Destined to run an impressive 27 hour-long episodes (as opposed to the usual 22), season one of The O.C. wastes little time in setting up its premise: trouble-prone teenager Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), booted out of his Chino home and apparently foredoomed to a life of crime, is "rescued" by idealistic pro bono defense attorney Sanford "Sandy" Cohen (Peter Gallagher). Over the initial protests of his former beauty-queen wife, Kirsten (Kelly Rowan), Sandy invites Ryan to live in the pool house of the Cohens' lavish Newport Beach home in California's very upscale Orange County. Quickly making friends with the Cohen's intellectual-loner son, Seth (Adam Brody), Ryan also makes a good impression on his attractive next-door neighbor Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) -- much to the disgust of Marissa's jock boyfriend, Luke Ward (Chris Carmack). Unfolding in a serial-like fashion, the remainder of the season details the disintegrating marriage of Marissa's parents, Jimmy Cooper (Tate Donovan) and his avaricious wife, Julie (Melinda Clarke) (who later has an affair with the cast-off Luke); Sandy's job switch, which causes friction in his relationship with Kirsten vis-à-vis his sexy new law partner Rachel Hoffman (Bonnie Somerville); the decision by Sandy and Jimmy to jointly purchase Newport Beach's favorite restaurant, the Lighthouse; Marissa's self-destructive behavior during a vacation in Mexico, and her ill-fated association with the duplicitous Oliver Trask (Taylor Handley); Seth's dilemma as he tries to choose between two girlfriends, Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson) and Anna Stern (Samaire Armstrong); and the disruptive machinations of Kirsten's high-rolling father, Caleb (Alan Dale), and her hedonistic sister, Hailey (Amanda Rhigetti). The cliffhanger climax of The O.C.'s first season is dominated by two major events: the wedding of the series' two most selfish and mercenary characters, and some devastating news delivered by Theresa (Navi Rawat), Ryan's former girlfriend from his Chino days.
Cast & Crew
- Peter Gallagher - Sandy Cohen
- Kelly Rowan - Kirsten Cohen
- Ben McKenzie - Ryan Atwood
- Mischa Barton - Marissa Cooper
- Adam Brody - Seth Cohen