Nathan West (General Hospital)

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Nathan West
Ryan Paevey as Nathan West.png
General Hospital character
Portrayed by Ryan Paevey
Duration 2013–
First appearance December 30, 2013 (2013-12-30)
Created by Ron Carlivati
Introduced by Frank Valentini
Classification Present; regular
Profile
Other names James Nathan Reeves
Occupation Detective
Residence Port Charles, New York

Nathan West is a fictional character from General Hospital, an American soap opera on the ABC network, portrayed by Ryan Paevey. Created by head writer Ron Carlivati, Nathan was introduced in late 2013 by Frank Valentini as a love interest for Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms). Detective Nathan comes to town to avenge his "sister" Nina (Michelle Stafford) and investigate her husband Silas Clay's (Michael Easton) involvement in her attempted murder. Instead, Nathan discovers that his "mom" Madeline Reeves (Donna Mills) is responsible for Nina's 20 year long coma. Later, Nathan is revealed to be the biological son of Madeline's estranged sister, Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) and half-brother to the scheming Britt Westbourne (Kelly Thiebaud).

In 2014, Nathan clashes with Maxie's boyfriend Levi Dunkleman (Zachary Garred) as he isolates Maxie from her family. Fortunately, the triangle culminates when Nathan rescues Maxie from his schemes and they enter into a romance. In 2015, Maxie and Nathan briefly split when she tries to reunite with her ex-boyfriend Damian Spinelli (Bradford Anderson). In 2016, the duo become engaged as his ex-wife Claudette (Bree Williamson) arrives to cause trouble.

Ryan Paevey's casting was very well received. The character of Nathan becomes quite popular rather quickly among viewers and critics becoming known as the show's resident heroic "good guy" as he tries to support his mess of a family. At the same time, Nathan's pairing with Maxie becomes a fan favorite pairing and their "slow burn" romance was praised by critics.

Storylines[edit]

In 2014, Nathan sublets Maxie Jones's (Kirsten Storms) apartment.[1] Detective West convinces Anna Devane (Finola Hughes) to hire him so he can follow up his investigation into his sister's attempted murder as he suspects her husband Dr. Silas Clay (Michael Easton) is responsible. Silas shifts blame onto his ex-lover Ava Jerome (Maura West). The investigation hits a snag when a witness ends up dead and Nathan's mother Madeline Reeves (Donna Mills) claims that Nina has passed away after Silas has relinquished his rights to Nina's vast estate.[2] Nathan is shocked when Madeline falls into the trap to catch the killer and confesses that she drugged Nina to kill her unborn child. Nathan later clashes with Maxie's manipulative boyfriend Levi Dunkleman (Zachary Garred) whom he blames for Maxie rejecting her daughter and narrowly avoids a one-night-stand with his half-sister Britt Westbourne (Kelly Thiebaud) and meets his biological mother, Madeline's estranged sister Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati). Nathan is shocked when Madeline reveals Nina is alive as she is carted off to prison.[3][4] Nathan covers for Maxie during her custody hearing to the sway the judge in her favor as he shares a happy reunion with Nina (Michelle Stafford). When the judge discovers Nathan lied for Maxie and she loses custody of her daughter, Nathan suspects Levi tipped off the judge upsetting Maxie. Nathan and Maxie end up handcuffed together on July 4 after he arrest her for trespassing on private property.[5] Levi later frames Nathan for tipping off immigration about Levi's expired visa leading to Maxie throwing Nathan out of the apartment.[6] As Maxie is set to marry Levi, Nathan discovers Levi has stolen a family heirloom from Maxie's mother Felicia Jones (Kristina Wagner). With the help of his partner Dante Falconeri (Dominic Zamprogna), Nathan crashes the wedding only for Levi to escape with Maxie and her best friend and Dante's wife Lulu (Emme Rylan) at gun point.[5][7] Levi is revealed to be the son of Felicia's jilted ex-lover Peter Harrell (David Gautreaux) and when goes to rescue the girls, Nathan is kidnapped by Victor Cassadine (Thaao Penghlis). Nathan is about to kill Victor himself until Liesl claims they are father and son. Victor helps Nathan rescue Maxie Levi and Peter and after Maxie kills Levi to save Nathan, they share their first kiss as the clinic goes up in flames killing Victor, Levi and his father. Nathan and Maxie's first date is interrupted by Judge Walters (William Allen Young) who forbids them from seeing one another in order for Maxie to get visitation with her daughter Georgie. Nathan is shot on the job and Maxie rushes to his side which leads to Judge Walters denying her visitation rights. Nathan comforts a devastated Maxie and arranges for Monica Quartermaine (Leslie Charleson) to appeal to Walters on Maxie's behalf. Maxie visits with Georgie in Portland and reunites with Nathan on New Year's Eve—the anniversary of their first meeting and they make love for the first time.[8]

