The Wildest Storylines In General Hospital History

"General Hospital" earned a Guinness World Record for the longest-running American soap opera on air and, needless to say, it has absolutely mastered the art of the soap opera. The series offers a unique form of escapism with its often wild (and wonderful) plots. Viewers can watch characters as they find themselves battling an evil twin, getting framed for a crime they didn't commit, reuniting with recently resurrected relatives, or coming face to face with their long-lost secret child.

The show, which first premiered in 1963 and celebrated its 60th anniversary in April 2023, has even captivated fans with its more realistic storylines, like Alexis' battle against lung cancer in 2006. However, it's the series' outlandish and unbelievable plots that have left fans reeling. From the high camp hijinks of the 1980s to more recent science fiction-inspired escapades, "General Hospital" has consistently dared to push the envelope, fearlessly exploring the farthest reaches of storytelling.

Casey the alien arrives to Earth

Anna Devane, super spy extraordinaire, portrayed primarily by Finola Hughes, has confronted shadowy governments, dangerous doppelgängers, and organized crime syndicates. Yet, even Anna was left in awe when she encountered Casey Rogers, an alien from the planet Lumina, in 1990. Casey (Brad Lockerman) arrived in a breathtaking display of fog, howling winds, laserbeams, and neon lights that set the tone for this out-of-this-world adventure.

Casey's mission was to retrieve a powerful crystal from his home planet, and there wasn't a second to spare because the criminal mastermind, Cesar Faison (Anders Hove), also pursued the crystal. Anna's young daughter, Robin (Kimberly McCullough), befriended Casey, and she and Anna opened their home to him, teaching him about human concepts such as love and life on Earth. The longer Casey stayed off his home planet, the more physically ill he became, intensifying the urgency to find the missing piece of the crystal. WSB agent and family friend Frisco Jones (Jack Wagner) eventually joined the trio on their quest. They successfully recover the crystal, and Casey returns to Lumina.

After Casey's departure, a news anchor named Shep Casey arrives in Port Charles. Shep, who bears a striking resemblance to the extraterrestrial, quickly begins a flirtation with Anna.

The Ice Princess adventure

In 1981, Luke (Anthony Geary) and Laura (Genie Francis) clashed with the elitists known as the Cassadines for the first time and ignited a family feud to rival the Capulets and Montagues. Mikkos Cassadine (John Colicos), the machiavellian head of the family, hatched a scheme to use his weather machine and the threat of a fatal frost to bring world governments to his heel.

To execute his plan, Mikkos pursued possession of the world's largest uncut diamond, The Ice Princess. Concealed within the gem's base lay the formulaic equation to create carbonic snow, and Mikkos planned to use this snow to power his weather machine. Securing the diamond proved difficult since Alex Quartermaine (Renee Anderson), WSB Agent Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers), and several others also sought ownership of the jewel. Eventually capturing his prize, Mikkos demonstrated the devastating power of his device by sending Port Charles into an out-of-season deep freeze. Knowing they needed to stop the madman, Luke Spencer, Laura Webber, and Robert Scorpio teamed up to take him down. By the time the dust settled, Alex Quartermaine and Tony Cassadine (Andre Landzaat) had perished. Mikkos was also dead, and Luke and Laura had saved the world.

The Ice Princess Adventure was the first battle in the unholy war between the Spencers and the Cassadines (with the Scorpios occasionally entering the fray) that continues to this day.

Franco's 180-degree redemption arc

James Franco joined the cast of "General Hospital" in 2009, originating the role of Franco. An unrepentant serial killer relishing chaos, Franco sent photographs mimicking Claudia Corinthos' (Sarah Joy Brown) death to mob enforcer Jason Morgan (Steve Burton). The images exposed Michael Corinthos (Drew Garret) as Claudia's killer, something Jason and Michael's parents were desperate to conceal. Believing the two shared a bond and angered by his rejection, Franco targets Jason's family and friends.

