Original air date: 08/05/2003 Runtime: 45:07 min. When tough, guarded, fiercely intelligent 16-year-old Ryan Atwood (series star BENJAMIN McKENZIE) is arrested for participating in a car theft, idealistic pro-bono public defender Sandy Cohen (series star PETER GALLAGHER) is assigned to the case. But after Ryan's neglectful mother, Dawn (recurring guest star DAPHNE ASHBROOK), banishes Ryan from her house in Chino, Sandy becomes much more involved in Ryan's life than either of them expected. To the chagrin of Sandy's wife, Kirsten (series star KELLY ROWAN) -- a wealthy and beautiful former homecoming queen and apparently the perfect spouse, mother and businesswoman -- Sandy invites Ryan to stay overnight in the guesthouse of Sandy's lavish Newport Beach home. Kirsten worries how Ryan will influence the couple's teenage son, Seth (series star ADAM BRODY), a soulful dreamer ostracized by his peers.
Original air date: 08/12/2003 Runtime: 43:44 min. Now that Ryan's mother has abandoned Ryan and moved away, Sandy has no choice but to accede to Kirsten's wishes and remand Ryan to Social Services. Facing the prospect of living in a foster home, Ryan prepares to secretly leave on his own. But Seth finds out and suggests a better idea: Together with Marissa, the boys sneak to an unfinished model home, the perfect hiding place for Ryan. Seth's mother, Kirsten, is the head of residential development for The Newport Group, a real-estate company, and is selling the house. Ryan, Seth and Marissa spend hours in the model home's empty swimming pool, bonding, skateboarding and eating.
Original air date: 08/19/2003 Runtime: 43:51 min. Kirsten's company does not charge Ryan with arson for the model home burning, but he must remain in juvenile hall until he can be placed in the care of a guardian. Kirsten reluctantly brings Seth to the jail to visit Ryan. During the meeting, a violent inmate almost assaults Kirsten, but Ryan bravely defends her. Fearing for Ryan's life, Kirsten takes temporary custody of him. After hiring a private detective, Sandy locates Ryan's struggling mother, Dawn (recurring guest star DAPHNE ASHBROOK), and brings her to Orange County for an uncomfortable reunion with Ryan. Dawn has left her abusive boyfriend and wants to work on her drinking problem and be Ryan's true mother again. Meanwhile, Marissa's father, Jimmy, borrows $100,000 from Kirsten to save his faltering financial business.
Original air date: 08/26/2003 Runtime: 44:08 min. Sandy and Kirsten convince child services officials to let them become Ryan's caretakers, and Ryan agrees to stay out of trouble. But with the upcoming cotillion, an old-fashioned formal event at which teenagers make their "debut" in society, that may be hard to do. Reluctantly, Ryan is matched with an iconoclastic East Coast girl, Anna Stern (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG); to his delight, Seth is paired with the dateless Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON); Marissa plans to attend with wary Luke; and despite some individual last-minute hedging on Sandy's and Jimmy's parts, all the parents agree to accompany their children to the ceremony.
Original air date: 09/02/2003 Runtime: 44:05 min. After befriending a likable busboy, Donnie (PAUL WASILEWSKI), at a casual seafood restaurant, Ryan takes a job there. Wanting to experience Ryan's social group, Seth accepts Donnie's invitation to a party in Donnie's neighborhood. Ryan fears the Seth doesn't comprehend the type of people he will encounter, so he sacrifices a potential date with Marissa to protect him. During the wild party, the luxury car that Seth borrowed from his mother is destroyed by thieves. Feeling bad that he prevented Ryan and Marissa from getting together, Seth persuades Marissa to plan another date with Ryan. While the hesitant pair happily shares sandwiches by the pool at the Cohen house, Seth disregards Ryan's advice and allows Donnie and his rough friends to attend a Newport Beach party with him. Ryan must again abandon Marissa to help Seth when Donnie's group becomes uncontrollable, and a fracas between Donnie and Luke results in Luke getting shot in the arm.
