actually bonding with old love Caroline on Melaswen), Nicole seduced Brady. Chloe was disfigured in a limo accident and faked her death rather than meet Brady without her beautiful face (something similar happened to Carrie Brady years earlier). Eventually, Nicole found out Chloe was alive and through a convoluted series of events, was mistaken for a doctor and had to perform plastic surgery on Chloe's face. Nicole permanently scarred Chloe but when Brady found Chloe, he told her the scars didn't matter(he saw past the scars).

After escaping Jan's cage, Shawn crashed his motorcycle into a wall and forgot everything that Jan had done to him and he thought the he loved Jan and not Belle. After months of being with Jan he realized that he loved Belle and drove his motorcycle into a window at the church in a failed attempt to stop the wedding of Belle Black (now played by Martha Madison) and Philip Kiriakis (played by The Real World alumnus Kyle Brandt) as his obsession with Belle caused him to stalk her and drink heavily. While Philip tolerated Shawn's obsession with his wife for the sake of Belle, Philip soon found his life irreversibly altered when Philip (who was a Marine) was sent on a mission to a war-zone which many fans assumed to be Iraq, although the war zone was never named as such. He was promptly captured and tortured by Tony, who had assembled a group of highly trained mercenaries to infiltrate the war zone and kidnap Philip. Meanwhile Shawn, having slept with Belle during a snowstorm shortly before Philip was deployed, was filled with guilt and decided to make amends by going over to the war zone and rescuing Philip from the encampment where Tony's army of European mercenaries were situated.

Aiding Shawn in the mission was Philip's half-nephew, Brady, his half-brothers, Lucas and Rex, and Sami, who was disguised as a male named Stan (in truth, Alison Sweeney was on maternity leave and Dan Wells was hired to play her in drag) who proceeded to play the four rescuers and Tony against each other before helping the men rescue Philip. Tony meanwhile escaped capture through the guys' attempt to bring Philip home. The guys were rejected by Philip, who opted to stay behind to help his fellow troops in combat (believing it was his military duty). It was during his first mission after his rescue that Philip lost his leg to a landmine, sending him home as a result. Although the war zone was never labeled as Iraq, many were not comfortable with the depiction of a fake war while the Iraq war was going on, where many real soldiers had suffered and died, as well as the controversy of Philip having lost his leg.

Meanwhile, Marlena discovered she was pregnant with Roman's child, though she kept this from John because he was going through withdrawal from the painkillers to which he had become addicted to while Marlena was presumed dead. However, the truth came out as John and Marlena and Roman and Kate tried to mend their troubled marriages. Roman and Kate separated, but mostly due to her constant interference in Sami's life. Marlena lost her baby after a tumble down the stairs, due to the high risk pregnancy and the stress involved in her marriage. She awoke in the hospital to find she had amnesia. John as convinced to call in a specialist named Alex North. In a twist, Alex North was played by none other than Wayne Northrop the original Roman Brady. Dr. North had been using hypnosis on Marlena and trying to help her recover her past--yet-another-retconned past in which the two of them were married.

The Salem teenagers

The show continued on with plotlines that focused upon new teenage characters including Belle Black (originally Kirsten Storms, then briefly Charity Rahmer, now played by Martha Madison), Brady Black (Kyle Lowder), Shawn-Douglas Brady (Jason Cook, currently, Brandon Beemer), and Philip Kiriakis (originated by Brandon Tyler, then almost immediately recast with Jay Kenneth Johnson, then by Kyle Brandt, formerly of MTV's "The Real World"; now Jay Kenneth Johnson has come back to the role). They were soon joined by Cassie (Alexis Thorpe) and Rex (Eric Winter), who were ultimately revealed to be the offspring of Kate and Roman, who Marlena gave birth to while she was believed to be dead, and Mimi Lockhart (Farah Fath), Belle's best friend, whose father lost his job and abandoned his family.

The main storyline of the time involved the very popular relationship between Shawn and Belle, who vowed to remain virgins until they married and exchanged "purity rings" as a sign of love. (The motives for this wasn't to promote abstinence but a plot concession brought about due to the fact that actress Kirsten Storms had a multiple picture TV-movie deal with Disney at the time she was hired to play Belle, which included a "morals clause" preventing her from taking any roles which involved her playing sexually active characters).

