Soap operas are known for their winding storylines and complex characters – “The Young and the Restless” is no different. It advances this stereotype through Adam Newman, a controversial character who is as pitiful and strong-willed in fighting for the people he loves as he is devious and heartless in his pursuit of power. In typical soap opera style, Adam has been presumed dead a few times only for him to return a few episodes later; committed murder; held other characters hostage; and stepped on the heads of people who come between him and his ambition. No fan of the show would dispute a description of Adam Newman as the ultimate shady guy, but just how shady is he? Here is every underhanded or explicitly devious thing that Adam has done since he was introduced as a character in “The Young and the Restless.”
From Kansas to Genoa
Before Adam became the devious man who has every fan of “The Young and the Restless” torn between admiration for his guts and contempt for his lack of regard for anyone else but himself, he was Vic, a small-town boy who lived with his mother, Hope, and stepfather, Cliff. Hope was previously married to Victor Newman, Adam’s father, but the two divorced before Adam was born, after which, Hope moved to Kansas and banished Victor from her and her son’s life. Her ex-boyfriend Cliff, stepped in readily, and helped raise Vic as his own son. Vic met Victor a few times in his childhood, but was unaware of their relationship until Hope’s deathbed confession revealed the truth about Vic’s paternity, and asked father and son to get to know each other. To fulfill Hope’s wishes, Victor offered Vic, now Adam, a job at Newman Enterprises. Unknown to the show’s audience, Adam was about to unleash a side of him that would leave everyone both intrigued and scared of his deviousness.
A New Master at Newman Manor
Adam’s crookedness started soon after he landed in Genoa. His new step-siblings were wary of him and rightly so, because he started plotting his father’s downfall as soon as he learned the ropes at his new job. The perfect opportunity presented itself when Victor disappeared on a trip to Mexico and was believed to be dead. At the time, Adam was dating Victor’s nemesis, Heather, a lawyer who had gone after the patriarch of the Newman family for murder, but failed to secure a conviction. As his siblings mourned the loss of their father, Adam acted quickly, and had the Mexican government issue Victor’s death certificate, which he used to install himself as the new head of the Newman Family. Adam took liberties with his new title by moving to the Newman family ranch with Heather, firing Neil and hiring Victor’s arch nemesis, and refusing to show generosity towards his half-siblings as Victor had asked.
Adam’s fleeting reign was brought to an end by the quintessentially dramatic return of Victor from the dead. A disappointed Victor learned of Adam’s reign of terror, and brought it crumbling down by firing his son, reinstating Neil as CEO, and restoring his other children’s respective statuses in his company and his life. He then evicted Adam and denounced him as his son before having him arrested when he attempted to sneak into the ranch to plead his case.
The Enemy of My Enemy
Taking over his father’s fortune illegally and denying his siblings their share was just scraping the surface of Adam’s dubious behavior. His next move was even more shady. Adam convinced himself that he was the offended party in the showdown with his father and family, and sought revenge on the Newmans. He needed a partner-in-crime who he found in Jack Abbott, a man who had his own grudge against Victor. Together, Adam and Ashland plotted the downfall of their enemy. Their foolproof plan involved faking Ashland’s death and setting up Victor as the murderer. Their victim played into their hands perfectly when he threatened to kill Ashland.
With a motive in hand, Jack and Adam got to work. They used Victor’s handwriting to forge a journal, but their plan backfired and Jack turned against his accomplice. In an ironic twist of fate, Adam wound up behind bars after falling into the trap he had set for his father. However, as he’s proven over and over again, Adam is skilled at convincing people to untie the nooses they put around his neck, every time they get close to persecuting him. This time, his saving grace came in the form of fading eyesight, a condition that had afflicted his mother as well. Adam started to lose his eyesight in prison, where he also became the target of attacks by his fellow inmates for being the son of a rich man. Unknown to Victor, Adam was damaging his eyes deliberately to pull at the heartstrings of the man, who knew of Hope’s blindness before her death. Though wary, Victor dropped the charges against Adam and set him free, which was the wrong move, since Adam would play the same game a few years later and set Victor up to take the fall for another murder.
Murder in Second and Third Degree
Most of the men and women in “The Young and the Restless” are conniving and constantly plotting against each other for personal gain, but few cross the line to cold blooded murder – Adam is one of the few characters who have blood on their hands. Cordelia Abbot had one of the saddest stories in “The Young and the Restless.” She was seven years old when she died, in the course of which, Delia had been passed off as someone else’s child by her mother, kidnapped, and battled Leukemia before her life was cut short in a hit-and-run by a driver who didn’t bother to stop or rush her to the hospital to save her life. The man behind the wheel of the vehicle that caused Delia’s death turned out to be Adam.
According to flashbacks and his confession at gunpoint, Delia’s death was an accident. Adam was driving by when Delia’s dog ran across the road while Delia played behind a bush. Adam swerved to avoid hitting the dog but hit the young girl. He felt the impact but did not stop to check, and neither did he suspect that he’d hit a child until he saw a missing piece of his vehicle’s headlight in the hands of a detective investigating the case. Although guilt consumed Adam, he didn’t come forward to confess.
Delia’s blood is not the only one that stains Adam’s hands. Before he became Adam Newman and moved to Genoa, Adam had killed a man in Kansas City. His victim, who was the father of one of Adam’s friends in Kansas, had threatened a young Adam and his mother. Adam retaliated and killed the man in self-defense, prompting Hope to call Victor to clean-up the mess and absolve Adam of suspicion. A few greased palms later, Adam’s slate was rubbed clean. Years later, Adam killed yet again to protect his friend, Chase, earning a lifetime of gratitude and an ally in his shady activities.
Devious Without Limits
Once a man crosses the moral threshold of taking a life, there is no limit to what he can do. This rings true for Adam, whose wickedness knows no bounds. After Jack’s betrayal and Victor’s disownment, Adam exerted revenge on both men simultaneously by gaslighting Ashley, who was Jack’s sister and Victor’s lover. At the time, Ashley was pregnant with Victor’s child and her mental health was fragile. Adam tormented her, causing too much distress that Ashley’s unborn child died. He tried to cover his crime by exchanging Ashley’s stillborn child with Sharon’s newborn but his scheme was uncovered, leading Victor to banish him again. Adam’s guardian angel works overtime because Adam convinced everyone that he was dead by disappearing. When he was caught, he faked a mental health breakdown and continued to cause havoc in the lives of the people he believed had wronged him.
For a normal person, several close calls with death, run-ins with the law, failed attempts to take over his father’s empire, and retaliation after his underhanded attempts to get his way in everything would lead to introspection and encourage changes in behavior, attitude, and relationship with others – but not for Adam. To him, every time he gets into trouble, he digs himself deeper into the hole by lying, finding new allies, blackmailing people, and faking illness for another chance to do it all over again. To date, his shady side is dominant, as he continues plotting to take over his father’s company. In recent episodes, Adam is gearing up to take over Newman Media with the help of his sister, Audra, and setting the stage for another showdown with Victor. Is Tucker’s caution to Audra that Adam is trouble foreshadowing another showdown in the Newman empire? Stay tuned to find out.