Original air date: 09/09/2003 Runtime: 43:51 min. Kirsten nervously prepares a magnificent birthday party for her widowed father, Caleb Nichol (recurring guest star ALAN DALE), an extremely successful and driven businessman for whom Kirsten works. She is devastated when, rather than being proud of her hard work while he was out of the country, Caleb berates and demotes her for making deals without his approval. The situation worsens when Sandy, whom Caleb has never liked, reveals that Kirsten wants to quit and begin a simpler life away from Newport Beach with Sandy, Seth and Ryan. Caleb's gorgeous 25-year-old girlfriend, Gabrielle (NICHOLE HILTZ), trapped by her businesslike relationship with the much older Caleb, flirts with a conflicted Ryan at his job.
Original air date: 09/16/2003 Runtime: 43:40 min. It's the end of summer, and Seth convinces a reluctant Ryan to plan a trip to Tijuana, where hundreds of rowdy teens congregate to indulge in escapist excess before they have to begin school again. In addition to dating Luke again, Marissa is angry with Ryan after witnessing him with an older woman. She also wants to stay home and take care of her overstressed father. But Summer persuades her to come, and the four kids drive south, Ryan and Marissa not speaking to each other and Summer and Seth sparring constantly. During an argument, Seth accidentally drives off the road and damages the car. The friends are forced to stay in a disgusting motel overnight while the car is being repaired.
Original air date: 10/29/2003 Runtime: 43:46 min. While Marissa recovers in the hospital from her overdose, everyone remains concerned about her. Julie (recurring guest star MELINDA CLARKE) vents her anger at Ryan, blaming him for all of Marissa's problems and warning him to stay away from her daughter. Meanwhile, Sandy tries to get acclimated to his new job at an affluent corporate law firm. Kirsten is displeased about her husband's rekindled relationship with his attractive former colleague, Rachel Hoffman (recurring guest star BONNIE SOMERVILLE), who is once again his co-worker -- especially when Kirsten sees Sandy and Rachel having an intimate after-work cocktail.
Original air date: 11/05/2003 Runtime: 43:21 min. The summer is officially over, and it's the first day of school. Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON) still ignores Seth in public, but privately she is jealous of Seth's burgeoning relationship with iconoclastic East Coast girl Anna Stern (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG). And Summer isn't the only person fighting feelings of jealousy. Kirsten still isn't comfortable with Sandy's friendship with his sexy new co-worker, Rachel (recurring guest star BONNIE SOMERVILLE). Rachel makes matters worse when she specifically enlists Sandy to work on a lawsuit that an environmental group has initiated against Kirsten's father and his land development company, despite the obvious conflict of interest. Kirsten is incensed, but conflicted Sandy truly believes in the environmentalists' cause.
Original air date: 11/12/2003 Runtime: 43:45 min. Having seriously dated for one week, Marissa and Ryan are progressing slowly. Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON) tries to deny her true feelings for Seth as she witnesses Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG) and Seth getting closer. Meanwhile, the case against Kirsten's father, Caleb (recurring guest star ALAN DALE), continues to cause friction between Sandy and Kirsten. And Julie (recurring guest star MELINDA CLARKE) tries to mend her relationship with Marissa, inviting her, Jimmy and Ryan to attend her charity event -- where her new relationship is revealed.
Original air date: 11/19/2003 Runtime: 43:25 min. When Seth tries to choose between dating Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON) or Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG), he ends up in the middle of a very complicated situation. Meanwhile, Ryan visits his brother, Trey (recurring guest star BRADLEY STRYKER), in prison, accompanied by Marissa. When Julie (recurring guest star MELINDA CLARKE) finds out that Marissa is with Ryan in Chino, she becomes furious. As everyone nervously waits at the Cohen house for Ryan and Marissa to return, tensions mount, making the holiday a Thanksgiving to remember.
Original air date: 11/26/2003 Runtime: 43:26 min. After Thanksgiving, Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG) and Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON) remain upset with Seth for his behavior on the holiday, and Seth struggles to reconcile with them. Meanwhile, Julie (recurring guest star MELINDA CLARKE) has relationship problems of her own. Jimmy and Sandy team up to tackle Jimmy's legal issues. A secret indiscretion by Kirsten is exposed. Ryan and Luke become partners on a history project, and an astonishing revelation creates an unexpected alliance between them.
