Doug Cummings appeared to be a very honest and forthright man who didn't seem to be unsettled by much of anything. Doug was first seen a few weeks before he arrived in Oakdale, but the nature of his connection to Oakdale was unknown at the time. In April 1985, while on her honeymoon cruise with Bob Hughes, Kim Hughes was approached by a young man and woman, in their late twenties, who remembered her from her days as a nightclub singer. The young man even suggested that Kim return to singing. Kim appreciated the compliments and the encouraging words, but had no idea who the young man and young woman were. Although Kim didn't recognize the young man, he would later be revealed to be none other than Doug Cummings. By happenstance, also on the cruise was none other than Kim's former pianist, Kenneth "Ken" Wayne. While Kim and Ken were speaking, Ken suggested that Kim should renew her singing career right there on the cruise ship. Although hesitant at first, Kim finally gave in and decided to sing a Gershwin standard, "Someone To Watch Over Me", with Ken playing the piano. Kim felt wonderful after singing, but begged off from Ken's further suggestion of renewing her singing career. Watching all of this from the sidelines was Doug.
Later, Doug arrived in Oakdale and introduced himself to three women: Barbara Ryan, Lisa McColl and Lucinda Walsh. Since Barbara and Lisa owned and operated one of the businesses near the waterfront, Doug needed to get their permission to open a restaurant nearby which he intended to name Caroline's, after his recently deceased wife. Barbara and Lisa were bowled over by the handsome and very articulate, Doug. Barbara had a lot of money that she recently inherited after her husband, Gunnar St. Clair's, untimely death and was willing to loan it to Doug to help open the restaurant. However, first, Doug needed Lucinda's help in opening the restaurant, since Lucinda also owned much of the land near the waterfront. Unlike Lisa and Barbara, Lucinda was immediately suspicious of Doug and his motives. Lucinda launched an investigation into Doug's background and refused to give him any money or any leeway in opening up Caroline’s. However, in June, Doug was able to go around Lucinda's help when Lucinda was embroiled in a scandal over setting the cost of utilities too high in one of the low income apartment buildings she owned. So with Lisa and Barbara's permission, Lucinda being sidelined, and Barbara's money, Doug started building and construction on Caroline's. Doug set the opening of the restaurant for late September 1985.
Meanwhile, Kim started receiving flowers and phone calls from a secret admirer. Kim soon received long-stemmed apricot roses, her favorite. The florist said that an attractive woman signed for them and Kim thought the woman might have a clue to her admirer's identity, but wasn't able to pursue the matter as other events transpired. Later, she received a locket, which contained an old publicity shot of her from her days as a singer. Kim thought her secret admirer must be a former fan, but when Tom's wife, police detective Margo Hughes, checked out the fingerprints, they belonged to Bob, Kim and Lisa. Lisa wondered if Dr. John Dixon (one of Kim's former husbands) might be behind it since he had a history of causing trouble. At this point, Kim's former pianist, Ken Wayne, came to Oakdale to begin playing at Caroline's. Suspecting Ken, Kim agreed to meet him for lunch. Ken said he'd been "longing to see her" -- the same words that appeared on one of the letters that she’d received. Later, a gift arrived for "Kimberly Sullivan," a paperweight with a spray of pink feathers. Lisa noticed they were from a feather boa Kim had worn when she was a singer. Margo investigated Ken and discovered that he had been harassing other women with flowers and presents. Kim and Bob decided to get away to the Hughes cabin. Later, Lisa accepted another gift for Kim, and Ellen Stewart mused that the gifts always seemed to arrive when Lisa was around.
In August, Frannie Hughes’s relationship with Kevin Gibson ended because he had apparently gotten Marie Kovac pregnant and forced her to have an abortion. That was Marie’s story anyway; Kevin denied it. Not believing that Kevin was good for Frannie anyway, Lisa introduced her to Doug. Frannie and Doug hit it off immediately. It was obvious to both Marie and Marsha Talbot, Doug’s friend and assistant, that their boss was very interested in Frannie. Marie warned Doug that Frannie was nothing but trouble and fed Frannie more lies about Kevin. Determined to win Frannie back, Kevin, left Lucinda's employ and got a job at Caroline's. Kevin soon realized Doug was going to be his competition.
