Ryan Atwood

Ryan Atwood

Infobox soap character | colour = #ffaa44
name = Ryan Atwood

imagesize =
caption = Benjamin McKenzie as Ryan Atwood
portrayer = Benjamin McKenzie
creator = Josh Schwartz
gender = Male
other_names = Chino, Atwood
age= 24 (flashforward)
19 (last appearance)
15 (first appearance)
first = Premiere
(episode 1.01)
last = The End's Not Near, It's Here (episode 4.16)
cause = Series Finale
episode = 92
born = birth date|1988|3|19|mf=y
occupation = Architect| title =
relatives = Sandy Cohen (adoptive father)
Kirsten Cohen (adoptive mother)
Sophie Cohen (adoptive grandmother)
Caleb Nichol (adoptive grandfather, deceased)
Dawn Atwood (mother)
Frank Atwood (father)
Trey Atwood (brother)
Seth Cohen (adoptive brother)
Sophie Rose Cohen (adoptive sister)
romances = Theresa Diaz (lovers, dated, childhood friend)
Lindsay Gardner (dated)
Marissa Cooper (lovers, dated)
Sadie Campbell (dated)
Taylor Townsend (lovers; left to the viewer to decide whether still dating at the series' conclusion)
Chloe (Dawn's co-worker) (one-night stand)
Gabrielle (Caleb's ex) (made out)

Ryan Atwood is a fictional character in the American television series "The O.C." He is played by Benjamin McKenzie.

Character history

eason 1

In the beginning of the Season 1, Ryan Atwood is a teenager living in Chino, California. He is pressured by his brother Trey and is caught attempting to steal a Camaro. When apprehended, he meets his attorney, Sandy Cohen. When Dawn, Ryan's mother, hears of Ryan's arrest, she kicks him out of the house. He is eventually taken in by Sandy, with a few objections from Sandy's wife, Kirsten Cohen. After meeting Ryan's mom and realizing she is unable to take care of him, she welcomes him to stay, and Ryan slowly progressed into living with the family. Even though he is now a known figure in the Newport society, he is still an outsider to many. He becomes a brother to Sandy and Kirsten's misfit son Seth, and Sandy and Kirsten consider him as a second son. Ryan and Marissa Cooper, a popular but somewhat troubled teenage girl, develop an attraction for one another that initially has its difficulties because of her relationship with Luke Ward and the differences in their lives and backgrounds. However she and Luke break up when she finds him cheating on her and she overdoses, almost killing herself. Ryan saves her and they became closer and form a troubled but strong relationship. As time goes on, Luke abandons his hostility towards Ryan and they become friends. During the middle of the season, Ryan's relationship with Marissa is interrupted by Oliver Trask, a mentally deranged person who Marissa met in Therapy, and who developed an unhealthy obsession with her. Oliver begins hanging around with Marissa and Ryan, even inviting them to his Palm Springs vacation home. Ryan became very suspicious of Oliver's behaviour, his background, and his feelings for Marissa. This brings significant trust issues between him and Marissa to the core, which eventually result in them breaking up. When Marissa realizes Oliver harbours an unhealthy obsession for her, she seeks Ryan's help and Oliver, after threatening to commit suicide were she to leave him, is committed to a mental hospital. Afterwards she tries to get back together with him but Ryan cannot forget how easily someone succeeded in coming between them, and refused to resume their relationship, although they remain friends until getting back together later in the season. At the same time, an old girlfriend from Chino called Theresa moves to Newport to be with him, which results in them having a short relationship. Theresa leaves Newport after her violent fiancé Eddie arrives in Newport and fights with Ryan. Ryan and Marissa got back together shortly after, but this was further complicated when Theresa arrived back in Newport towards the end of the season after suffering domestic abuse from Eddie. Theresa revealed to Marissa that she was pregnant, and did not know whether the father was Ryan or Eddie. In the season finale it looked like Theresa was going to have an abortion, but then decided to keep it and decided to go back to Chino to be with her family. Ryan felt compelled to go back with her to help her bring up the child, leaving Marissa and everything behind.

