Alex Perez arrived in Genoa City to work on an important case for Newman Enterprises. Newman employees were being short-changed by their HMO, and Victor wanted it investigated. Alex impressed Victor with her knowledge and savvy the first time they met. Neil Winters was assigned to work closely with her on the case. They fought like cats and dogs from the beginning. But eventually it was clear that this was leading to mutual attraction, and a kiss was shared.
Alex, with the help of Dr. Olivia Winters, got the inside track on the behind-the-scenes deals the HMO executives made with their provider doctors to keep costs down, and won the landmark lawsuit. Alex and Olivia never got along because Olivia saw her as a threat to her relationship with Neil.
Meanwhile Neil's brother, Malcolm, became interested in Alex who had major commitment issues. Mal charmed her into loving him, moving in, and becoming engaged. But as usual, a growing attraction between Alex and brother Neil threatened to spoil Malcolm's plans. Just about the time that Neil was ready to confess his love to Alex, she agreed to marry Malcolm. Because she had committed to Malcolm, she spent months trying to keep her feelings for Neil from Malcolm and avoided Neil to avoid further temptation. Since his best friend Ryan McNeil was murdered, Neil began hitting the bottle pretty hard. In drunken frustration he admitted his love for Alex to Malcolm. Alex swore it was one-sided and hurried along her relationship with Malcolm, wanting to get married right away.
Despite the fact that the two brothers couldn't stand to be in the same room together, Neil was sent to Kenya with Alex and Malcolm to supervise a special photo shoot that Ryan had planned before his death. Malcolm overheard the two of them talking and Alex admit she had feelings for Neil. Malcolm concluded that what Neil had told him was true, that Alex had been dishonest with him about her feelings for Neil. But he didn't stay long enough to hear her proclaim she had made her choice, and loved and would marry Malcolm. Later a stunned Malcolm took off for a location visit with their location manager, Isaac, after slugging Neil. As their vehicle was crossing a bridge, an oncoming truck created too much weight for it, and the bridge collapsed. Malcolm survived and rescued Isaac, then swam off to find their driver. Isaac saw the bridge collapse on Malcolm. They searched for weeks, the driver's body was found, but not Malcolm's, so Alex and Neil reluctantly returned to Genoa City. They finally put the pieces together, with the help of Victoria, and realized that their conversation must have led Malcolm to his death. The guilt was too much for them both. Alex returned to Minneapolis, and Neil turned to the bottle.
Three years later, Malcolm showed up in Genoa City, very much alive.