Meanwhile, Bob and Kim shared a blissful weekend while Tom took the latest package that Lisa had intercepted to the police. This one had a note that read: "Kimberly, you have carried the key to my heart and always will." Meanwhile, Kim received a letter from Ken warning her that some of his personal mementos had been stolen. Bob and Kim realized Ken was not the culprit. At the same time, Kim’s stalker stepped things up a notch by calling the cabin and hanging up. When the Hugheses extended their stay, they agreed to have the phone in the cabin tapped. They arrived to find a package waiting for them. It was a photo of Bob and Kim on their honeymoon. Although Kim and Bob were certain that Ken was not the culprit, Tom and Margo weren't as certain, and separately both Tom and Margo both warned Ken that he was still under suspicion. A worried Ken then started drinking an undue amount of alcohol.
As Doug prepared for Caroline's opening night, Marsha told Frannie and Lisa about his tragic past. Pointing to a portrait of a beautiful woman, she identified her as Doug's beloved, Caroline, who was killed in a freak horse riding accident. Later, Frannie was delighted when Doug asked her to attend opening night at Caroline’s. Tony Bennett was scheduled to make a guest appearance (and sing a duet with a friend of Frannie's—local singer Heather Dalton). Tony Bennett and Heather Dalton made the party a smashing success, and as Doug celebrated with Frannie, Jay Connors and Kevin jealously looked on.
Later, on Halloween, a body would be found on the Corbman estate—Marie Kovac’s! Marie's murder left behind a string of suspects, most notably Kevin, Cal Randolph and Ken. Cal suffered briefly from blackouts, but later remembered seeing Jay Connors at Marie's door. Later, Cal was found, by Kevin, floating face down in the water—a victim of a forced drowning. Seconds later, the police arrived, and Kevin was arrested on suspicion of murder. Despite Kevin's pleas of innocence, new Oakdale police detective Hal Munson, who was assigned to investigate Marie and Cal's murders, was convinced of Kevin's guilt.
Near the end of the year, 1985, several other events would deepen the mystery surrounding Marie and Cal's murders. Bob started receiving mysterious phone calls from a man stating that he had information on Kim's secret admirer. On Thanksgiving evening, Bob, Kim and the rest of the Hughes family would be spooked when a middle aged man was found dead in front of their house--a victim of a hit and run. Meanwhile, on New Year's Eve 1985, Heather Dalton found a mysterious key on the floor outside of her boss, Doug Cummings' apartment above Caroline's. When Marsha and Doug discovered the key was missing, both became very agitated. Doug and Marsha both, separately, left in a hurry. The next day, police Lieutenant Roy Franklin (who was falling in love with Heather Dalton) found Heather unconscious on the floor of her apartment an apparent victim of an attempted strangulation.
In the midst of all of this, Frannie brought Doug Cummings home to meet Bob and Kim. Although Kim thought she’d recognized him from the honeymoon cruise, Doug lied that he wasn't on the cruise. Kim chalked it up to a mistake on her part, never realizing that Doug was lying. At Christmastime, Doug proposed marriage to Frannie. Frannie said yes to Doug's proposal and assumed that Doug would set the date for the following June. However, Doug wanted to rush the wedding to Valentine's Day, saying that was when he married Caroline. Frannie was a little taken abac, but agreed to Doug's suggestion to a Valentine's Day wedding. Although Bob expressed some reservations about Frannie and Doug setting up a wedding date so quickly, he realized, with Kim and Nancy's urging, that Frannie truly seemed happy and Bob agreed to accept Doug as a future part of the family.
In the meantime, Ken Wayne was arrested as being Kim’s stalker. The day that Ken Wayne was arrested, someone could be seen typing Kim's name on an envelope. Next to the typewriter was an autographed picture of Kimberly Sullivan that read, "Best wishes to my little lost lamb." The last gift Kim had received before Ken’s arrest was a locket that Kim thought she had lost. Kim tried to place together all the clues and finally traced them to an unlikely source -- the lyrics to the Gershwin standard, "Someone To Watch Over Me". Meanwhile, her secret admirer sat in his room listening to a recording of Kimberly Sullivan singing the same song and holding the autographed picture closely to his chest. The secret admirer was Doug Cummings!