Despite their issues throughout the season, it is always clear that Ryan and Marissa are still attracted to each other (Marissa openly admitting it to Ryan, and he openly admitting it to her). Even Theresa agrees that they belong together (as does her fiancé, Eddie).

eason 2

Throughout this season, Marissa and Ryan (although dating others) are constantly being pulled closer together (partly because of Seth's idea of a reunion of the 'Fab Four'). Marissa admits to Summer that Ryan was the only one she ever loved and misses him everyday (with Ryan, of course, overhearing the whole conversation), and when he talks about how he and Marissa first met it is clear that he still is deeply in love with her. When things seem to be getting back to normal between the two, Trey comes back into Ryan's life. At first, all is well, but while Ryan is on a trip in Florida, Trey tries to rape Marissa while on drugs. Marissa does not tell anyone for a while, but eventually tells Summer, who lets Seth know. Ryan finds out about the attempted rape from Seth, prompting a confrontation between Ryan and Trey. An angry Ryan drives to Trey's apartment and a fight breaks out between the two brothers. Although Ryan gains the upper hand, Trey throws Ryan off of him onto a glass table and pins Ryan to the floor, while strangling him. Trey then grabs a telephone to bash Ryan in the head when Marissa walks in, pleading with Trey to release Ryan. Trey refuses and Marissa shoots him in the back with a gun Trey has in his apartment in order to save Ryan. It is left unclear whether or not Trey survives until the third season.

eason 3

In the aftermath of Season 2, Trey has survived the gunshot, but remains in a coma. After finally waking up, Julie pays Trey to blame the incident on Ryan so Marissa won't be in trouble, but Marissa talks Trey into telling the truth after Ryan is arrested. Marissa is expelled from Harbor High and attends public school, making new friends that lead to trouble. Ryan becomes jealous of Marissa's relationship with Johnny, fueling their on and off again status. After Johnny dies in front of Marissa, she begins a disastrous relationship with Volchok. Ryan and Volchok develop a hateful relationship with each other, leading to a horrible conclusion. In the season finale, the Fab Four finally graduate, heading towards their prospective futures, including Ryan headed to UC Berkeley. Elsewhere, Volchok needs to get out of town and tries to blackmail Ryan into giving him money for this purpose, with the threat that he would tell the police about Ryan's involvement in a robbery that he had forced Ryan to help out with earlier in the season. Marissa gives Ryan the pearls her mother bought her as a graduation present to pawn for Volchok's escape money. After getting the money, Volchok continues to try to blackmail Ryan, but wants to talk to Marissa. In the midst of his threats, Marissa pulls up in Ryan's car which clearly upsets Volchok. While Ryan drives Marissa to the airport, an angry and drunk Volchok tries crashing into Ryan's car to get him to pull over, so they can finish their rivalry on the side of the road. He sideswipes Ryan's car and knocks it over a barrier, the car rolling down an embankment and coming to a stop on a road below. Ryan sustains no serious injuries in the accident, but Marissa suffers a head injury and dies in Ryan's arms on the road.

eason 4

Ryan has changed greatly since Marissa's death. He has moved out, tries to avoid the Cohens, and has resorted to cage fighting. Julie passes information about Volchok's whereabouts to Ryan, who tries to find him in Mexico to take revenge. Seth warns Volchok in advance and Ryan returns to the Cohens, but Ryan's friendship with Seth is damaged. After Sandy acts as Volchok's defense attorney, Ryan encounters Volchok in a hotel and decides to spare his life, forcing him to live with his guilt. Later, Ryan helps Taylor with getting a divorce from her French husband by kissing her, proving she found a new love. Unknown to him at the time, Taylor develops a crush on him for helping her.

Around this time, Ryan suffers from insomnia related to the incident involving Volchok. Taylor intervenes, acting as a sleep therapist to seduce him and flirting around, but fails to cure Ryan’s insomnia. When Ryan tells her he doesn't know how he feels about her, she tells him to kiss her to see if he feels anything. When they kiss, she takes advantage, then stops herself. After that, Ryan starts having fantasies about her. He tries to step it up a notch by asking her to hang out but not a real date. However, Ryan finds it to be too awkward. Later, Taylor pays a homosexual guy, Roger, to pretend to like her. However, Ryan discovers this, and he and Taylor make up in a game of Seven Minutes In Heaven, where they kiss.

