The phrase “a prince among men” has never been apter than when it’s used in relation to Nikolas Cassadine – General Hospital’s very own royal heir. Despite being rich in material wealth, Nikolas was always poor in familial ties and romantic relationships, leaving him a major contender for the title of saddest character in soap opera history.
Who Is Nikolas Cassadine?
Nikolas Mikhail Stavrosovich was the product of Laura Spencer’s acquiescence to her captor’s sexual advances. As the son of Stavros Cassadine, Nikolas stood to inherit the clan’s riches and title of Prince, thanks to his family being the descendants of a Russian oligarchy.
When Laura managed to escape her Grecian island prison, she did so with the intent of returning for her child whom she loved despite his unsavory origin. However, when she made her attempt to extract him, Helena arranged for the murder of Laura’s mother Lesley Webber – an act that solidified Laura’s decision to forever abandon her baby.
Introduction to the General Hospital Canvas
Upon the death of his biological father, Nikolas was raised by his uncle Stefan, who also harbored an unhealthy obsession with Laura. Around the time of his 15th birthday, Nikolas was escorted from his islet enclave by Stefan and taken to Port Charles.
There, he was introduced to his mother and informed that his bone marrow was needed to save the life of his half-sister Lesley-Lu who was lying in an incubator and battling aplastic anemia.
Nikolas agreed to the operation and his identity was exposed to Luke and Lucky – his step-father and half brother respectively. The revelation severely strained the Spencer household and ignited a feud between the newfound siblings. Matters were not helped by the fact that Nikolas and Lucky were both interested in the same woman – fellow high school student Sarah Webber.
Nikolas did his best to try and forge a bond with his new family but he only found allies in his grandmother Lesley (whom Stefan had saved from that long-ago hit) and his paternal aunt Alexis Davis. However, in time, Nikolas also grew close to Katherine Bell, a former Quartermaine in-law who began to date Stefan.
After attending a party at Port Charles’ newest hotspot – Luke’s Place – Nikolas was injured by a bullet fired at Jason Morgan which struck his throat. Jason performed an emergency tracheotomy on Nikolas, which saved his life, but he was later felled by a stroke and lost the use of his voice.
The Four Musketeers and An Engagement
In time, Nikolas recovered and grew close to Robin Scorpio. He also buried the hatchet with Lucky and together they and Elizabeth Webber joined forces to uncover the identity of Emily Quartermaine’s blackmailer. The incident bonded the quartet, who christened themselves the Four Musketeers.
Nikolas also began to develop feelings for the much older Katherine after her engagement to Stefan ended. The relationship became sexual, and Katherine extracted a proposal from her lover by telling him that she was pregnant. However, on the eve of their wedding, Katherine was murdered by Nikolas’s ever-meddling grandmother Helena.
General Hospital Love Life
Subsequent relationships with women like Gia Campbell followed for Nikolas but soon he developed eyes for only Emily Quartermaine. They had grown close after another caper involving a dead cop and murderous mob bosses and he was the only person with whom she confided her breast cancer diagnosis.
Nikolas agreed to a faked romance with her to keep Zander Smith from learning about her medical condition, but in the process, they fell in love. When the truth was finally outed, she married Zander but when her cancer went into remission, she got a divorce and pursued her true love whom she eventually wed.
However, the duo had to contend with a number of outsider interferences. After being rendered an amnesiac, Nikolas was taken in by a woman whose husband he resembled. When his memory returned, Nikolas returned to Emily but his “wife” followed him back to Port Charles and committed a number of murders in a bid to reclaim him.
Another murder-minded missus was Helena, who felt Emily was beneath her noble-blooded family. She attempted to off her would-be granddaughter-in-law numerous times and an exacerbated Nikolas responded by tossing her off a cliff! Then the man who could have been Nikolas’s twin raped Emily and she shot him dead.
The later incident strained the Cassadine marriage so Nikolas found comfort in the arms of Courtney Matthews, who bore him a son, Spencer. Thanks to forged paternity tests, he was assumed to be fathered by Jasper Jax. Luckily, Robin was able to clear up the confusion.
Nikolas Cassadine – A Broken Man
Nikolas and Emily worked their way back to each other – and she managed to save Spencer from being kidnapped on Helena’s orders. But, not long after reuniting, Nikolas lost Emily permanently when she was strangled to death by the Text Message Killer.
When he began to see ethereal visions of his late wife, Nikolas at first thought her spirit was trying to communicate but he was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor that had to be removed, least it prove fatal.
Nikolas was later conned by Emily’s identical twin sister Rebecca and the incident led him to sleep with Lucky’s fiancée Elizabeth, which severely strained the brother’s bond. Later, Nikolas pursued Britt Westbourne but dumped her when it was revealed that she had stolen his sister’s frozen embryo.
In a desperate bid to stave Cassadine Industries hemorrhaging stock price and capital deficit, Nikolas turned to the dark side and planned to use his knowledge that “Jake Doe” was really Jason Morgan to raid ELQ.
To further that goal, he even joined forces with Hayden Barnes – the woman posing as Jake’s wife. But, when she threatened to go public with what she knew, Nikolas hired a hitman to silence her. The attempted murder failed, and Nikolas found himself blackmailed into marriage by his would-be victim!
He tried to frame her for his murder and flee town, but he and his new lady friend – Ava Jerome – were kidnapped and brought to Cassadine Island. There they were confronted by Nikolas’s uncle, Valentin, who forced his nephew to sign over the entirety of the Cassadine estate.
Nikolas did so but then presumably lost his life when Valentin shot him and tumbled from the mansion’s balcony. However, when Ava attempted to make contact with Nikolas’s spirit, the psychic medium claimed that he was not a resident of the other side… General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.