The other big teen stories of the time were Brady and Philip's rivalry over Chloe (Nadia Bjorlin), daughter of conniving Nancy and Dr. Craig Wesley (Patrika Darbo and Kevin Spirtas). Chloe initially wore all black ensembles and big glasses. After many taunts as "Ghoul Girl" she shocked the students at the Last Blast Dance by throwing off her cloak to reveal a sexy red dress. Philip had originally dated her only as a prank (he planned to dump her and break her heart), but he soon fell in love with her. Brady was alienated from his family because of his hatred of Marlena, and confided in Chloe. Eventually Brady and Chloe became a couple, but his grandfather, Victor, felt that Chloe was not good enough for him and got her an overseas job singing opera.

By the summer and fall of 2005, the soap brought back some of its fan favorites from the 1980s and 1990s including former Salem teenagers Austin Peck (Austin Reed), Billy Warlock (Frankie Brady) and Christie Clark (Carrie Brady). However, some of these returns did not have the anticipated effect. While Austin and Frankie were generally liked by fans again, Carrie (who had been extremely popular before while her sister Sami had been generally disliked by fans) was now largely disliked by fans, most of whom had grown to love Sami due to the character's fiestiness, complexity, and Alison Sweeney's often vulnerable performance. All three characters have since been re-written off the show.

Death of Zack Brady

Chelsea was a key figure in a major plot line that opened 2006, as she accidentally killed Bo and Hope's little boy Zack while playing with her cell phone behind the wheel of Bo's SUV. Matters grew even worse when Hope found out that Bo had not only lied to cover up what Chelsea did (when Billie insisted on taking the fall, Bo let her), he also had just that night signed a new temporary driver's license to Chelsea, then handed her the keys to his truck. He believed that he was actually responsible for Zack's death, and Hope agreed, throwing him out of their house.

In an attempt to protect herself, Chelsea did everything she could to drive a wedge between Bo and Hope and push her father closer to Billie, all in the hopes that Bo would defend Chelsea at her impending trial. Her scheming drove Hope into the arms of Patrick Lockhart and Bo temporarily back to Billie. The trial hinged on a critical piece of damning evidence: video footage from a convenience store surveillance camera of Chelsea behind the wheel of the SUV. When this footage went missing, Chelsea was let off with a paltry sentence of community service. Hope was furious and filed for divorce from Bo, whom she believed stole the evidence to protect his daughter.Patrick returned to Salem, where he returned to his old life. He grew closer to Billie Reed and to Hope Brady, both of whom trusted him, but Bo Brady did not. He and Billie briefly hooked up, but they both seem interested in others, namely Bo & Jennifer.

Patrick soon went to a place called Morgan Island and ran into Hope who had recently lost her son Zack. He comforted her and the two soon made love. While on the island Patrick admitted that he had been to the island before and that he had fallen in love with a woman named Alma Delgado and the two had plans to elope/wed and have a family. She was mysteriously gunned down before the two of them managed to run away. Patrick always felt guilty and that it was because of his dealings with the mob that had resulted in Alma's death. But with a letter found by Hope from Alma to Patrick it revealed that it was Alma's own mob dealings that had ended her life.

After returning to Salem Patrick Lockhart really wanted Hope and tried to manipulate her into divorcing her husband. After Hope found out that she was pregnant Patrick bribed her doctor into changing test results to show that he was the father when Bo really was.

Even with the test changes, Bo and Hope began to grow closer so Patrick tried to get Hope to go away with him. Hope soon learned that Patrick was working with EJ Wells and had committed many terrible crimes including being the gloved hand and the murder of officer Eve Michaels. Soon after, Patrick kidnapped Hope and took her to an abandoned warehouse where he told her that he had only got close to her on Morgan Island because he was ordered to and that now he had been ordered by EJ to kill her. Bo soon found them and when Patrick tried to leave with Hope, her water broke. Hope then delivered a baby girl that Patrick finally admitted was Bo's. Patrick is currently sentenced to 8 years in prison.

hawn, Belle, Phillip, and Mimi

In the meantime, Kate Roberts and Victor Kiriakis discovered baby Claire's true paternity: Shawn-Douglas Brady was her father. Neither Belle nor Shawn remembered having sex during a traumatic barn fire. This was revealed soon after an organ transplant which saved Claire's life. Phillip was, mysteriously, not a match, but her godfather Shawn was, as was the late Zack Brady. Bo and Hope tearfully allowed Zack's organs to be donated, and it saved Claire's life. Soon, the truth of Claire's paternity spread to Mimi's mother Bonnie, and then to Mimi. About to be married to Shawn, Mimi swore she would tell her husband-to-be the truth but never mustered the courage, too afraid of losing him to his first love, Belle.