At Chrismukkah, Ryan finally reaches a closure on his relationship with Marissa.

Ryan first mentions that Taylor is his girlfriend. The week afterwards, during a roadtrip, Ryan and Taylor are speaking about possibly having sex. Ryan mistakenly thinks that Taylor is pregnant, because of a pregnancy test Seth found. After sorting through the misunderstanding, Ryan and Taylor spend New Year's Eve together as a couple.

A few days later Ryan finds out from Sandy that his father, Frank Atwood, is out of jail and wants to see him. Ryan is initially hesitant as he remembers his father's alcoholism, but Frank convinces him by lying about having lung cancer. At dinner with the Cohens, the truth is revealed and a fight ensues, causing Frank to leave Newport.

Ryan and Taylor have problems in their relationship when Taylor's French ex-husband, Henri-Michel, comes to Newport. Although first greatly disturbed by the contents of Henri's best-selling book about his marriage to Taylor, he tells Taylor that he'll get over it with time. Ryan feels insecure when stories of Taylor's exotic life in France come back with Henri, and he leaves Taylor on the set of a French talk show, claiming that they're both "too different." After a week of not calling, Ryan decides to mend things with Taylor, but discovers that it might be too late as Taylor is already considering moving in with Henri. In a moment of desperation, Ryan upstages a poem reading by Henri Michel at a local book store with a poem of his own, although Henri's poem was much more eloquent. Taylor says she treasures the poem but needs to work on her own insecurities before fully pursuing their relationship again.

Taylor begins to stalk Ryan and, realizing her dependency on him, seeks out a therapist, who uses strange methods and puts further strain on their relationship. However, Taylor cannot stand being apart from Ryan and stalks him, only to feel humiliated when he catches her. In a comical scene, Ryan tells Taylor that they can work around it, suggesting the idea that they should take turn stalking each other.

For Valentine's Day, Ryan and Taylor help out his dad to successfully get together with Julie. Ryan and Taylor spend the night together on Valentine's day and Ryan kisses Taylor as they drive up to the beach together.

In "The Shake Up", Taylor and Ryan prepare for her 19th birthday. However, Ryan doesn't know that what she wants is for him to go to Berkeley with her. Ryan tells her that he isn't thinking about Berkeley for now as it is only six months away. Meanwhile, Ryan is under pressure when he tries to decide if he should tell Taylor that he loves her on her birthday, as he is still unsure of his feelings for her. After a failed attempt to get Ryan drunk, a drunken Taylor pretends to sleep and Ryan says he loves her. Unfortunately, she would reveal that she got accepted into Berkeley, and due to her drunken status wouldn't say that she got accepted long before they started dating. Ryan feels uncomfortable about this and Taylor in unsure of what passed in her drunken state. Ryan makes the situation worse when he gives her a pocket dictionary for her birthday as an act of panic about the news. However, seeing her disappointment at the gift, he gives her his original present: a bound book full of love poems that Taylor translated for Ryan. He admits that he loves her and they share a long kiss. As they reconcile, an earthquake hits Newport and Taylor's tall glass hutch falls on Ryan, who's protecting Taylor from the falling debris.

In the next episode, Ryan and Taylor survived the earthquake. As Taylor worries if they are both injured, a fragment of glass and blood is seen on Ryan's back. Ryan calls Seth for help, while the girls stay back and attempt to find Pancakes, Summer's rabbit. Along the way, Seth and Ryan hit an object and the car gets a flat tire which Seth attempts to fix. However, the jack snaps when the aftershock strikes. With Ryan in pain, Seth attempts to finds new transportation and is spotted by Frank and Julie from their car. The next scene takes place in hospital, where Ryan is recovering from his wound. Seth mentions that he donated blood to Ryan, and that they were now "really" brothers.