In 2015, Nathan moves out at Maxie's request that they ease into their relationship and they later clash when Maxie helps fugitive Johnny Zacchara (Brandon Barash) skip town. Meanwhile, Maxie's daughter Georgie returns with her father Spinelli (Bradford Anderson) who is looking to reunite with Maxie.[9] Maxie dumps Nathan after she blames him for accepting Spinelli's challenge to box for her affections. Nathan later teams up with Spinelli's ex-girlfriend Ellie Trout (Emily Wilson) to make their respective lovers jealous leading to Nathan and Maxie reuniting at the Nurses' Ball. After Silas is found dead, Nathan works to clear Nina's name and is furious when Madeline is revealed to be the killer.

When Nathan is shot in 2016, still under the influence of drugs, he refers to Maxie by the name of his ex-wife Claudette who cheated on him and broke his heart. Nathan later proposes to Maxie as Obrecht advises him to keep quiet about his split from Claudette fearing it could land him in prison as Nathan had shot Claudette's lover in a drunken rage.[10] Maxie is hesitant to trust Nathan but they soon reconcile only for Claudette (Williamson) to show up in town. Maxie convinces Nathan to keep Claudette to keep an eye on her. Nathan is furious when his recent confidant Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen) is revealed to be Claudette's lover, and even further shocked when Claudette claims Nathan as the father of her daughter, Charlotte (Scarlett Fernandez). Rightfully suspicious, Maxie exposes that Claudette manipulated a DNA test to make Nathan think Charlotte was his assuming it would keep her safe from her former lover Valentin Cassadine (James Patrick Stuart).[11][12]

Development[edit]

Casting and creation[edit]

In November 2013, the producers released a casting call for a contract role.[13] In late December 2013, head writer Ron Carlivati announced on Twitter that model turned actor Ryan Paevey had joined the cast in the contract role of Detective Nathan West.[14] The December 30th edition of Soap Opera Digest revealed that Paevey's first scenes were with Kirsten Storms, who played Maxie Jones.[15] ABC Soaps In Depth confirmed the character's full name to be Nathan West. Paevey made his debut as a contract cast member.[16] Though he was originally slated to appear on December 27, Paevey's first air date was pushed back to December 30, 2013, due to news coverage.[17]

During an interview with Afterbuzz TV Paevey revealed that the rather unconventional casting process started when he was just lounging around with his close friends and management team and one of his managers suggested that Paevey should meet with casting director Mark Teschner.[18] Paevey revealed that when he first auditioned for the show, "there was no part. They just wanted some young blood on the show." The producers had the actor come in to read dummy sides quite a few times.[19] He was brought back to audition again for executive producer Frank Valentini and other people from the network.[18] During the audition process, he screen-tested opposite Storms and Chad Duell who played Michael Corinthos.[20] Of his casting, Paevey said, "This is my first series regular role, the first time I have a dressing room with my name on the door. I'm not an ego guy, but by the same token, I also kind of wanted to my best to fit in quickly."[20] Paevey himself was shocked by his success because he had no prior acting experience when he auditioned for General Hospital.[21]

Characterization[edit]

Paevey on similarities to character

I'm a straight shooter. I tell it like it is. I can be kind of blunt. I'm serious and stoic. I have great respect for justice. Truth and honesty are big things to me. I can tell when I'm being lied to. Always. Nathan is the same way. We both place importance on honesty, justice and fairness.

ABC Soaps In Depth (2014)[19]

The initial casting notice described the character as a "Caucasian" in his "late 20s" who is "Handsome, sexy" and "dynamic." The character was further described as a "Rich, privileged, charming badboy."[13] However, the "badboy" characteristic appeared to have been dropped by the time of Paevey's casting. In an interview with Soap Opera Digest, Paevey described Nathan as a "good guy," who is "guided by a moral compass. He's a straight-shooter."[20] Paevey described Nathan's demeanor as a cop as "hawklike focus."[22] Ron Carlivati described Nathan as a "hard-nosed, buttoned-down, practical guy."[23] Soap Opera Digest described Nathan as a "hard-driving cop character."[20] Paevey told Soaps In Depth that Nathan's birth name, "James represents a part his family [and himself] that is restricted." This complicates things further because he loves his family very much and there are several aspects of that family that make Nathan who he is.[22] Paevey said that during the audition process when the character was being formed, he noticed that he and the character had a lot in common.[19] Since the character's introduction it has been very clear that "he's a law-abiding, true-seeking good guy."[24] Paevey immediately rejected the notion that Nathan could have a dark side because of his genetics -- "I don't think he's the type" Paevey insisted.[24] "Sometimes a good egg comes out of a bad nest."[25] According to Paevey, Nathan is not "morally ambiguous." He doesn't have some deep dark sketchy past that he is trying to live down. Nathan is "straight and he's clear. My gut tells me that," Paevey said.[24] Paevey later said "I think the fact that his family was so busted up is the reason he's a good guy."[26]

