Kirk McColl, the black sheep of the McColl family, arrived in Oakdale after being thrown out of military school and ending up in jail. Though he didn’t want anything to do with his father, Whit, he came home at the insistence of his sister, Diana, who had posted his bail. At home, he became close to his father’s new wife, Lisa, who encouraged him to attend college in Oakdale. Lisa also introduced him to her ex-husband’s daughter, Frannie Hughes. Though they couldn’t stand one another at first, when Frannie started tutoring him in English they formed a friendship and soon began dating to Lisa’s delight. While dating Frannie, he renewed a childhood friendship with Jay Connors, the son of the McColl housekeeper, Dorothy. Though Whit believed that Jay was a bad influence on Kirk, in reality, Jay often took the rap for Kirk. With a great girl and a great friend, Kirk’s life seemed perfect. That was, until he overheard Frannie and Jay discussing their feelings for one another. Angry and betrayed, Kirk confronted the pair then rushed out into a storm where he was knocked out by a tree branch and temporarily blinded. Estranged from Frannie, Kirk found friendship and support with her best friend, Marcy.
Later, came the shock of Kirk’s life. After his father’s brutal murder, it was discovered that Kirk was actually the product of an affair between Whit and Dorothy Connors, Jay’s mother. Dorothy had agreed to stay on as the housekeeper and let Joanna and Whit raise Kirk. Although Whit promised that, at some point, he’d marry Dorothy and tell Kirk the truth about his mother, Whit reneged on the promise when he married Lisa. The night of Whit’s murder, August 3, 1984, after a concert given by Jermaine Jackson for the recovery of The Refuge, Whit and Dorothy were in his study where again Whit refused to tell Kirk the truth about his parentage. Suddenly, Whit became verbally abusive to Dorothy, threatening to fire her. While Whit turned around, Dorothy hit him over the head with the crystal decanter. Dorothy blocked this information from her mind, until Maggie was questioning Jay, because Jay was the last known person to have visited Whit that evening and they had a tremendous fight about Dorothy. At that moment, Dorothy confessed to everything. Not knowing how to react, Kirk took Lisa’s advice and formed a relationship with his mother. Dorothy was later exonerated when it was discovered that Dorothy had a brain tumor.
The stress of the situation became too much for Kirk and he took to gambling to ease his pain. After racking a huge debt, he found himself in trouble with mobsters and stole from his older brother’s safe in order to cover it. Luckily, with the help of his family and the police, Kirk was able to get his life together. Though his relationship with Marcy fizzled when she fell in love with another, his career as a journalist took off and he moved to New York City.