Jason Morgan and Elizabeth Webber
Jason Morgan and Elizabeth Webber (commonly known as Liason for Liz and Jason) are fictional characters from the long running ABC Daytime soap opera, General Hospital and a popular supercouple pairing, according to TV Guide. Jason is portrayed by Steve Burton and Elizabeth is portrayed by Rebecca Herbst.
Steve Burton first appeared in the role of Jason in December 1991, becoming the third actor to play the character since it was first introduced in 1983. Rebecca Herbst originated the role of Elizabeth on August 1, 1997. Burton left show in January 2000, and made various guest appearances before returning full-time in May 2002. Burton's return stopped the show's casting call for a potential love interest for Elizabeth, causing speculation that Elizabeth and Jason would become a couple. Herbst denied rumors of her departure in April 2002, stating on her website that Burton's return would affect her storyline.
In August 2009, Burton resigned his contract after weeks of speculation that he might leave the series, and openly took a pay cut due to the declining economic climate. On January 18, 2011, ABC Daytime announced that Herbst had been let go from General Hospital and her exit would be storyline dictated. Burton was one of many costars to speak out about Herbst's firing, stating: "Most of you have heard the horrible and awful news about Becky. My heart breaks as I even have to tweet this. One of the best and most beautiful actresses that has been on this show. Beside that, she's a friend and that hurts. Some show will be lucky to have her. May god bless them through this transition." After much fan protest, a month after the original announcement, ABC released another statement saying that Herbst would retain her role on the show. Herbst renewed her contract in March 2012. Burton extended his contract in May 2011 for one year, and announced his departure in August 2012, staying long enough for his character to be written out of the series.
In the summer of 1999, Elizabeth is reeling from the death of her first love, Lucky Spencer (then Jonathan Jackson), when she finds a friend in Jason. He helps her cope with her pain and they form a bond. When Jason is shot, Elizabeth takes him to her studio apartment and helps him recover. Later, Jason rescues Liz from Joseph Sorel (Joe Marinelli)'s bomb, which had been placed in her studio. Jason realizes that his friendship with Liz is putting her in danger and he leaves Port Charles in January 2000, leaving Liz devastated. Soon after, Lucky (then Jacob Young) is revealed to be alive, but his relationship with Elizabeth struggles due to him having been brainwashed. Jason returns to town in the 2002 and he and Liz reconnect, despite Lucky's disapproval.
When Liz is kidnapped by Sorel's men, Sonny Corinthos (Maurice Benard), Jason and Zander Smith (Chad Brannon) work together to rescue her. Jason notices the growing closeness between Liz and Zander and gets a little jealous. When Sonny puts a hit out on Zander, at Elizabeth’s request, Jason allows him to hide out at his penthouse. Jason and Liz would try to make their relationship work but decide to wait until Zander leaves before they are intimate. However, Elizabeth breaks things off with Jason after learning that Jason faked Sonny's death and kept it from her, putting her through unnecessary pain, and causing her to realize Jason's "world" was not one she wanted to be a part of. Despite multiple attempts to reconcile with Liz, all of which she rebuffed, Jason began dating Sonny's sister, Courtney Corbin/Quartermaine, who was on the verge of divorce from Jason's half brother, AJ. Liz was furious with both of them as she still loved Jason in spite of pushing him away. She accused Courtney' of wanting Jason to herself throughout their short-lived friendship.
Jason and Courtney married, and Liz married Ric Lansing, brother of Sonny Corinthos, with whom he shared a mother. Ric genuinely loved Liz, but his resentment of his brother, and growing resentment and jealously of the role Jason played in Sonny's life, resulted in Ric committing horrible acts, including kidnapping a pregnant Carly and hiding her in a panic room in his home with Liz. During this period, Liz defended Ric, unaware of his actions, despite Jason's attempts at warning her. The two rekindled their friendship while Jason's sister, and Liz's best friend, Emily Quartermaine was believed to be dying of cancer. This caused a great deal of jealously from Courtney and Ric, who were threatened by the bond Liz and Jason still shared. Combined with grief over a miscarriage, Courtney turned to painkillers, resulting in an unintentional hit and run that temporarily blinded Elizabeth.
