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Series / Days of Our Lives

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"Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."
—The epitaph which opens every episode

Days of Our Lives is a long-running American daytime Soap Opera which debuted in November 1965, rivaling Coronation Street for popularity and longevity. It's also the only thing left on the NBC daytime schedule which isn't Today. Created by the husband and wife team of Ted and Betty Corday (whose son, Ken, has served as showrunner since Betty passed away in 1986),note  the show centers on the lives (and love lives) of the denizens of Salem, a mid-sized city in an unspecified Midwestern state.

Originally, Days focused on the Hortons, a family who tended to become doctors. As time went on, more focus was given to the rivalry between the Italian DiMeras and the Irish Bradys, while still keeping the Hortons at the forefront. Despite being generally grounded in reality, the show has featured stories involving aliens, spies, ghosts, evil twins, and mad scientists. These are generally considered to be the worst seasons...or the best.


Days is unusual among daytime soap operas in that, to help maintain familiarity with longtime viewers, it has kept on a huge number of "legacy" characters dating as far back as the show's first decade on the air. Several characters died along with their actors, such as Frances Reid who played the loving matriarch Alice Horton from the show's debut up until 2007; she remained on contract until her death at age 95 in 2010. McDonald Carey, the announcer heard during the iconic hourglass title sequence, also played Tom Horton from 1965 until shortly before his death from cancer in '94. Peggy McCay played Brady family matriarch Caroline in 1983, then again from 1985-2016. Each remained a cornerstone of the series well into their forties and older, creating a counterbalance with newer characters who have been added to Days' canvas over fifty years. This remained the case even after an edict by NBC's daytime division in the 90's to focus more on the younger characters (both in and out of the three core families) to attract the young adult demographic — a decision which contributed to the cancellation of daytime stablemate Another World in 1999 in favor of the younger-skewing Passions.


Among the main cast (as of 2019), Dierdre Hall (Dr. Marlena Evans Black), Drake Hogestyn (John Black), Kristian Alfonso (Hope Williams Brady/Gina Von Amberg), Josh Taylor (Roman Brady), Melissa Reeves (Jennifer Horton Deveraux), Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux), John Aniston (Victor Kiriakis), James Reynolds (Abe Carver), Bill Hayes (Doug Williams) and the show's two longest-serving actors, Suzanne Rogers (Maggie Horton Kiriakis) and Susan Seaforth Hayes (Julie Olson Williams), have been with the series either consistently or periodically for at least 25 years.

A popular show among daytime drama queens.

This series provides examples of:

  • AB Negative: Philip Kiriakis has a rare blood type, as do many others on the show.
  • Abortion Fallout Drama: Mimi has an abortion after becoming pregnant by Rex. This is shown to be difficult for her emotionally, but she decides she is too young to have kids. She is punished harshly for this decision; she is blackmailed into assisting a kidnapper, her relationship with Rex falls apart when he finds out, and she becomes a borderline villain for some time.
  • Absentee Actor:
    • Unfortunately, Frances Reid (Alice Horton) due to her health. Her last appearance before her death in 2010 was in 2007.
    • Mickey Horton was treated like this for a while as well. Always off-screen until they wrote his death into the story. Ironically, Mickey's death was worked into the storyline as a result of the 2012 death of his second portrayer, John Ingle (who played Mickey from 2004 to 2006), whereas John Clarke (who played Mickey from 1965 to 2004) was still living at the time.note 
  • Abusive Parents: Jack Deveraux and Steve Johnson's biological dad, Melanie Jonas's adoptive dad, Nicole Walker's dad, Austin and Billie Reed's dad...
  • Adopt the Dog:
    • Several characters, but Sami Brady is the most notorious case. She didn't so much undergo a change as become bored of evil, as she'd already accomplished all of her objectives. She did, however, retain her intelligence and hard-bitten attitude.
    • Victor Kiriakis was arguably a case of Meet the New Boss during Stefano's absence in the mid-to-late 1980s. He was eventually redeemed, while retaining more than a bit of an edge and a cantankerous spirit, and is now even married to the show's Big Good Maggie Horton.
  • Affectionate Parody: On Friends, Joey Tribbiani plays brain surgeon Dr. Drake Ramoray in a slightly-more ridiculous version of Days of Our Lives (Many non-American Friends fans don't realize Days of Our Lives is a real show!); which, in a case of geographical license, takes place in-universe within the show's New York City setting! The only NBC soap taped in New York during that time was Another World, which ended its run shortly after Friends' fifth season; Days, Sunset Beach and AW replacement Passions were all filmed in Burbank, California. Several Days cast members including Alison Sweeney (Sami Brady), Kristian Alfonso (Hope Brady), Roark Critchlow (Mike Horton), Kyle Lowder (then-Brady Black) and Matthew Ashford (Jack Deveraux) guest-starred on Friends over the two stints in which Joey worked on the show in-universe; the notable exception is John Aniston (Victor Kiriakis), whose daughter Jennifer Aniston played Rachel Green on Friends.
  • Anyone Can Die: But a lot of the times, they regretted the decision...hence the next trope.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The many mystery diseases and treatments. And no matter how a person "dies," it's entirely possible they will be back one day.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Salem is the center of the universe. Many characters leave Salem to live in "Europe", as if it's one city or country.
  • Back from the Dead: Just about 90% of the cast has been killed off at one point of another.
    • Stefano and Tony DiMera have died about 20 times so far (each!). One of those times, Stefano was brought back in the body of another Salemite, Steve Johnson, thanks to his lackey Dr. Wilhelm Rolf who inserted computer chips into Hope Brady and (presumably) Steve to brainwash them with the respective personas of Princess Gina and Stefano. The decision to bring Stefano back in Steve's body was a rarity for the show. The role had been associated with Joseph Mascolo since Stefano's creation in 1982 and over his four stints extending through 2016; it was presumed that Stefano, like Frances and Tom before him, was killed permanently after Mascolo's death in December 2016. (Stefano was shot dead in a crime-of-passion by Hope Brady, which played out onscreen months prior to Mascolo's passing.) But the 2019 Time Skip featured the much-younger Steve Johnson, played by Stephen Nichols, take over the role. Which is in keeping with Stefano frequently being described as a "Phoenix" who "always rises" from the dead.
    • During one storyline (the 2004 Melaswen storyline), characters were shown killed in over-the-top ways, had funerals with open caskets, and were shown as ghosts. They still all came back at the conclusion of the storyline several months later.
    • Dr. Wilhelm Rolf had his body crushed by a crate on-screen, then had his corpse used to fake another death. Yet when it came time for another Rolf story, he was brought back right as rain. When asked about it, his Lampshade Hanging answer? "It didn't take."
