Not much was known about Dr. Matt Hunter when he arrived in Port Charles in June of 2008 except that he had beaten out thousands of applicants for a medical fellowship paid for by Nikolas Cassadine. Matt spent his time shuffling between the new Emily Quartermaine Clinic and General Hospital. He was charming with the ladies, but appeared to have dark secrets. He met with Logan Hayes at one point in what appeared to be an attempt to distribute counterfeit drugs. Maxie Jones interrupted them.
Maxie took an instant disliking to the young handsome doctor. Her attitude didn't improve when she learned that Mac had rented out Georgie's bedroom to him. Maxie objected to Matt staying in her slain sister's room. She took every opportunity to discredit the doctor so that Mac would be forced to throw Matt out of her home. To her frustration, each of her attempts failed miserably. Despite her animosity, Matt revealed part of his past to Maxie. In August 2008, Matt told her that he had lost a patient due to the counterfeit drugs. He had trailed the drugs to Port Charles, which was why he had accepted the fellowship.
Matt's investigation nearly cost him his life when Jerry Jacks decided to eliminate the people snooping into the drug ring. He set the Emily Quartermaine Clinic on fire with Matt and nurse Nadine Crowell trapped inside. Luckily, Nikolas Cassadine managed to save Matt and Nadine before they perished in the fire.
While Matt recuperated from extensive second degree burns and smoke inhalation at General Hospital, he received a visit from his father, Noah Drake. Patrick was stunned to learn he had a half-brother. Matt was not enthusiastic. He had known about Patrick all along but had never reached out to his brother because of their father. Noah had made it clear that he wanted nothing to do with Matt long before. Matt had been the product of a brief affair that Noah wanted to forget. He had sent child support to Matt's mother but had never had any contact with his son.
Over the months, Patrick tried to get to know his younger brother. Matt was resistant at first, but eventually he became receptive to the overtures. By the time Patrick married Robin, Matt was a welcomed member of his brother's family. Noah, however, continued to keep his distance from Matt.
In February 2009, Matt was exposed to a deadly bio-toxin during a routine surgery for an accident victim. The bio-toxin took the life of nurse Leyla Mir. Matt survived but was overwhelmed with guilt because he had exposed his surgical team to the deadly toxin. No one blamed Matt because he'd had no way of knowing that the patient had swallowed three spheres of the poison before the car accident that had necessitated the surgery.
Matt and Patrick grew closer when Patrick and Robin had a daughter named Emma. Matt was concerned about some of Robin's behaviors as she adjusted to motherhood. He suggested that Robin might have postpartum depression. Initially Patrick disagreed and was offended by Matt's comments. In time, Patrick agreed that Matt was correct. Matt helped Patrick stage an intervention for Robin to address her illness. While Robin was away receiving treatment, Matt temporarily moved in with Patrick to help care for Emma.
Patrick's reputation as a brilliant surgeon continued to overshadow Matt's efforts at the hospital. When Mayor Floyd's mistress, Brianna Hughes, required surgery after a fall in the shower, Matt insisted he could perform the risky surgery without Patrick's assistance. Brianna died on the operating table. Although Matt had not made any mistakes during the surgery, many hospital staff members insinuated Patrick's surgical brilliance could have saved her. Brianna's parents filed a medical malpractice suit against Matt. The suit was later dropped when injuries the mayor's wife, Andrea Floyd, inflicted on Brianna were deemed the cause of Brianna's death.
Matt enjoyed flirting with many of the women in Port Charles, but he was especially drawn to Robin's cousin Maxie. At the time, Maxie was engaged to Spinelli, and Matt accused Maxie of not being ready to get married. When Maxie continued to rebuff his attempts to date her, Matt asked Lulu Spencer to be his date to the hospital carnival. The date never happened because Matt had to work.
A few months later, Maxie's father Mac was shot and critically injured by Warren Bauer. Matt operated on Mac and saved his life. Maxie showed her gratitude to Matt by having sex with him in a hospital supply closet. Afterwards, Matt hoped that Maxie had changed her mind about dating him but she was only interested in exploring their physical connection.
When Patrick's former college girlfriend, Lisa Niles, moved to Port Charles, Matt sensed Lisa was still interested in Patrick, despite her claims otherwise. Matt received the go-ahead from his brother to pursue Lisa, but she only wanted Patrick. Although Patrick doubted Matt's theory that Lisa wanted to rekindle her college romance, Matt warned Lisa that Patrick loved his wife.
