List of The O. A major theme of the first season is the culture shock Ryan feels as he adjusts from a life of domestic abuse and poverty to living in a superficial high-class society. He quickly befriends and bonds with Seth Cohen, and begins to have a romantic relationship with Marissa Cooper.
Although coming from very different backgrounds, Ryan soon discovers that he deals with similar issues to his new peers, such as self-identity conflict and familial alienation. The relationship between Ryan and Marissa flourishes when he supports her through her parents' divorce.
As the show progresses, Ryan takes a very protective role over Marissa, showing Ryan to be a much more stable, controlled person than originally portrayed. Other storylines include Seth's development from a friendless loner to having two romantic choices in Summer and Anna, as well as the arrivals of Oliver Trask, a troubled teen who befriends Marissa during their coinciding therapy sessions, and Theresa Diaz, Ryan's close friend and former love interest from his hometown of Chino.
Meanwhile, Sandy Cohen frequently comes into conflict with Caleb Nichol, Kirsten's father and a wealthy industrialist who is said to "basically own Newport.
Josh Schwartz, the show's creator, stated that in Season 2, the show would "no longer be about Ryan's past; now it's going to be about Ryan's future," and that this season would "slow down the storytelling a little bit Ryan's character begins to grow when he stands up to Lindsay and convinces her to allow him to contribute, forcing them to work together to complete the assignment.
They later become involved romantically, creating extreme complications and relational shifts amongst the now "Cooper-Nichol" family. The Bait Shop becomes a prominent social destination for the teenage characters. A number of recurring characters are introduced, such as D. Ryan's brother, Trey Atwood, gets out of jail and threatens to bring Ryan's old life into his new one. Sandy and Kirsten also face new conflicts after drifting apart during the summer.
Season 2 ends with Marissa shooting Trey after Ryan confronts him for attempting to sexually assault Marissa. Season 3 creates many dynamic changes with regards to relationships and power within the characters' society. Firstly, Marissa is expelled from the Harbor School. The Cooper family, left with little money, is forced to move into a trailer park.
Julie Cooper-Nichol, once one of the richest women in all of Newport, struggles to put food on the table for her daughters. Marissa's life begins to spiral out of control, as she struggles with alcohol and drug abuse, as well as dealing with the loss of her close friend Johnny. Similarly, Kirsten confronts her alcohol addiction and eventually leaves rehab, only to encounter more problems when she begins business with a con artist.
The other characters look towards college, with Seth and Summer competing for a spot at Brown University. Sandy's moral compass becomes imperiled when a past love interest makes her way back into his life, and he takes over Caleb's old position as head of The Newport Group, pursuing a project to establish more low-income housing in Newport.
Ryan also attempts to resolve his individual relationships with his mother, and with his childhood friend Theresa Diaz. He also pursues the idea of a post-secondary education, with encouragement from both Sandy and Kirsten to visit Berkeley.
Ryan's life is quickly put on hold when, in the season 3 finale, Ryan decides to drive Marissa to the airport, and they are run off the road by Kevin Volchok, Marissa's most recent love affair gone wrong. In the last few minutes of the episode, Ryan pulls Marissa out from the burning car, only to watch her die in his arms. The fourth and final season begins five months after Marissa's death in the car accident.
Ryan starts the season in isolation as a broken, grieving man, seeking revenge on Volchok. With the help of Julie, both she and Ryan are able to track Volchok down in Mexico, and turn him into federal officials. The continued love of the Cohen family and the company of the eccentric Taylor Townsend guide him back to the light.
Meanwhile, Seth and Summer face the problems of a long distance relationship as Summer leaves to attend college. The first half of the season focuses on the characters accepting the reality of Marissa's death. The second half focuses on the characters "finding themselves" while facing myriad identity crises. This final season contains multiple surprises, such as a new addition to the Cohen family, a visit to an alternate universe in which Sandy becomes mayor, and a natural disaster that leaves Newport devastated.
Cast and characters[ edit ] Season 1 cast of The O. Peter Gallagher portrays Sandy Cohen , an idealistic public defender who takes in Ryan Atwood in the pilot episode, much to the dismay of his wife, Kirsten. Although he lives in a large upper class house, his politics are left-leaning and open-minded, causing friction between himself and the community.
Peter Gallagher described the character as a "leftie Jewish guy from the Bronx. Kelly Rowan portrays Kirsten Cohen. Before she met Sandy she dated and grew up with Jimmy Cooper father of Marissa Cooper, with whom she remains friends.
She has had trouble with alcohol, which was triggered by the failing deteriorating relationship between her and her father, and had an abortion early in her life, which belonged to Jimmy.
Kirsten continues to open a dating service with Julie, and become a mother of two at the end of the fourth season. The character's politics and lifestyle are conservative, a contrast to her husband. Kelly Rowan described the character as seemingly more "together" than herself during an interview.