Franco runs down Officer Ronnie Dimestico (Ronnie Marmo) and then abducts Sam (Kelly Monaco), Carly (Laura Wright), and Lulu Spencer (Julie Berman), almost killing Lulu in an explosion. Before vanishing, Franco warned Jason all his future kills would trigger corresponding deaths by Franco's hand. A crime spree involving the vandalism of Josslyn's nursery and Aiden Spencer's abduction led Sam to believe Franco assaulted her. Jason seemingly killed Franco in 2012.

However, an alive and far less homicidal Franco reappeared in 2013, played by Roger Howarth. Franco apparently had a brain tumor, which led to his prior psychopathic behavior. With a fresh start, Franco set off on the long road to redemption. Marrying Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst), forming a loving family, building friendships, and connecting with his father, Scotty Baldwin, helped Franco start over. Though he was murdered by Peter August (Wes Ramsey) in March 2021, fans still debate the merits of his redemption.

Stavros Cassadine returns (again and again)

"General Hospital" stunned fans in 2001 by revealing Stavros Cassadine (Robert Kelker-Kelly) hadn't actually perished in 1983. Long believed dead after a confrontation with Luke Spencer, the discovery that Stavros had been secretly placed in a cryogenic chamber by his mother, Helena, until medical advancements could revive him sent shockwaves throughout the audience.

Stavros adopted the alias Lucien Cain, clandestinely observing his brother Stefan, son Nikolas, and the object of his obsession, Laura Spencer. Posing as Lucien, he manipulated Chloe Morgan into ending her relationship with Stefan. When Chloe uncovered the ruse, he murdered her and framed Stefan. Stavros tricked Gia Campbell, Nikolas' love interest, into sharing information about Nikolas and broke into Laura's home, leaving reminders of her time on Cassadine Island. He and Helena plot to release a biotoxin but are foiled by Luke. The two fight, leaving Stavros clinging to the edge of a pit. Locking eyes with Luke, Stavros let go laughing as he fell into the abyss.

Resurfacing in 2013, Stavros shifted his fixation to Laura's daughter, Lulu. He kidnapped and brainwashed her, claiming she reminded him of his past with Laura. Dante rescued Lulu, and Luke and Laura locked Stavros in a cryogenic chamber to suffer the same frozen fate as his father, Mikkos. In 2014, Stavros returned, abducting Lulu again with plans to create a family via her egg and his sperm. However, Dante intervened, fatally shooting Stavros and finally ending his reign of terror.

Memory Mapping Madness

In 2012 Cesar Faison allied with his son Henrik, Helena Cassadine, and crooked U.S. military contractor Hank "Shiloh" Archer and hatched a plot worthy of a Bond villain. Upon uncovering the existence of Jason's previously unknown twin, Navy Seal Chief Andrew Cain, they schemed to kidnap the twins, brainwash Drew into thinking he was Jason, and then return Drew to Port Charles as a puppet programmed to do their bidding but retain no memories of his crimes.

Cesar went on to stage Jason's death, shooting him and dumping him into the harbor. As Jason's loved ones searched for him, Cesar spirited Jason out of town while Shiloh retrieved Drew. Cesar manipulated events to make Drew appear AWOL and subjected both men to a complex procedure called memory mapping, successfully implanting Jason's memories into Drew. Drew ended up in Port Charles, where he lived for years believing he was Jason Morgan.

In 2017, with Ava Jerome's aid, Jason escaped captivity. He returned home and found a stranger living his life. After Andre Maddox confessed his involvement and confirmed which man was Jason Morgan, the brothers tried rebuilding their lives, but the ordeal kept coming back to haunt them. It was revealed in 2019 that Jason and Drew weren't the sole victims. Anna Devane, Dr. Alex Merrick, sociopathic serial killer Dr. Ryan Chamberlain, and Dr. Kevin Collins also fell prey to the procedure. Franco Baldwin even became entangled when Shiloh implanted Drew Cain's memories into him.

