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The O.C. Season 3
TheOCcast3.jpg
From left to right: Julie, Marissa, Sandy, Kirsten, Ryan, Seth and Summer
Series The O.C.
Country of origin  United States
Network FOX
Original run September 8, 2005 (2005-09-08) May 18, 2006 (2006-05-18)
No. of episodes 25
DVD release date October 24, 2006
Previous season Season 2
Next season Season 4

The third season of the television series The O.C. commenced airing in the United States on September 8, 2005, concluded on May 18, 2006, and consisted of 25 episodes. The first ten episodes of season three aired Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. ET in the US on FOX, a terrestrial television network;[1] however, from January 12, 2006 onwards, The O.C. was shifted to a later time of Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET.[2]

Following on from season two, the series continues to follow the characters' lives in the wealthy community of Newport Beach, Orange County, California, with the main characters entering their final year of high school. Series creator Josh Schwartz said he wanted to explore the characters moving away as he "didn't want to be one of the shows that stayed in high school too long". He added that "graduating from high school is such a seminal moment for kids and parents. It's something we knew we wanted to mine and explore."[3] The season revolves around Ryan Atwood's savior complex causing trouble, and Seth Cohen's lies posing problems in his relationship with Summer Roberts. Seth's mother Kirsten attends rehab in an attempt to put her life back together, while her husband Sandy assumes leadership of the Newport Group after Caleb Nichol's death and finds himself the heir-apparent to a legacy of scandal, and Marissa Cooper spirals out of control after younger sister Kaitlin causes trouble on her return home from boarding school.[4] The season was released on DVD as a seven disc boxed set under the title The O.C.: The Complete Third Season on October 24, 2006 by Warner Bros. Home Video.[5]

Season three was also broadcast outside of the United States. In Canada, the season was simulcast on the terrestrial network CTV Television Network.[6] It was broadcast on Network Ten on Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. (local time) in Australia, and premiered several months after it did in the US.[7] In New Zealand the season started February 11, 2006 on TV NZ.[8] It premiered in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2006 on the digital terrestrial channel E4, airing Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. GMT. The episodes were rebroadcast the following week on the analogue Channel 4, E4's parent channel, on Sundays at 1:50 p.m. GMT.[9]

Contents

Crew

The season was produced by Warner Bros. Television and Wonderland Sound and Vision. The executive producers were series creator Josh Schwartz, McG, a co-founder of Wonderland, and Bob DeLaurentis.[10] Stephanie Savage, the other co-founder of Wonderland, served as co-executive producer, whilst Ian Toynton served as supervising producer.[11] The staff writers were Schwartz, Savage, DeLaurentis, John Stephens, J.J. Philbin and Mike Kelley. The regular directors throughout the season were Toynton, Michael Lange, Michael Fresco, Norman Buckley and Tony Wharmby.

Cast

Autumn Reeser, who joined the cast as Taylor Townsend

The third season had star billing for seven major roles. Mischa Barton as Marissa, Rachel Bilson as Summer, Adam Brody as Seth, Melinda Clarke as Julie, Peter Gallagher as Sandy, Benjamin McKenzie as Ryan, and Kelly Rowan as Kirsten all returned to the main cast.[12] Former main cast member Alan Dale did not return due to his character, Caleb, dying at the end of the second season, while Tate Donovan, as Jimmy Cooper, returned only in a recurring role.[13]

Logan Marshall-Green returned for the season premiere, portraying Trey Atwood, comatosed as a result of the shooting in the second season finale.[13] Additionally Navi Rawat, Samaire Armstrong, Daphne Ashbrook and Nikki Griffin all made brief returns to guest star as Theresa Diaz,[14] Anna Stern,[14] Dawn Atwood,[15] and Jess Sathers,[16] respectively. Willa Holland took over from Shailene Woodley in portraying Marissa's younger sister Kaitlin, who returns to the show after being away at boarding school last year.[11] Cast member Michael Nouri continued as Summer's dad, Dr. Neil Roberts, who became a larger part of the series.[17] Other actors to leave the series were Nicholas Gonzalez (D.J.), Michael Cassidy (Zach), Shannon Lucio (Lindsay), Olivia Wilde (Alex), Billy Campbell (Carter), Kim Delaney (Rebecca), Johnny Messner (Lance), Kathleen York (Renee), and Marguerite Moreau (Reed).

The season introduced a number of new students to the show. Additions to the cast included Autumn Reeser, Cam Gigandet, Ryan Donowho and Johnny Lewis, as new social chair Taylor Townsend,[18] rival surfers Kevin Volchok[19] and Johnny Harper, and Johnny's best friend Chili.[20] Jeri Ryan and Jeff Hephner also joined the cast to portray new adult characters Charlotte Morgan, a mysterious woman Kristen befriends in rehab,[12] and Matt Ramsey, an overzealous business partner working at the Newport Group.[21] New guest stars in recurring roles included Paula Trickey as Taylor's mother, Veronica Townsend; Erin Foster as a Newport Union student called Heather; Kayla Ewell and Nikki Reed as Johnny's girlfriend, Casey, and cousin Sadie;[22] Eric Mabius as new Dean of Discipline, Jack Hess;[23] Shaun Duke as Henry Griffin, head of the board at Newport Hospital; and Morena Baccarin as Griffin's daughter Maya.