Maxie eventually warmed up to the idea of dating Matt when she planned to use Matt to make Spinelli jealous. Maxie explained that Spinelli would see her with another man and then Spinelli would pursue her once again. Maxie's plan backfired when Spinelli decided to let her go, and Maxie developed real feelings for Matt. Eventually, Matt and Maxie's relationship became real.
Matt and Maxie hit a snag in their relationship when Matt questioned Robin's sanity. Lisa and Robin often argued publicly, and each accused the other of being mentally unstable after Patrick's one-night stand with Lisa was revealed. Matt doubted Maxie when she claimed to have seen Lisa trying to inject a syringe into Robin's IV line. Only Maxie had seen the syringe, and when Matt and Patrick searched for the syringe, they were unable to find it. Matt showed Maxie that he believed her when he agreed to help Maxie search for the syringe. Maxie and Matt broke in to Johnny Zacchara's penthouse. They did not find the syringe but overheard a conversation between Johnny and Lisa that confirmed the syringe existed and was in Johnny's possession.
Matt and Maxie grew closer, but Maxie panicked when she found a small jewelry box in Matt's coat pocket with an engagement ring. Maxie feared that Matt would propose, so she explained to him that she wasn't ready to get married. Matt quickly explained that the ring actually belonged to Robin. Matt had picked up the ring from the jeweler's on Patrick's behalf. Matt assured Maxie that he was perfectly content to take things slowly because he wasn't ready for marriage either. Matt and Maxie ended the night with a game of Twister.
While Matt's relationship with Maxie remained status quo, he started spending more time with Elizabeth Webber. Elizabeth was a nurse and she was assigned to assist Matt occasionally in the operating room. The pair developed a friendship and they often provided the other with advice and support, much to Maxie's dismay. Matt was frustrated with Maxie's objections to his friendship with Elizabeth since Maxie continued to spend a great deal of time with her friend Spinelli. Maxie frequently placed her friendship with Spinelli ahead of her relationship with Matt, especially after Spinelli was shot and took on a Jackal P.I. persona. While Maxie was busy with Jackal P.I., Matt assisted Elizabeth in winning the favor of her ex-husband Lucky by helping in the investigation of a prescription drug ring.
At one point, Elizabeth stole medication from the hospital to help Lucky recover after he had been injected with drugs. When hospital personnel became suspicious of Elizabeth, Matt covered for her but he suggested that she reconsider her plans to win Lucky back. In return, Elizabeth counseled Matt on his relationship with Maxie and he confided in Elizabeth regarding the cancer research he had done and the news that his work was going to be published. She was honored that he chose to share his news with her first. He also shared the personal connection he had with counterfeit medication, as a medication error had resulted in the death of his mother.
Maxie's jealousy over the closeness Elizabeth and Matt shared reached a new level after both women were briefly held hostage by Anthony Zacchara's thugs. After their rescue, Matt stitched up Elizabeth's injuries first before listening to Maxie's description of what she had been through. Elizabeth continued to be Matt's champion and confidante while he was overshadowed by Patrick around the hospital. She encouraged him to be proud of his research and abilities and he appreciated her support especially after Maxie took his accomplishment and made it about her by writing an article in Crimson magazine. The article focused on Maxie's role as the woman behind the man.
Since Matt was still disappointed in Maxie's lack of interest in his research, he asked Elizabeth to be his date on a chartered boat cruise to celebrate his publication. Robin and Patrick joined them along with Steve Webber and his guest Olivia Falconeri. The couples each found some private space which left Matt and Elizabeth alone. Matt became intoxicated and kissed Elizabeth. She rebuffed his advances and was offended when he suggested it was time for her to get over Lucky. Elizabeth walked away and left Matt to drink alone. He continued to drink and eventually passed out. When he awoke, the police were on board the boat and he learned that Lisa Niles had been present and that she had thrown Elizabeth overboard. At some point, Maxie had also made her way to the boat and joined the party.
The police searched for Lisa but they were unable to locate her. After the police questioned everyone on the boat, Matt raced to the hospital to care for Elizabeth. Spinelli had found her washed up on the shores of Spoon Island, although Elizabeth claimed a mysterious man had pulled her out of the water. Matt cared for Elizabeth during her stay at the hospital although it angered Maxie. She believed Elizabeth was using the ordeal to gain Matt's sympathy.
