Edmund's Quest for Revenge...

While Reva was in a relationship with Jeffrey, tragedy struck her son Shayne. Serving with the Peace Corps in Bosnia, he and a young woman named Lara had fallen in love. Their work had separated them for a time. Then she came to see him. Shayne had just cleared a minefield...but he'd missed one of the mines. Lara stepped on it and was killed.

Shayne responded to that by deliberately stepping on a mine himself. He was badly injured. After he was sent home to Springfield, he was in a wheelchair for months, and still had suicidal thoughts. But as he recovered physically, the somewhat older Dinah Marler befriended him, and he gradually found new love with her.

Dinah is the daughter of Vanessa Chamberlain Lewis, wife of Josh's half-brother Billy. And she herself had a troubled past. While trying to kill Cassie, whom she'd seen as a rival, she'd accidentally killed the man she loved, Hart Jessup. The only reason she wasn't still in prison was that Jeffrey had thought she had potential as an "operative," and gotten her out - "paying forward" a favor someone had once done for him.

It turned out that Lara had been Edmund Winslow's daughter - a daughter whose existence he'd only learned of recently. Knowing this wonderful young woman was his daughter had seemingly made him a "changed man." He was grief-stricken on learning of her death; when he learned she and Shayne had been in love, he embraced Shayne as a fellow mourner.

All was well, as long as he didn't know Shayne had indirectly caused her death...

Dinah went to Bosnia to retrieve a music box of Lara's, which she knew Shayne would treasure. While there she visited an orphanage in which Lara had taken an interest - and she, like Lara, was moved by the plight of the orphans. She mentioned it to her ex-husband and still friend, Springfield police detective A.C. Camaletti (better known simply as "Mallet"). He and his new wife Marina - younger than he, a former girlfriend of Shayne's - couldn't have a baby, and were having trouble adopting. So Mallet surprised Marina with a Bosnian baby he'd illegally adopted (to hurry things along, Dinah had posed as his wife).

Too late, Dinah learned the baby wasn't really Bosnian. He was Lara's child, and Shayne - who hadn't known she was pregnant - was his father. Lara had been killed while on her way to tell Shayne they had a son.

Before Shayne could learn this, he made the foolish mistake of telling Edmund his role in causing Lara's death.

Edmund went ballistic. He didn't know about baby Henry (named for a deceased uncle of Marina's). But Reva and Jeffrey were married by then, and Reva had recently given birth to Colin. So he tried to take revenge on Shayne's kin by kidnapping Colin. Reva succeeded in stopping him. He got away, but killed a man while doing so.

Not long afterward, a crisis involving Henry's blood - and Shayne's having the same rare blood type - led to everyone's learning the truth about Henry's parentage. Unfortunately, one of the people who learned about it was Edmund. He didn't learn about Henry's medical problem, and the possibility he might continue to need Shayne's blood.

No one had thought Edmund would dare show his face in Springfield again. But a dead body found in the river was visually identified as his. Possibly due to a mix-up, it was quickly cremated, the ashes scattered in the lake. But the police had already determined how the man had died: from a blow to the head. It was definitely homicide.

And in light of Edmund's previous attempt to kidnap Colin, it was a safe guess that this time, he'd been planning to kidnap and raise his grandson Henry.

Virtually everyone who'd known Edmund, or had reason to care about Henry, had to be considered a suspect in the killing. Jonathan hadn't returned to Springfield at that time. But Shayne, Josh, Reva, Jeffrey, Marina, Mallet, and Dinah were all in the mix, as were Phillip Spaulding and his ex-wife Beth (Lizzie's parents, divorced but still in love, who had their own tortured history with Edmund). And everyone was suspicious of everyone else.

Mallet discovered the handle of Henry's stroller was broken...and Marina claimed she didn't know how or exactly when it had been broken. He couldn't help thinking she'd interrupted a kidnap attempt, bashed Edmund over the head with the stroller, and dumped his body in the river. He was willing to assist in a cover-up. But Marina was outraged at her husband's even suspecting her, and not immediately, unequivocally, accepting her denial.

And why, he wondered, would she have panicked and dumped the body? If she'd explained that she'd been foiling a kidnap attempt, protecting her baby, she almost certainly wouldn't have been charged with a crime. Everyone knew Edmund's character; he was infamous.

