- Network: CBS , ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation Television
- Series Premiere Date: Dec 4, 1981
- Starring: Susan Sullivan, William R. Moses, Jane Wyman
Airing in the time slot following CBS' immensely popular Dallas, Falcon Crest sought to hold on to the soap opera addicts with yet another saga of the rich and greedy fighting for power and sex. The setting was the ficticious Tuscany Valley, located in the beautiful Napa Valley RegionAiring in the time slot following CBS' immensely popular Dallas, Falcon Crest sought to hold on to the soap opera addicts with yet another saga of the rich and greedy fighting for power and sex. The setting was the ficticious Tuscany Valley, located in the beautiful Napa Valley Region outside San Francisco, and the industry around which the action centered was wine-making. Angela Channing, the matriarch and principal empire-builder on Falcon Crest was powerful and respected and feared by almost everyone whose lives she touched. Angela ran the Falcon Crest winery with an iron hand and tried to manipulate everyone to suit her purposes. When the series began, her nephew Chase Gioberti had just inherited 50 acres of vineyards from his recently deceased father, Jason Gioberti, Angela's brother. Angela was convinced that the land should be hers, but Chase brought his wife Maggie and two children, Cole and Victoria, from New York to live in the valley and manage his land. And it all goes downhill from here.
From the get-go, Angela and Chase got into many scrapes over that land. Angela first tried to ruin Chase by stopping a necessary bank loan; then tried to ruin his relationship with beloved son Cole by saying that he might someday inherit Falcon Crest. When those plans didn't work, she tried to get others' vineyards, and this is where Lance Cumson comes into play. Lance was the typical playboy who wanted money and power from his grandmother, but was too lazy to work for it. Lance was tied to Angela because of the power she had over him. Angela even pressured Lance to marry Melissa Agretti, the Agrettis' daughter, who had plenty of ambition and greed in her own right, in order to consolidate the large Agretti and Falcon Crest wineries under her control. He did marry Melissa, but he still fooled around with other women, and Melissa also had an affair with Cole, which resulted in her getting pregnant. The first season ended with Angela losing control of Falcon Crest to Chase after the real cause of death of his father was revealed: Emma Channing accidentally pushed him, causing him to fall to his death.
In the 1982-1983 season, it seemed as though no one could be nasty to Angela until Richard Channing came to town. He arrived in San Francisco to run "The Globe", a newspaper that had been owned by his late father, and Angela's ex-husband Douglas Channing. Richard inherited 50 percent, and the rest was shared by Julia Cumson, Angela's daughter and Lance's mother, and crazy Emma. Meanwhile, Angela, determined to battle Richard, attempted to buy out the remaining 20 percent of minority shareholders, using funds from the Falcon Crest winery to do so! Chase discovered her plan and threatened legal action. Richard was assisted by Jacqueline Perrault, whom he was later told was his mother, to fight Angela, and connived with Julia, who was easily manipulated by his charm. The plan backfired but he then fought for, and won, a permit to build a race track in the Tuscany Valley that could destroy the area's entire wine industry. Richard's plans for the Tuscany Downs race-track enraged Angela and Chase when he announced part of the Falcon Crest vineyards would be bulldozed to build it. Richard was confronted by an underhanded underworld figure called Henri Denault, and after a struggle with Richard on a bridge, Denault accidentally fell to his death. Angela's psychotic daughter, Julia, prompted by a twisted desire to protect her mother, shot Melissa's father, Carlo Agretti. It was later revealed Julia had also had a relationship with Carlo and was tired of his indiscretions with other women. Cole was tried for the murder of Carlo, but was found not guilty. In the second season's cliff-hanger, Chase and Jacqueline were both shot by the unbalanced Julia, after she was convicted of the murder of Carlo Agretti and the attempted murders of Cole, Maggie and Chase.
The 1983-84 season opened with the news that Jacqueline's gunshot wound proved fatal, while Chase was left paralyzed. Julia was sentenced to a long prison term and later to a mental institution. Jacqueline's will stipulated her fortune go to her grandson, Cole, provided that he acknowledged that only Chase was his father. Jacqueline's nephew, Dr. Michael Ranson, a neurosurgeon arrived to help Chase recover from paralysis. Chase was not pleased to hear his wife, Maggie, had accepted an offer from Richard to join his newspaper staff as a reporter. Maggie's sister, Terry Hartford, who secretly worked as a high-priced call girl, moved to town. She quickly fell in love with Dr. Ranson and later moved in and married him. Julia was committed to a mental institution after being driven further to insanity by her time in prison. She escaped from the mental institution and, vowing revenge on her mother, abducted Melissa's baby, Joseph. She released Joseph but was presumed dead after being trapped in a cabin that went up in flames. The third season closed with Julia's final request that the Channings and Giobertis board a plane for Italy, which plummeted toward a crash landing.