Introduction (2014)[edit]

Not attaching Nathan to a specific love interest immediately allows for the writers to slowly integrate him into the canvas.[7] Soaps In Depth reported that Nathan's isn't just some "run-of-the-mill" cop, but "He's on a mission to stir things up for a few people!"[16] It is soon revealed that Nathan is in town investigating his estranged brother-in-law Silas Clay (Michael Easton) in the attempted murder of his comatose sister Nina. However, Silas's former mistress Ava Jerome (Maura West) is also at the top of the suspect list.[27] In 2014, legendary actress Donna Mills, known for her portrayal of Abby Cunningham on the prime time soap, Knots Landing was cast in the role of Madeline Reeves—Nathan's mother. It is revealed that Madeline raised Nathan to believe Silas was guilty and he is working on her behalf to lock Silas up for Nina's condition.[28] Despite acting to avenge his sister, Nathan tolerates Madeline's disdain for his career choice because she thinks it is "below them."[22] Nathan partners up with Silas and his girlfriend Sam McCall (Kelly Monaco) to set a trap for Ava believing she is guilty. However, the sting operation doesn't go as planned when Madeline is revealed to be the culprit—and Nathan is forced to arrest her.[2]

Lineage[edit]

Veteran actresses Donna Mills (left) and Kathleen Gati (right) portray Nathan's aunt Madeline Reeves who raises him as her own and Liesl Obrecht Nathan's biological mother, respectively.

Madeline's arrest sets the stage for several more revelations starting with Nathan being revealed to be the biological son of Madeline's estranged sister, Liesl Obrecht (Kathleen Gati) and therefore the half-brother of Obrecht's daughter Britt Westbourne (Kelly Thiebaud). Nathan is "dumbfounded" by the shift in his family dynamics, much like Paevey himself.[22][29] Madeline is forced to come clean after learning that Nathan and Britt nearly slept together. Soaps In Depth said Nathan is in a "rock and hard place" with mothers like Obrecht and Madeline. Nathan must come to terms with the fact that "the murderer he thought to be his mother is actually his aunt. And the murderer he believed to be just another nutjob is actually his biological mother!"[3] According to Paevey, Nathan is immediately put off by the revelation of his connection to Obrecht due to her less than stellar reputation and he is reluctant to have anything to do with her. While she is genuinely interested in building a relationship, he is not. Though Paevey expected Nathan to eventually bond with Obrecht, Ron Carlivati insisted it would take much more than the information for Nathan to come to see Liesl as his mother especially because of his feelings towards Madeline.[22][3] Nathan struggles with trusting anyone because his entire life has been a lie. And because there is so much happening in his life at the time Nathan's feelings about the situation get pushed to the side.[29] As Madeline is carted off to prison, she drops yet another bomb on Nathan by revealing that Nina (Michelle Stafford) is very much alive.[3][30] For Nathan, his relationship with Nina has always been "sacrosanct" and he is that one good thing in her life which makes him vulnerable to her schemes.[29] According to Paevey, "Nina is the one pure memory of [Nathan's] childhood."[31] When Madeline is released from prison, Nathan tries to give her the benefit of the doubt because her actions don't negate the good she did in raising him.[32] As for his feelings toward Obrecht, Nathan recognizes she isn't "all-bad."[21] Despite giving them a chance, Paevey said "nothing really surprises him anymore" when it comes to his family. Nathan's expectations are not too high because "He already knows that everybody in his family is a mess."[26] In 2014, Paevey said "Nathan is intrinsically distrustful of the concept of his family."[25]