    • Since Rolf's return in 2017 it has become a recurring plot that Rolf has perfected a serum that allows the dead to return. So far at least eight characters including Rolf himself have returned from the dead thanks to this serum. Not counting all the work he did previous to perfecting the serum.
    • Another funny quote from this had Clyde Weston meeting Orpheus (another character who was dead when last seen), Clyde asked "How did a guy named Milo Harp get named Orpheus? Did you rise from the dead or something?" Orpheus responded with "something like that." Speaking of Orpheus, who had a fake death since that return and when it appeared he was dead again. Steve ordered the EMT to "check again" after he pronounced Orpheus deceased. And like clockwork 2020 revealed Orpheus was indeed alive again.
  • Big Bad: Stefano DiMera since the early 1980s, but to a lesser extent most members of his family at various times. Over the years many other characters have come and gone trying to cement themselves as the new town main bad guy. Most of them don't have anywhere near as long a tenure. Some of them include Deimos Kiriakis, Clyde Weston, Martino Vitali, Vivian Alamain and Anjelica Deveraux. Victor Kiriakis could have been seen as a possible contender but he was softened too much that prevented him from taking on the role in full.
  • Big Good: Alice Horton, the matriarch of the Horton family (originally the main focus of all the show's storylines) and one of the show's original characters dating to its 1965 debut. Even though she didn't really have any storylines from the 1970s onward and the Horton family eventually receded in favor of other families, she was in a very real sense the center of the show, until her actress Frances Reid stopped appearing onscreen by 2007 due to illness (Reid died in 2010 at the age of 95; she was still on contract). Her place has been more or less taken by her daughter-in-law, Maggie Horton (played by Suzanne Rogers since 1973, who has since taken Reid's place as the show's longest continuously running cast member).
  • Black Sheep: Sami used to be considered this of the Brady family.
    • Victor treated Xander Cook as this but it seems this extended out to Xander's father, Titus Kiriakis, and the other new brother, Deimos Kiriakis.
  • Brand X: An extreme case in which a sleeping pill caused Hope's Jekyll & Hyde switch at nighttime. It's an obvious stand-in of notorious weirdmaker sleep aid Ambien, but it was never even given a name in-story.
  • Brother Chuck: Numerous characters have just disappeared with no explanation.
  • Buried Alive: Carly Manning was famously buried alive by Vivian in one of the soap's more known moments.
    • Then Vivian was locked in a sarcophagus that she intended for Maggie, but said was for the remains of Victor's daughter. Not quite "buried", as the thing is above ground, but still "live person where you'd expect a dead body".
  • Bury Your Gays: Not long after becoming part of the show's first married gay couple and first out gay parent, Will Horton becomes the victim of a serial killer (later revealed to be Ben Weston). It quickly proved to be an unpopular story development among viewers and the cast, and was eventually retconned.
  • The Bus Came Back: A whole lot of examples given how long the show has ran. Many characters that were once written out have returned as short-term or long-term characters, and as also said it didn't matter if their last bus out was a hearse.
  • But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Nicole and more. Nicole Walker and Kristen DiMera are notable, given that both women have been diagnosed as being incapable of having children. Nicole has had at least three different pregnancies, only one of which produced a child (only for said daughter to be presumed dead in a car accident, then revealed to be alive and well as Kristen had faked the child's death, kidnapped Nicole and her kid and assumed Nicole's identity in a plot to get back with Brady Black). Kristen, so far, has not been so lucky, having had more than one miscarriage and losing the only child she conceived to birth (fathered by Brady) in a stillbirth, albeit without knowing that the latter was switched with Sarah Horton’s newborn daughter, after it died in an accident first thought to be caused by a drunk Maggie (later revealed to be caused by Orpheus and his son, Christian aka Evan, while they were kidnapping Maggie) that Sarah survived but also killed Adrienne Kiriakis, only to find out about the switch, leading to Sarah suffering a psychotic break and kidnapping Rachel Isabella to Europe and Kristen having to go on the run after reuniting with Rachel after stabbing Victor (who survived) for his role in the baby switch. Both Nicole and Kristen have also faked pregnancies, the latter having even stolen (through surgery) an unborn child conceived by Theresa Donovan and Brady and masquerading it as her own, only for Theresa to eventually realize that Kristen drugged and kidnapped her to have said procedure done.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Chloe Lane. She began life out as the weird goth chick who sings and the target of frequent pranks by her classmates. Despite having no discernible negative qualities apart from being a bit of a slut (albeit less so than some married characters!), she still gets no respect from anyone whatsoever.
    • Roman Brady got a bit of this treatment back in the early 90s, when it was revealed that Belle was John Black's daughter and not his. Even though Marlena Evans cheated on Roman with John, it was Roman was vilified for refusing to raise another man's daughter. Odd considering the other man was still alive, and Marlena was still having an affair with him!
  • Character Shilling: Dr. Daniel Jonas. A large number of characters are given dialogue explaining how wonderful, brilliant, sexy, handsome, moral and brave Dr. Jonas is. It is especially common for Nurse Maxine, Nicole, Father Eric and Daniel's biological mother Maggie Horton to praise him as well as criticize his critics. Later on, prior to the character's death in a 2017 car crash storyline, JJ and Abigail Deveraux also sung his praises.
  • Christmas Episode: Of the four remaining American daytime soaps, Days is one of only two that air first-run episodes on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (The Young and the Restless being the other), and both episodes have holiday traditions unique to the show:
    • The annual Christmas Eve episode involves the traditional hanging of the Horton Christmas ornaments on the tree at Alice's house. In the 1966 Christmas episode, it was revealed that Tom Horton's mother had made the seven original personalized ornaments (for Tom, Alice, Mickey, Bill, Addie, Marie and Tommy) that were seen on the tree each year until 1970. The ornament ceremony became a full-fledged tradition in 1971, with Alice making ornaments for the rest of the family and the Hortons (eventually extended to include family friends and unmarried significant others of various family members as guests) placing the ornaments—emblazened with the names of living (in Salem or abroad) and deceased family members—on the tree.
    • The Christmas Day episode features the reading of the Christmas Story to sick children staying at Salem University Hospital (played by the real-life children of members of the show's cast and crew). Unlike the ornament ceremony, how or whether the Christmas Story reading occurred varied; it was not held in 1995 (as most of the characters had been kidnapped by the DiMeras and trapped on the island of Aremid), did not have an original reading in 2001 (the story was read under a flashback episode featuring clips of Tom and Alice each reading the story), and was not read at University Hospital in 2010-11 (Theo Carver and Father James provided a split reading outside the hospital in 2010, and Doug Williams read the story at Horton Town Square in 2011).
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Stefano, EJ, Sami, and Nicole, among others.