The 1984-85 season revealed that Angela's shrewd lawyer and husband, Phillip Erikson, and Dr. Michael Ranson died in the crash. The Cartel, a shadowy international syndicate headed by an exceptionally vicious man named Gustav Riebmann, were the masterminds behind the crash and made waves in the Tuscany Valley. The Cartel had been co-founded by the late Jacqueline together with Gustav's father, Johann Riebmann, and surfaced in the valley because it believed a large fortune once belonging to the Nazis had been buried on the Falcon Crest estate. Before the crime ring was destroyed, residents endured a series of plane crashes, bombings, and buggings. Angela finally got revenge against Richard by taking over The New Globe. Her first course of action was to appoint Lance editor. Richard retaliated by framing Lance for the attempted murder of Angela, but Lance was cleared of all charges. Richard also acquired one-third of Falcon Crest from Angela's half-sister, Francesca Gioberti. Julia returned after her presumed death in the spring house, while Melissa divorced Lance, married Cole, and then constantly fought with him. Cassandra Wilder arrived in Falcon Crest and began a vendetta against Angela for wrongs Angela supposedly inflicted on her family, headed by Anna Rossini. By season's end, Cassandra had succeeded in causing the financial ruin of both Angela and Richard. Angela turned to her former lover in the 1985-86 season with wealthy shipping magnate Peter Stavros for assistance. Before he was able to help Angela, he was abducted by his daughter Sophia and her French husband, Philippe Hubbert, who wanted to take over the Stavros Industries empire. Once Peter was freed by Lance, he proposed to Angela. Angela realized that she could become Peter's wife or allow him to be her landlord, and accepted his proposal. Peter's son, Eric followed his father to Tuscany Valley. Richard managed to rebuild his own financial empire by siphoning money from the Tuscany Downs racetrack. Terry found out and blackmailed him into marriage. Richard's new lawyer, Jordan Roberts, suffered from a split personality, and became Monica, a professional hooker by night. Maggie suffered from amnesia after an explosion and through her fog wrote a thinly veiled, fictional expose about the residents of Tuscany Valley. After her book was published, her publisher assigned an aspiring novelist and book publicist named Jeff Wainright to help her sell her book. While on tour together, Jeff became obsessed with Maggie and kidnapped her. He then raped her but Maggie was rescued. Unable to have another baby together, Melissa and Cole hired a surrogate mother, Robin, who seduced Cole and then kept the baby. Emma fell in love with a trucker named Dwayne Cooley and Lance fell for rock singer Apollonia Kotero. The season ended with the escape of Jeff Wainright and a major earthquake hitting Tuscany Valley. The aftermath of the earthquake left the valley in turmoil, with Emma's fiancée, Dwayne, and Maggie's sister Terry, not surviving.
Criminal activities were at the forefront of the 1986-87 season. After Jeff Wainright's escape, he kidnapped Vickie and then Maggie. Richard hired a private investigator named Erin Jones to help him get information on business rivals. Jones framed Richard for attempted murder, tried to kill Chase and was responsible for the death of Jeff Wainright. As Wainright drove across a rigged bridge, he was blown up. Soon after Richard had Miss Jones imprisoned in Borneo, her sister Meredith surfaced in Tuscany Valley seeking revenge against him. Emma's life became even more bizarre when she got involved with a con artist named Vince Karlotti who claimed to be a spiritualist in touch with the late Dwayne's spirit. Meanwhile, Melissa pursued a singing career and Eric Stavros and Vickie Gioberti married. Julia, who was blinded in the earthquake, was granted a new trial and all charges were dropped for her past sins after it was determined she was no longer psychologically unbalanced. She decided to leave Falcon Crest and joined a convent. A woman claiming to be Peter's long-lost daughter, Skylar, turned out to be an impostor of many disguises named Kit Marlowe, who was running from a devious Eastern billionaire, Roland Saunders. His life came to an end when Kit offered him a poisoned cigar moments before Peter fatally struck him on the head with a wrench. Dan Fixx showed up on Angela's doorstep claiming to be a relative. Angela gladly accepted him into the family fold, but this caused Lance to be insecure about his status. The season closed with many surprises. The Richard-Angela infighting continued, but the squabbling wine moguls had more in common than they realised. Peter decided to return to Greece and amicably divorced Angela. Before leaving town, he left Angela with the news that the child she was told was still born forty-five years prior had in fact been given to Jacqueline Perrault by Angela's husband, Douglas Channing. Angela's stolen child was her arch-enemy, Richard. A distraught Emma attempted to jump off the Falcon Crest roof, and Chao-Li, running to tell Angela of Emma's peril, fell down the stairs unconscious. The unstable Melissa kidnapped Chase and Maggie's new-born baby Kevin. With Chase, Dan, Richard and Maggie in pursuit, Melissa drove into the San Francisco Bay.
