Synopsis by Rovi
The initial seven-week "test run" of The O.C. starts with a bang in this debut episode. The main focus is on Ryan Atwood (Ben McKenzie), a tough, trouble-prone teen who has been arrested for stealing a car and thrown out of his Chino home, seemingly headed inexorably toward a life of crime. Sensing that the boy has the potential for good if only given a chance, idealistic pro bono public defender Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher) invites Ryan to move into the pool house of the Cohen family's fashionable home, located in the wealthy Newport Beach district of Orange County, CA. Although Sandy's social-climbing ex-beauty-queen wife, Kirsten (Kelly Rowan), is upset by Ryan's presence, the young visitor finds a friend and kindred spirit in the Cohens' intellectual loner son, Seth (Adam Brody). Before long, Ryan has met his extremely attractive next-door neighbor Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton). Unfortunately, he also has a nasty run-in at an O.C. fundraiser after-party with Marissa's jealous boyfriend, Luke Ward (Chris Carmack), the fallout from which threatens to condemn Ryan to the living hell of the foster-care system. "Welcome to the O.C., Bitch!"