  • Circus of Fear: Tony (Andre) DiMera was the ring leader of this particular circus and was about to reveal the identity of the Salem Stalker, when the Stalker sicced a tiger on him.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Sami decides to stay married to EJ DiMera and this is one of the reasons. (EJ is, legally, an American citizen, but came into the U.S. without the right papers. Then again, EJ is also 11 years old.)
    • In 2017, Dario Hernandez lied to pull off one of these with Abigail Deveraux.
    • In 2019, Tripp Dalton married Haley Chen in order to keep her from being deported to China. This failed as a result of Tripp's girlfriend, Claire Brady's, jealousy over the relationship out of fear that he would leave her for Haley in a similar manner as Claire wound up on the losing end of a love triangle involving her close-in-age aunt, Ciara Brady, and Theo Carver the year prior. To ensure Haley gets deported and to keep Tripp to herself, Claire hatching a plot with Eve Donovan to sabotage the marriage and expose Haley's undocumented status, which Eve saw as a benefit for Jack's mayoral campaign (which used anti-immigrant policy rhetoric mirroring that used in Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric and presidency). Ultimately, this plan backfired against Claire, attorney Melinda Trask (who had emigrated to the States while leaving Haley behind in China under the care of her grandparents, and had claimed to be her sister) reveals that she is Haley's mother through an unplanned pregnancy and arranges for her to remain in the United States.
  • Class Trip: Sami Brady and Lucas Roberts go camping with their son Will's class and decide to give their relationship a chance.
  • The Chew Toy: Jack Deveraux. Especially under Reilly's pen (as the writer hated Matt Ashford), but especially in his final stint on the show, where he was mocked repeatedly by Jennifer for the huge amount of post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered after the 2003-2004 Salem Stalker storyline (most notably, being stabbed, vivisected, trapped on an island for nearly an entire year THEN failing to be rescued with everyone else, nearly escaping only to find the wife who you reunited with was a fake who dragged you back to being imprisoned, only to be freed to find your wife was sleeping with the sleazy son of a grifter who was trying to seduce members of your wife's family to leach off their money! And even when you are reunited, that pesky terminal illness you thought had beaten years beforehand comes roaring back and nearly kills you, AGAIN). Post-Reilly, Jack eventually wound up getting killed while rescuing daughter Abigail from an elevator following a fire/explosion, only to come back seven years later, with no memory of his family and being manipulated by his wife's nemesis, Eve, to get revenge on Jennifer, only to finally regain his memory (without the aid of a serum that Eve hid) and have his wedding to Jennifer marred by Hope (brainwashed into her Princess Gina alter) pushing Jennifer out a window and into a one-year-long coma.
  • Creepy Child: The elementary school-aged Ciara Brady was basically Wednesday Addams, albeit slightly less homicidal. The teen Ciara, however, lost a lot of these qualities. Upon her recast she regained a little bit of her edge but not to the extent of her childhood. She did grow up to marry a reformed serial killer after all.
  • Creepy Twins: A lot of this town thought of Rex and Cassie DiMera (later revealed to actually be Bradys), although they were just more weird than creepy.
  • Dating Do-Si-Do: It would probably be faster to list the characters who haven't been together at one point or another in the past...
  • Deadly Gas: Jennifer Horton and Frankie Brady go through this when trying to crack a safe.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Many characters over the years get these lines, but right now the throne is held by Victor. Call it based on cynicism, call it because he knows some of these people too well, but Victor has a major habit of criticizing or lampooning Salem's sketchiest residents. Much of this barbs have been reserved for Nicole Walker (who attempted to kill Victor during her marriage to him), Sami Brady, Chloe Lane and Kristen DiMera, all of whom have been involved with any one of his sons, nephews and grandsons (including Brady Black, Philip Kiriakis and Daniel Jonas) over the years. It's somewhat apparent he does this because he worries the Kiriakis men are involved with the wrong women, and most often, that instinct proves right and ends in disaster.
    • Jack was the king of this when he was on the show. There were scenes he would appear in and have no business being in, just so he could make fun of everyone.
    • Melanie also had her share of good snark to dish out.
  • Demonic Possession: Marlena endures this in an infamous 1994–95 storyline.
  • Diabolical Mastermind:
    • Stefano's operation expanded to Blofeld-level proportions (a multi-ethnic gang and bases on every continent), and his No. 1 minion was a German chemist.
    • Even in the '80s, Stefano had his own island compound, complete with female henchpeople!
  • Disabled Love Interest: Just at the birth of the Kayla/Steve supercouple. After an aggression, Kayla Brady is involved in a gas explosion, and despite having no other visible injuries, she wakes up with (seemingly) permanent hearing damage and a useless voice box. She later gets her hearing back because of a risky, experimental surgery, after deciding to marry Steve, and her voice returns just in time to exchange her wedding vows.
    • Chloe Lane after her car accident in Austria, which resulted in her face being partially disfigured and the (temporary) loss of her operatic singing voice.
  • Driven to Suicide: JJ Deveraux, after he accidentally shot Theo Carver. It wound up being an Interrupted Suicide after Gabi Hernandez stopped him. Gabi's decision to comfort JJ platonically in his bed, however, resulted in Lani Price (whom JJ had been dating) and Eli Grant (who had been dating Gabi) cheating on them and conceiving their own child, all thanks to Lani visiting JJ at a bad time.
  • Dull Surprise: Carly's default expression (Botox may be involved); it usually indicates "perma-frazzled", though she also uses it for "angry" and "scared".
  • Entitled to Have You: After Ciara returns to Salem, she believes Theo has to pick her over Claire because she considers herself to be better than Claire. She doesn't listen to any kind of reason and is adamant Theo cannot prefer someone else to her, never taking his feelings into account.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The morally bankrupt of Salem (about half the cast) all consider Stefano to be the worst one. Nicole to a lesser degree is hated by "pious saints" Kate and Sami.
    • Subverted with Jack, who was widely reviled throughout Salem following his rape of Kayla (and his subsequent ACQUITTAL for the rape, which was achieved by Jack going before a jury and basically arguing that martial rape isn't rape-rape and getting a jury to buy that defense). Only through pure force of will from Jennifer Horton, plus Steve and Kayla both forgiving Jack for his crime (since the rape was brought on by Jack finding out that Kayla never loved him and that Steve had forced her into the loveless marriage because Jack has severe health problems that everyone was expecting to kill him), did polite society in Salem forgive him.
    • Kristen, who has done everything up to and including raping a priest, won't hurt children.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Steve Johnson wore a patch over his damaged eye and was generally the most badass character on the show during at least his first run. Because of this distinguishing feature, Steve has sometimes been nicknamed "Patch," mainly among the show's fandom and seldomly in-canon.
  • Evil Twin: Tony and Andre DiMera (albeit they are cousins). Andre is considered to be the evil one, while Tony (whose not without his faults) is considered the good one.
