February 1, 2010By Joe Diliberto Posted: Feb 1, 2010
Watching GENERAL HOSPITAL's Sonny try to kill an unarmed cop in cold blood, I realized that the character has finally passed the point of no return. GH has been dancing along a precipice with Sonny for so many years (never identifying the contents of those mysterious "shipments" that are worth killing over, for example) but now the-powers-that-be have finally pushed him over the edge. And he's gone.
Sonny shot an officer of the law after he had clearly displayed his badge and identified himself. There was no wiggle room in this scene; it was no "bang-bang" situation (pardon the pun) where there was no time to react. Sonny had a long, long time to think about what he was doing, to discuss what he was doing — to think twice about what he was doing. And then he did it. Sonny's crime was made even more heinous by the scene's editing. While going to commercial after Dante identified himself was meant to be dramatic, the practical effect make it feel like Sonny had the entire commercial break to think about what to do next, in addition to all the time he spent talking to Dante. Thus, GH made shooting the unarmed police officer a conscious decision. It might (and I stress the might part) have felt different if Sonny's shot was depicted as a sudden, gut reaction; on instinct he whipped out his gun and fired without thinking. It could have been made to look like a crime of passion (or at least negligence). But instead, Sonny calmly drew his weapon, pointed it at the policeman, talked to him about the situation, and then said, "Goodbye, detective," before coldly shooting him in the chest. A killshot, by the way — not an attempt to slow down the cop so Sonny could flee. The gangster meant to put him down.
And why Sonny shoot Dante? Pride. Sonny is actually innocent of Claudia's murder. He didn't do it. So he did not have to kill to protect himself; self-defense was not an issue. Sonny was ashamed that he had been fooled for these many months — fooled by an undercover cop so completely that he was ready to turn over the keys to the kingdom. So he lashed out. Okay, he may have feared that clearing himself of the crime would point to Michael, but using deadly force to protect someone else who is not even present does not wash Wounding Sonny's pride does not count as a deadly threat — even if he is a megalomaniac.
The big question is, where does GH go from here? How can Sonny come back from the premeditated attempted murder of a police officer? The argument will no doubt be made that shooting his own son is "punishment enough." Don't you believe it. Because it's not.