The 1987-88 season began with the news that Kevin, Richard, Melissa and Dan were rescued, but Chase was missing, presumed dead. Lance rescued Emma from the roof and Chao-Li was found to have cancer, but later recovered. After Chase was declared legally dead, the executor to his estate, John Remick, a mercenary who knew Chase in Vietnam, appeared and insinuated Richard had a hand in Chase's disappearance. Richard, romancing Maggie at the time, contacted a sinister group of businessmen known as The Thirteen to fund the North African junta Remick was fighting in before he came to Tuscany, to get Remick out of the picture. Word surfaced later than Remick was missing in action. Maggie was worried about Richard's shady dealings and escaped an explosion in her home. Disappointed by Dan's romantic involvement with Melissa, Angela successfully lured a despondent Lance back into her clutches. Angela decided Melissa was a threat and schemed to drive her insane. Eric Stavros, a compulsive gambler, left for Monte Carlo with wife Vickie in tow. When Eric lost to a powerful poker player, Vickie was kidnapped and sent to Yugoslavia as part of a white slave trade. Richard contacted The Thirteen again for help in freeing Vickie. Richard proposed to Maggie and she accepted. Chase's will stipulated that the second of three codicils be read in the event of the couple's marriage. Richard and Maggie wed and the codicil left Chase and Maggie's Falcon Crest acreage to Angela. Richard agreed to join The Thirteen in an attempt to stop Angela gaining Maggie's land. The third codicil from Chase's will left Melissa a key which he said would destroy long time foe Angela. Melissa headed to the Gold Rush town of Hobart and, after climbing through an underground tunnel with Lance while looking for the safety deposit box that the key matched, was trapped by a cave-in. While trapped Melissa discovered a deed to Falcon Crest made out to the Agretti family, which apparently won the winery from the Giobertis in a poker match. After Lance and Melissa were rescued from the cave-in, Melissa had the deed proven legal and ousted Angela and her family from their land. Lance and Melissa's uncle, Frank Agretti, disowned her. Upon hearing of Richard's dealings, Maggie left him and moved into Falcon Crest and had a bout with alcoholism. Richard, devastated by his separation from Maggie told the FBI of his dealings with The Thirteen, but had no proof. Richard agreed to testify before a Senate committee. The Thirteen attempted to murder Angela, and upon her rescue by Richard, a reconciliation between the long-time rivals took place. Richard agreed to offer his life to The Thirteen in exchange for the safety of his family. Eric was brainwashed by The Thirteen and shot Richard. Tuscany Valley residents mourned his loss at a family burial. Angela secretly met with a bearded man sitting in a church pew and asked him, "Haven't you waited long enough? When are you going to tell Maggie you are alive?". It was uncertain if it was Richard or the presumed dead Chase.
The 1988-89 season began with the revelation that Richard had staged his death, in order to escape The Thirteen, who had been assassinated. After initially rejecting him, Maggie reconciled with Richard. Melissa couldn't run Falcon Crest and was lonely by herself. She had a breakdown, doused Falcon Crest in gasoline and torched it. She later died in hospital from smoke inhalation, leaving her uncle Frank's son, Nick, executor of her estate. Angela battled to regain her birthright from Nick and eventually won back the vineyard with a false deed and rebuilt the mansion. It was later revealed that the original deed Melissa held was won when the Agretti's had cheated in the poker match. Lance renewed his relationship with Pilar Ortega, daughter of the Falcon Crest foreman, Cesar. It was revealed the two had a daughter, Lisa, ten years ago and the two subsequently married, to Angela's disgust. After unsuccessfully trying to reclaim their daughter from Pilar's Aunt Mercedes who had fled with Lisa, Lance and Pilar were resigned to not seeing their daughter in the near future. Emma married reclusive mystery writer R. D. Young who Emma was later told comitted suicide. Pilar allied with Richard in a scheme to industrialise the valley under the cover of a Hispanic-improvement group called the "consortium". Angela discovered it was Richard behind the ploy and told Maggie, who divorced him. Richard used Maggie's history of alcoholism to win custody of their sons. He then kidnapped Angela and brought a dead ringer for Melissa, Samantha Ross, onto the scene. Samantha helped Angela escape, but when Angela told her doubting family about the look-a-like, Richard organised for his mother to be declared mentally incompetent. Angela quickly arranged to marry Frank Agretti so that Frank, and not Richard, would be appointed conservator of her affairs. Samantha showed up on Angela's doorstep to gain revenge on Richard and testified against him. When the news of Richard's dealings hit the stock market, Richard, and Pilar and Lance, who had shares in the consortium, stood to lose millions of dollars as the trade price of the shares fell. Richard was convicted of stock fraud and kidnapping, and as the season ended, was sent to prison.
