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Soap Opera Weekly - April 7, 1998 Issue

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August 19, 1997
September 12, 1997
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April 7, 1998
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Shadow of a Doubt
Austin catches Carrie with Mike
Is their marriage down for the count?

The troublemakers causing friction between Carrie and Austin get a new ally this week on Days of Our Lives - Mike's old college nemesis, Craig Wesley. Determined to beat out Mike for the chief of staff position at Salem University Hospital, Craig will use any means necessary. He begins rattling Carrie's marriage, hoping it will thwart her performance as Mike's public relations adviser.

"Carrie doesn't trust Craig. She knows he's up to no good," Christie Clark (Carrie) says, noting that Carrie learned that when she was introduced to Craig in Los Angeles. "He was a jerk then, too. He pissed off Carrie, because he kept doing all of these things to put down Mike."

Carrie is concerned about the dirty tactics Craig might use to win the chief of staff position. "Craig has already talked to all of the board members and told them that they really shouldn't go with a single guy, that it would be a much better move to go with somebody who's married (which Craig is)," Clark says. "Carrie is all worked up about that. She knows this guy is playing hardball, and she believes it's time for her and Mike to do the same thing. Carrie wants to go head-to-head with Craig. She is more determined than ever to get Mike this job."

Mike has a different take on the situation. "He knows Craig really well, and this competition thing has been a part of their relationship forever," Roark Critchlow (Mike) explains. "So Mike's taking a more philosophical view of the whole thing. On one hand, he really wants to do well and get the chief of staff position, so he can make the people behind him - Grandma, Mom, Carrie - proud. But on the other hand, if Craig wins by underhanded means, then that's sort of his cross to bear. Mike is not going to resort to those same sorts of tactics."

Nevertheless, Mike hates seeing Carrie "so wound up and so upset. It seems to be getting to her," Critchlow says. "There's actually a line where he says to her, 'We'll do what we can. As long as we do this honorably, we've got nothing to be ashamed of.' Basically he tells her to lighten up."

Although Carrie is "still in a huff, Mike does humor her a little bit. He makes her laugh, takes the edge off," Clark notes. Carrie thanks him, and they hug - just as Austin happens by. The moment is uneasy, to say the least.

"Mike is starting to feel uncomfortable around Austin," Critchlow notes. "He and Carrie have been spending a lot of time together. He sort of forgets, conveniently disregards the fact that she is married, and starts to enjoy spending time with her. When he sees Austin, everything comes back to the surface. Because, yes, Mike does have feelings for Carrie. So there's no way he cannot feel guilty on some level."

Austin, who has witness one too many fond embraces between his wife and mike, is "a little bit perturbed," Austin Peck (Austin) says. "Who wouldn't be upset seeing his wife hugging another man all the time?"

Carrie rushes over to her husband, obviously delighted to see him. "That always makes Austin feel a little better," Peck adds. "It makes him re-evaluate what's really going on, because Carrie doesn't seem to be thrown by it that much."

When Mike leaves, Carrie and Austin prepare to head home for a night of romance. Before they can, though, Craig turns up and starts some trouble. He mentions Carrie and Mike pretending to be a couple in Los Angeles. Craig thinks Carrie was a great actress. But then again, he's not sure she was acting at all.

"Craig really doesn't know much about Austin and Carrie," executive producer Tom Langan says. "All he knows is that Carrie and Mike played house together in Los Angeles. He starts stirring the pot more than he realizes."

That means big trouble for Carrie, Clark says. "Austin knew Carrie pretended to be Mike's girlfriend for one night in L.A., but he didn't know they had been kissing and all that stuff."

Craig's comments "stir up a lot of old things" in Austin's mind, Peck says. "Austin remembers how the hotel operator and clerk in L.A. seemed to think that Carrie and Mike were a great couple. But Austin really can't say that much, because at the time he was living with Sami and dealing with that whole thing. So he does his best to let it go."

With a little help from Carrie. "She reassures him," Clark says. Carrie "is still totally in love with Austin." However, Craig's comments do have an effect on her. "She starts remembering her and Mike's trip to Los Angeles and what a great time they had."

When Carrie is called away, Craig returns on cue and plants more seeds of doubt in Austin's mind, reiterating that Carrie and Mike were convincing boyfriend/girlfriend act. Austin is clearly "pissed off," Peck says. "He doesn't like being left in the dark. But he's trying to deal with it and be as adult as possible. He doesn't want to jump to any conclusions. He wants to be as cool as possible."

Finally, Austin and Carrie return home, and Carrie starts to make love to her husband. Clark says her character's impetus might be the fact that "Carrie feels like she's been neglecting Austin. She's been really getting into her job as Mike's PR adviser. She keeps making excuses about why she missed a coffee date with him, why she has to rush back to the hospital. She needs to make it up to him."

Austin, who's well aware he's been slighted, is distant. "Usually Carrie and Austin are pretty darn good with the sexual part of their relationship," Peck says. "But Austin is really upset, and the idea he had of them being married is just a little bit different than what's going on right now. He wants to feel like, 'This is my woman.' He doesn't want to share the woman he's married to with Mike."

Carrie anticipates that Austin's distance may make Carrie re-evaluate her priorities "and feel a little guilty. She's got to wonder: Should I be doing this with Mike - getting involved deeper and deeper with him? There are feelings emerging that go along with all of that.

"Carrie loves Austin, although Austin is like a lust thing," Clark adds. "It's a very sexual relationship. But she also knows that she likes to spend time with Mike. He's smart, he's funny, and Carrie's never been friends with anyone like him. Mike is like the best friend you suddenly realize you're in love with."

According to Langan, that could very well be the direction in which Carrie is headed. "It's like two heroes finally connecting. It's a real dilemma. Carrie and Mike are both morally fine people, and neither one of them wants Carrie to betray her marital vows. What's interesting about the dynamic between Carrie and Mike is that this is a growing relationship without the element of romance." As a result of their campaign for chief of staff, "Carrie and Mike have this opportunity to really get to know each other - unfortunately for Austin. It's turning out that the more you get to know each other, the more of a bond that's forming."

In the interim, Carrie and Austin seem to be drifting in opposite directions. Austin's getting involved in boxing, while Carrie is immersing herself in her work. In the weeks ahead, Langan hints that things may only get worse. "We'll see Carrie and Austin discovering aspects of themselves without the other person being around. Sometimes that can break up a relationship. Other times it can strengthen it when the two people come together and discuss their growth. If there's no time for that, it could be a detriment, especially if they discuss their growth with someone other than the person to whom they are married."

- Janet Di Lauro

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