Kim never would have guessed that her stepdaughter's fiancé was the one who'd been sending strange messages and apricot roses. Marsha, who knew everything that was transpiring, chided Doug for taking too many risks. How would Frannie feel if she knew the truth? Doug vowed that by the time she did he'd be a part of Bob and Kim's family. Doug had given Frannie an engagement ring, the same ring as he gave Caroline. Doug had taken care of Marie, Cal and Dr. Henry Strauss. Doug had also coerced Marsha into planting evidence in Ken Wayne's apartment. Also, when Heather found the key, a key to Kim's dressing room at La Berge, it was he who tried to choke her, and had tried to disconnect her life support. Doug dreamed that his union with Frannie would bring him closer to Kim.
Meanwhile, Doug persuaded a reluctant Marsha to go back home to Houston. At about the same time, Hal went to Caroline's and Kevin Gibson told him that he had overheard Doug and Marsha talk about Doug being under psychiatric care and about Marsha's strange behavior the night Heather was strangled. Overhearing part of the exchange, a frantic Marsha ran up to Doug's apartment and told Doug about what she had overheard. Doug told her to continue with her plans to go to Houston, since he and Frannie were going to Acapulco. He also told her he'd take care of Kevin. Marsha was beside herself, but went to the airport. Doug was able to get Kevin away from Hal, temporarily, with an assignment outside of the restaurant. Hal himself went back to the police station and called Kim looking for Frannie because, as he told her, there was some hints that Doug and Marsha might be involved in Heather’s attempted murder. A confused Kim then found a note from Frannie telling her all about Doug and her going to Acapulco and Doug’s request that Kim and Bob meet them there. Meanwhile, Frannie showed up at Doug's apartment and was shocked to find his well hidden secret shrine to Kimberly Sullivan. As a very frightened Frannie walked into the shrine, she heard Kim's voice singing, "Someone to Watch over Me.”
Meanwhile, Kim herself rushed over to Doug's apartment, and while Frannie and Doug didn't answer, she overheard her younger self's singing voice. She too went into the shrine and was as equally shocked at what she saw. Later Kim found the autographed photo of herself, but couldn't remember the young man's name that she had given the photo to. That's when Doug walked up behind her and said the young man's name had been Doug Kamansky. Doug Cummings was Doug Kamansky! Doug told a very frightened Kim about how she had helped him out during a very dark period in his life. Years earlier, when in Houston at the Deja Vu nightclub, Kimberly Sullivan had told the 15 year old Doug Kamansky (who had recently lost his mother) it was okay for him to pursue Caroline even if her parents forbade him to. Doug Kamansky apparently took her advice to heart. After Caroline's parents sent her off to boarding school in Europe, they died in a suspicious fire at their home. Later, Doug worked out with weights and changed his name to Cummings and won Caroline's love and later married her. When Caroline died, he didn't know if he could go on, and Marsha and Dr. Strauss had helped, but the thing that finally got him out of his depression was when he went on the cruise and saw Kim singing, Someone To Watch Over Me.” Kim was even more spooked when Doug played her a tape of Kimberly Sullivan singing the song and also showed her a 16 mm film of her singing the same song! When Kim asked him where Frannie was, Doug told her, nonchalantly, that Frannie was in the bedroom passed out.
After Frannie came to, and tried to escape using the elevator key to Doug's apartment, she overheard Kim and Doug talking and became frightened for her stepmother. Frannie went into the secret shrine and well Doug's back was turned, facing Kim, hit him across the shoulders with a fireplace poker! As Frannie and Kim tried to escape, Marsha came up the elevator and pointed a gun right at them. Marsha tried to convince a slightly injured Doug to go with her and lock Frannie and Kim in the secret shrine, but Doug refused, clearly demented, saying that he would have the family he always wanted! Kim tried to get Marsha to see that Doug needed professional help, but Marsha refused to listen to Kim and forced Kim and Frannie, at gun point, to go on the private plane that Doug had kept near the river, outside of town.