For months, the truth was hidden until Belle and Mimi agreed at the same time to undergo IVF to conceive babies. A mysterious figure wearing a black leather glove ensured that Belle's egg would be fertilized with Shawn's sperm, and Mimi's with Phillip's. Later, another switch in the lab tipped off a nurse, and soon the truth of the switched sperm was out to everyone, but not before Belle was impregnated with her egg and a surrogate carried Mimi's.

With this new connection between them, Belle and Shawn wrestled with their true feelings for each other, and Belle hoped she could somehow reconcile with Shawn. Both marriages would fall apart when the truth of Claire's paternity was revealed (thanks to Chelsea anonymously giving them the paternity results) and then confirmed when Mimi admitted the truth. Shawn immediately left Mimi for keeping the truth from him and filed for custody of Claire; Phillip vowed to hold his family and marriage together. Rocked from this new stress between them all, Belle would lose her (and Shawn's) baby. Ultimately, she blamed Phillip; he had reluctantly agreed to a procedure that saved her life by aborting the baby, but he went against her wishes. Belle moved out of their apartment, and a crushed Phillip left town, realizing she would certainly try to get back together with Shawn. However, Shawn had agreed with Phillip that Belle's life had to be saved, and after seeing how well he cared for Claire, he gave up his pursuit of custody. Belle was crushed by this news, thinking Shawn no longer wanted her or Claire.

Shawn was dating a former hooker named Willow and worked for EJ Wells for a short period of time, and Belle was trying to figure out if Shawn could truly fit to be a father for Claire. Meanwhile, Mimi had to find work at Chez Rouge. She and Phillip gave up their rights to the baby their surrogate was carrying, but Mimi's mother Bonnie was trying to broker a deal so she can keep the baby. Because the baby is technically a Kiriakis heir, the opportunistic Bonnie sees dollar signs in the future and she has even gone as far as to steal money from her elder son Patrick to pay the surrogate to keep the baby. Also, Philip had gone missing.

Currently, Shawn and Belle are trying to work things out and Mimi is pursuing a relationship with Maxwell Brady. This happened after the two went to Georgia to search for Philip and wound up getting imprisoned together in a church basement (they would later be found and rescued by Abby Deveraux). Meanwhile, Victor Kiriakis is hosting a mysterious man with bandages covering his face. This mysterious character is believed to be Philip.

ami, Carrie, Lucas, Austin, and EJ

In 2005, Carrie Brady and Austin Reed both returned to Salem with their own companies in the hopes of finding financial success, and quickly rediscovered their feelings for each other. Jealous of her sister, Sami hid the fact that Carrie was CEO of High Style, the company Austin was preparing to acquire via a hostile takeover. Carrie discovered it was Austin who stole her company and was furious, ending up in the arms of Lucas. Sami took the opportunity to move in on Austin and they became a couple.

Neither coupling seemed entirely stable as Austin tried to win Carrie back and she seemed torn between the two half brothers. Sami was paranoid she would lose Austin, so she blackmailed Lexie Carver, ordering her to ensure Carrie would not choose Austin; otherwise, Sami would reveal the truth of Lexie's infidelity with Tek Kramer to her husband Abe. Lexie complied. Carrie was one of her patients, so Lexie made up a story, telling her that she and Austin could never conceive a baby without a high chance it would have serious birth defects. This revelation crushed Carrie's hopes that she and Austin could have a family together. She shunned Austin, never telling him why. When she soon found out she was pregnant with Lucas' baby, she married him as quickly as possible.

A new character, British race car driver EJ Wells (played by ex-All My Children star James Scott), arrived in Salem and moved into the same building as the two couples. The handsome and charming EJ immediately sparked up a friendship with Sami and found himself involved with both couples' lives. It was then that the aforementioned "gloved one" would begin to play a part in the lives of Sami, Carrie, Lucas, Austin, and Lexie (though it is not known yet whether it is the same person from the Shawn/Belle/Phillip/Mimi storyline).

Sami began to receive cryptic notes from the "gloved one", stating that she would lose everyone she cared about if she didn't cooperate. The notes continued through to her wedding day, when another note stated that if she married Austin, her lies would be told. She stood up Austin at the altar, later telling him she knew he really loved Carrie and that he should be with her instead. It was then that EJ decided to make a romantic play for Sami.