    • Specifically, Andre was given plastic surgery to make him look like his cousin Tony at the contrivance of the man Tony grew up believing was his father, crime lord/practical supervillain Stefano DiMera. At Stefano's behest and while Tony was kept secretly imprisoned, Andre—while impersonating Tony—became a serial killer just to frame an enemy of Stefano's, although Stefano ended up betraying him once Andre's killing spree included Stefano's own daughter (although that didn't stop Stefano many years later from getting Andre to pretend to be Tony again!).
    • Marlena and her (now deceased) twin sister Samantha, who was played by Andrea Hall, the real-life twin of Marlena's actress, Dierdre Hall.
    • Marlena also has a twin in Hattie Adams (originally played by Andrea Hall from 2000 to 2001, then by Dierdre Hall in 2004 and recurringly since 2016), who received plastic surgery to look exactly like Marlena at the request of Stefano's henchman, with Stefano and Hattie both noticing the latter's resemblance to Marlena. Stefano's plan to use Hattie failed during that go-around, even though she tried to convince Roman into believing she was Marlena. In 2017, Hattie started impersonating Marlena again in a plot with Anjelica Deveraux, who had Marlena infirmed in a mental institution to allow Hattie to assume her life, only for Hope to eventually catch onto Hattie's real identity; she was eventually imprisoned for the murder of Andre DiMera.
    • Shane Donovan and his twin brother, Andrew. When Drew finally got a The Bus Came Back moment, he ended up on better terms.
    • Likewise while it had never been acknowledged, Adrienne Johnson Kiriakis and Bonnie Lockhart were played by the same actress, Judi Evansnote . The above-mentioned Hattie, in a 2017 plotline, got Bonnie out of jail to help impersonate Adrienne.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Kristen Blake DiMera begins as a White Sheep for the DiMera clan, but when she loses John to Marlena, she turns insane and engages in all manner of over-the-top evil schemes to get him back.
    • Nick Fallon starts out as a nice guy and a Hollywood Nerd, only to become a drug-addicted murderer and stalker, and after a difficult stint in prison, a blackmailer, homophobe and would-be rapist.
    • Tony DiMera, was, like Kristen, a white sheep, estranged from his father, then turned heel when he lost his wife Kristen to John (notice a pattern?). It was later retconned that all of Tony's heinous acts were done by his lookalike cousin Andre, posing as him. And Tony came back as a (reasonably) good guy.
  • The Family for the Whole Family: The DiMeras vary on how evil, competent, or realistic they are, but they're always Italian mobsters. For a ruthless godfather "at war" with the Brady family, Stefano never seemed interested in actually fatally-harming anyone. He was more of a troll than a genuine killer.
  • Fainting: If you faint, then you must be pregnant.
  • Feuding Families: The Bradys and DiMeras are lifelong enemies. Recently, the Kiriakis and DiMera family have started a new feud.
  • Filler: Many stories move so slowly that one can miss a few episodes and still know exactly what's going on.
    • Deconstructed during the show's heyday (the '80s and early '90s, before James E. Reilly took over as head writer). The writers constructed a format for how storylines were presented to maximize ratings: basically the show's principal main characters (Bo, Hope, Marlena, Roman/John Black) were featured on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with the Monday and Friday episodes serving to drive major plot developments and Wednesday (and, when required, Thursday) being a "breather" day with occasional cameos. The Tuesday and Thursday episodes (which, according to research done by the major networks, were the days that most people didn't watch soaps and as such, saw the serials experience their lowest ratings of the week), were reserved for secondary characters (Jack, Jennifer, Kayla, and Steve) and their storylines along with "day in the life" style spotlights for minor characters or older cast members who had been phased out (Bill and Alice Horton).
  • Flashback with the Other Darrin: Billie and Bo (Julie Pinson being the recast), Belle and Shawn (Martha Madison recreating scenes by the originator Kirsten Storms), Jennifer and Eve (Kassie DePaiva recreating scenes by the originator Charlotte Ross, with heavy filters masking that both actors are a couple of decades older than their characters were in those scenes).
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Pretty much was Sami's fate for the bulk of Allison Sweeney's run on the show. Sami's storylines were almost always isolated from the main cast, especially the various Stefano storylines. Granted, this allowed writers to have a secondary Big Bad for other stories, but it got very frustrating, watching Sami only having tangible awareness of the crap going on around her, especially since Stefano and his various schemes are part of the core reason why she ended up a sociopath.
  • Groin Attack: When Stefano got wind that Rafe Hernandez had been hooking up with his ex-wife Kate Roberts, he decided the best response was to send a goon to make Rafe a eunuch. Too bad for him, Sami was there with a gun.
  • The Hero: Bo Brady, although really there have been hundreds (John Black being another big one). That said, Bo is by far the most notable and long-lasting. Since Bo was killed off in 2015, this role has been filled mainly by John, Steve and Rafe.
  • Herr Doktor: Dr. Wilhelm Rolf embodies this trope, he's a go-to man for plastic surgery and bringing back the "dead", even having simultaneously brought back Princess Gina Von Amberg and (presumably) his former boss, Stefano, back in the bodies of Hope Brady and Steve "Patch" Johnson.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Jennifer and Frankie, Shawn and Belle, and Chloe and Philip.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Stefano DiMera is usually revealed to be the true mastermind behind the various criminal organizations that routinely target the characters.
  • Hospital Hottie: Dr. Daniel Jonas. His main role seems to be falling in love with his patients. Many fans also accuse him of being a Creator's Pet.
  • Hot for Preacher: Nicole, when Eric was a priest. Subverted in that her attraction to Eric predated him being a priest and continued after he was defrocked.
  • Idiot Ball: Hope, in the 2000s Carly/Bo/Hope/Justin storyline. Hope's jealousy of Carly is understandable, but her constant angsting over her marriage to Bo has been going on so long, you wonder why she takes offense to Bo and Carly if she was the one who walked out.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Somewhat reversed. Sami will not be with EJ because his life is too dangerous. And because he raped her. And just kidnapped their daughter. And, it turns out that neither of those led her to stay away from him, marry EJ and start a family with him.
  • Kill It with Fire: Ben Weston attempted this when he tied Abby and Chad to a bed after they realized he was the Necktie Killer.
    • Abigail tried this herself on Ben after having a psychotic break.
    • Claire wound up nearly killing three people (Ciara, Tripp, and Haley) by setting fire to various buildings. Claire set fire to the cabin where she was holding Ciara (hogited onto a bed) from the inside, while she set fire to another cabin where Tripp and Haley are in from the outside. Both were part of a prolonged psychosis, induced by her having previously lost Theo to Ciara and her jealousy over Tripp and Haley's Citizenship Marriage. After the latter incident, Claire was infirmed in a mental hospital by Shawn-Douglas and Belle.