Original air date: 12/03/2003 Runtime: 43:04 min. Seth excitedly introduces a skeptical Ryan to Chrismukkah, a Cohen family tradition that resulted from Kirsten being Christian and Sandy being Jewish. As everyone prepares for a huge holiday party organized by Julie (recurring guest star MELINDA CLARKE), Seth continues attempting to juggle Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG) and Summer (recurring guest star RACHEL BILSON), both of whom want to date him exclusively. Meanwhile, on opposing sides of a lawsuit, Sandy and Kirsten dread working through the holiday season, but Kirsten learns something about her father that could change everything. And Ryan and Marissa's shopping trip leads to trouble -- and the beginning of even bigger problems for Marissa.
Original air date: 12/17/2003 Runtime: 43:14 min. Kirsten's rebellious 25-year-old sister, Hailey Nichol (recurring guest star AMANDA RIGHETTI), comes to town on New Year's Eve, causing turmoil in the Cohen household. Ryan and Marissa plan a quiet evening of popcorn and movies at home, but Marissa later decides to attend a party hosted by a young man, Oliver Trask (recurring guest star TAYLOR HANDLEY), who goes to the same therapist as she does. Meanwhile, Hailey persuades Sandy and Kirsten to go out so she can have a raging party in their house for a few friends. As the clock ticks closer to midnight, Ryan hopes that he can make it to Marissa in time for their first New Year's kiss together. As of this episode, MELINDA CLARKE as Julie Cooper and RACHEL BILSON as Summer Roberts are series stars.
Original air date: 01/07/2004 Runtime: 43:47 min. Kirsten's unemployed sister, Hailey (recurring guest star AMANDA RIGHETTI), moves in with the Cohens and disrupts the entire family when she behaves as the houseguest from hell. Hailey depletes the refrigerator, controls the television, disrespects Kirsten and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon. Desiring some time alone with his wife, Sandy urges Kirsten to resolve the problem with her sister. When Kirsten can't confront Hailey, Sandy angrily tells Hailey that everyone is tired of tolerating her rude behavior. Meanwhile, Seth and Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG) struggle with telling Summer the truth that they are now a couple. Ryan feels jealous about Marissa's new friend, Oliver (recurring guest star TAYLOR HANDLEY), a neglected, drug-abusing teen she met in therapy who always seems to show up when Ryan wants some privacy with Marissa. Later, Ryan helps Oliver by asking Sandy to intervene when Oliver is arrested for trying to buy drugs from an undercover cop.
Original air date: 01/14/2004 Runtime: 43:50 min. Ryan, Seth, Marissa, Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG), Luke and Summer head to Palm Springs for a parent-free weekend at the home of Marissa's new, troubled friend Oliver (recurring guest star TAYLOR HANDLEY). Hoping to spend some time alone with Marissa, Ryan, who is neither interested in golf nor spas, reluctantly agrees to make the road trip with Luke. Oliver quickly irritates Ryan by flirting with Marissa and deliberately keeping the couple apart. And Summer uses every method she can to annoy Seth and Anna. The weekend goes from bad to worse when Oliver angrily leaves the house only to later phone Marissa with news that he's taken a handful of drugs to commit suicide. Marissa and Ryan race to a hotel where Oliver seems to be shaken but in no apparent danger of overdosing. Ryan is unconvinced that Oliver even attempted to take his life, and much to Ryan's dismay, Marissa insists on staying the night alone with Oliver.
Original air date: 01/21/2004 Runtime: 43:49 min. Sandy and Jimmy begin a new business partnership when they buy The Lighthouse, a beloved Newport restaurant. Meanwhile, Kirsten and Julie become workmates when Julie is hired as Newport Group's new model-home designer. Also, Seth's jealousy of Summer's new boyfriend causes Seth to doubt his relationship with Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG). And Ryan loses control while trying to prove that Marissa's troubled friend Oliver (recurring guest star TAYLOR HANDLEY) is a fraud, leaving Seth and the Cohens concerned and afraid for Ryan.
Original air date: 02/11/2004 Runtime: 43:48 min. Caleb (recurring guest star ALAN DALE) once again puts Kirsten in a difficult situation when he forces her to terminate Julie. After yet another crisis with Ryan, Sandy and Kirsten question their decision to bring him into their home. Meanwhile, Ryan and Luke become allies in their quest to protect Marissa from Oliver (recurring guest star TAYLOR HANDLEY). When Marissa discovers the truth about Oliver, a tense showdown ensues -- and Sandy and Ryan must come to the rescue.