But then the police found compelling evidence against someone else. Edmund's DNA was on file, and a tire iron with his blood on it was found...in Reva's car! On top of that, a reluctant witness reported that she'd overheard snatches of conversation in a park, near the river, shortly before the time Edmund was thought to have died. She'd been on the other side of a hedge. But knowing them both, she was sure the voices she'd heard were Edmund's...and Reva's.

Reva had indeed been lying to the police - and to a now-furious Jeffrey - when she said she hadn't known Edmund was in the area. Now she admitted she'd seen and argued with him. She'd promised that if he left, she wouldn't get him in any more trouble by revealing he'd been in Springfield. (She'd been thinking, in particular, of her sometimes hotheaded husband. She didn't want him to jeopardize their happiness by doing something to Edmund that couldn't be justified as self-defense or defense of anyone else.) But she had no idea how that bloody tire iron had gotten in her car.

If she was innocent, she'd seemingly had no good reason for not admitting after the body was found that she'd seen Edmund. Apparently, she'd just thought that if she and the killer were the only two people who'd known he was in town, and she was the only one who admitted it, the police would focus on her.

In truth, having felt fairly confident that Jeffrey hadn't known Edmund was nearby, she'd suspected Shayne of the killing. And she'd feared that if suspicion fell on her, he'd confess. But now it seemed she really was going to take the fall!

At least her marriage hadn't suffered any permanent damage. When she was arrested, Jeffrey arranged for her release on bail, and quickly forgave her for having lied about her knowledge of Edmund's whereabouts. He was still deeply, passionately, in love with her. And he believed her claim that she hadn't killed Edmund.

Unknown to Reva, two separate stories were unfolding...

#1: Jeffrey had come up with a theory - which he shared, confidentially, with Josh. Perhaps that body wasn't Edmund's! Shayne, who'd identified it, could have been mistaken; it had been in the water for some time. But there was another possibility. What if Edmund had a surgically-created double? Jeffrey himself was living proof such things were possible.

If the body wasn't Edmund's...regardless of whether he or someone else had killed "John Doe," Edmund had planted the fake "murder weapon," with his blood on it, in Reva's car.

Jeffrey decided that to test his theory, he'd have to go in search of Edmund. But he couldn't leave Reva at risk of being prosecuted for murder while he was gone. So with the assistance of a reluctant Josh, he planted "evidence" that would make him appear to be the killer. By the time the police followed up on a tip and discovered that evidence, Jeffrey would have - as it would appear - fled. Then, and only then, Josh could tell Reva what was really going on.

(Yes, Jeffrey knew - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that Josh could be trusted to do that! Good-guy Josh had even offered to undertake the search himself, because Jeffrey had a wife and baby who needed him. Jeffrey convinced him that only he possessed the skills and experience that would be required to find and deal with Edmund.)

#2. Dinah, who still had a soft spot in her heart for ex-husband Mallet, was distressed by the problems this situation had created for his marriage. On the day of her own wedding to Shayne - at the reception - she broke down and confessed to Mallet that she'd killed Edmund. She told him in private, but said she understood that he'd have to report it.

She and Marina had been together for a while that day. They'd been in the park, and she'd agreed to watch Henry while Marina went off to do something else. Whatever it was, Marina's entire day had doubtless been so normal, so uneventful, that it was understandable she hadn't remembered - after a lapse of time - that she'd briefly left the baby with Dinah.

Edmund had snatched Henry out of the stroller, and Dinah had clobbered him with the stroller. She'd dumped his body in the river before Marina returned. And on their way back to Marina's house, she'd volunteered to push the stroller, so Marina wouldn't immediately notice the broken handle.

The killing itself had happened exactly as Mallet had guessed. But Dinah had a good reason for covering it up: she was a convicted felon! She was probably the only person who'd be sent to prison - sent back to prison - for killing Edmund under the circumstances she'd described.

She claimed she hadn't planted false evidence to frame Reva. She knew nothing about that. But she wouldn't have come forward solely to clear Reva, either. They'd never been friends. And she'd assumed, in any case, that Jeffrey's influence in high places would prevent his wife's ever standing trial.