Falcon Crest's final season in 1989-90 began with Maggie ((the first of Susan Sullivan's final 2 appearances)), receiving a four-carat diamond ring from an imprisoned Richard, and the two subsequently reconciled. Richard was determined to get released from prison to be with his family and testified against mogul (and second-cousin) Michael Sharpe in exchange for his release. While Michael and Kevin were playing with Richard's treasured toy soldiers, Kevin knocked them into the swimming pool. On attempting to recover them from the bottom of the pool, Maggie caught the ring she received from Richard in the drain and drowned. Richard was devastated. Michael responded by getting Richard's children taken away to foster parents, his sister Lauren Daniels and her husband Walker. Emma fell in love with the charming - and violent - Charley St. James, who tried to suffocate Angela, sending her into a coma. Charley married an unsuspecting Emma, who was then declared conservator of Angela's affairs. Charley and his equally violent brother, Ian, took control of the winery and talked Emma into selling it to Michael Sharpe for 14 million dollars. The two decided to kill Emma and Ian's wife, Sydney, but Sydney ended up stabbing Ian to death and Emma shot Charley, who escaped. Emma and Sydney were not charged as they acted in self-defence. Emma learned that Ian and Charley had her late husband, R.D. Young, killed prior to their arrival in the Tuscany Valley. Richard was released and fell in love with his children's foster mother, Lauren. When her husband Walker realised, he blew himself up. Pilar and Lance's marriage was tested when Pilar allowed herself to be blackmailed for sex by Lance's business associate, Ned Vogel. Frank Agretti's late wife Renee's sister Genele Ericson came to the Valley and began blackmailing Frank who had helped Genele cover-up her murder of Renee. Frank attempted to go to the police to tell of the murder, but was charged with the murder instead. Genele hooked up with Michael in an unholy alliance. Michael's son Danny arrived in the Tuscany Valley to work for his farther, and fell in love with Sydney. Angered that Sydney double-crossed him in a business deal favouring Richard Channing, Michael arranged to have her killed. Unfortunately, his son became the victim and almost died. As Danny recovered, Michael's ex-wife and Danny's mother, Anne Bowen learned that Michael was responsible for her son's accident. Disgusted by this information, she told Michael that she'd had an affair with Richard Channing and that Richard was Danny's real father. Richard regained control of Falcon Crest by blackmailing Michael about the accident. Angela recovered from her coma and joined forces with Michael to destroy Richard's plans for a happy life running Falcon Crest with Lauren. Danny learned from Lauren that Richard was his father. Richard was unwilling to accept Danny as his son. Richard proposed marriage to Lauren and she accepted. In a desperate attempt to stop the fighting between Michael and Richard, Danny threatened to jump off a roof, but was rescued by both Michael and Richard. Angela was delighted when Richard finally turned Falcon Crest over to her after Lauren pressured him to make peace with his mother. Lance and Pilar discovered they were expecting another baby and decided to leave the Valley, but Angela promised to give Lance 10 per cent of Falcon Crest and another 40 per cent in her will, on the condition that Lance and Pilar stay and Lance serve as vineyard manager. The remainder was to go the Richard's children. The series concluded at Lauren's wedding where Michael attempted to reconcile with Danny by revealing he was responsible for Danny's accident. Danny responded by slugging Michael, but the two men later embraced. Old hatreds and jealousies died as Michael walked Lauren down the aisle. While the family celebrated at a lavish reception at Falcon Crest, Angela stepped outside and, upon looking out at the vineyards, remembered the people who had passed through the valley, and safe with the knowledge that Emma would be returning with her new-born daughter, Angela, the fact that Julia was safe and happy in the convent, and the news that Frank Agretti was soon to be released from prison, Angela gave a private toast to Falcon Crest, where she'd always belonged: "A toast to you, Falcon Crest, and long may you live".
First Telecast: December 4, 1981 Last Telecast: May 18, 1990
Episodes: 227 Color Episodes Nielsen Ratings: (Top 30 or Better) #13 in the 1981- 1982 Season #8 in the 1982- 1983 Season #7 in the 1983- 1984 Season #10 in the 1984- 1985 Season #25 in the 1985- 1986 Season #23 in the 1986- 1987 Season… Expand
- Genre(s): Drama