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This article was first published
in October 2007, on the occasion of the series' 10th anniversary.

A lot can happen in ten years. But sometimes, all it takes is one key moment to change everything. Footprints has certainly had its share of those. Here are ten that, in an instant, changed the course of the series forever...

Molly and Brent Kiss (1998)
It was an impulsive act that kicked off years of drama. While protecting Molly from her stalker, Brent found himself attracted to his girlfriend's sister. The two kissed--unaware that Sarah was watching them. Insecure Sarah played on Brent's guilt and convinced him to elope. Molly and Brent tried to stay away from each other but could not deny their attraction; Sarah's resentment over having grown up in "perfect" Molly's shadow came to the fore and drove her to extremes. Eventually, Sarah found real love with Matt Gray, and Molly and Brent married. But it was a long road to that destination, and it was all because of one impetuous moment.

Diane Bishop

  Diane Has Tim's Child (1999)
When scheming vixen Diane Bishop seduced amnesiac Tim Fisher and got pregnant as a result, she was sure that she would be able to break up his marriage to Claire. As it turned out, her efforts failed on that front--but what Diane did do was tie herself forever to the Fisher family. When Tim was presumed dead, Diane returned to fight Claire for custody of little Samantha, and after Tim's return from captivity, the shared bond of their daughter was enough to bring him and Diane together and ignite a real relationship. Diane also forged a bond with Sarah, often the "outsider" among the Fishers. She might never be Mrs. Tim Fisher, but manipulative, sarcastic Diane will forever be part of the family because of her daughter.

Alex Makes a Move on Jason (1999)
Alex Marshall arrived in town looking for his mother, Sally, and wound up reconnecting with Don Chase, the man who had once been thought to be his father. Alex also bonded with Don's daughter, Courtney, and her friends. Courtney's friend Lauren was very interested in Alex, and they began dating... but one night, while sharing a bed after a party, a very drunk Alex made a pass at Courtney's boyfriend, Jason! It took Alex some time to admit his true feelings to himself and his friends. He split with a hurt Lauren and was later shocked to find himself drawn to her brother, Trevor; Lauren eventually gave her blessing for them to be together. Courtney dumped Jason for keeping Alex's secret, and Jason took up with Lauren for a while. As for Alex and Jason, they became best friends and roommates--a bond made possible, perhaps, only because of the secret that emerged in that one shocking moment years ago.

Sarah Sleeps With Matt (1999)
Desperate to hold onto her husband, Brent, Sarah arranged for them to work as private investigators on a case in upstate New York. It was there that she found herself drawn to Matt Gray, accused of a jewel heist. After clearing Matt's name, Sarah returned to King's Bay, only to witness yet another close moment between Brent and Molly. Devastated, Sarah ran to Matt, and they slept together. She wound up pregnant with a child that turned out to be Matt's, and the revelation eventually destroyed what was left of her union to Brent. More importantly, though, the moment that Sarah fell into bed with Matt was the first time she acknowledged that she might be able to find happiness with someone other than Brent. It was the first of many steps to realizing that she deserved better than to settle for being second-best to Molly--and it was also the beginning of one of Footprints's most popular love stories.

Tim "Dies" (2000)
After months of begging his wife, Claire, to stop investigating the Moriani family, Tim agreed to help her. He wound up at the pier, where he witnessed an exchange that proved Nick Moriani's continued involvement in organized crime. Unfortunately, Tim was spotted and shot. His body was not found, but after an exhaustive search, his family had no choice but to hold a memorial service. A vengeful Claire set out to bring down the Morianis but eventually found herself drawn to childhood sweetheart Ryan--Nick's son--and fighting Diane Bishop for custody of Tim's daughter, Samantha. Meanwhile, the Fishers mourned Tim, and the loss spurred Paula into pursuing the son she had given up for adoption years before.

Nick Marries Katherine (2000)
On the same night that Tim Fisher was shot on the pier, Nick Moriani was busy marrying wealthy widow Katherine Fitch. Though he was secretly marrying her so that he could use her money to pay his mob debts, Nick claimed to love Katherine. She was less than understanding when she found out that she had been shot and lost her home in a fire because of his criminal ties. However, the simple act of saying "I do" transitioned Katherine into the series's main story, and she eventually became one of FP's most beloved characters; it also added another layer to the ongoing Moriani saga and made Nick's reign of terror even further-reaching.