Despite the recent revelations about Nathan's other familial connections, in May 2014 Paevey himself wondered if Nathan's paternity would be addressed.[22] With the reveal that Obrecht is his mother, On-Air On-Soaps immediately speculated that Cesar Faison (Anders Hove) who had recently been revealed as his sister Britt's father could be Nathan's father too.[33] However, Carol Baroom from SoapHub said the Faison theory "doesn't make sense" because there would have been no reason for Obrecht to give Nathan up—she would have raised him with Faison and Britt.[34] Faison as Nathan's father would also contradict Obrecht's prior disappointment with being unable to give him a male heir.[35] Baroom also suggested that Obrecht feels it would hurt Faison to know she had another man's child.[34] In December 2014, it is made clear that Faison would have never accepted another man's child.[36]

In June 2014 when Thaao Penghlis announced that he would reprise his role as Victor Cassadine, Daytime Confidential speculated that Victor could turn out to be Nathan's father.[38] During an interview in July 2014, Ryan Paevey guessed that his character would turn out to be a member of the famous, yet infamous Cassadine family.[29] Meanwhile, speculation increased when Penghlis invited Paevey to appear with him at his book signing and fed into the rumors with cryptic messages on social media. However Penghlis refused to confirm or deny the potential plot twist when he was questioned by Soaps In Depth.[39] Then head writer Ron Carlivati revealed that there was much more to Victor and Obrecht's relationship than expected.[40] Though she viewed Victor as the more "feasible" candidate for Nathan's father Carol Baroom immediately questioned Obrecht's motives for hiding Nathan from Victor and vice versa.[34] Obrecht claims Victor as Nathan's father in September 2014 only for Victor to order a DNA test which disproves that theory. However Obrect kills Victor before he can tell Nathan that they aren't father and son after all. She then allows Nathan and the rest of the world to believe her lie.[41]

In March 2015, Janette Smith of Soap Opera Spy recognized that Obrecht "fears for the safety of Nathan if his father is ever revealed" and proposed yet another potential candidate as Nathan's father. Based on Obrecht going to such extreme lengths to keep Nathan from questioning his paternity, Smith speculated that Nathan's father could actually be the never before seen Valentin Cassadine—a character that was slated to be introduced in 2009, but the story was terminated before it hit airwaves. Even the notoriously evil Helena Cassadine (Constance Towers) who had wreaked havoc on Port Charles for years was visibly terrified of Valentin when the character was first mentioned in 2009 as he was supposed to be more much more lethal than any of the other Cassadines.[41] In May 2016, Paevey commented on the character's paternity plot taking a backseat as his story progressed and felt it would definitely be addressed sometime in the future. However, Paevey admitted that the writers were very adamant about a Cassadine connection.[18] When Valentin (James Patrick Stuart) comes after Nathan's supposed daughter Charlotte in October 2016 SoapHub's Hope Campbell speculated that the series had finally set the stage to solve the two year long mystery of Nathan's paternity.[12][42]

Relationships[edit]

Australian actor Zachary Garred played Levi who does his best to isolate Maxie from her loved ones putting him at odds with Nathan.

Nathan's only significant romance within the series to date is his relationship with Maxie Jones (Kirsten Storms). Ron Carlivati recalled during an interview with Soap Opera Digest "When we saw Ryan [Paevey, Nathan] we thought, 'Oh, wow, he'd be really great for Maxie.'"[7] The purpose of their first scenes, which are Storms's final scenes before her maternity leave to make sure viewers saw the obvious chemistry. Carlivati said "These two may be arguing, bickering, or sparring, but you can see there is a spark there."[23] According to Ryan Paevey, Nathan and Maxie clash because they complete opposites and that is what appeals to Nathan. He finds her to be "charming." Meanwhile, Nathan clashes with Maxie's new boyfriend Levi Dunkleman (Zachary Garred) and a triangle evolves from the storyline with Levi exploiting the existing tension between Nathan and Maxie.[22][43] Unlike Levi, Nathan is supportive of any decision Maxie makes on her own—but they struggle to recognize how right they are each other.[44] But it Nathan's willingness to break the law for Maxie by committing perjury that allows for fans to root for the couple.[29] With Maxie and Levi set to marry to prevent him from being deported, Nathan admits to himself that he has feelings for Maxie.[5] The triangle culminates with Levi proving to be even more dangerous than even Nathan could have thought. Levi and Maxie's wedding sets the stage for Levi's exposure and also allows for Nathan to play hero to Maxie. Carlivati said that he enjoyed the slow build between Maxie and Nathan.[7] Nathan would do anything to give Maxie some stability in her life, even overlooking when she breaks the law for a friend.[9] Throughout the triangle, Nathan finds an alli in Maxie's stepfather Mac Scorpio (John J. York).[31]