Six months later, he and Taylor have broken up. However, feelings still linger when Julie and Bullit's wedding is close to fruition. They stumble after seeing each other for months, but end up kissing and are about to have sex in a bedroom when they get interrupted. Ryan and Taylor spend time together as a couple. They go together on a train and Ryan and Taylor kiss and talk about where their relationship might head. Taylor reveals to Ryan that they will be on the train for hours and they spend the next couple hours as a couple reunited before she heads to Paris.

Later, Sandy and Kirsten depart from their Newport home, leaving Seth and Ryan to themselves. After Seth rides off in a taxi, Ryan walks through the empty house, reminiscing of how the Cohens took him into their home. He has various flashbacks to season 1 (including first walking into the pool house and first meeting Seth). Marissa appears as Ryan's final memory of his life at Newport before leaving the Cohen's house for good in "The End's Not Near, It's Here". While Ryan is driving away, he thinks back to when she was standing on the curb next to her house, watching him and Sandy drive away from Newport back to Chino when Ryan thought he would never return to Newport again (as seen in the "Premiere"). Coming out of the memory and back to reality with a small smile, Ryan continues to drive away from the house. This shows that although Ryan has moved on, Marissa will always have a special place in his heart and he will never forget her or their love and all the memories they shared together.

It is shown that in the years to come, Ryan finally goes to UC Berkeley to make a new life while living with the Cohens in Berkeley, California. At Seth and Summer's wedding, Ryan and Taylor share a look; whether they are still together is left unanswered, but they presumably are. He becomes a successful architect at a site where he used to work. His story comes full circle when he comes upon a kid at a pay phone, similar to his situation years ago.

Family tree


* Frank Atwood (father)
* Dawn Atwood (mother)
* Sanford "Sandy" Cohen (adoptive father)
* Kirsten Cohen (adoptive mother)


* Trey Atwood (brother)
* Frank Atwood, Jr. (paternal half-brother)
* Seth Cohen (adoptive brother)
* Summer Roberts(Cohen) (adoptive sister in-law)
* Sophie Rose Cohen (adoptive sister)

Grandparents (all adoptive)

* Julie Cooper (ex step maternal grandmother)
* Caleb Nichol (maternal grandfather)
* Sophie Cohen (paternal grandmother)

Other relatives

* Hailey Nichol (adoptive aunt)
* Lindsay Gardner (illegitimate adoptive aunt)
* Marissa Cooper (ex-adoptive step aunt)
* Kaitlin Cooper (ex-adoptive step aunt)

Romantic relationships

* Theresa Diaz (lovers/dated/childhood friend)
* Lindsay Gardner (dated)
* Marissa Cooper (lovers/dated; deceased)
*Sadie Campbell (dated)
* Chloe (one-night stand)
* Taylor Townsend (lovers/dated)
* Gabrielle (fling)


*Ryan's favorite fruit is peaches, possibly a reference to his romantic relationship with Taylor, who is nicknamed "Peaches" by her French ex-husband.
*Ryan's favorite band is Journey.
*Ryan plays soccer during his sophomore year of high school. He may have also played in later years but it is not mentioned on the show although a soccer ball is sometimes seen in his bedroom.
*Over the four seasons of the show Ryan worked as a waiter/busboy at the Crab Shack, a construction worker, an intern at the Newport Group, a barback in a very shady joint and again as a waiter/busboy at a Mexican restaurant in the mall.
*It is known that Ryan lost his virginity sometime around his freshman year of high school and it may or may not have been to Theresa, at approx age 14.
*Ryan was physically abused by his birth father and some of his mother's boyfriends before being adopted by the Cohens.
*Ryan participated in musicals when he was much younger.
*In behind-the-scenes with Beach Couture, the hairdresser and makeup artist tells viewers that in all, there are about 50-100 wife-beaters in Ryan's closet. One is used in each episode.
*Ryan is the only character of the "Core Four" to never be seen under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, he was seen smoking a cigarette and drinking a little in the first episode, he has never been drunk though. Later on he would drink one beer in a bar and a glass of wine at Taylor's house.
*Ryan and Marissa have been the only couple to break up and get back together more than 3 times.

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