Ryan Moriani   Ryan is Paula's Son (2002)
After Tim's death, Paula became serious about finding out what happened to the son she gave up for adoption as an infant. She had daughter Sarah, a P.I., investigate. Sarah was shocked by what she discovered--and, at the same time, Paula was in for a shock of her own. At the park with her grandson, she was stunned to be bowled over by Stan Lincoln, a man from her past. As readers knew, Stan was the biological father of Ryan Moriani, come to King's Bay to sget money from his son. At that moment, he was going on the lam after attempting to rape Claire. It didn't take long for Paula and Sarah to put together the pieces and realize the truth, and it would be another year before the news became public knowledge during a court hearing, but in that instant, readers knew that Ryan Moriani was really a member of the Fisher family--and nothing would ever be the same.

"Tom Clayton" is Tim Fisher (2004)
Claire was finally happy with Ryan, and the Fishers had begun to accept Paula's long-lost son as part of the family. Then Brent came upon a clue--a tip left by Stan Lincoln just before his murder. Stan had overheard some vital information that tied Nick Moriani to a mysterious clinic in Vermont. Keeping his mission a secret from Molly, Brent traveled to Vermont to investigate. Molly followed and learned that there were two names of interest to Brent: Salvator Domingo and Tom Clayton. Domingo, they discovered, was a doctor at the clinic, where they were denied entry. Clayton, as Molly learned after breaking into the clinic's dark corridors, was a patient who had been comatose for four years... and was really her presumed-dead brother, Tim! There were many secrets left to uncover, but in that moment of discovery, it was clear that the Fishers' lives were about to change forever.

Nick is Shot (2006)
While awaiting trial for a variety of crimes, Nick terrorized all those whom he felt had done him wrong: he threatened Claire and Tim's young son; he crashed Katherine's charity auction and humiliated her in front of her snobby friends; and he tried to ruin estranged son Ryan's reputation all over again. It was no surprise, then, that Nick was found shot in his own home. He slipped into a coma, and the police had several suspects: Katherine, Ryan, Camille, Tim. After the Moriani maid, Lola, was also killed, evidence pointed to Tim, and Brent had no choice but to arrest him. That same day, Ryan arrived at the hospital to find Nick's room empty: his father had died hours before. Tim, facing trial for two homicides, was desperate to clear his name, and Ryan was equally desperate to marry Claire. It was clear that this could not end well for everyone, and it came to a head months later...

Nick's Final Revenge (2007)
Claire and Ryan pulled together a quick wedding at Bill's restaurant, the Fisherman's Pier. But before the ceremony could begin, a group of gunmen herded everyone into the basement. The hostages were shocked when "dead" Nick rolled into the basement, weakened and in a wheelchair but very much alive. He was determined to exact revenge on all his enemies, and he did just that: after revealing that Ryan was the one who had shot him, he detonated a series of bombs that changed several lives forever. Nick was decapitated in the explosions and was finally dead for good, but Sarah, Brent, Ryan, and Claire were just a few of those whose lives could never be the same.



...and Some We Wish We Could Take Back

James of the Jungle (1998)
Villainous James Robbins kidnapped his newborn grandson and fled to a convenient hideaway in the jungles of South America. The anguished parents, Claire and Tim, pursued him and took part in wild adventures--such as being suspended in a cage over a vat of acid--before Claire knocked James to his death in order to save her husband and son. The best part of this story was when it was over.

Shannon Feeds Subconscious Suggestions to Courtney (1998)
Desperate to have Jason Fisher for herself, Shannon Parish set out to ruin her competition, Courtney Chase, in whatever way she could. She planted a device in Courtney's room and used it to whisper subconscious messages. Courtney, driven to the brink of madness, wandered into traffic, but Jason rescued her. Then Shannon--apparently realizing her plan was colossally stupid and nonsensical--changed course and had Courtney clubbed in the knee instead. (The original plan was for Shannon to drive Courtney so insane that she'd have to be committed to an institution. Maybe we should have been the ones sent there instead.)

Don and Sally Steal a Painting from the Louvre (1999)
Suffering from mood swings after his fall from a ladder, Don Chase left his family behind and ran off to Paris with his ex. After one of his spells, he wound up at the hotel with a painting that he believed he had swiped from the famous museum. As it turned out, he had come back to the room and recreated the work on his own. Yeah, we don't know why this happened, either.

Julian St. John Hires Sarah to Investigate (2004)
This story wasn't as outrageously bad as some listed above, but it did turn out to be one big "Huh?" Julian St. John hired Sarah to investigate his wife, whom he suspected of infidelity. There was a much longer story planned, including a relationship between Sarah and Julian. Julian was set to team up with Jennie Burkle to split up Sarah and Matt. When that story was deemed unnecessary, Julian hit on Mia Davich, Mia told Sarah, and Sarah figured out that Julian was trying to frame his wife so that he could divorce her without having to pay her. Just like that, the story was gone, and Sarah went back to her regular story with Matt. Julian later went to jail for running a drug ring through the Objection boutique. Maybe we should've thought longer before introducing this ill-conceived side story.

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