The O.C. is an idyllic paradise, a wealthy, harbour-front community where everything and everyone appears to be perfect. But beneath the surface is a world of shifting loyalties and identities, of kids living secret lives hidden from their parents, and of parents living secret lives hidden from their children. 'The O.C.' tells the story of the Cohen, Cooper, and Nichol families, and Ryan Atwood, a troubled teen from the wrong side of the tracks, who is thrust into this world, and who will forever change the lives of the residents of The O.C.
Just a freeway's drive away. And yet worlds apart. Rejected by his parents after a brush with the law, Ryan Atwood moves temporarily into the pool house of his attorney's posh Newport Beach home...and finds both friends and foes among the privileged O.C. youth.
When Ryan is faced with being shuffled into the child-services system, Seth comes up with a plan: Ryan can secretly live in an unfinished home owned by Seth's mom. It's a foolproof plan - for a while.
Luck is in the house during a Vegas night fundraiser; Seth becomes Summer's lucky charm and Marissa reconnects with Luke. In the aftermath of events involving Ryan's mom, Kirsten takes a chance and opens her home to the boy.
Ryan promised to stay out of trouble. But trouble finds him as he, Seth, Marissa and others take part in one of the biggest events on the Newport social calendar: the Debutantes Ball.
Ryan hangs out with a youth not from the moneyed Newport set, causing Seth to feel blown off. Jimmy's family faces hard choices because of his business crimes.
Every Newport guy needs a Newport girl. Seth finds a way to impress Summer; Luke and Marissa share a night of passion, and the mid-20s girlfriend of Kirsten's father has a predatory eye on Ryan. Julie drops the D-bomb on Jimmy.
What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico. But the secrecy surrounding a summer's-end teen trip to Tijuana can't stop Marissa from feeling the way she feels when she sees Luke with Holly.
It can't stay in Mexico. Not after heartbroken Marissa took all those pills. And not with Marissa's mom trying to have her institutionalized - something Ryan, Seth, Summer and Marissa don't want to happen.
Calculus. AP Enlgish. History. The ways of the human heart. Not everything learned at Harbor High is on the schedule of classes. The Cohen casa is a house divided when Sandy takes an environmental case against Kirsten's father.
Work keeps Sandy and Kirsten apart, Rachel makes a play for Sandy, Julie's secret lover is revealed and - omigod! - Summer realizes she likes Seth (but don't ever tell anyone).
Used to be Seth couldn't find a girl. Now he has two - Anna and Summer show up for Thanksgiving. Ryan also has double trouble, as he and Marissa visit his old neighborhood and encounter an ex-flame.
No one was supposed to see what happened. But Luke did. And so did Ryan. Now, somehow, all Newport knows that Luke's dad has been living a lie. And subsequent gossip raises questions of secrecy and trust.
It's part Christmas, part Hanukkah and totally a Cohen-family way to celebrate the holidays. But a time out for the holidays doesn't mean time away from Marissa's personal problems or Caleb's business tactics.
As the New Year looms, Ryan doesn't know how to respond when Marissa says those three meaningful words. Sandy and Kirsten are wallflowers at a swingers' party. And at home, Seth thinks of what might have been.
Ryan doesn't know much about Oliver, Marissa's therapy friend, but he knows he doesn't like him. Yet, Ryan still assists Oliver when he runs into trouble with the law at a Rooney concert.
He says he's a friend. But who can believe a word Oliver says? During a group getaway in Palm Springs, Ryan is sure he's wise to Oliver's game. Marissa is just as sure Oliver is a friend who needs help.
People who won't be on each other's Christmas-card list: Ryan and Oliver. Their rivalry for Marissa intensifies, with Ryan risking his standing at Harbor to unmask Oliver's true character.
Julie wears out her welcome with Caleb: true. Seth thinks Summer's hot: true. Oliver is crazy-mad about Marissa: true. Now sure of it, Ryan races against time to keep Oliver from hurting himself or Marissa.
Time to forgive and forget - or so Marissa thinks. But Ryan isn't ready, and the presence of former love Theresa at the Valentine Dance adds to Marissa's concerns. Summer and Seth work on the, um, mechanics.
The Ryan-Marissa thing is more iffy than ever when Theresa hangs in Newport. The telenovela-like suds-o-rama overflows with the Seth-Summer follies, the Luke-Julie fling and an insider who may be a threat to the Caleb-Kirsten biz.
Anna is leaving. Theresa is staying. Seth thinks he's the reason for Anna's planned return to Pittsburgh. And Ryan knows he's why Theresa is staying. But what is either guy going to do about it? Caleb is Riviera's Man of the Year (uh-oh).
Operation Protect Marissa! Seth and Ryan plan to keep Marissa from finding out about her mom's affair. It also becomes Operation Rescue Hailey when they inadvertently attend a Hollywood party where she's a stripper.
Operation Protect Marissa didn't work. Marissa knows about Julie/Luke and vanishes. Ryan finds her at Theresa's engagement party, where he's not a welcome guest. Meanwhile, cranky, opinionated, California-loeathing Nana Cohen arrives at Newport and she's strangely...nice.
Engagement announcements are joyful news, right? Not when it means the one person Kirsten despises will become her stepmom. And not when Marissa will have a new family arrangement she doesn't want.
Kirsten, Marissa. Neither is the hostess with the mostest. But they reluctantly host Julie's wedding shower just the same. Seth's get-acquainted lunch with Summer's dad is a FEMA-sized disaster.
"I love the Vegas," Seth says. But Seth is a player who's played when he, Ryan, Sandy and Jimmy hit the gambling town for what's presumed to be Caleb's bachelor bash. And claws are out when Julie and Hailey attend the Newport bachelorette party.
Summer is near and that means sun, surf and rejuvenation. Or to Ryan, Seth and Marissa, it may mean none of the above as each faces a critical crossroad. Just the same, Newport society rises to the occasion when Caleb and Julie do the "I do."