  • Kissing Cousins: Most of the Days characters are inter-related somehow:
    • Max Brady has dated not one but two of his nieces (Stephanie Johnson and Chelsea Brady), albeit they are not blood related due to Max being adopted but he is still considered their uncle.
    • Also, if you look at it from a sufficiently skewed perspective, Carly is Frankie Brady's sister, so when Hope dumped Bo and Bo took up with Carly...
    • Belle and Shawn aren't cousins or even biologically related, but they do have a startling amount of relatives in common. They could also be considered second step-cousins.
    • Will and Sonny share cousins in JJ and Abigail. Abigail, in fact, introduces them to each other as her cousins from different sides of her family.
  • Large Ham: Many. Joe Mascolo (as Stefano DiMera), Drake Hogestyn (as John Black/"Roman Brady," though in a not as overt way, given his acting delivery), Lauren Koslow (as Kate Roberts), Judi Evans (as Bonnie Lockhart, but not as Adrienne Johnson), but above all, honey-glazed with a side of biscuits and red-eye gravy, Louise Sorel as the flamboyantly-insane Vivian Alamain.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility:
    • Sami has four children, and none of them were planned while Nicole supposedly cannot have children anymore despite desperately wanting to secure her relationship with EJ... and even in that case, it was subverted as Nicole eventually had a daughter of her own carried by Chloe Lane.
    • Shawn and Belle conceived Claire during a one-night stand (that they didn't even realize they had due to convenient hypothermia) while Philip and Mimi had trouble conceiving.
  • Locked in a Freezer: This has happened to several pairs of characters over the years.
  • Love at First Sight: EJ DiMera and Taylor Walker, in what became known as the infamous scarf incident. Their "love" was so ridiculously instantaneous that it was later lampshaded by EJ himself in this exchange:
    Nicole: Maybe you can help me with my nausea. You explain to me what that was—you and my sainted sister.
    EJ: Truthfully?
    Nicole: (sarcastically) Well if you can manage it, yeah.
    EJ: What did your sister and I see in each other? What did we see in each other... I have no earthly idea.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Sami/EJ/Nicole/Brady/Lucas/Chloe/Daniel/Kate/ohlorditjustgoesonandon.
    • Sami in particular has shared a LOT of men with her nemeses Carrie, Kate, and Nicole. Or, they date the others' relatives.
  • Love Redeems: Steve Johnson, Jack Deveraux, Sami Brady.
  • Loveable Rogue: Jack Deveraux. Philip Kiriakis, to a lesser extent.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Victor Kiriakis. "It's true Bo, I am your father".
  • Magical Seventh Son: Crime lord Stefano DiMera has claimed to be the seventh son of a seventh son, and to have various magical powers as a result.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Hattie, Andre, Philip.
    • Philip's case is a very bizarre one as it was the in-show reason as to why the character changed back to being played by the first actor who played him as a young adult, Jay Kenneth Johnson. So yes, he magically changed one day to actor #2 (former Real World cast member Kyle Brandt), got injured in warfare to get plastic surgery to look like actor #1 (Johnson) again.
  • Meddling Parents: Kate Roberts, to a psychotic degree. Her antics reached the point where her son, Lucas, eventually renounced his mother's surname to identify by his Horton lineage, and for a time, practically disowned her.
  • Never Found the Body: In a 1984 storyline, Roman Brady is presumed dead, only to reappear two years later portrayed by a different actor (Drake Hogestyn). Five years after that, the character's previous portrayer (Wayne Northrop) returned to the show and re-assumed the role, with the person thought to be Roman being a completely different person that eventually settled on being John Black.
  • Officer O'Hara: The Bradys tend to become cops. The Hortons had have a number of doctors, Tom, Tommy, Bill, Mike and Nathan. Four generations.
  • One Steve Limit: Played with, given the show's long run, many names have been passed on and in some cases used by various characters throughout the series' history. At times, though they will invoke this directly among characters in the contract cast:
    • One of the most notable examples was Bo and Hope's son being named Shawn-Douglas, after Shawn Brady and Doug Williams. To differentiate him from his two namesakes, Shawn-Douglas was sometimes called by his full name or Shawn-D. However, plenty of times, his parents and some of the other characters just called him Shawn, regardless of whether Shawn Sr. was around and especially after the elder character died.
    • There's also two Nicholases: the now-deceased Nick Fallon (who went by Nick) and Nicholas Alamain (who went by Nicky). Neither character were on the main cast at the same time though.
    • Jack Deveraux—even in the seven-year period in which he was dead—holds the mantle on the name Jack. His son, named Jack Jr., has been known as JJ for most of his existence. Jack's nephew, Jackson Kiriakis, upon returning to Salem as an adult, revealed that he now goes by Sonny.
    • Sami's twins were named after John Black (who was believed to be dead at the time but wasn't) and Alice Horton, but have mostly been called by their nicknames of Johnny and Allie when on-screen or mentioned in continuity—the namesake character of Alice now being deceased, while John is still active on the canvas.
    • Perhaps directly played around with as Sonny has a half-brother named Alexander Kiriakis, when a man named Xander came to town and called Victor Kiriakis "Uncle," it lead to assumptions that proved wrong when Xander Cook was Alexandros Kiriakis, who while related, was not Alexander. Xander and Maggie even had a brief conversation with Maggie admitting this was confusing.
    • Sonny and Alexander's two adopted brothers share names with other characters on the show, Victor and Joseph. While the Joseph Johnson in question generally goes by Joey, these two boys haven't been named on-screen anywhere near as often as Alexander.
    • Chad and Abby named their son Thomas DiMera, after Tom Horton. Tom Horton had a son named after him too, named Tommy. Whether Thomas will remain Thomas as he grows up or assumes either name will be seen—Tom Horton being long dead, while Tommy Horton is still alive but has not been mentioned in years.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Hey, you can be a ghost and talk to people, even if it turns out your character wasn't really dead.
  • Psychic Power: Celeste Perrault and Bo Brady are the characters who used this the most.
  • Put on a Bus: Lots of characters have left town for varying reasons, but some have gotten more bizarre exits:
    • Colin Murphy (or his body) is still lost at sea.
    • Don Craig hasn't returned yet from mailing a letter.
    • Peter Blake is still in jail although Stefano told him he'd be eligible for parole (back in 1998)note .
    • Jeremy Horton is apparently still on the run from the law. His partner Jett Carver reformed to work as a security guard and wasn't mentioned ever again.
    • Eugene Bradford disappeared into his time machine (although years later his wife Calliope confirmed they are still happily married, exactly how that works we don't know but isn't unusual for Eugene and Calliope).
    • Neil Curtis must still be seeing the patients he told Victor about in 1991.