Jason Quartermaine becomes a hit man

In 1995, Jason Quartermaine (Steve Burton) was the favored son of his family, while his brother A.J. (Sean Kanan) was the black sheep. Their choices one cold night would alter their destinies and change the course of "General Hospital" forever.

The winter of 1995 found A.J. fighting a losing battle against alcoholism. Following a heated argument with his father, Alan Quartermaine (Stuart Damon), A.J. stormed out of the house. Knowing A.J. was unfit to drive, Jason followed, promising to bring him home safely. In the driveway, Jason confronted A.J. When Jason demanded A.J.'s keys, A.J. refused. Trying to prevent a tragedy, Jason climbed into the passenger seat as A.J. sped away. The resulting crash left A.J. with minor injuries, but Jason suffered severe head trauma. When he regained consciousness, tests revealed Jason had lost all memories of his life with no hope of recovering them.

No longer the even-tempered peacemaker of the family, devoted to Keesha Ward (Senait Ashenafi), and with aspirations of a medical career, Jason had transformed into a hostile stranger who rejected the Quartermaine's affluence and influence. Assuming his grandmother Lila's surname, Morgan, he bonded with local mobster Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Bernard), rising through the ranks of Sonny's organization to become his enforcer. Jason refused to rekindle his relationship with Keesha, instead exploring a connection with Robin Scorpio. Over the next few years, he created a life far removed from his previous existence.

The Denise DeMuccio deception

In 2015, mafia queen Ava Jerome (Maura West) was on the run from the authorities who wanted her back in custody after a daring prison break, and her enemies who wanted her dead. With her back against the wall and unwilling to abandon her daughters, Ava faked her death and resurfaced weeks later wearing a dark wig pretending to be Ava's long-lost twin, Denise DeMuccio. Ava's family, friends, and foes suspected "Denise" was Ava in disguise, but Ava's mother, Delia Ryan (Ilene Kristen), comes to her rescue and claims she gave birth to twins.

Seemingly in the clear after passing three DNA tests, "Denise" quickly pressed her luck by seeking out her infant daughter Avery and resuming her affair with Morgan Corinthos (Bryan Craig), even though he was dating her eldest daughter, Kiki (Hayley Erin). With help from Silas Clay (Micheal Easton), Ava continues living as Denise, eventually bringing Franco Baldwin (Roger Howarth) and her brother Julian (William deVry) in on the deception. The scheme unravels when Franco gets arrested for Silas' murder, and "Denise" is forced to take the witness stand and cracks under pressure, admitting her true identity.

Jake is alive

In 2011, little Jake Spencer (then James Nigbor) was the victim of a hit-and-run and declared brain dead. His parents, Lucky Spencer (Jonathan Jackson) and Elizabeth Webber (Rebecca Herbst), then made the agonizing decision to donate his organs to save the life of Carly Corinthos' daughter, Josslyn Jacks (then Mckenna and Karleigh Larson). When the investigation reveals Jake's grandfather, Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary), as the driver behind his accident, the Spencer family descends into emotional chaos. Lucky angrily confronts his father, sending Luke into a lengthy downward spiral and playing a part in Lucky eventually leaving Port Charles.

In the years following, Elizabeth tries to move past the pain of losing her son, but her heart never quite heals. She received a miracle when, in 2015, we learned Jake hadn't perished after all. Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers), the greatest enemy of the Spencer family, was holding Jake hostage on Cassadine Island. Luke saves his grandson, allowing him to right the wrong of five years ago, and Lucky takes Jake back to Port Charles and returns him to Elizabeth's loving arms.

Alexis becomes Dobson

Alexis Davis (Nancy Lee Grahn) will go to any lengths necessary to protect her daughters. We've seen her lie about paternity, meddle in their romances, and even accidentally commit vehicular manslaughter. One of her more memorable acts was when she pretended to be a British butler named Dobson and took a job in the Quartermaine mansion.

