DELIA AND PAT ARE SUNDERED! was a 1978 storyline that took place on the long-running ABC serial, Ryan's Hope.
This arc, which was written by the series creators, Claire Labine and Paul Avila Mayer, along with their assistants Judith Pinsker, Allan Leicht and Mary Ryan Munisteri, dealt with the stunning revelations of Delia Reid's deceit and treachery over the course of the previous year.
Her treachery sundered her relationship (and ANY friendship she had once had) with Dr. Pat Ryan (her childhood sweetheart), whom she had tricked into marriage, and his family. In this milestone storyline, the Ryans finally see Delia for the schemer and conniver that she really was and detach themselves from her.
Delia Reid Ryan (Ilene Kristen) was an inveterate schemer who hid her true scheming and conniving nature behind a child-like and helpless façade. According to her two-time sister in-law, Mary Ryan Fenelli (played at this point by Mary Carney; but the quote was said by the original Mary, Kate Mulgrew), she was "as helpless as a bulldozer." To her, she wasn't as sweet and child-like as she thought she was, but was "selfish and destructive and more than a little bit crazy!"
She had been married to former police officer turned attorney turned local politician, Francis "Frank" Ryan (played at that time by Daniel Hugh-Kelly), and had a son with him, Little John (played at this time by Jadrien Steele) but they were finally divorced, when she was caught having an affair with Dr. Roger Coleridge (Ron Hale), a conniving doctor whose wealthy family was old friends with Frank's family.
However, her heart was with his younger brother, Dr. Pat Ryan (Malcolm Groome), a neurologist at nearby Riverside hospital, who had been her high-school sweetheart.
However, Pat had always carried a torch for Roger's younger sister, Dr. Faith Coleridge, herself a pediatrician (played at that point by Karen Morris-Gowdy) who also worked at Riverside Hospital.
The scheming Delia would do everything possible to get what she wanted. She would moan, cry, play helpless; throw tantrums and lash out at people if she wasn't the center of attention. That was her aim, that the spotlight be completely on her, and not on anyone else.
Usually she could very easily manipulate the Ryan family to her whims and to allow her to throw her tantrums and get what she wanted, but things had been changing recently within the family, and, to Delia's disgust, the changes were not to her liking.
Two years previous, she had shoved her ex-husband's paramour, Jillian Coleridge (Nancy Addison Altman), Roger and Faith's sister, and injured her when she lashed out at her (the year previously, she had shoved Frank himself down a flight of stairs in the hospital, an accident which nearly killed him; this was shown in the premiere episode of the series). This was the beginning of the Ryan family getting wise to Delia and her deceitful ways.
She and Pat had a night in bed and she ended up pregnant. It was revealed that she became pregnant on purpose in order to snare Pat and to break up him and Faith (who were engaged at that time) for good.
Because he thought she was pregnant he wanted to do the right thing by her. Against his better judgment, he proposed marriage so the child wouldn't be illegitimate, although everyone wanted Pat to marry Faith. He would soon regret his decision.
However, three weeks before their marriage, Delia had perhaps deliberately miscarried the child and did not tell Pat about the miscarriage for fear she would lose him for good. With him not knowing that she had miscarried, he and Delia got married.
During his marriage, Delia's continual neurotic neediness would drive him to amphetamines. Delia neurotically thought that Pat was pining after Faith, but he hadn't. He could not avoid working with her at the same hospital, although Delia would have loved that.
At one point, a completely drugged Pat would angrily push Delia down a flight of stairs, giving her a taste of her own medicine, given what she had done to his brother and the woman who should have been his sister in-law.
However, despite her being a newlywed, Delia still dallied around with Roger, the same person she had an affair with while she was married to Frank.
In spite of her continual infidelity, Delia still schemed to keep Pat on a very short leash. She would threaten suicide if he didn't continually reassure her and pay complete attention to her. If his focus was off of her for even only ten seconds, she would constantly threaten to self-destruct.
To make things look more realistic after her hidden true miscarriage, she faked another miscarriage (the attending doctor, Dr. Bill Wolf, had examined her and she had had her regular period), going to the obstetrics clinic at the hospital, using an assumed name, Sheila Brown and giving a fake address.