Ryan is subsequently taken in by his public defender, Sandy Cohen. He forms fast bonds with the entire Cohen family, especially Sandy's son Seth, as well as an extreme attachment to the girl next door, Marissa Cooper.
Ryan slowly finds himself a place within his new materialistic society, and makes of the most of his situation by not only completing high school, but also continuing on to university.
Casting director Patrick Rush found the role of Ryan Atwood particularly hard to cast and only invited Benjamin McKenzie to an audition after Fox had made them aware of the young actor after his unsuccessful audition for a UPN sitcom. I think that the character of Ryan is a kid that always seems a little lost and has a sense of mystery and danger; Benjamin has all those qualities. Throughout the series Marissa is frequently battling with drugs and alcohol, including nearly killing herself on a trip in Mexico with her friends.
Marissa's relationships with her parents, boyfriends, and classmates are often tumultuous. She is Summer's best friend and Ryan's on and off love interest. Marissa is portrayed as a "spoiled girl who adjusts to being poor. Commenting on her departure, Barton said, "My character has been through so, so much and there's really nothing more left for her to do.
He is known for his quick quips, comic book fascination, and pop-culture references. Seth is also the love interest of Summer Roberts , on whom he had a crush on since the third grade. Seth has been called a "Jewish nerd into obscure emo bands," who "starts dating a gorgeous, popular virgin. The show's press materials maintain that he's an existential hero along the lines of Holden Caulfield.
Luke is initially the main antagonist of the series, coining the series famous "Welcome to the O. However, he later becomes the main "comic punching bag" for the other characters. He gets in trouble for embezzlement and must face the consequences of his actions and its effect on his reputation and personal life. After his divorce from Julie, he pursues Hayley Nichol, Kirsten's younger sister, who eventually leaves him to further her fashion career in Japan.
He was a regular cast member for Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2. Jimmy's character made a brief appearance on season 3, but was quickly left when Jimmy is forced to leave town, the morning of his wedding to Julie, due to money problems. One interviewer characterised Jimmy as a "lovable deadbeat dad. The character is portrayed as flighty and perpetually in financial debt despite warm relationships with his daughters.
The character was ranked eighth by Entertainment Weekly on a list of the worst dads in television history. At the beginning of the show she is married to financial planner Jimmy Cooper. She is often characterised as being devious, selfish, and shallow. However, she reveals a more vulnerable and empathetic part of herself a number of times during the series. Melinda Clarke summarised her character as being "clearly just such a money-digging whore. To me, it's so funny now to see The Real Housewives of Orange County because you realise it exists and that's what Julie was.
Julie was obviously the original housewife. Starting in her pink Juicy sweat suit outfit and then by the end she's graduated from college and moving on with her life. Bilson's character was originally scheduled to appear in only a few episodes, but her character quickly became popular amongst viewers, and ended up being part of the main cast for the rest of the series.
Summer's mother left when her parents divorced after her mother abandons them and she has had no contact with her since. Her stepmother, nicknamed the "step-monster," is a lazy woman with a suggested drug problem. Summer has been referred to as a "seemingly snotty, superficial rich girl who is revealed to have hidden depth when she warms to the charms of nerdy Seth.
Summer's character surprises audiences by turning out to be much more intellectually capable than ever imagined. She continues to be accepted to Brown, beating out many applicants from Harbour School, including, to his dismay, Seth. Not only intelligent, Summer Roberts proves to be an activist for animals while protesting against lab testing on critters and setting lab bunnies free.
She later takes one as her own and names her Pancakes. Alan Dale portrays Caleb Nichol season 2, recurring season 1 , Kirsten's businessman father and later Julie Cooper's husband.
His character recurs throughout the first season, and he becomes a regular during the second season, but comes to a sudden stop when his character suffers from a fatal heart attack during the season 2 finale. When asked by the Tribune about the character, Dale said, ""The thing that's lovely about this character is that there's so much to do with him.
His relationships are so complicated, and once the marriage happened, everyone was related in the show. That means he's got all these people to relate to, and he relates so badly with everyone. Her character's initial personality was referred to by many critics as similar to the character Tracy Flick from the film Election.
Autumn Reeser's performance was critically acclaimed. She reflected back on the character during a interview, saying "I feel like there's a lot of girls out there who could really relate to her, who hadn't seen themselves on TV in that way.
I loved that about her. I loved that she made no apologies for who she was even though she wasn't what all the magazines said was OK. She was like, "I'm still valid. And I know I'm odd, and that's OK.
The role was originally played by Shailene Woodley in a recurring role during Season 1. Kaitlin spends much of the series at boarding school before returning on a recurring basis in season 3 now played by Holland and finally becoming a regular character in season 4. The daughter of Jimmy Cooper and Julie Cooper-Nichol and sister to Marissa Cooper , her personality is more similar to her mother's rather than her father's, and she is portrayed as a regular pot smoker and occasional dealer.