Yearly Synopsis: 1975

NOTE: When I finally started getting SoapNet, several months worth of the series had already aired (the first episode I saw was maybe a week or so after Frank won the election; in other words, circa mid-November 1975). So for the 1975 synopsis I am only going by what little I saw and what I have been able to piece together. So please, don't hold it against me if I am wrong about something or if I have left a lot of stuff out.

Delia was not happy that her husband, Frank, was running for city council, mainly because his campaign was causing him to spend less time with her and much more time with Jill - his lawyer, with whom he had been having an affair for three years, ever since she was his professor in his law school. Delia longed for the days before Frank started attending night school for his law degree, when he was just a police officer with more time for her, and when he knew Jill only as a friend of the family. Frank, however, had fallen in love with Jill. Nevertheless, Frank and Delia and their infant son, little John, were presenting themselves as the picture perfect family to prospective voters, until a complex series of events caused that family portrait to shatter.

Jill's brother, Roger, who had figured out that Jill and Frank were lovers almost from the beginning, was a compulsive gambler. He found himself in debt of $6500 to racketeer Nick Szabo, and when Nick had Roger's toes broken, Roger went to Frank for the money. Roger proposed that Frank "lend" him the money, and Roger in return would remain quiet about the affair. As Frank was on his way to pay off Roger, however, an angry Delia, having finally reached her breaking point, accidentally pushed Frank down the stairs at Riverside Hospital during a confrontation. Roger found Frank and saved his life - and then took the $6500 in the emergency room.

Frank was comatose and the doctors did not expect he would recover. As the Ryan family kept bedside vigil, reporter Jack Fenelli began investigating Frank's fall. Jack did not believe that Frank's fall was accidental, and found the missing $6500 suspicious, to say the least. He also discovered that Frank was linked to Nick Szabo. In the course of Jack's investigation, he found himself falling in love with Mary Ryan, Frank's young and independent sister. Jack had trouble getting close to anyone, having been orphaned as a small child and abandoned several times since, but Mary broke through his barriers.

Frank came out of his coma, but his refusal to file a claim with the police for the stolen money (which would of course have implicated Roger) and his insistence that he had slipped and fallen accidentally (to protect Delia) only peaked Jack's suspicions. Jack ran an article accusing Frank of corruption, and a furious Mary broke up with Jack. She believed in her brother 100%, and refused to accept that he was in bed with the mob. She continued to work on Frank's campaign and also committed herself to helping with Frank's physical therapy, so that he would walk again. Frank, meanwhile, remained married to Delia (though their marriage was now even more of a joke) and continued seeing Jill. Jack's article was a severe setback to Frank's campaign, but there was no proof of any corruption and the Riverside community loved Frank. When he left the hospital to appear on-stage at a rally, in a wheelchair and barely able to move, he was looked at as a hero triumphing over death, and all talk of impropriety was forgotten by the voters. Frank then won the election.

Jack, however, determined to get Mary back, decided to prove that he did not make up his story - that Frank really was corrupt. As Jack got closer and closer to the truth, Frank was finally forced to admit everything about the affair and the blackmail to Mary and Jack. Mary was stunned to learn that her brother was not the hero she had built him up to be, but understood why Frank did what he did. She also realized that Jack was only doing his job, and after Jack decided to keep quiet about Frank's personal life (which he felt was Frank's business, and Frank's alone), Jack and Mary reunited and made love.

Maeve and Johnny, Mary's parents, were furious. They saw Jack as a traitor who orchestrated a smear campaign against Frank (not knowing that Frank had, in fact, been making payoffs). They also were not pleased with Jack's playboy past, which included an affair with Jill that ended very painfully for her. Frank and Mary tried to convince them that Jack was just doing his job by investigating the facts, but since they kept quiet about Jill and Roger, Maeve and Johnny still saw Frank as completely blameless. Finally, Johnny said that Jack was not welcome in their bar/house; Mary said that meant she was not welcome either, and promptly moved out and turned up on Jack's doorstep with a suitcase.

Jack convinced Mary to try to talk things out with her family, and Johnny agreed to grudgingly accept Mary's relationship with Jack, even though he did not approve. The Ryans were all together again, but it would not last for long. Roger once again became indebted to Nick (this time, because he was trying to win back enough money to pay back Frank). By now, Nick had realized that Roger had something on Frank, and he thought having a city councilman in his pocket could help with a mysterious business venture he was undertaking. He didn't just want the money; he wanted something to hold over Frank's head. When Roger refused, Nick's thug, Herbie, beat him up and promised that he would break his hands next time, killing his career as a surgeon before it had even started. Roger caved and told Nick the truth about Frank and Jill.