The couple's next obstacle comes in the form of Maxie's ex-boyfriend and father of her child Damian Spinelli (Bradford Anderson). They briefly split and Maxie goes back to Spinelli. Nathan steps back and allows for Maxie to realize what she really wants. According to Paevey, Nathan understands Maxie's need to make it work with Spinelli for the child's sake and knows there will "always" be love between them.[32] Nathan is briefly paired with Spinelli's girlfriend Ellie Trout (Emily Wilson) when they team up to make their respective loves jealous.[21]

In 2016, the writers began exploring Nathan's past by revealing that he was once married to a woman named Claudette—something he had chosen to keep from Maxie—and everyone else. In the meantime, Maxie and Nathan become engaged. In May 2016, it was announced that Bree Williamson had been cast in the role of Claudette and was set to debut in July 2016.[45] Though there seems to be more to the story than Nathan is willing to admit, according to Ryan Paevey, it is Nathan's honest nature that forces him to come clean. Nathan "recognizes how glaringly out of character" the consistent lying is. Though he has some encouragement from Griffin Munro (Matt Cohen), Paevey insisted that Nathan would've eventually came clean on his own—but confiding in the doctor-priest helped hasten his decision. Despite the lie, Nathan fears that "knowing all these things is going to make [Maxie] view him as someone that she doesn't want to be with." Nathan doesn't have any cards left to play once he comes clean. He confesses and hopes "their feelings are strong enough to carry them through this."[10]

Reception[edit]

Ryan Paevey's "good looks" drew comparisons to former General Hospital heartthrob Antonio Sabàto Jr. who played top cop Jagger Cates in the 1990s.[46]

Carlivati's Twitter announcement garnered quite the reaction with fans wondering about Paevey and his role on the show.[14] Shortly after Paevey's debut, a fan created a fake Twitter account, pretending to be the actor.[47][48] Of the fan reaction, ABC Soaps In Depth said Paevey was an "instant hit on social media and the internet," and described as the "next big thing."[49] Connie Passalacqua of the soap opera website, Marlena De Lacroix listed Paevey as one of the daytime four actors to watch in 2014. She said: "Paevey is quite good looking, can act well and plays a police detective quite believably."[50] Soaps In Depth listed the character at number 5 in the "5 Things We're Loving" section in the February 3, 2014 edition.[51] Sara Bibel said that while "GH is full off good looking men" Paevey is one that makes others say "Damn, he's good looking." Bibel also likened the character of Nathan to a young Mac Scorpio.[31] Of the character's introduction, the magazine said, "We can't help but love a man of mystery, and that's what General Hospital's Nathan –– whom we've dubbed Detective Sexypants –– is to us right now."[52] One viewer praised the casting of Paevey and Ryan Carnes (Lucas Jones) and the fan mail was featured in Soap Opera Digest: "great job adding [Paevey and Carnes]; drop-dead gorgeous and they can act too!"[53] The character of Nathan became quite popular with fans despite viewer complaints that there were too many characters on canvas.[29] Carol Boorom from SoapHub said Paevey "whose good looks are only out shined by his good heart, is a special treat to watch."[54] DashboardGirl from General Hospital Blog said "Ryan Paevey has been such a delightful newcomer to the GH cast." She continued, "he’s easy on the eyes, and his role as Detective West is nothing short of sweet, sexy, compassionate, and much more."[55] On Britt and Nathan being siblings, Soaps In Depth said, "They may well be the hottest siblings ever."[56] Paevey "has become quite the sensation in short amount of time" said Michael Fairman in November 2014. Paevey's popularity led to the 30 year old being featured in People's "Sexiest Man Alive" issue in "The Sexiest Men At Every Age" list.[57] In 2015, Jenn Bishop of TVSource Magazine included the character in the list of several new characters that she enjoyed from Ron Carlivati.[58] In 2015, Rosemary A. Rossi described Paevey as "one of the hottest properties on daytime." Paevey's popularity also landed him a reporting gig on the syndicated TV newsmagazine Extra.[21]

Within Paevey's first year on the series, his character entered into a relationship with Maxie Jones that became quite popular with viewers and critics alike. ABC Soaps In Depth described the chemistry between Paevey's Nathan and Storms' Maxie as "instant."[59] General Hospital Blog praised the duo's chemistry described Nathan and Maxie (known as Naxie) as "one of the most loveable couples on GH."[60][55] TVSource Magazine praised the duo's chemistry as well as the "slow burn" writing for the pairing: "Nathan and Maxie have reminded us what a soap couple worth for looks like."[61]

References[edit]

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