Shawn Butler on GENERAL HOSPITAL has remained a fan-favorite character that viewers continued to hope would get justice… since he’s languishing in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! Actor Sean Blakemore debuted in the role in January of 2011, and by April he was put on contract with the soap. While some fans feared he’d left GH in 2012, the actor was just off shooting a movie. His actual departure didn’t occur until 2015. (Though he did reprise the role for one episode in April of 2016!) And then, in April 2021, he came back again so his character could finally get justice!
Shawn first appeared comforting Molly Lansing, who was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after shooting Jerry Jacks. Shawn opened up about his own struggles with PTSD after his experiences in Afghanistan. But it was soon revealed that Shawn was secretly working for Theo Hoffman, the criminal known as The Balkan, and was ordered to kidnap Brenda Barrett before her wedding. When he failed in his abduction attempt, Jason Morgan and Sam McCall convinced him to turn on Theo and help them bring him down.
Betrayed, Theo tried to kill Shawn, and Carly Corinthos nursed him back to health. When Franco menaced Carly and her daughter, Josslyn, Jason hired Shawn to act as their bodyguard. But he quit when his violent past was used against Carly during her custody hearing with Jax. After Sonny ran Jax out of town, Shawn worried he might return, and kept an eye on Carly and Joss. So when Jax tried to run off with his daughter, Shawn was there to stop him.
Carly and Shawn grew closer as he took over Jason’s job working as Sonny’s right hand for a time. Michael didn’t approve of their closeness and had Sonny fire him. But when the pair traveled to Hawaii to warn Jason and Sam about Franco, Carly and Shawn shared a kiss. Later, Shawn opened up to Carly about how he had accidentally killed a fellow marine, Tommy Ashford, in Afghanistan. Shawn was preparing to leave Port Charles when he was forced to take in Tommy’s teenage son, TJ Ashford, who had run away from home. Carly hired Shawn to manage Kelly’s Diner, and it was clear that Shawn still cared about Carly. But when she didn’t return his feelings, Shawn sadly backed off. But he wasn’t single for long, sparking a relationship with Alexis Davis.
After Jason’s presumed death, Shawn took over his position working for Sonny, which Alexis wasn’t crazy about. When Franco turned out to be alive, Carly ordered Shawn to kill him, and he agreed to the hit, not realizing Sonny wasn’t in on the plan. Unfortunately, he accidentally shot Olivia Falconeri and was horrified. Thankfully, as he was about to turn himself in to the police, it was revealed that there was another shooter, and his bullet wasn’t the one that hit Olivia. Unfortunately, Alexis was still appalled that he would agree to kill someone, and that was the end of their relationship.
Following Duke Lavery’s murder, Sonny assumed that Jake Doe (later Jason Morgan, later Drew Cain) had killed him, so he ordered Shawn to take him out. But when Shawn tried, Jordan Ashford was there to stop him. He fired a shot and it was believed at the time that he had accidentally shot Hayden Barnes in the head. Shawn was arrested, and Jordan revealed to him that he, not Tommy, was TJ’s real father. Shawn had plenty of time to process the news because he went to prison for attempted murder. When Hayden came out of her coma, she visited Shawn to see what he knew about the other shooter, but he hadn’t seen anyone. Months later, he told the same thing to Jason and Sam when they questioned him about it.
For years, Shawn remained locked up behind bars for a crime he never even committed (it was a hitman hired by Nikolas Cassadine who had shot Hayden!) and in April 2021, he resurfaced as Jason’s new cellmate at Pentonville. Jason was shocked when Shawn stabbed him with a shiv, but afterward, Shawn called Carly to let him know Jason was on his way to the hospital as part of their plan to help him escape. Shawn also helped Alexis as she struggled with life behind bars and she returned the favor by helping him investigate his sentencing.
With Molly and TJ’s help, Judge Carson’s racist sentences were exposed and this quickly led to Shawn’s sentence being commuted to time served and he was finally a free man! Shawn reunited with his son and was determined to find out who had really shot Hayden and let him rot in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! Stay tuned to see what happens next!
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