Things only became more complicated when Carrie discovered she was never actually pregnant, the result of a false positive test. Carrie only married Lucas because she thought she was pregnant with his baby, but without this real tie to him, she found herself back in the arms of Austin. Lucas walked in on Carrie and Austin making love and he left her in disgust. Carrie and Austin began making plans to leave Salem together just as another note arrived at Sami's apartment: this one revealed all and was read by Lucas, Carrie, and Austin. They were shocked by how low Sami could go. Sami's son Will, already disappointed with her for leaving Austin at the altar, moved out with Lucas. Carrie and Austin quickly got married by a Justice of the Peace and left for Switzerland.

This has all left Sami was nobody to turn to... except for EJ Wells. As fate would have it, he has been revealed to the viewer as the "gloved one", but nobody in Salem - except for his accomplice Patrick Lockhart - knows the truth, or his "true identity." Now Sami has found out his true identity, and will help the cops take him down! And now she is falling in love once again with Lucas Roberts.

Patch and Kayla, Jack and Jennifer reunited

At some nearby hospice, the terminally ill Jack Deveraux discovered his long-dead brother Steve "Patch" Johnson was, in fact, alive. Jack urged his amnesiac brother to return to Salem to reunite with his wife Kayla and daughter Stephanie. Steve agreed to go meet these people that he didn't know under the stipulation that Jack would go with him.

Dr. Kayla Brady Johnson returned to Salem, still grieving her late husband after all these years, just in time for Jennifer's wedding to Frankie Brady. Jack interrupted the ceremony, shocking everyone in attendance including his wife Jennifer and daughter Abby. Outside the church, Kayla fainted at the sight of her long-lost husband Steve, and she soon hoped to discover their love together. Unfortunately, he admitted not knowing her, but she vowed to help him remember. Steve found himself pressured by the new responsibilities of being a husband and father and went back to Cincinnati. He would return to Salem to try again with Kayla, but ended up starting a relationship with Billie Reed. Eventually, Kayla took Steve on a short trip away from Salem to a hotel they stayed at years before. During their stay, Steve suffered sudden flashbacks and regained all of his memory with Kayla.

Meanwhile, thanks to help from Frankie, Jack was cured of his illness thanks to an experimental drug treatment. He felt very awkward stepping in between Frankie and Jennifer, but Abby was very hopeful her parents would get back together. Soon, Jack and Jennifer became embroiled in the mystery of the murder of Officer Eve Michaels, a crooked cop at the Salem PD. And just as abruptly as they got back together, both Jack and Jennifer were soon gone to London. This left Frankie pretty much alone, and he soon returned to Washington, D.C.

teve "Patch" Johnson fights for his memory

In Steve's absence from Salem, he was held by the DiMera's who tortured and brainwashed him into being one of their soldiers. As Steve began to realize this, he tried to resist and to kill the man who was controlling him: Stefano's son, EJ Wells. This proved difficult and EJ managed to force Steve into kidnapping John Black so that he could steal his kidney and, later, to go to Tinda Lao to kill Bo and keep Shawn from signing a statement against EJ. Steve began pushing Kayla away to protect her and went in and out of mental hospitals where he was still at the mercy of EJ and his agents. Steve remained in a 'Mental Home" for a while. A corrupt doctor, under the order's of EJ, tortured him, so Steve couldn't get back to Normal. Eventually, Steve' sister Adrienne, came into the picture, and helped him remember. Later, Steve helped Hope Brady get out of the DiMera house, while she was taking Santo's letters to learn more about the feud between the Bradys and the DiMeras, by telling Stefano DiMera that they were having an affair. Stefano believed it and let Steve and Hope leave. Steve has been involved in helping end the vendetta including assisting in faking Stefano's death, but when Andre killed Benjy, Steve became out of control. He kidnapped Stefano and demanded Andre bring Roman Brady, Andre's hostage, to the television stations where he was holding Stefano. Andre did as Steve said and released Roman. Realizing Steve was out of his mind with grief, Stefano dropped all charges against Steve for the kidnapping doing so to honor Benjy's memory.

The Brady/DiMera feud

John was shot and was in a coma for a few months. That is how the main plot opens for 2007. For decades now, the DiMera family has wreaked havoc on the citizens of Salem. But, it has been recently revealed that the DiMera and Brady feud extends several decades into the past, far across the Atlantic Ocean, to the country of Ireland.

