We first met Paul Williams in his late teens, when he and best friend Danny Romalotti were waiters at Jonas's Restaurant. It wasn't until two years later that we met the Williams family. Paul lived at home with his parents, Mary and Police Detective Carl Williams, his younger sister Patty who was still in high school, and his older brother Steve who was a reporter for the Genoa City Chronicle. Another older then-unseen brother, Todd, was praised highly by his devoutly Catholic parents for joining the priesthood. Good Catholics that they were, Mary and Carl were surprised with a very late in life pregnancy, but she miscarried due to her getting in between Paul and Steve fighting. Large family dinners were held often, complete with Mary's specialty-and Paul's favorite-spare ribs and sauerkraut. Mary was known to be a good cook, and was forever whipping up something for a church bake sale or delivering food to her kids, even after they were grown and moved out of the house.
Carl was a dedicated Genoa City police officer who became a Detective. They were proud of Steve and he and Mary approved when Steve fell in love with fellow reporter, Peggy Brooks, daughter of wealthy owner of the Genoa City Chronicle, Stuart Brooks. So when they left together for Washington, DC, they were at least secure in the knowledge that he would be fine. Their daughter Patty and son Paul were another story, however.
Patty became involved with wealthy playboy Jack Abbott when still in her teens. As Mary predicted, he gave her nothing but grief and heartache. They were married, she became pregnant, lost the baby due to Jack's infidelities, and Patty shot him 3 times for it - all in the same year. Once she remembered, she divorced Jack and headed for Steve's in Washington DC, and Carl used his clout to get her criminal record sealed.
They were left with son Paul who was rebellious, promiscuous, and didn't want to go to college. He went from getting it on with Nikki Reed and giving her a venereal disease to having a fling with April Stevens who got pregnant, and Paul turned his back on April until the baby was in danger of dying. They married, the baby survived, but parental responsibility proved too much for Paul and they divorced. Much to Carl and Mary's horror, Paul then joined the New World Commune with Nikki. Eventually, both realized that the cult was a farce but they were being held against their will by cult leader Rebecca. Carl managed to track them down and rescued them. Peggy Brooks joined forces with Steve Williams to write an expose about the cult and even infiltrated it, which nearly cost Peggy her life.
In an effort to help him mature, Carl got Paul on the police force assisting with his cases. When Nikki was abducted by Rick Daros, Victor Newman came to Paul and Carl, who rescued her. Paul and fellow officer, Andy Richards, worked under cover infiltrating the mob and were instrumental in helping the police bring down the mob boss known as Mr. Anthony.
In 1982, mobster Tony DiSalvo, swore revenge against Carl Williams for his efforts to smash their syndicate and his being arrested. Tony made it look as if Carl was accepting bribes from the mob. While Carl was on suspension from the police force, Paul worked behind the scenes to clear Carl's name. Paul eventually infiltrated the mob. Paul also became involved with a young woman named Pam, who had played a role in framing his father, but Paul was actually in love with Cindy Lake, a vulnerable, young prostitute who assisted him in learning about the mob's illicit activities. Paul was forced into hiding by the mob. To lure Paul out, they kidnapped his mother, Mary. Fortunately, Paul and Carl rescued Mary and the mob was put behind bars--with the exception of Tony DiSalvo. The charges against Carl were dropped. Nikki agreed to marry DiSalvo, the mobster who had possession of the steamy flick that Alison had created, when he promised to destroy the tape. Paul and Andy rescued Nikki before the wedding ceremony could take place. DiSalvo was so angry that he tried to shoot Paul, but Cindy shielded Paul's body, took the bullet instead, and died. Before DiSalvo could fire another shot, Jazz Jackson, a friend of Paul's, shot and killed the mobster. Paul and Andy left the force to become Private Detectives, with Jazz "the mobster with a heart of gold" as their operative. Their secretary Amy Lewis, was the daughter of the police captain and a singer on the side.
Over the years, Carl was instrumental in solving many police cases. In 1986 he rescued Jill Foster from a refrigerated meat locker, where she had been imprisoned by her former masseur, Sven, who also shot her weeks earlier.
Then Paul met Cassandra Rawlins, fell in love, and Paul proposed. Cassandra turned out to be married and Paul ended up being arrested for the murder of her husband, George. Carl decided to fake Paul's suicide. While Cassandra was convinced that Paul was dead, he and Carl worked to expose Cassandra and her lover Adrian as the murder. They followed Cassandra and Adrian to Bermuda, where they tormented Cassandra with visions of Paul as a ghost. Horrified, Cassandra quickly returned home. Soon after, Cassandra confessed that on the night when George was murdered, she was knocked unconscious. When she awoke, there was a gun in her hand, and her husband was dead. With Cassandra's help, Paul and Carl succeeded in exposing Adrian as George's killer.
Carl disappeared and had been gone eight years before Paul and Christine convinced Mary to have him declared legally dead. Then Mary finally accepted the attentions of Charlie Ockell. They were getting along well, and Charlie asked her to marry him. Paul's current girlfriend Christine happened to be helped by a man working as a security guard at the Norfolk airport, and later when Paul showed her a photo of his missing father, she realized that the security guard was Carl. Without telling Paul, she returned to Norfolk and found that he was going by the name of Jim Bradley. Meanwhile "Jim" had just asked his girlfriend "Ruthie" to marry him when Airport Security tipped him that someone was asking about him. It turned out that Carl had been captured by some bad guys while working a police case, had been beaten unconscious, and left on the highway to die. He was found by a woman named Ruth Ann Perkins, who nursed him back to health, but he had amnesia. Always concerned that "Jim" had a family looking for him somewhere, Ruthie called the phone number Chris had left with Security. After speaking with Chris, she tested "Jim" and he responded to the name Carl. So they invited Christine to their home. Christine convinced "Jim" to return to Genoa City and visit the family he didn't even remember. Carl returned with Ruthie, and Paul was shocked to see him, but much as he tried, Paul never could connect with his father who went back to Norfolk. Mary and Charlie announced their engagement. Meanwhile "Jim" felt bad and decided he needed to give it one more try. "Jim" and Ruthie arrived in time to see Paul and Mary from the back of the church on Christmas Eve which triggered a memory of the family in church when Paul was a child that scared him so much that he fled. Running into them at a diner later brought on another memory. Paul spotted his father, and privately asked his intentions, as Mary and Charlie were about to get married. Jim said he didn't know, but later Paul witnessed Mary seeing "Jim" for the first time and fainting. When Mary came to, Carl told her about his amnesia and Ruthie. Mary was convinced that despite his love for Ruthie, her love could bring back the past, and she and Carl would be happy together again, so told Charlie the wedding was off. But try as she might, Mary could never bring back Carl's memory of them, and he later returned to Norfolk and Ruthie, and no doubt were married as planned. Charlie apparently never forgave Mary, and she was again left with her only pastime-meddling in Paul's life.