After Liz found out the reality of who Ric really was, she divorced him. Jason and Courtney divorced after she went behind his back on a matter that impacted Sonny. Both Liz and Jason moved on separately, Liz reuniting with and marrying Lucky Spencer, and Jason falling for, Sam McCall, who got pregnant with Sonny's baby, during an affair. Jason insisted that Sam to move in with him, eventually falling in love. Sam's daughter was stillborn, but the couple stayed together and hoped to have a baby of their own. When Manny Ruiz reigned terror on Port Charles in 2006, he kidnapped Liz for spontaneous leverage. Lucky was badly injured while trying to save her, but Jason came to the rescue. Lucky's injuries, resulting financial issues, and wounded pride, led to an addiction to prescription painkillers and increasing jealousy of men in Liz's life, including Jason, who had a knack for always being there for her when she needed someone. Manny Ruiz soon attempts to assassinate Jason, but shoots Sam instead, piercing her uterus. Jason leaves Sam, believing he is protecting her. Liz and Jason reconnect as friends as their lives crumble around them.
In the summer of 2006, Elizabeth's marriage to Lucky (Greg Vaughan) falls apart after Lucky's addiction leads to an affair with Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms). Around that same time, Jason catches his former fiancee Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) sleeping with his enemy Ric (Rick Hearst). Jason and Liz find comfort with one another and make love for the first time, finally admitting years of love for each other. However, they soon come to an understanding that they cannot be together again because of the danger in Jason's life and the harm it could bring Liz and her young son, Cameron. After Lucky checks into rehab, Jason and Liz decide to keep their night together a secret to keep Lucky from relapsing. Elizabeth soon reveals that she is pregnant and Lucky promises to try harder at kicking his drug habit, which has directly led to two hard-falls for expectant Liz. Jason and Elizabeth secretly order a paternity test. Jason asks Liz to marry him, regardless if whether he turns out to be the father or not. She turns him down, knowing they are both in love with other people, and not wanting to have him tied to her out obligation instead of love. Jason reconciles with Sam, while Liz struggles with forgiving Lucky, and her own feelings for Jason, awakened the night they slept together. A night neither of them regret.
As more people find out about Liz's pregnancy, certain people, mainly Jason's best friend, Carly Corinthos (Laura Wright) believe that Elizabeth tricked Jason into getting her pregnant, but she and Jason know that isn't true. In actuality, they'd used a defective batch of ELQ Enduro condoms for protection. When Liz finally does get the paternity test back, Sonny is with her and by Elizabeth's reaction believes Lucky is the father and tells everyone the good news. However, Jason is the child's father and Elizabeth wants to tell him but not wanting to cause any more trouble, and believing Jason does not want to bring a child into his dangerous life, and that he would choose the child over Sam, she allows everyone, including Jason, to believe Lucky is the baby's father.
In February 2007, several Port Charles residents, including Jason and Elizabeth are taken hostage by Jerry Jacks (Sebastian Roche) at the Metro Court Hotel. When the police storm the building, Jason carries Liz to safety and they end up getting stuck in the elevator. Elizabeth tells Jason that he is her baby's father and while shocked and hurt that she kept it from him, he thrilled. He asks Liz who is now divorced to marry him again, but she refuses for the second time, citing the same reasons, though she does love Jason. Jason wants to be honest with Sam about the baby, which would force Liz to tell Lucky the truth, too, but before he can, Sam tells Jason that because of the damage from the shooting, she can't have children. Liz and Jason decide to keep the baby's paternity secret, but in the coming months, they grow closer, Liz admitting she loves Jason. In May 2007, Jason finds Elizabeth passed out at her home and takes her to the hospital. On May 4, Jason watches from out the delivery as Elizabeth gives birth to a baby boy she names Jacob Martin Spencer (Jacob Martin would give him Jason initials J. M.). Sam is still very jealous and watches as a grieving mother kidnaps Jake from his stroller in June 2007. Many people including Lainey Winters (Kent King) suspect that Elizabeth, who at the time is suffering from Postpartum Depression, may have hurt Jake. But it is Jason who believes her innocence and soon finds Jake with a woman named Maureen who had recently lost her child in fire.