Dinah, of course, knew nothing of Jeffrey's theory. But her memory of events wouldn't have ruled it out: far from it! If she was telling the whole truth, who'd tried to frame Reva? She could have killed Edmund's double; she'd undoubtedly spoken with the real Edmund at some point, but it could have been earlier in the day. Alternatively, she could have knocked the real Edmund unconscious, and wrongly believed he was dead. In that scenario, he could have survived and killed his double.

Mallet was grateful for Dinah's confession. But he had a soft spot for her, too. So he "allowed her a little time to get her affairs in order before turning herself in." Privately, he encouraged her to flee. Meanwhile, other officers were finding the evidence that seemed to incriminate Jeffrey, and preparing to go after him.

Dinah and Jeffrey, both "fleeing," met at the heliport and wound up leaving together. Jeffrey had thought of a plan in which Dinah could take part. (It can probably be assumed that after Mallet reported Dinah's confession and flight, Josh and Reva quickly told the police what Jeffrey was doing. And just in case he was right about Edmund, they didn't publicize the suspicious detail of his having left Springfield at the same time as their "fugitive" Dinah.)

Jeffrey and Dinah went to Bosnia, where they staged an elaborate ruse to make it seem Edmund's daughter Lara had been a government agent, and her "death" had been faked. A disguised Dinah, seen from a distance, could pass for Lara. As they expected, Edmund got word of her seemingly being alive. He fell for the ruse, traveled to Bosnia...and they caught a glimpse of him. He realized what was happening and escaped, without their being able to photograph him. But they at least knew he was alive.

They followed Edmund's trail to South America, then back to the U.S. Jeffrey, knowing the chase was becoming extremely dangerous, insisted Dinah go no farther with him. He rented a plane to fly from Key West to North Carolina. But a henchman of Edmund's had sabotaged the plane. When the controls failed, Jeffrey had just enough time to make a quick phone call to Reva - telling her the plane was going down and he was about to die, but he wanted her to remember, always, how much he'd loved her and Colin. And he didn't want her to grieve for him, because Colin would sense it, and then he'd be unhappy.

Reva was screaming, "You're not going to die!" She refused to believe he could die.

In fact, he survived and made it to shore - an isolated stretch of the North Carolina coast. But he was injured, dazed, his phone either lost or unusable. Reva had reported the plane crash immediately, but she hadn't known the location. It took a while for the FAA to figure out where Jeffrey had been; and by the time searchers reached the site, he'd wandered into the woods. Searchers did go into those woods, but only briefly, because they had what they thought was good reason to believe he'd never gotten out of the plane.

He was lost in the woods for weeks, subsisting on whatever edible plants he could find. Within sight of a shack, he finally passed out. When he came to, he found he'd been taken inside by the occupant of the shack - Reva's son Jonathan!

Jonathan explained why he was hiding out, with Sarah, in such a remote place. Edmund had located him, communicated with him, and brazenly announced his intention of kidnapping and raising Sarah. Jeffrey then made the fateful decision to patch up his own minor injuries, and take advantage of his enemy's thinking he was dead. He'd stay "dead" a little while longer and set a trap for Edmund, who wouldn't be prepared for Jonathan's having a tough, experienced ally.

In a sparsely populated neighborhood, at an hour when no innocents would be in harm's way, they made it appear Jonathan was briefly leaving Sarah alone in his parked car. The "bait" in the car was actually a large doll. When Edmund stealthily approached, Jeffrey caught him by surprise, trained a gun on him, and tried to make a citizen's arrest. By then Jonathan, also armed, was prepared to fire if necessary from behind a barricade. But Edmund whipped out his own gun and started shooting, forcing Jeffrey to dive for cover. A car with darkened windows came hurtling out of nowhere, and Edmund leapt into it and escaped.

He soon contacted Jeffrey and Jonathan again, via a tape recording. He vowed to keep trying till he succeeded in killing Jeffrey...knowing full well that Jeffrey would also be trying to find and kill him.

But Edmund had a network of agents. If any of them came to believe Reva had learned Jeffrey was alive - if a "bug" caught her speaking too freely, or her actions, demeanor, or even an unguarded facial expression somehow gave it away - those agents would kidnap Colin, Sarah, and Henry, and he would raise them.

