Who says you can never go home? Soap Opera Digest reports fan favorite Kimberly McCullough has inked a deal to return to General Hospital this fall as Dr. Robin Scorpio-Drake.
In their exclusive report, executive producer Frank Valentini confirmed to the magazine that the actress would be be sticking around for more than just a short appearance. “Robin is such an important part of the history of General Hospital. It will be so wonderful to see her come back and what that effect will have on the canvas.”
McCullough, who began playing Robin in 1985, departed the long-running soap in early 2012, six years after returning to the show in 2005 following a six year hiatus. “Kimberly McCullough has decided to pursue her dream of directing full-time so she has decided to leave General Hospital as storyline dictates,” said a show spokesperson at the time. “Expect a poignant and must-watch storyline for Robin and Patrick.” The Emmy winner is currently a member of the ABC-DGA directing program.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, McCullough revealed that after deciding to depart the show in the fall of 2011, she suggested to then-executive producer Jill Farren Phelps, that GH kill the beloved character.
“I was of the hope that we would do something where the character was fulfilled,” McCullough said. “I was intent that I wanted Robin to die but, because of the way it all went down, I wasn’t comfortable with that anymore. I didn’t feel it was earned. There wasn’t a good lead-up to it. The history of soaps is that you have a meaty story before you leave.”
The initial scenario had Robin succumbing to the HIV virus, but McCullough said in a later interview with Soap Opera Digest, that those plans changed. It was told to her that they didn’t want Robin to die from anything AIDS related, so Phelps and then-head writer Garin Wolf came up with the idea to kill off the character in a lab explosion. That story was executed, albeit with changes as a result of the network firing Phelps and Wolf, replacing them with Frank Valentini as showrunner and Ron Carlivati as head writer.
In February 2012, Robin presumably died in the lab explosion while trying to create a cure that would save Jason (Steve Burton), only for it to be revealed a few months later that she was being held hostage! “We had a conversation about it, me, Frank and Ron, before I even met them,” said McCullough to Soap Opera Digest after the story twist was revealed in last April. “Ron told me just wasn’t comfortable with Robin being ‘completely dead,’ and that he thought it would be better for the show and the fans if Robin was out there somewhere, and they would love for me to come back someday if I could or wanted to or, if God forbid, the show canceled. They wanted to leave the door open for the good of the character, and I was absolutely fine with that.”
The mystery surrounding Robin’s captor would later be tied to other storylines and characters; with each new chapter revealing new twists and characters involved. The late Dr. Ewen Keenan (Nathin Butler) faked Robin’s death on the orders of international terrorist Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roche). Later, Robin was transferred to a facility in Switzerland, where viewers were led to believe Duke Lavery (Ian Buchanan) was holding her captive! In a twist, it was revealed that it wasn’t Duke but the villainous Cesar Faison (Anders Hove) in disguise! Robin was almost rescued in the winter of 2012, by her parents Anna (Finola Hughes) and Robert (Tristan Rogers); in a cruel twist of fate, Robert would discover that his daughter was alive, only to be injected with a drug that left him comatose!
So where does the story with Robin stand? She’s now back in the custody of Jerry Jacks. Her last known location (to viewers that is), was in the Alden Mansion in Corinth, PA, where Jerry was hiding. With Luke hunting Jerry for a cure to his radiation poisoning, might he find Robin as well?
A lot of things have changed since Robin was last in Port Charles. Her husband, Patrick (Jason Thompson), has moved on with Sabrina (Teresa Castillo). Patrick is also “expecting” a child with Dr. Britt Westbourne (Kelly Thiebaud), the daughter of Cesar Faison and Dr. Obrecht. Will Robin reclaim the life that was stolen from her?
For more on Kimberly McCullough’s return to General Hospital, check out the new Soap Opera Digest, on sale this Friday!