In November 2002, Alexis murdered ruthless international arms dealer Luis Alcazar (Ted King) and then faked dissociative identity disorder to escape prosecution. Her therapist, Dr. Cameron Lewis (Lane Davies), uncovered the ruse but kept her secret. While the plan helped Alexis get away with murder, it cost her custody of her daughter, Kristina. Believing Alexis was mentally unstable and therefore unfit, her daughter's legal father, Ned Ashton (Wally Kurth), sued and was granted primary custody, moving her into the Quartermaine mansion.

When she finds out the Quartermaines' long-time butler Reginald is injured, Alexis creates the persona of "Dobson" and replaces him. Moving into the mansion, she steals time with Kristina while living a double life and fending off the amorous advances of Alice, the Quartermaine's housekeeper, who developed a romantic interest in "Dobson." Ned's latest love interest, Skye Quartermaine (Robin Christopher), caught on to the scheme and forced Alexis to reveal herself, which Alexis did by dramatically ripping her beard and mustache in the middle of a dinner party.

Diego is the Text Message Killer

In 2004, Diego Alcazar (Ignacio Serricchio) arrives in Port Charles as a foster child and is placed with Courtney Matthews (Alicia Leigh Willis). Despite Courtney's attempts to be a good influence, Diego was drawn to the power of organized crime and aspired to be part of Sonny Corinthos' organization. He eventually discovered powerful mafia boss Lorenzo Alcazar was his biological father. Attempting to get revenge for his deceased cousin Sage, Diego drugged Maxie Jones and Brook Lynn Quartermaine and took compromising photos of them.

After a brief stint in prison, Diego returned. A friendship with Georgie Jones (Lindze Letherman) settles him until Diego gives in to his dark side again, scheming with Lulu Spencer to destroy Georgie's relationship with Dillion Quartermaine and getting involved with his father's illegal empire. When Sam McCall shot and killed Diego in November 2006, viewers assumed they'd seen the last of him.

In 2007, the Text Message Killer came to Port Charles. They attacked Sam, Maxie, Carly Jacks, and Alexis Davis, and killed Leticia Juarez, Georgie Jones, Emily Quartermaine, and Cooper Barrett. The TMK confronts Sam, and when they remove their ski mask, she's stunned to see Diego. He explains he wants vengeance on Sonny Corinthos and Jason Morgan for murdering his father, and because they didn't fear death, he chose to target those they loved. After failing to kill Sam McCall and Elizabeth Webber, Diego finally meets his end during an altercation with Nikolas Cassadine.

Ryan Chamberlain returns

When pediatrician Ryan Chamberlain (Jon Lindstrom) joined the staff of General Hospital in June 1992, no one could have predicted just what kind of evil lay underneath his mild-mannered facade. His first official meeting with Felicia Jones (Kristina Wagner) should have sent off alarm bells, as an ominous music cue played the moment they touched. Felicia couldn't shake the feeling she knew Ryan from somewhere and, after some time and investigation, realized that she recognized him as a man she knew as Todd Wilson, who she'd seen commit a violent murder. This revelation kicked off a deadly game of cat and mouse, where Ryan flipped back and forth between trying to kill Felicia and wanting to possess her. His obsession blazed a bloody trail through Port Charles, and it was a relief to everyone when Ryan perished in an explosion in March 1995.

Relief turned to horror in 2018 when Ryan returned as a patient at Ferncliff Asylum. Dr. Kevin Collins, Ryan's twin brother, had placed Ryan under psychiatric care in a futile attempt to rehabilitate his brother. His good deed would not go unpunished, as Ryan would attack him, take his place, and begin his reign of terror anew. Before his capture, he'd kill several Port Charles residents including Ava Jerome's daughter Kiki, film producer Peyton Mills, and nurse Mary Pat Ingles.