Matt's concern for Elizabeth extended beyond her stay at the hospital and he noticed when she started spending time with a new doctor at the hospital named Ewen Keenan. At the same time, he and Maxie struggled to connect and they were both considered murder suspects after Lisa's dead body washed up on shore. Matt and Maxie each seemed to be keeping secrets regarding the night of the boat party and Matt considered backing out of Maxie's article for Crimson. Matt did agree to participate in the article and photo shoot but he turned down Maxie's offer to live together.
After Matt declined Maxie's offer to move in, Spinelli moved in with Maxie instead. Maxie had hoped the new living arrangement would make Matt jealous but he was more concerned with the time Elizabeth was spending with Ewen. Maxie noticed Matt's reaction to Elizabeth and arguments ensued between Matt and Maxie. They reached an impasse regarding Matt's friendship with Elizabeth and he decided to end his relationship with Maxie.
Maxie reacted to the break-up by telling the Chief of Staff that Elizabeth had stolen drugs from the hospital months earlier and Elizabeth was placed on suspension. Matt blamed himself for what Maxie had done to Elizabeth because he had shared the information with her. When Maxie asked Matt to take her back, he required her to recant her statement against Elizabeth first. Their reconciliation was set aside when they learned that Robin had been killed when an explosion occurred in her lab. Matt focused on Patrick and Maxie and did what he could to console them.
At Robin's funeral, Maxie announced that she had murdered Robin because her purse strap had caught on a gas line and triggered the gas leak that led to the explosion. Spinelli, Mac, and Matt all tried to explain to Maxie that Robin's death was an accident and it could not be considered murder. Maxie maintained that she was a murderer and needed to be jailed for her crimes. She admitted that she had killed Lisa Niles and arranged for Officer Briggs to provide a false confession. Matt worried about Maxie after a witness corroborated her story and she was arrested.
Both Matt and Spinelli remained concerned for Maxie and they decided to join forces to clear Maxie of the murder charges. They believed it was her grief over Robin that was at the root of her confession and they decided to figure out who had actually killed Lisa Niles. The men believed they had another suspect after they learned that Dr. Keenan had been in proximity of the boat because he had rescued Elizabeth after she was thrown overboard. Matt and Spinelli were correct in their assumption that Dr. Keenan had something to hide since he had disappeared after saving Elizabeth, but it was related to a patient he had been treating, not because he killed Lisa.
Matt was not convinced that he and Spinelli would uncover who had murdered Lisa when Maxie's sentencing date arrived. Maxie plead guilty and was sentenced to twenty years in prison without parole. Afterwards, Spinelli decided to check the security cameras at the Haunted Star casino to see if they had picked up any images from the night of the boat cruise. Matt wanted to join Spinelli to look at the footage but he insisted Matt would only be in the way of the technical work. Matt was relieved when Spinelli announced that he had footage that showed Maxie had not killed Lisa. The footage he obtained showed an unidentified man with dark hair hitting Lisa over the head with a wrench.
While Spinelli and Maxie's attorney presented the new evidence to the court, Matt visited Maxie in prison and was horrified to discover she had a black eye but gave her the good news that she would be released soon. Maxie admitted that she had known all along who had committed the murder after Matt feared his brother was shown in the footage. Maxie told Matt had been the one to kill Lisa, although he had been too intoxicated to remember.
Matt planned to confess immediately so Maxie would be free but she begged him not to. She explained that she had taken the fall for him because he had good to offer the world and she deserved to be punished. Their conversation was cut short when Matt was paged back to the hospital.
When Matt returned to prison to see Maxie, he begged her to recant her confession and let him face the consequences of what he had done. Maxie apologized and admitted that she had already taken steps to do just that after prison turned out to be more difficult than she had expected. She signed a document that ensured her freedom after she testified against Matt.
Although Matt expected Maxie to testify against him, she found a legal maneuver that ensured freedom for both of them. She suggested that they marry so neither could testify against the other. Matt married her at the courthouse and they were both granted freedom as long as they remained married. Afterwards, Matt and Maxie were overwhelmed by their hasty decision to marry and Matt started to remember killing Lisa. He and Maxie did not consummate their marriage.
Matt was unable to live with his guilt and he decided to turn himself in for Lisa's murder. He said heartfelt goodbyes to Patrick and Maxie and he was sentenced to five years in prison. Matt made arrangements for his marriage to be annulled but Maxie was adamant that she would remain his wife. A few months later, Maxie changed her mind and the couple filed for a divorce.