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Luke will stop at nothing to free his beloved Laura!

Since the scourge of General Hospital, Damian Smith, was murdered, everyone in Port Charles has been pointing his or her finger at everyone else... and giving each other the high-five. At last, the womanizing mobster had gotten what he had coming to him. While setting the Ward House ablaze, after hitting on half of Port Charles, Damian was fatally knocked across the ol' noggin with a baseball bat. Laura Spencer and the kids were upstairs, afraid that their lives were about to go up in smoke, but it was Smith whose number was up. As the police investigation progressed, it appeared that Luke was the main suspect. In fact, things looked so bleak for the entrepreneur, that son Lucky stepped in and told the cops lies about the night in question... lies that made them question Luke's innocence even more severely. When an arrest was finally made, all of Port Charles was stunned. Luke wasn't charged... of all people, Laura was!

"Luke is going to play by the rules because he knows that his wife is innocent," says Anthony Geary, who plays him. "He expects that this is really just a small setback. No one could really believe that she did this."

Then again... "If going by the rules doesn't work," says Geary. "Luke is quite literally capable of doing anything. He'd kill someone to get his wife out of jail. He'd sacrifice himself and probably anybody short of his kids."

Logic dictates that since Laura was trapped in the burning building with a house full of innocent children, she is not guilty. But dealing with the law doesn't always mean dealing logically, says GH headwriter Bob Guza. "The gist of the story is that it doesn't matter whether or not she did it, but whether they can prove she did. It very much appears that they can.

"The jails are full of innocent people," the scribe continues. And there's always room for one more. "There is such a bulk of evidence against Laura," says Guza. "They may well be able to prove that she did it."

Represented by one of Edward Quartermaine's hot-shot attorneys -- a cross between F. Lee Bailey and Johnnie Cochran, Guza says -- Laura refuses to plea bargain the case and accept a lesser charge. When she is indicted for second-degree murder and denied bail, Luke fires the lawyer and captains the defense team himself. He brings in Justus to represent his wife, and he enlists private eye Mac's help in an unconventional manner.

"Luke is thinking that the one way they can get Laura off is to prove who the real murderer is," says Guza. "Anything short of that she she is going to prison." Adds Geary, "Luke suspects that Edward's involved, but Edward would have hired someone to do it. Luke hadn't given it much thought up until now, because it didn't really matter to him who killed Damian. The important thing to him was that Damian's dead." Luke will go so far as to plan a jailbreak for his Mrs., but don't expect it to come to pass. The pair already has done the love-on-the-lam bit, and it's a heckuva lot harder to hide out with two kids.

What Guza has created is an umbrella that encompasses many stories on the soap... and threatens the relationships of Luke and Laura and Justus and Simone. Genie Francis, who plays the plot's jailbird focus, says that she is thrilled that her character is finally front and center after spending two years in a storyline abyss. "For awhile, I was concerned that Laura was a little too good... a little too on high moral ground," says the actress. "What I loved about Laura the first time around was that she was so human. She always wanted to do the right thing, but sometimes she couldn't. Lately, she's been just too much in control."

All that seems to be changing since the show named as its new headwriter Guza, who cut his teeth on Luke and Laura's early days. Preparing for her trial, Laura is concerned that her past will come back to haunt her. In the late 1970s, 16-year-old Laura's name was dragged through the tabloids for having had an affair with and then killing her mother's lover David Hamilton. "That really did drive the character and make her who she was," recalls Francis. "She was really freaked out about looking good to the rest of the world because she was in the scandal sheets as a slut."

Later, Laura married lawyer Scotty Baldwin to improve her social standing... which fell anyway when she ran off with Luke, whose address virtually defined the wrong side of the tracks. In the Hamilton homicide, Laura repressed the fact that she did it. Could she have done it again... killed Damian and then "forgotten" it?

"That's what I'm hoping for," says Francis with a laugh. "She did it and then went upstairs and sat down with the kids and sang lullabies. She's lost it before. And that's okay with me. What I don't like to play is this perfect person who is beyond human error."

With the Spencer family at loose ends, Mother's Day proves to be tense. "We play very big emotional stuff with the kids," says Guza. "Does Laura want them to see her in jail? Does she want Lesley Lu to remember her like this? Lucky is ravaged with guilt for what he feels is his part in her arrest."

The ramifications of this story will play out over the coming months. ABC has so much invested in this whodunit that the show is reportedly secretly taping 20 scenes to be inserted in shows at the last minute so that neither the actors nor the crew can leak pivotal plot information to the press. Will the Spencers be able to beat the system once again? Geary answers in his own succinct way: "Tune in."