Olivia's psychic powers

In 2012, infamous villainess Heather Webber (then Robin Mattson) manipulated her son, Steve Webber (Scott Reeves), into supporting her release from Ferncliff Sanitarium. She then quickly sets her sights on ending her son's relationship with Olivia Falconeri (Lisa LoCicero). Olivia doesn't buy Heather's alleged reformation and recovery and tries her best to get Steve to see the light about his mother. Despite Olivia's objections and catching Heather in numerous lies, Steve didn't believe Heather was dangerous. Unfortunately for him, Olivia was right, and Heather was as treacherous, obsessive, and unhinged as ever, which she proved by attacking Olivia and injecting her with an overdose of LSD.

Olivia survived the ordeal, and the authorities arrested Heather, but the story didn't end there. The LSD had the unexpected side effect of giving Olivia prophetic visions of the future. Olivia's premonitions often needed to be interpreted, but several events she foresaw would come to pass, such as Steve's stabbing and Maxie Jones' betrayal of Lulu Spencer. Her abilities have disappeared in recent years, but we never know when they may reappear.

Luke is Fluke

When Luke Spencer (Tony Geary) started behaving oddly in 2014, fans had several theories to explain his actions, ranging from an evil doppelgänger courtesy of the Cassadines, a split personality, or his long-dead identical cousin Bill Eckert impersonating him. Fans called the imposter Luke-a-like, "Fake Luke" or Fluke for short, and the truth about his identity would leave them questioning everything they thought they knew about the iconic character.

Using the alias "Peter Caspin," Fluke amassed a criminal empire. He led the Jerome crime family and ordered Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash) and Carlos Rivera (Jeffrey Vincent Parise) to kill Sonny Corinthos and Ava Jerome and convinced Tracy Quartermaine (Jane Elliot) to marry him to con the Quartermaines out of ELQ. As his actions grew darker and more targeted against Luke's friends and family, theories began falling by the wayside. It wasn't Cesar Faison in a mask, it wasn't the Cassadines, and it wasn't Bill Eckert. A confrontation between Luke and Fluke and a reunion with his long-lost sister Patricia Spencer (Dee Wallace) unearthed a long-buried family secret: Luke was responsible for his parent's deaths. He'd accidentally killed his mother and bludgeoned his father. The resulting trauma caused Luke's psyche to split, and "Fluke" was the physical manifestation of his darkest impulses. After receiving treatment, Luke recovered enough to make amends with the friends and family he'd harmed, but when he realized he'd never be completely free of his dark side, he opted to leave town.

Lucy the Vampire Slayer

In 2013, "General Hospital" revisited the lore of its spin-off soap, "Port Charles" and introduced the tainted love of Olivia "Livvie" Locke (Kelly Monaco) and Caleb Morley (Micheal Easton) to new viewers.

Shortly after returning to Port Charles, Lucy Coe (Lynn Herring) stumbles across John McBain (Micheal Easton) and Samantha Morgan (Kelly Monaco) in Kelly's. She calls John "Caleb" and implores Sam to take her son, Danny, and run. When Sam doesn't listen, Lucy attacks John, stabbing him. Lucy is arrested and sent to Ferncliff Sanitarium. Meanwhile, Alison Barrington (Erin Hershey-Presley) and her son, Rafe Kovich Jr. (Jimmy Deshler), arrive in town. Rafe connects with Molly Lansing (Haley Pullos), while Alison has an unpleasant run-in with John and Sam. When Alison turns up dead, Rafe and John are both suspects in her murder. They join forces to find her killer.

John discovers "Caleb" was the stage persona of a musician named Stephen Clay, who became a serial killer after the death of his wife, Livvie. Caleb pursues Sam and Danny, posing as John. Sam eventually identifies him as Caleb, leading to a confrontation. John, Lucy, and Rafe intervene, and John stabs Caleb with a silver arrow. Anna takes a disbelieving Lucy to see Stephen/Caleb's body. After some convincing, Lucy finally accepts that the dead man is not a vampire. After they leave, Caleb reveals himself and walks out of the morgue. A short time later, Stephen Clay's brother, Silas Clay, moves to Port Charles.