The only true way to understand who Santo DiMera was, is by sifting through the romantic and haunting words that were written in letters to his one true love, Colleen Brady. According to the letters, over 50 years ago, an injured Santo was brought to Colleen's church and awakened to the sight of a young novitiate, Colleen, and was instantly smitten, with no hope for his heart’s recovery. Although their disparate clans would never permit such a union to flourish, especially since Colleen was preparing to become a nun and Santo was married with a child, this couple shared the kind of star-crossed love that never dies. Santo believed that theirs was a meeting of divine purpose.

This forbidden love affair originated in Galway, Ireland, survived six decades, and lives on today in Salem - in the form of the Brady/DiMera feud. Andre and Stefano DiMera have stepped up their tradition of plotting revenge against the Brady family.

anto and Colleen Letters

Letter #1Colleen's request for a silk handkerchief.

Letter #2Santo believes there is a divine purpose in their meeting.

Letter #3Santo, Colleen, and Sister Rose go on a picnic.

Letter #4Temptation threatens Colleen's pledge of fealty to God and the Church.

Letter #5Santo is left breathless by Colleen's natural beauty.

Letter #6Colleen struggles with the memory of their kiss.

Letter #7Colleen saves Stefano from falling to his death.

Letter #8Santo credits Colleen to making him whole.

Letter #9Colleen accepts a forbidden invitation.

Letter #10Colleen begs God's forgiveness for asking Shawn to lie.

Letter #11Did Colleen choose to live for herself?

Letter #12Colleen admits the kiss changed her life forever.

Letter #13Prisoners of love.

Letter #14Colleen has no escape from sinful desires

Andre returns and the "death" of John Black

John and Marlena tracked Stefano to an oxygen tent in an Italian hospital to learn that Stefano was EJ's father. A few months later, EJ brought ailing Stefano to Salem for a clandestine kidney transplant, but it didn't do the trick. Stefano needed stem cells, and set his sights on pregnant Sami as his donor. Despite EJ and Sami's efforts to put an end to the Brady/DiMera feud, Stefano warned that this is impossible, until all wrongs between the two families have been righted. Mistaking Sami for Colleen Brady, who was taken from his father Santo DiMera, Stefano cryptically refers her to Grandpa Shawn; he knew the true roots of the feud. According to Stefano, the only way to end hostilities would be for Sami to marry EJ, and raise her child as a DiMera. But that's not what Sami had in mind. Doug and Julie helped translate the letters.

A crazed Tony, locked up his sister Lexie, in a tunnel, after John was shot, by the gloved one. While searching for clues, Bo and Hope found the presumed dead Lexie Carver inside a tunnel leading to the DiMera Mansion from Doug's Place. They also discovered a bomb in a music box which exploded but did not kill anyone. Later, it was discovered that Tony wasn't Tony, but was Andre, pretending to be Tony. Tony has been locked away on an island for over twenty years. Andre went into killing mode and continued on with the feud, using disguises like dressing up as a clown and an old lady. Andre took out part of Benjy's liver and threw him in a dumpster. Benjy was barely alive when found, and was hospitalized, and saved. Andre then stabbed Roman and Steve, locked Lucas in a meat truck, locked Shawn and Belle in the Brady's Pub freezer, multiple attacks to EJ and Sami, and went into hiding with the help of Rolf. Andre kidnapped Kate to lure in Roman. The Brady's and others set up a fake funeral of Stefano, while Stefano is knocked out, so Andre will come out of the shadows. At the funeral, Benjy Hawk fires shots at Stefano's chest, but Stefano is wearing a bullet proof vest, and this wakes up Stefano, but the funeral is still carried on. Andre appears dressed up, and is driving around with a hearse. Lurking in the shadows, Andre sets up recordings of his laughs. Andre takes off with a hurt Roman, and Roman is buried alive inside a coffin. Bo keeps on after Andre, but an explosion occurs, keeping Bo away. Lucas and EJ are then held hostage. Sami arrives, and has to choose who will get shot. Sami misfires the gun, and accidentally shoots Lucas in the leg. A distracted Andre gets beaten down, but still continues chaos for Sami and then escapes.