As if that threat wasn't bad enough, he followed it up with a worse one. In a note delivered to Jeffrey, he said he'd changed his mind. He wouldn't attempt to kidnap and raise the three children. He'd have them killed outright.

Yes, even his own grandson!

Jeffrey had of course intended to surface quickly - not keep anyone believing he was dead, once he'd lost the advantage of surprise with Edmund. Now he saw that he couldn't risk doing that. And he really would have to keep Reva in the dark; the alternative would put an intolerable burden on her. But he asked Jonathan to make a quick visit to Springfield, so he could let him know how she and Colin were coping.

Once there, Jonathan concluded it would now be safe for him to live there permanently with Sarah. So Reva had two more loved ones near her...and Jeffrey had at least one confidant in Springfield with whom he could stay in touch.

Dinah had gone back, briefly, to report what she and Jeffrey had learned. But few people believed her. There was still no proof Edmund was alive, no proof Jeffrey hadn't died in an accident while following false leads. (The Coast Guard had concluded that his plane couldn't be brought up from the ocean floor without risking divers' lives; so it couldn't be examined for evidence of sabotage.) And Shayne couldn't forgive her for having let his mother be arrested for something she'd done; their marriage was over. So she'd escaped to Europe again.

Marina had forgiven Mallet for having suspected she'd killed Edmund, and doubted her denial. But he became convinced that their family situation - with him and Shayne, Marina's first love, both trying to be "fathers" to Henry - was untenable. So he made the sacrifice of leaving...sure that if he did, Marina and Shayne would become a couple.

He was right. But he wasn't alone for long; he went to Europe, and was happily reunited with Dinah.

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Reflections: Might not Jonathan's returning to Springfield at that point have been dangerous in itself - risked fueling Edmund's suspicions? In my opinion, yes! Edmund could have thought Jonathan would take Reva to an out-of-the-way spot where there was zero chance of "bugs," cameras, or human observers, and share the Big Secret with her in face-to-face conversation. His agents might as a consequence have intensified their surveillance of her. And with so much reason to be suspicious, they might have imagined her betraying some "knowledge" she didn't really possess.

I didn't invent this storyline; fans of the show are stuck with it. In an essay I posted online, I made the grumpy complaint that based on the writers' subsequent use of Jeffrey, it seemed their only purpose in having him survive the plane crash had been to create a plot device - an awkward plot device - for bringing Jonathan back to Springfield.

But in 2012, I finally learned the truth about that "plane crash," and the subsequent lack of story for Jeffrey.

Some fans have been led to believe that after the cancellation was announced, Bradley Cole, who played Jeffrey, asked to be released from his contract early. That was said to be the explanation of the plane crash. It was claimed he then pre-taped what little material the producers would still want from him, to air later. (This "desertion" might seem to reflect badly on Cole. What if, after one actor asked for and was granted an early release, others had sought to follow suit? How could the producers and writers have coped with a half-dozen of them seeking to "jump ship"?)

Evidently, that was either a lie or someone's guess, which had been picked up and repeated as fact. I've learned what I believe is the real story.

Cole's contract had been up for renewal in the spring of 2009; and while it was uncertain whether he'd re-sign, the plane crash storyline was written as a way of possibly leaving his character "presumed dead." Whether Jeffrey would be known to have survived was always meant to be dependent on whether Cole re-signed; and he did re-sign. Since storylines were being planned months in advance, all of that took place before the cancellation was announced.

When a soap opera character's survival has been dependent on the actor's re-signing, the character is often left without much story for a while - because the writers haven't had enough lead time, knowing the actor would be available, to write for him. This situation was further complicated by the cancellation, and the writers' need to somehow wrap up everything, quickly.

All things considered, they did it pretty well. It was a producer, not the writers, who muffed the ending by cutting a key scene. (I suspect that producer "muffed the ending" - in my opinion - because he or she saw as clearly as I do that in any realistic imagining of what would happen if Jeffrey returned at that point, Reva would choose him. And the producer thought the majority of viewers wanted her to be with Josh.)

I've explained why Josh - recognizing that Reva needed more time to mourn her dead husband - went away for a year. Now that year has passed, and she has a hard decision to make...