Original air date: 02/18/2004 Runtime: 43:32 min. Marissa tries to mend her relationship with Ryan, but he can't forgive her for the situation with Oliver. Things become even more complicated when Theresa (recurring guest star NAVI RAWAT), Ryan's ex-girlfriend from Chino, arrives to waitress at Kirsten's Valentine's Day dance. Meanwhile, Seth and Summer decide to take their friendship to a new level, and Jimmy finds out he has a secret admirer.
Original air date: 02/25/2004 Runtime: 43:41 min. Marissa and Ryan try to start over as friends, but it's not as easy as they had hoped. As Theresa (recurring guest star NAVI RAWAT), Ryan's ex-girlfriend from Chino, begins spending more time in Newport, Ryan discovers that she hasn't been honest about why she's there. Seth believes his relationship with Summer is great, but when she refuses to acknowledge him at school, he feels he has to teach her a lesson. Meanwhile, Sandy finds himself embroiled in another mess created by Caleb (recurring guest star ALAN DALE). And Jimmy begins to suspect something is going on between Julie and Luke.
Original air date: 03/03/2004 Runtime: 43:47 min. When Theresa (recurring guest star NAVI RAWAT) decides to stay in Newport, Ryan is glad, but he feels obligated to help her find a job and a place to live. Julie and Luke's affair continues to flourish, but their secret is threatened when Jimmy witnesses an intimate moment between them. Meanwhile, Anna (recurring guest star SAMAIRE ARMSTRONG) announces that she is moving back to Pittsburgh. Convinced that her leaving is his fault, Seth races to the airport to stop her.
Original air date: 03/24/2004 Runtime: 43:40 min. When actor Grady Bridges (COLIN HANKS - "Orange County," "Roswell") invites Summer and Marissa to his birthday party, the girls take Ryan and Seth to Los Angeles to join in the festivities. At the party, Summer is thrilled to spend time with Grady, but Seth is not as happy. The situation is reversed when Seth meets sexy Kate (PARIS HILTON - "The Simple Life"), and it's Summer's turn to be jealous. Afterwards, the gang heads back to Orange County, where Ryan has a hard time keeping Luke and Julie's affair a secret from Marissa.
Original air date: 03/31/2004 Runtime: 43:46 min. The Cohen family prepares for a visit from Sandy's mother, Sophie (LINDA LAVIN - "Alice"), for Passover dinner. Fearing that his grandmother will not approve of Summer, Seth tries to keep the two from encountering each other -- but Summer sets out to prove him wrong. Meanwhile, Ryan desperately searches for Marissa, who disappeared when she found out about Luke and Julie's affair.
Original air date: 04/14/2004 Runtime: 43:53 min. Marissa isn't ready to speak to Luke or her mother, Julie, following her discovery that the two have been having an affair. Luke is desperate to explain himself. When he gets into a near-fatal accident, however, both Marissa and Ryan decide to listen to what he has to say. Meanwhile, it's opening night for new restaurant The Lighthouse. Just prior to opening, Jimmy and Sandy are shocked to find out that their liquor license has been denied, and Sandy is faced with the choice of getting the license or keeping Jimmy as his partner. Also, Caleb (recurring guest star ALAN DALE) uses the occasion to surprise everyone by proposing marriage to Julie.
Original air date: 04/21/2004 Runtime: 43:56 min. Every bride-to-be must have a wedding shower, and Julie is going to have one to remember, thanks to Marissa. Meanwhile, Theresa (recurring guest star NAVI RAWAT) returns to Newport Beach. When Ryan finds out why she came back, he is shocked. And Seth gets the chance to meet Summer's father, but it doesn't go as well as anyone would have liked.
Original air date: 04/28/2004 Runtime: 43:42 min. These are Caleb's (recurring guest star ALAN DALE) last days as a bachelor, and he's spending them in Las Vegas. Seth and Ryan join him in "Sin City" for the celebration while a reluctant Kristen plans a bachelorette party for Julie back home in Newport Beach. Meanwhile, Marissa and Theresa (recurring guest star NAVI RAWAT) are learning more about each other, but what Marissa finds out about Teresa could have big consequences.
Original air date: 05/05/2004 Runtime: 43:43 min. It's Julie Cooper's wedding day, and it will be a day to remember for more people than just the blushing bride. Recording artist JEM performs Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" during the ceremony. But the wedding is only the beginning of a series of events that will change many lives in Orange County forever.