After Jason and Sam end their relationship, Sam goes after Lucky to get revenge on Elizabeth. Elizabeth and Jason admit their true feelings for one another and Elizabeth moves into her own house which Jason helps pay for. After Lucky and Liz's divorce in November 2007, a jealous Sam would terrorize Elizabeth at the Black and White Ball to tell the truth and Liz learns that in addition to witnessing Jake's kidnapping, Sam hired two goons to terrorize Elizabeth and her kids at the park. Jason makes the decision to tell Lucky the truth and though he is furious, Jason, Liz and Lucky decide to keep the secret to protect Jake from Jason's dangerous life. Shortly after, news Emily Quartermaine (Natalia Livingston)'s murder spreads across Port Charles. Jason was Emily's brother and Liz was her best friend, and they would find comfort in one another; the two soon began seeing one another in secret. On April 7, 2008, Jason asks Liz to marry him and she happily accepted but hours later when Jason's nephew, Michael Corinthos (Dylan Cash) is shot, Jason is reminded just how dangerous his life is and they end their relationship. After Jake is kidnapped by Russian mobsters and Sam manages to save him, Jason and Liz realize they can never be a family.
On March 18, 2011 as Elizabeth is distracted by paternity test of her latest baby, Jake wonders out the front door and is hit by a speeding car. Elizabeth gets him to the hospital and Drs. Patrick and Robin (Jason Thompson and Kimberly McCullough) take him into surgery while everyone else awaits news on Jake's condition. On March 21, Jake is declared brain dead and left on life support. Soon, Jason is forced to tell Elizabeth that his goddaughter, Josslyn Jacks is suffering from advanced kidney cancer and that Jake could save her. Elizabeth furiously slaps Jason reminding him that he was not in Jake's life and has no right to make a decision about whether he lives or dies after he "abandoned" his own son. Eventually Lucky talks Liz into donating Jake's kidney and saving Josslyn. Subsequently, Jason and Elizabeth share an emotional conversation, during which Elizabeth apologizes for earlier stating that Jason abandoned Jake and for never letting him get to know his son. However, Jason tells her that, while he never did know Jake, he did know that he was loved and cared for, and he will always be grateful to her for that.
In July 2011, Jason's mother, Monica learns that Jake was her grandson and confronts both Jason and Elizabeth. Later, when Liz begins hallucinating and seeing Jake at work, she finds comfort with Jason and learns that he and Sam have just gotten engaged.
Reception and impact
Despite never having been paired together on-screen for an extended length of time, Jason and Elizabeth have had very vocal fans. Burton told Soap Opera Digest during the couple's 2008 break up: "We had quite the following for a couple who never were together. I don't write the show. If it was up to me, I would have played it out to see where it went." Herbst reflected in 2010: "I would have said Jason and Elizabeth would never be together quite a few years ago, and Steve said the same thing. We kept telling the Liason girls, 'Stop writing, because nothing is going to happen. It's been 7 years... get over it.' Steve would joke and sure enough it happened, so I will never say never." Zap2it named them No. 2 on their list of Top Couples of 2007, while putting Elizabeth and Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco), Jason's other love interest, as No. 1 of their Top 10 Rivalries of 2007, stating, "without question Liz vs. Sam is the biggest rivalry in daytime."Zap2it tied them for No. 3 in 2008 along with entangled couple Sam and Lucky Spencer (then Greg Vaughan), stating: "Liason fans have been waiting for their couple to be together for years, but even when these two, or the writers or executives in charge of the storyline, can't seem to get their act together, their fans still hold on tight." In 2008, Jason and Elizabeth were named No. 12 by Soaps In Depth of the Top 100 Greatest Couples of ABC Daytime. In February 2009, they were voted as the favorite General Hospital supercouple of all time by participants of a SheKnows Entertainment online survey. In July 2010, Liz and Jason won the ABC Soaps In Depth "Supercouple Smackdown". Zap2it named them No. 6 of the Top 10 Soap Opera Couples of 2012.
Burton won Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Younger Lead Actor in 1997 and 1998. He was nominated for the 1997 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series and won the 1998 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In 1999, Herbst won the Soap Opera Digest Award for Outstanding Younger Lead Actress while Burton won for Hottest Male Star. Herbst also received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Younger Actress in 1999. Burton was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2000. He won Soap Opera Digest Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in 2003 and Outstanding Actor in 2005. Also in 2005, he received a nomination for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 2005. Herbst was nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 2007 and 2012.
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