    • Chris Kositchek went into his office one day and was never heard from again (his actor, Josh Taylor, is now playing Roman Brady).
    • Cassie Brady was an interesting example in that her actress had pretty much decided to stop acting when her character got killed off in the Salem Stalker storyline. However they convinced her to come back but she was the most seldom seen character on the island and had some suspicious activity that never really went anywhere. Towards the end she returned to Salem but was mentioned off-screen until it was said she left town with her brother. When Rex was recast in the late 2018, Cassie was still being mentioned offscreen but so far has never returned with a recast or her original actress.
    • Amusingly Jan Spears had been placed on this list for years after being written out by being put into a coma in 2005. 15 years later she actually finally did come out of her coma in 2020. However they wrote her off again by having her character go back into a coma.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Stephanie Johnson, and to some extent, Sami Brady.
    • Sami really didn't get much redemption after her first rape (shortly afterwards she drugged and slept with her sister's boyfriend). And it's pretty sad to point out that's she's been raped TWICE, although some viewers still question whether the second time was "rape-rape".
  • Rape as Drama:
    • Jack Deveraux raping Kayla Brady led to much drama at the time. And has been utilized multiple times for later storylines such as JJ Deveraux having a hard time learning what his father did or Kayla's reaction when Steve's son Tripp Dalton was accussed of raping someone.
    • There also was a story arc where Jan Spears kidnapped Shawn-Douglas Brady and kept him chained in a cage, referring to him as her "love slave". She did have wild swings between "I'm so going to rape you now" and "Why don't you love me", but at no point did she actually proceed to rape him. They eventually had (consensual) sex after Shawn was suffering from some kind of amnesia, YMMV or not on whether this constitutes as rape, given that Shawn engaged in the tryst while without his full mental faculties.
    • A disguised Kristen DiMera—in a plot to get back at Marlena for her attempt to break up Kristen and Brady—drugs and rapes saintly and pious Father Eric Brady, and she takes video of the encounter and has it edited to look like it's consensual. The drugs don't render Eric's mind completely erased of the encounter, and he begins to remember it after the rape video is accidentally played at Brady and Kristen's wedding, as part of an effort by Marlena to reveal Kristen's other misdeeds concerning Brady. Eric winds up leaving the church in disgrace, accusing Nicole of being his attacker and sitting around while Nicole and Daniel look for the medical proof to clear his name, while being victim-blamed by Brady who refused to believe Eric was drugged by Kristen amid her insistence that he seduced her. After Eric declares his love for Nicole, Nicole shreds the proof she has found, which leads to much drama, ending in Jennifer overhearing Daniel and Nicole's argument about Nicole's hiding the proof and Eric breaking up with Nicole. In the end, Kristen is charged
    • Chase raped Ciara in a storyline that came off very rushed, but in the end Chase pleaded guilty and didn't even let his father try to easily get him out.
  • Retcon: Some very complicated examples:
    • Originally, John Black got his alias from the Vietnam War memorial and it was revealed he was Roman Brady...then it was revealed that the real Roman Brady was alive and John was really Lawrence's brother Forrest Alamain. Later it was revealed John got his alias from Stefano during his years of being "The Pawn". Then it was revealed he was Tony DiMera's half-brother on their mother's side(!). Then it was revealed he was actually Ryan Brady, the son of Colleen Brady (Roman's aunt) and Santo DiMera (Stefano's father). The story being that she had to give him up and that was when he was adopted by the Alamains and later abducted by Stefano. It was then revealed that John wasn't the real Ryan Brady—the real Ryan Brady died shortly after birth and Colleen was misled into thinking John was her son. This was followed up years later when John met his real mother (a woman named Maude) and learns his actual father was a believed dead war veteran (Tim Robicheaux) and his real first name really is John. Maude's story being that after Tim died, he was to be adopted by a wealthy couple but they died in a car crash and he ended up, as a baby, in the orphanage where the nuns would switch him for the dead Ryan Brady. But in true Days fashion this wasn't complicated enough, as his father Tim was alive now going by Yo Ling, the leader of a criminal cell of mercenaries (he happened to be played by Tobin Bell of all people). The story now went that after Lawrence nearly let John drown, he was sent to a boarding school secretly ran by Yo Ling and was trained to be an assassin. But one of the school's tutors was Petrov (a man who had been one of Stefano's henchmen when last shown on-screen) and he took John and gave him to Stefano to be turned into the new Roman/the pawn. And that we can only hope is the last edit needed here.
    • Tony DiMera was originally the son of Stefano and his mistress Daphne. Then he slept with Stefano's daughter, Renee, before knowing they were siblings. Then it turns out he's the son of Daphne and the stable boy Enrico. Then he comes back and marries Stefano's adopted daughter, Kristen, and he's back to being Stefano's son again. Then Kristen ends up with his supposed brother, John. Then he becomes evil and dies. He comes back as a good person, then becomes evil and then dies again. Then it turns out for the past 20 years he was alive and stranded on an island by his identical cousin Andre. Then it turns out Andre is really alive too. Then he and Andre both die. Oh, and Andre wasn't really his cousin...Tony really was the stable boy's son. And as of 2015, Andre (who is alive again) was actually Stefano's son this entire time! Andre died once again but this time allegedly being murdered by Abby DiMera in 2018. And in 2019, it is revealed that Tony is in fact alive (by way of an experimental treatment concocted by Dr. Rolf), and had married Kristen (then disguised as Nicole Walker) in a botched attempt to allow her to acquire shares in DiMera Enterprises to force the ouster of Stefano's similarly-named son, Stefan O. DiMera and his acrimonius love interest, Gabi Hernandez.
    • Really the show should just have a whole episode where John Black and Andre compare notes and complain about not being able to follow their own biographies.
    • Normally (as even witnessed twice on the show prior) serial killer stories either only knock off one or two major characters or make up a cast entirely for the sake of knocking them off. With the Salem Stalker, the show literally killed off a large number of fan-beloved characters, which made for a good story, except that it took place on a soap opera, a genre that needs to keep fans coming back day after day; so in one of the most strangest retcons in history, surprise!... everyone isn't dead, they are on an island in an elaborate plot committed not by the "murderer" (Marlena) but one of the murderer's victims (Tony)! (who as mentioned above was not really that victim but his evil cousin masquerading as him for 20 years) Which was made even more confusing by the fact two people not killed by that serial killer (for the record, there were other murders going on at the time) were also on the island as well as a character that had been off-screen for years.
  • Retool:
    • Originally, the show was a medical soap drama. In the 1990s, the premise was radically-altered and wilder plots began showing up. The 2000s saw story arcs that dramatically deviated from the traditional soap: Characters fighting terrorists in Qurac, a volcanic island adventure and spiritual forces impacting things to name a few.
