General Hospital: Steve Burton Leaving; Jason Morgan, Ethical Mob Boss

General Hospital: How Ethical Is Your Mob Boss? — Jason Morgan

Steve Burton’s announcement that he is departing General Hospital after 21 years creates an opportunity to discuss the love/hate relationship with organized crime in the fictional town of Port Charles.

Newer viewers only may be familiar with the hitman-with-a-heart, Jason Morgan.  But before there was “Jason Morgan”, there was “Jason Quartermaine”, a polite, sweet med student who lived at the Q mansion, wore varsity sweaters and served tea.  Jason Quartermaine was sweet, but hardly a compelling character, despite Burton’s mining the role for everything it was worth.

Enter black sheep, A.J. who was kind enough to take dear, sweet Jason out for a car ride.  A.J., in his usual drunken state, crashed the car into a tree, leaving brother Jason with brain damage.  Thank goodness.  Burton took the character into the darkness and emerged as “Jason Morgan”, hitman for the Corinthos crime organization.

Jason Morgan became a multi-faceted, multi-talented criminal.  He rides motorcycles, looks fabulous in black leather, is fearsome with firearms, and soft-hearted with children, the sick and the elderly.  Jason is a Renaissance killer who only whacks the bad guys who deserve it and (almost) always saves the damsel in distress.

Burton is an action star who is believable with a .45, does many of his own stunts and throws a mean punch.  He also reflects the emotional wounds of a weary warrior.  Burton’s penetrating blue eyes can condemn, convince, console and deliver comedy and romance with equal effectiveness.   His portrayal of this complex man has been a reasons why General Hospital provides better, consistent drama than many nighttime series.

The criminals of General Hospital tend to have more ethics and dimensions than their feature film and primetime counterparts.  General Hospital is a series that, had it been on at night, might have enjoyed the worldwide success of Dallas.

As for Burton, he is relocating to Nashville to raise his young children and spend time with his family after his long stint on General Hospital.  His plans include a possible collaboration with James Franco in television projects, but the actor has been quiet about details.

Jason Morgan will be missed in Port Charles.  His ethical approach to crime has shaded in the grays of many a complex situation…killer, white knight, lover, and dependable ally.  Steve Burton will be missed from the daytime canvas, but like Jason Morgan, he chooses to take risks for the ones he loves.  An ethical man who puts “Family First”.

Next up… General Hospital: How Ethical Is Your Mob Boss — Sonny Corinthos

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