However, Roger had heard the attending nurse, Alicia Nieves (Ana Alicia) call her "Mrs. Brown". Realizing that something was quite amiss, he became suspicious. So, to help Pat, he checked out the medical records finding out the truth. It turned out that it was Delia.
Others, besides Roger and Alicia, who found out the whole sordid situation and knew about it was Faith; Delia's shrink, Dr. Al Pagano; and Father MacShane, the rector at St Aloysius Catholic Church, the Ryan family's parish, and the family's long-time priest.
During a cruise, of which she conned the tickets out from her in-laws, Johnny (Bernard Barrow) and Maeve (Helen Gallagher), Delia, who had a case of hysterical blindness, triggered by Roger (who had been over to tell Pat the entire truth of what Delia had done and because she was drowning in her own lies), had gotten her eyesight back a few weeks prior. She decided to continue faking her blindness to keep a hold on Pat.
To make matters worse, she also used a faked nervous collapse also as a means to keep Pat on her short leash.
During said cruise, another cruise guest saw her faking her blindness and the woman told Pat what was going on. Delia later admitted to Pat that she had faked her blindness. This disgusted the youngest Ryan son.
Then Pat and Delia came back to Riverside early from their cruise. When Pat arrived at the Coleridge home, he found out that Faith had just married a man named Tom Desmond (Thomas MacGreevey) who had some immigration issues and after they were straightened up, he married her.
At first, Faith was shaken by Pat's appearance, but Pat congratulated her on her marriage to Tom and wished her all the best. She accepted his congratulations graciously.
Pat then told Maeve and Johnny about Delia's brazen treachery. Roger then pulled Pat aside and apologized to him for what Delia had done. Then he told his younger sister the whole story about Delia's treachery and deceit.
When Delia left Ryan's Bar (where Pat had furiously ordered her to remain) to go to the Coleridge house (where Faith's wedding had taken place), she had been confronted by Faith for her deceptions and lies towards everyone.
Faith did not mince words in her contempt towards Delia. She also knew what Delia had pulled (thanks to Roger telling her). Delia taunted Faith by saying that she was headed for another nervous breakdown and that if Tom had heard what she had said about Pat, he would have left her. Delia said this knowing that she wanted Faith to hurt!
Faith, furious at the taunting Delia, told her enemy that there had been no family who would have put up with the garbage that Delia stirred up than the Ryans had. She furiously told her that she had two miscarriages, the real one (which had occurred before her wedding to Pat) and then a faked one. Delia began her usual lying and denying that she had had two miscarriages.
During the argument, Pat came in and heard the two women arguing (Faith had threatened to go to Maeve, Johnny, Frank and Mary and tell them all what Delia had done, but Delia demanded that Faith had no right to touch her).
Pat then confronted Delia and demanded that he be told all she knew. Delia kept on lying and denying, until Faith told Pat that Delia had been the one who had kept inflicting her into their marriage.
Faith married Tom to put a stop to that. Faith demanded then that Pat quit looking to her for help, because it was too late. Pat apologized to Faith, and she accepted it that it was all in the past. Despite their being finished; she and Tom would remain married until his death and she would never remarry, although she would later try to date Pat's brother, Frank, to her sister, Jillian's dismay, she and Pat would remain friends.
Roger then came in and, after having Faith go to her new husband, would tell a horrified Pat the whole story about what Delia had pulled on him all that year (Delia tried to tell him everything, but she still obfuscated the story, finally forcing Roger to tell Pat the truth).
Roger would go into detail and expose all of Delia's schemes, their trip abroad that Roger and Delia took (which was nothing more than a means to an end, the end result being Delia being with Patrick); the faked miscarriage; the faked blindness and the fake nervous collapse. Delia tried in vain to keep Pat from finding everything out, but it failed.
By this time, Pat was beyond furious with Delia. He thanked Roger for telling him what he had long since suspected, (Roger told him that he was trying to get Delia into intensive therapy with Dr. Pagano) and then told a horrified Delia that he had only married her because he thought she was pregnant and that he did not love her. He then told her, point blank, that he never wanted to see her again.