      • Before that, even in the early 1980s, the show followed General Hospital in presenting more action-oriented storylines and fewer storylines dealing with medical or domestic drama. This would be deconstructed though when General Hospital, in the wake of the writers on Days hitting gold with Alison Sweeney as 18-year-old sociopath Sami Brady, turned Jason Quartermaine into a sociopath (though an even more severe case, with Jason suffering a full-on loss of memory and ability to feel empathy for others) but becoming an anti-hero instead of a villain.
    • Several characters also got retooled, when The Bus Came Back: Jack's past as a rich preppy/yuppie was jettisoned in order to have him be more blue collar. Billie went from girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks foil for the more uptown Hope, into being a full on action girl and secret agent. Phillip went from a brash and arrogant jock with a secret heart of gold to being a respectable and honorable man who ended up getting cucked by his best friend.
      • Riding the bus didn't protect you from being retooled: Vivian started out as a villainous matriarch but quickly turned into a comedic villain character who often found herself being dragged into storylines against her will as a sidekick for other villains (Sami, Stefano). Jack went from evil rapist yuppie to tragic Byronic anti-hero after the writers retconned him and Patch as long lost brothers. Or in the case of Sami, going from one of the most evil characters on the show, to being the lead female heroine in large part to a ratings slump and them having no one else left on the cast they could focus on as the face of the show, due to budget cuts forcing them to jettison most of the old guard.
  • Ruritania: Alamanianote , a small European country where the show's often villainous Alamain family (including Laurence, Vivian, and Nicholas Alamain) are royalty. In an aversion of the trope, Alamania is implied to be somewhere around France, Germany, and/or Switzerland, but the country's government is portrayed as so corrupt and autocratic, it's depicted more along the lines of a former Soviet Bloc country than a western European one.
  • Serial Killer: Salem Stalker, Salem Strangler, Salem Slasher, The Riverfront Slasher and The Neck-Tie Killer.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: The Salem Slasher killed one woman (who was going to marry the man she loved) and was forced to keep killing people in order to cover up the murders.
  • Shoe Phone: Roman received a tricked-out cowboy costume in a late-90s arc.
  • Soap Opera Disease: Must we mention the time that Patch got quarantined for...whatever that was?
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: As a rule of thumb, characters on Days will either change overnight or come back older than they were previously. Generally though, they tried to ensure that kid characters aged in the correct order, but sometimes goofed up:
    • Weirdly inverted in the case of former character Mike Horton, who was kept in his twenties for a good two decades.
    • Nicholas Alamain (1992) is a very weird example. He was aged about ten years to his 20s (with Victor Webster taking over the role) in 1999. Over a decade later, he comes back to the show with another actor, Cody Longo, in the role and is even younger than what he was aged the first time around.
    • Belle Black (1993) and EJ DiMera (1997) are probably the most egregious examples, with Philip Kiriakis (1994) and Chelsea Brady (1998) actually being even worse examples than Belle. Belle and Philip were accelerated to 16-years-old in 1999, effectively setting their in-universe birth years ten and nine years backwards, respectively. Though no one comes close to touching the insanity of how much E.J. was aged up; Chelsea and EJ both returned SORASed in the mid-2000s, but while Chelsea (who, upon SORASing, was played by Mandy Musgrave beginning in 2004, before being replaced by Rachel Melvin a year later) was accelerated to 17-years-old, EJ (played by James Scott, when that character was SORASed in 2006) became an accomplished man in his late 20s.
    • With the new writers in 2015, Joey Johnson, Ciara Brady, Chase Jennings, Theo Carver and Claire Brady all got their upgrades. The SORASing of Claire, however, is particularly egregious, given an important plot point of the relationship involving her parents, Shawn-Douglas Brady and Belle Black, whose relationship storyline involved the two characters deciding to wait until marriage to have sex. Given that Claire was born onscreen in January 2006, this meant that Claire's age-up inadvertently made Shawn-Douglas and Belle teenage, if not preteen, parents (instead of college-age parents) if real-world time is taken into account against the show's timeline.
    • While not as dramatic as many of the others, the 2019 time jump forced minor age jumps and in one case, recasting, of David Ridgeway (the deceased Jordan's son, bumped to age 2), Arianna Horton (Will and Gabi's daughter, presumed to have been aged up to 6), and Charlotte Deveraux-DiMera (Chad and Abigail's daughter, bumped to age 3).
  • Something Completely Different: At certain times, Days has let different story directions engulf it, turning the serial into a very different show. Among these events include an exorcism storyline, a jungle adventure and the infamous Cruise of Deception.
  • Spin-Off: The DOOL app developed by Corday Productions, which features behind-the-scenes content and exclusive web series (but does not offer full Days episodes as NBC holds the broadcast and streaming rights to the series), has to date produced two of these:
    • Chad and Abby in Paris, which premiered in August 2019, followed Chad DiMera (Billy Flynn) and Abigail Deveraux (Kate Mansi)'s adventures living in Paris. The series also served as the lead-up to the return of the two characters on the parent series' canvas as part of the Time Skip plotline.
    • Last Blast Reunion, which premiered in December 2019, centers on the former Salem High students (led by Shawn-Douglas and Belle) as they reunite in New York at the reopened .com Cafe on the 20th anniversary of the Last Blast dance.
  • Split Personality: Kimberly Brady and Jessica Fallon.
    • Resident Mad Scientist Doctor Rolf has used a technology that puts a brainwashing/chip to a person that gives them a copy of a real person's mind that turns them into a split personality in the host victim.
    • Hope Williams-Brady was this twice to become a new Princess Gina. Gina had been an art thief agent for Stefano but when she went crazy and became useless to Stefao, he had Rolf turn Hope into a new Gina. Hope's Gina personality would be reactivated in joke Halloween episodes before Rolf did it for real in revenge for Hope murdering Stefano.
    • Steve Johnson returned to Salem as was revealed to have become one of this himself with a copy of Stefano's brain himself.
    • It's not quite clear if John Black as the pawn or fake Roman is retconned into being an early example of this same technology. John also had a period after one of his deaths where he had a different personality that later was replaced with his normal one after a dangerous ordeal.
    • Another time, Hope while taking sleeping medication, ended up becoming a Nightime mugger that her daytime personality had zero knowledge of.
    • Abby Deveraux-DiMera developed these after murdering Andre DiMera, but in a twist her personalities were her attempts at copying people she knows, Gabi Hernandez and Laura Horton.
  • Straight Gay: Sonny Kiriakis comes to town to be with his parents, popular 80s couple Justin and Adrienne, and quickly reveals himself to be gay. While his parents and cousin Abigail knew prior to his arrival, most people, including his eventual love interest Will Horton, are surprised because the athletic, adventurous Sonny doesn't seem gay. Will Horton, especially the version played by Guy Wilson, also fits to a lesser extent.
