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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." Portrayed by Mischa Barton, 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.The show began with seven main characters which eventually became 9 by the end of the first season.Since then, characters from that first season have left the show, with new main characters having been both written in and out of the series.The character's politics and lifestyle are conservative, a contrast to her husband.
Portrayed by Peter Gallagher, an idealistic public defender who takes in Ryan Atwood in the pilot episode, much to the dismay of his wife, Kirsten.Peter Gallagher described the character as a "leftie Jewish guy from the Bronx".Sandy deals with many conflicts throughout the series, such as trying to gain acceptance from his father-in-law while being financially supported by his wife, and raising two teenagers in a (sometimes) corrupt environment.Portrayed by Benjamin Mc Kenzie, a troubled teenager from Chino who is brought into the privileged community of Newport Beach, California after his mother, Dawn Atwood, throws him out of their family home.Ryan is subsequently taken in by his public defender, Sandy Cohen.
Originally, it follows the life of Ryan Atwood, a troubled but tough young man from a broken home who is adopted by the wealthy and philanthropic Sandy and Kirsten Cohen.