Jill was furious at Roger, and frightened for Frank. It was not long before Nick showed his hand: He wanted to sell some apartment buildings he anonymously owned to Riverside Hospital, and needed Frank to look the other way while he drove the tenants out. When Nick turned off the heat and hot water in the buildings on Thanksgiving Day, however, Frank refused to go along with it. He and Jill uncovered proof that Nick owned the buildings and Frank arranged for him to receive a plethora of code violations. Then Frank confessed all to his family, who were devastated but supportive, and Bob (his best friend and Delia's brother), who was very angry but eventually forgave Frank. Then Frank told the truth to the party officials, and offered to resign if they thought it was for the best. They were about to accept his resignation when Delia spoke up in support of Frank, saying that she had forgiven him, that Jill was in the past, and that they were as close and as in love as ever. The party decided to support Frank on those conditions.

Frank had retained the job for which he had worked so hard to get, but was now unable to go to Jill, which he thought would be the one saving grace of the truth coming out. Jill realized that Frank would never get away from Delia - that in fact he really did not want to, at the cost of his family and his career - and walked away from him. Maeve and Johnny tried to hold their family together through all of these crises. Delia was determined to make her marriage work and retain her place in the Ryan family - the family she had never had growing up virtually parentless, with only her brother to count on. Frank was miserable and Jill was devastated. Roger's entire family turned against him and his father, Dr. Ed Coleridge, whom Roger had spent a lifetime trying in vain to please, told Dr. Seneca Beaulac, Roger's superior at the hospital, that Roger stole the money. Seneca told Roger that his residency contract would not be renewed when it expired the following June, but agreed to keep quiet about the scandal and let Roger stay on in the mean time out of respect for Ed. Roger had effectively lost everything.

Jill and Roger's sister, Faith, meanwhile, found herself attracted to her fellow intern Pat Ryan as they worked side by side at Riverside Hospital, after having known him all of her life. His gregarious personality rubbed off on the shy and introverted Faith, drawing her out of her shell. Everyone warned her that Pat had trouble making commitments, but she was convinced she could just enjoy being with him while it lasted, but found herself falling more and more in love with him. Meanwhile, she found herself drawing the attention of two other suitors. The first, the extremely rich yet surprisingly good-natured Dr. Bucky Carter, had an unrequited crush on Faith, but realized that she was in love with Pat. Bucky, Pat, and Faith even managed to remain friends.

Faith's other suitor, creepy hospital lab technician Kenneth Castle, was not so easily dissuaded, however. Kenneth was mentally unbalanced and became obsessed with Faith, who reminded him of his mother, who was in an institution after having been mistreated by his alcoholic, philandering father (of whom Kenneth also said Pat reminded him). Faith assumed Kenneth was odd but harmless, but he gradually began stalking her. He set up a hideout in an abandoned room in the basement of Riverside Hospital, where he carried on conversations with a poster-sized picture of Faith which he had had made from the picture on her hospital I.D. card, which he had swiped from her. He began sending her eerie notes and gifts and making crank calls to her. Faith became more and more terrified, having no idea who the culprit was. After all, Kenneth was known to Riverside only as the seemingly innocent assistant to Dr. Nell Buckminster Beaulac.

Nell, Bucky's aunt, had arrived at the hospital over the summer, followed by her husband, Dr. Seneca Beaulac. Seneca had received the position of head of neurology at Riverside Hospital over Ed Coleridge, making him an enemy of many in Riverside, especially Jill. Seneca and Nell's marriage was troubled when they arrived in town. Despite her high level of education, Nell had ended up staying at home while Seneca pursued his career for years. She grew to resent Seneca, whom she felt always tried to control her, and when Nell finally began building her own career in medical research, the Beaulacs' jobs only gave them less time to spend together. They had grown far apart.

Then Nell learned she had two aneurysms in her brain, which were congenital but hitherto never detected. One of the aneurysms ruptured and Nell collapsed at Frank Ryan's victory party. The doctors were able to remove that aneurysm, but the other was inoperable. So Nell could do nothing but wait, hoping it would not rupture (because if it did, Nell would surely die). Nell felt helpless and angry, but ironically, her prognosis brought her and Seneca back together. They worked through their differences, and as 1975 drew to a close, Seneca and Nell were closer than ever, wishing only that they could turn back the clock and have back the years that they now realized they had wasted.

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