As he left, he ordered Delia to not come back to Ryan's but to go to her apartment. This sent Delia into a rage and she screamed at Roger that what he had done was all his fault (another of her numerous MO's was that she blamed everyone else for her misfortunes, and she never took responsibility for her actions). Then, Bob Reid (Earl Hindman), Delia's brother, came in and tried to calm his sister.
However, a few minutes later, Bob would also turn against Delia when he found out from Roger about his sister's complete treachery towards the Ryans.
A near hysterical Delia then berated both Bob and Roger that because of their revelations to Pat about her treachery, of which nobody was supposed to know anything about, now made nobody care about her.
She moaned that everyone was ganging up on her and nobody cared about her. In a rage, she would ran after Pat. Bob would go get Maeve and Johnny and tell them what was going on.
Meanwhile, Pat, intent of getting every vestige of Delia out of his life once and for all, was back at his family's apartment, packing all of her belongings into a suitcase. Delia would return from the Coleridges house and begged (read: whined) and pleaded that Pat not throw her out of her home.
Pat was not interested in hearing a word out of Delia's mouth, knowing that it was nothing but a bunch of lies. He announced to her that the next morning, he was going to begin proceedings for a divorce or an annulment whichever one was quickest.
Despite her pleas, her tears and her moaning, he packed her suitcase and ordered her to leave his family's home. Delia refused, and she still denied that she had done anything that was so wrong. She felt all she was doing was saving her false sham of a marriage.
Pat then told Delia that he was angry at her for marrying him under false pretenses when he had been in love with Faith and had wanted to marry her. Delia screamed that Faith had only wanted him because he was Delia's.
He contradicted her by telling her that he was not hers and never would be. She still demanded that he was hers. He continued berating her, while she kept yelling that she was his wife and that he had no right to do this to her. He shot back that "you did this to yourself!".
When his parents and Bob, who overheard Pat and Delia arguing, came in, Pat gathered everyone together and revealed everything that she had done over the past year. He had done so in this manner to prevent Delia from going around to everyone else and lying about it to elicit sympathy. The revelations stunned Maeve and Johnny who finally saw Delia for the manipulative and scheming liar that she really was.
At one point, Delia screamed that she was still part of the family, no matter what anyone else said. She tried to invoke Little John and the fact that she was the child's mother which would still make her a part of the family. Maeve would tell Delia furiously, "Don't, Delia! Do not talk to me about......children, or Little John or about motherin'! Don't you DARE!"
In spite of everything, Delia still kept on denying she did anything that was so wrong. She again tried to deflect her own lies by calling Pat a liar for not loving her and taking care of her. She complained that if she had lost Pat, she would kill herself.
A furious Pat, knowing that, once again, she was lying and faking, would call her bluff and opened a nearby window at the far end of the apartment. He then screamed at the top of his lungs, "Go ahead, Delia!!! JUMP!!!!"
Delia was stunned that Pat could be so cruel as to see through her ploy and that he would call her bluff on her often go-to tactic. Pat then began to berate Delia for what she did, declaring that "Even with all the good will in the world, it is difficult to keep caring, when one knows it is nothing but an act. The impulse is to help it along a little bit.".
He then reiterated to her that he was going to file for a civil annulment, and if not, he would file for divorce (their marriage was outside of the Catholic Church, and therefore wasn't recognized).
Delia defiantly said she would not give him a divorce because she did not want to give up Pat or the Ryan name, most especially, the Ryan name; but he yelled that because of her fraud, she didn't have a choice, and because there were witnesses to said fraud, he did not have to have her permission.
After once more Delia trying to keep Pat from leaving her, he threw her arms off of him. He demanded that their dealings be done with once and for all. He would then finish her off by telling her, "When I think about all the lies and what it cost me, and everyone else in this room, I get SICK!" He would then ask Bob to take her back to her apartment, which Bob readily agreed to.