Meanwhile, Heather finally came to and named Doug as her attacker, Bob was stunned to learn that his wife and daughter had been kidnapped by this madman who fooled everyone. To add to Bob's torment, Lisa told him Kim was pregnant. In the meantime, Doug landed his jet safely just outside the city limits of Denver, Colorado and led his captives to the renovated millhouse where he was born. He had named it Dream's End after he had married Caroline and took her there for their honeymoon. Much to Kim and Frannie's relief, Marsha offered to help them escape, but her plan to have Frannie use Doug's helicopter radio backfired when Doug found his fiancée sneaking away. Smiling, Doug led the terrified Frannie back to his lair. Their escape foiled, Kim and Frannie were distraught to hear that Doug had installed a security system, and if anyone tried to get through, they'd be blown to bits. Suddenly Kim winced in pain, and Frannie realized she was pregnant. Meanwhile, Bob, Kevin and Hal had put everything together, and the three men and the Denver police were on their way to Dream's End. It was a race against time as the men reached the millhouse. His dream shattered, Doug intended to blow the place up. In an effort to stall him, Frannie swore that she still loved him. Doug wanted a terrified Frannie to prove it. Meanwhile, Kevin, impatient, went towards the house. Marsha was still holding a gun on Kim, but somehow Kim was able to punch the younger woman hard and ran out of the room. When Kim turned around, Marsha somehow had recovered and disappeared with the gun. As Kevin neared the house, he ran into Kim and the pair heard a blood-curdling scream coming from Frannie! Kim rushed into Doug's room and found him dead -- stabbed by a letter opener! Frannie was on the floor sobbing that Doug had tried to rape her. When Marsha suddenly appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, she saw the dead body of the man she loved and went berserk. When Kevin got to the room and saw what happened, he rushed in and took the bullet. Kevin died in Frannie's arms.
Immediately, Hal had some new mysteries on his hand. Who had killed Doug and who shot Kevin? Frannie, so traumatized that she remembered nothing about the stabbing, was convinced she must have stabbed Doug. When Frannie told Kim her suspicion, Kim decided to take the blame herself and was charged with murder. Hal, Margo, police Lt. Dan McClosky and Tom were convinced she did not kill Kevin, however Oakdale D.A. Hobson was out for blood, as well as glory, and appointed the assistant D.A. Jessica Griffin (who up to that point had never lost a case) to lead the prosecution. During the course of the trial, Jessica put Marsha on the stand and, during cross-examination by Tom; Tom caught Marsha in a lie about how the letter opener had ended up in Doug’s back, and created doubts about where Marsha was after Kim had overpowered her. Later, Tom asked the court to bring Doug's complete bedroom set, at Dream's End, to the court. When Tom reconstructed the events, he was able to show the court that at Kim's height it would have been impossible for her to have stabbed Doug in the back. When Marsha came in the courtroom, to make sure Kim went to prison, Frannie suddenly remembered that it was Marsha who had come into the bedroom from a secret passageway and, seeing Doug raping Frannie, she assumed that they were making love, so she stabbed Doug in the back with the letter opener. Marsha was also the one who shot and killed Kevin, intending to shoot and kill Frannie!
Marsha ended up going to a prison psychiatric ward. Although she made a brief escape and kidnapped Frannie for a couple of days, Frannie was saved by Dr. Casey Peretti and Seth Snyder, two new men in her life. Frannie soon found out that she was a very wealthy woman, thanks to Doug's will. She refused to accept the money though and instead decided to use it to help the citizens of the war torn island country of Montega. It is likely that her experience with Doug contributed to her belief that her husband, Daryl Crawford, was guilty of murdering his first wife, Carolyn Crawford.
As for Kim, she ended up becoming a huge star on the TV talk show, "Patterns.” Nearly a decade later, Kim would find another young woman with psychological problems who would nearly kill her and her son, Andy.