  • Supernatural Soap Opera: Marlena's possession, the Gemini twins.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Gabi Hernandez kills her obsessive, stalking, mentally unstable ex-husband Nick Fallon. Nick had been blackmailing her into a relationship, blackmailing multiple people she loved and had a fixation on keeping Gabi's infant daughter away from her biological father, Will Horton. Gabi lacked the moral courage to come forward to defuse Nick's blackmail, but she ultimately steps up and takes responsibility for her in-cold-blood shooting of Nick. Gabi's guilt is revealed after a classic Whodunnit that portrays most of Salem having a motive to kill Nick.
  • Take That!: During the Salem Stalker storyline, a dream sequence is featured involving a then-evil Marlena ranting about what a worthless person her daughter Belle is, running off several major fan complaints about the character.
  • Tickle Torture:
    • In one episode, Jack has a dream that Greta Von Amberg and Jennifer have tied him to a chair and are about to torture him. He snaps out of the dream and tries to calm himself down by meditating. When that doesn't work, he begins to dream again and this time, Greta grabs a feather and says they will tickle him right where it tickles the most...his feet. They tickle his feet and Jack snaps out of it again, only to find Jen and Greta standing there confused.
    • And again when Bonnie Lockhart sneaks in the morgue, looking for bones. A member of the staff walks in and sees red spiked shoes sticking out from the bottom of a sheet covering a body on a gurney. The woman walks to the shoes as Bonnie lays under the sheet, waiting to be exposed. She takes the red heels, places them in a bag and grabs a cloth to clean her feet with. Bonnie tries to resist and keep still but, one of her feet shoots up involuntary. The woman becomes frightened and heads towards the door of the morgue, muttering to herself about rigor mortis.
  • Their First Time: Belle and Shawn discussed this a lot and eventually decided to wear purity rings. Ultimately, however, Belle's first time was with Philip, while Shawn's was with Jannote .
  • This Is Reality: In an old episode, Chloe thinks of jumping into the river, and while trying to talk her out of it, Melanie says this isn't one of her stories.
  • Title Drop: One of the most dramatic and well-done moments in the entire series is when Hope performs a title drop at Alice's funeral.
  • Time Skip: Occurred as part of a 2019 storyline, with the time jump device timed to occur on the 54th anniversary of Days's premiere. It ties to the events following Jennifer's aborted third wedding to Jack, which saw her be pushed out of a church window by Hope (whom Dr. Rolf had chipped into her former Princess Gina alter) and end up in a year-long coma. The storyline is quite complex, but, in a boiled-down summary, launched the following plotlines:
    • Kristen DiMera and Lani Price join a nunnery in Vienna, before deciding to leave to exact payback on Gabi and resume their normal livesnote ;
    • JJ spirals into drug addiction after the murder of girlfriend Haley Chennote , reaching such a low point that he tracks down her murderer, Kristen (who killed Haley in a trauma-induced postpartum psychosis), in Vienna to exact a revenge killing, only for Lani to talk him down;
    • Will is imprisoned for his role in the accidental death of his mother-in-law, Adrienne Kiriakis, leading to the breakup of his marriage to Sonny, while Adrienne's widow, Justin Kiriakis, moves on with Kayla Brady Johnson three months after Adrienne's death. Maggie, who fell off the wagon after finding out her wayward daughter Summer was dying from liver disease caused by her inherited alcoholism, is later revealed to have caused the accident, which also resulted in the death of Sarah Horton’s daughter, whom Xander and Victor switched with Kristen’s daughter, Rachel Isabella, to avoid Sarah and Maggie’s heartache upon finding out Maggie was the driver who ran into Adrienne and Sarah;
    • Ben Weston is also imprisoned on a life sentence after being framed for the murder of his sister, Jordan (who had attempted to poison his girlfriend, Ciara, who herself later became a junior executive at Titan), whom Ben and his father Clyde (who was charged with the kidnapping of Sarah Horton's baby daughter, Mickey, and was placed in the same jail as his son) suspect was part of a plot hatched by Xander and Victor (who appointed Xander to replace Brady as head of Titan Industries citing Brady's grief over the loss of his and Kristen's child);
    • Chad—who returned to Salem from Paris with Abigail and their children—sought to acquire Kristen's shares in DiMera Enterprises to oust Gabi from the company;
    • Stefano (in the body of Steve Johnson, presumably altered into the DiMera patriarch in the same manner as Hope was into Gina) returns to Salem;
    • Hope/Gina tries to lure John Black away from Marlena Evans (while the latter was in England temporarily at a "prestigious residency program," which she was able to structure to allow her to complete the remainder of the program in Salem).
  • Unexplained Recovery: Stefano DiMera was conceived as this from the very beginning, but seldom is anyone in Salem truly dead for good.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The whereabouts of Salem are never mentioned, but it has been hinted that it's somewhere near Chicago. It was evidently originally Salem, Massachusetts, but the writers stopped paying attention a long time ago, and many of the characters (particularly Bo) make frequent references to being Cubs fans.
  • White Sheep: For many years, Alexandra "Lexie" Carver was this to the DiMera family, as was her brother Tony DiMera, at least when he wasn't being impersonated by his homicidal cousin Andre. But even they dabbled with being villains. Lexie is now deceased, likely for good, given that the actress who portrayed her for most of the character's existence (Renee Jones) has retired from acting; Tony eventually came Back from the Dead in 2019, having revealed to have underwent an experimental treatment by Dr. Rolf, but only appearing in a guest capacity. In their place, Chad DiMera currently is striving to be this.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: If a character has slept with two men quite recently, chances are she will become pregnant and not know the daddy.
    • In Sami's case, she slept with two men—EJ and Lucas—and ended up pregnant with fraternal twins. Both men were the fathers of one of the twins.
  • Wicked Cultured: Stefano DiMera. Occasionally, Victor Kirakis and Brady Black will make Greek references.
  • Will They or Won't They?: At any given point of this soap, this trope will describe at least one if not several relationships between two characters.
  • Your Son All Along: Inverted. Craig Wesley is floored when his wife, Nancy, confesses that she had a teenage daughter (Chloe Lane) that she gave up for adoption. He asks her how she could hide the fact that "they" had a child together (they'd been childhood sweethearts but lost touch when he left for college, reuniting years later) and is devastated when she tells him the girl is her daughter, not his, meaning that she had cheated on him. After a rough start, the three are able to bond as a family. Until the girl becomes ill and needs a bone marrow transplant, at which point Nancy confesses that she's the result of her rape. However, when the rapist's blood type doesn't match the girl's, Craig realizes that the young woman who he's grown to love as if she were his own his daughter.


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