He then bolted out of the door, despite Delia's wailing and protesting, going over to his best friend, Bucky Carter's (Justin Deas) apartment and he told him the whole sordid story. As was revealed later on, Bucky, infuriated by what she had done to his best friend, never spoke to Delia again.
Meanwhile, back at Ryan's, it was Maeve's turn to berate Delia for what she had done to the family over the years. It was there that she revealed that she had known the Reids for many years, especially when Delia was seven.
During the confrontation, Maeve would later realize that Delia married Frank and had Little John because she couldn't have Pat (who was away at college and in medical school at that time), and married Frank as a substitute. She wanted the Ryan name and wanted them to take care of her.
This would come into play later on when Frank used Delia's mental state to talk with the church about getting the marriage annulled.
Maeve scolded Delia for using her unborn child to set a trap for Pat; and then not mourning the baby after it died. She remonstrated at Delia about how she had drained Pat of all his strength and nearly ruined his career as a doctor, which she did not care about.
While she did not like the fact that he turned to drugs to keep going, she felt that Delia's treacherous antics had driven him to it. When Delia demanded that Maeve see what she had been driven to, the Ryan matriarch yelled at Delia, "All right, STOP IT, GIRL!!! STOP IT!!!!! YOU'VE TRADED ON THAT ONE LONG ENOUGH!!!!"
She finished her soon-to-be-ex-daughter-in-law off by saying that although she knew hundreds and millions of people who did not have as many advantages as she had as a child, she had behaved deplorably. Maeve then fell into Johnny's arms nearly in tears. She was so angry at Delia that she would have done something she might have regretted.
At that point, Johnny demanded that Bob get Delia out of their home. Bob quickly ushered a hysterical Delia out of the apartment. Maeve prayed to God to forgive her for what she felt for Delia at that moment.
At her apartment, Bob finished off the massive confrontation by telling Delia exactly what he thought of what she had done. He was not proud of her, he announced, he was ashamed. He then left her alone in the apartment. Totally alone, she flung a pillow on her lap and she sobbed.
She finally realized that, due to her schemes and her unending treachery, she had nobody. The Ryans had turned their backs on her at long last, finally detaching themselves from her devious and very neurotic behavior; Pat had thrown her over and would never speak to her again, their long-time friendship was destroyed clearly beyond repair; even her older brother, her one and only constant, had turned against her!
She sobbed in agony, but then she began to utter, "Momma", showing that she was headed for a massive nervous breakdown. However, nobody bought it, given her constantly crying "wolf" so many times.
The results of what happened
The epilogue to this story was with Roger's help, Delia became much more independent; after she straightened up, she would gladly give Pat his annulment and then gave Frank his divorce, and she would later marry Roger (they would later divorce and she would marry a man named Matthew Crane; while he would marry Maggie Shelby, Jill's half-sister. Delia and Roger would later remarry after Matthew's death and Roger divorced Maggie).
Pat would get over Faith and marry a doctor named Concetta D'Angelo, who had once dated his nephew, Johnno, they would move to Mexico in the final years of the show to work with Doctors Without Borders; and Frank and Jill would FINALLY (after nearly 14 years of trouble and troublemaking interference) become husband and wife! She would find that she had more freedom after she broke away from the Ryan family, and she became a rather successful businesswoman. In spite of everything, Delia and Pat would become friends again (especially when they put a stop to Pat's half-brother, Dakota's scheming), although it wasn't as it had been in the earlier years.
Delia on General Hospital
Many years after Ryan's Hope ended, Delia was shown in various episodes of ABC's only remaining soap, General Hospital. Her storyline was retrograded to show that before she had married Frank Ryan and had Little John, she had been briefly married to a powerful mobster named Victor Jerome, and had a daughter with him named Ava, whom she had put up for adoption.
She was still slightly devious although she wasn't as bad as she had been back in the early days of Ryan's Hope, and would run afoul of Port Charles' leading crime lord, Sonny Corinthos, who would banish her back to New York. It was revealed that she was now the owner of Ryan's Bar as both Johnny and Maeve were presumed to be dead and the rest of the family had moved on and had their own lives.