Abe, Bo, and Steve kept searching for Roman. Steve and Abe find a spot where they think Roman might be and start digging. Instead of finding Roman, they find a dead Benjy Hawk, who was murdered by Andre. Roman is barely alive gasping for air in the coffin, when Andre digs him back up, only to strap a bomb to him, brings him to the Brady Pub, and taunts Sami and EJ, while the bomb counts down. The bomb doesn't go off, and Andre sees Stefano on TV being held hostage by Steve, and goes to the TV station, with a barely alive Roman, still held captive. Hope tries to take down Andre, but instead is held captive. Andre takes Hope on top of the building, leaning on the ledge. Bo fires with a direct shot at Andre, knocking Andre off the building, saving Hope. Andre, in critical condition was taken to the hospital. Grandpa Shawn, goes into the hospital room, and debates on unplugging Andre's life support. Andre unplugs it himself, because he doesn't want to live anymore with the feud going on. Stefano of course, thinks Shawn did it, but no evidence proved it, and Shawn is left alone.

Shortly after emerging from the coma, John was at the police station to confront EJ Wells when he was arrested. But of course, nothing was proved about EJ. John was the victim of a hit and run set up by Andre and a convict. It was unknown who did it or why, and Stefano kept referring to what happened as John being "struck down by an unknown assailant." John was rushed to the hospital and into surgery, but had suffered massive internal injuries, and Marlena and his loved ones were crushed to learn he would not survive. John passed away in the hospital surrounded by friends and family, with Marlena urging him to "rest" and telling him, "I'll see you in forever." John died peacefully in Marlena's arms.

Two months later, John was back, resurrected by Stefano. John returned without any memory of his former self or his life with Marlena. Marlena injected Stefano with a drug that rendered him comatose in an act of revenge for his nefarious obsession with her family and for taking John away from her. John would learn to cope without his memories and would soon learn the true identity of his parents, Colleen Brady and Santo DiMera. With Stefano lying in a catatonic state, John assumed his role as the DiMera heir and moved into Stefano’s mansion.

John’s new life remained a stark contrast to his former life despite the tireless efforts of Marlena to bring back the old John Black. Marlena employed Rolf, the loyal DiMera servant, in her quest to repair the memory disc while John dismissed "Doc" and initiated a feud with Phillip Kiriakis and a romantic affair with Ava Vitali. Ava’s legal troubles caught up with her and she left John just as Stefano began to awake from his coma.

hawn Sr.'s Death & Bo's Health Crisis

Before heading with many of the Brady clan and friends to Ireland, Bo received terrible health news from Kayla and Lexie, the new Chief-of-Staff. Not wanting to upset his family, Bo kept the news to himself and flew to Ireland with his father and everyone else to learn that Colleen Brady was alive. Shawn Senior and his sister had an emotional and later reveals that John Black is really her and Santo’s love-child, Ryan Brady. Colleen succumbs to her illnesses and dies in John’s arms.

Everyone boards the plane ready to head back to Salem when Steve spots a mysterious woman (Ava) tampering with the jet. John is forced to pilot the sabotaged plane and everyone fears the worst as it is going down. Knowing that his prognosis is bad and he is going to die, Bo finally tells Hope that he’s dying and uses his Oxygen mask to save others. Shawn Senior, in a brave act of heroism, regains consciousness and takes off his mask and gives it to an unconscious Bo. When John is able to safely land the plan everyone is saddened to learn that Shawn Sr. is dead; Bo blames himself.

Bo is admitted into the hospital for more tests as he and Caroline mourn the loss of Shawn Sr. Lexie reveals that Bo’s pancreas is failing. Although Bo does not have cancer in his pancreas (unlike his half-sister Isabella who died from pancreatic cancer), Lexie is unsure of what is wrong with Bo. Victor vows to do everything he can to save his son and brings Dr. Daniel Jonas to Salem to help. Bo draws strength from his Caroline, Shawn-D, Chelsea, Victor, Phillip, Kayla and Hope, who urges him to hold on until Kayla, Daniel and Lexie can unlock the mystery of his illness. The doctors discover he needs a transplant and that Chelsea is the only suitable donor but she is out drinking herself into a stupor under the weight of possibly loosing her dad.

Daniel works hard to get Chelsea sober and prepared for surgery, eventually saving Bo’s life. The situation helps bring Bo and Chelsea closer but both she and Bo are haunted by the consequences: Chelsea cannot have children as a result of a complication in the procedure. Shawn Douglas and Belle leave Salem shortly after Bo’s recovery for a sailing trip around the world while Chelsea’s crush on Daniel intensifies and she breaks up with Nick. The ordeal brings Victor and Caroline closer together and the rest of the Bradys move on from the trauma of Spring, 2008 as Kayla gives birth to a pre-mature boy and Bo gets involved with his brother Phillip’s feud against John Black.

ee also

*List of Days of our Lives cast members
*List of Days of our Lives characters

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