Reception

Season three was widely regarded by both fans and critics as the worst season of The O.C.[24] The season premiere attracted 7.5 million viewers, but average viewing figures decreased twenty percent from the previous season to 5.6 million.[25] The first half of the season averaged 6.3 million viewers, representing a substantial decrease in the show's popularity. However Marcy Ross, head of current programming at FOX said that the "ratings are perfectly fine and acceptable".[3] After the eventual cancellation of the show, Schwartz admitted that "the whole first half of the third season was a total mess".[26]

The third season was nominated for five Teen Choice Awards and won four of them, including "Choice Drama/Action Adventure Show" and "Choice Actor: Drama/Action Adventure", which Adam Brody won for the third consecutive year.[27] IGN faulted a season which, in their opinion, had "far too much time and too many episodes spent with the less than beloved character Johnny". IGN also noted that "Kirsten and Sandy both suffered from unsatisfying stories", and that the departure of character Caleb Nichol had been a mistake "as he had been a great character to bounce off both of the elder Cohens".[24] In September 2007, Schwartz admitted in an interview for New York that the show "went down the wrong road" with Johnny.[26] The season did, however, receive some praise. The new character Taylor Townsend was stated as being "played to perfection by Autumn Reeser" and her character was described as "one of the greatest elements of The O.C."[24] Jeffrey Robinson of DVD Talk described the storylines as "very intelligent and also incorporate a great deal of humor to keep your interest".[28]

USA Today critic Robert Bianco said that the season premiere was "as dreary and ridiculous as any episode the show ever gave us",[29] but the season finale was commended by IGN's Eric Goldman for killing off main character Marissa Cooper. Goldman said that "the episode documenting her demise was a fairly strong one" and that the following season "would really pay off this shocking twist".[24] Despite not being the final season it was also noted that the graduation of characters gave "the show a feeling of ending".[3]

Episodes

"Series #" refers to the episode's number in the overall series, whereas "Episode #" refers to the episode's number in this particular season. The third season's episodes are altogether 1089 minutes in length.

Series
#
Episode
#
Title Directed by Written by American viewers in millions Original airdate Production
Code
52 1 "The Aftermath" Ian Toynton Josh Schwartz 7.50[30] September 8, 2005 (2005-09-08) 2T6251
Ryan, Marissa, Seth and Summer are about to begin their senior year at The Harbor School, but while everyone else celebrates the last days of summer, a dark cloud hangs over the foursome. Two months after being shot, Ryan's brother Trey still clings to his life, and the police want to know who really shot him. As Julie and Jimmy are determined to protect their daughter at whatever cost, Ryan considers taking the fall for Marissa. Seth, Ryan and Sandy try to fend for themselves at home, while Kirsten, in a plush rehab centre, befriends a fellow recovering alcoholic, Charlotte Morgan, who may not be everything she appears to be. 
53 2 "The Shape of Things to Come" Tony Wharmby J. J. Philbin 6.22[31] September 15, 2005 (2005-09-15) 2T6252
Chaos reigns in the Cohen kitchen as Sandy, Ryan and Seth continue to cope with Kirsten's rehab. When Sandy encourages Kirsten to come home to her family, he becomes concerned with Kirsten's attachment to Charlotte. Meanwhile as school, Dean Hess, the new Dean of Discipline, arrives and makes a decision that changes Marissa's life forever. Summer trumps her nemesis Taylor Townsend when planning the annual Kick-Off Carnival, and Jimmy unexpectedly proposes to Julie once more. 
54 3 "The End of Innocence" Michael Lange Stephanie Savage 6.45[32] September 22, 2005 (2005-09-22) 2T6253
Although they are finally happy with each other, Marissa and Ryan are forced to stay apart by their respective parents, Julie and Sandy. Dean Hess pressures Seth and Summer into showing The Harbor School spirit which leads them to devise a covert plan to bring Marissa and Ryan together. They help Ryan plan a romantic evening for Marissa, but get caught by Taylor in the process. Under torchlight Ryan and Marissa share the evening on the beach. Meanwhile, Caleb's will is read, leaving Julie stunned and Jimmy in trouble. 
55 4 "The Last Waltz" Ian Toynton John Stephens 6.56[33] September 29, 2005 (2005-09-29) 2T6254
Starting at Newport Union, the local public school, Marissa adjusts to life in her new surroundings and makes some new friends, while Ryan wonders how their separation will affect their relationship. Seth's feud with Dean Hess lands Summer in trouble, but some startling new information about Taylor may turn the tables once more. Kirsten's friend Charlotte arrives in Newport with some big ideas, although Sandy mulls over the future of the Newport Group. Meanwhile, Julie may no longer be a Newport Beach socialite
56 5 "The Perfect Storm" Tony Wharmby Mike Kelley 6.65[34] November 3, 2005 (2005-11-03) 2T6255
Sandy surprisingly supports Ryan's life-changing decision to drop out of school, and Marissa turns to her new public school friends for help with Ryan. Harbor's Dean of Discipline, Dean Hess, continues his crusade to ruin Ryan's future, and Summer and Seth go on their own crusade to reveal Dean Hess's secret. Meanwhile, Charlotte makes Julie an offer she cannot refuse. 
57 6 "The Swells" Michael Fresco J. J. Philbin 5.76[35] November 10, 2005 (2005-11-10) 2T6256
Taylor ruins Seth's night when she throws a Harbor event that keeps Summer at a distance. Marissa's new friendships at public school worry Summer, who enlists Ryan's to help check up on Marissa. Meanwhile, Sandy works on a plan for the Newport Group and forms a new partnership, and Charlotte convinces Julie and Kirsten to edge back into Newport society. 
58 7 "The Anger Management" Michael Fresco John Stephens 6.20[36] November 17, 2005 (2005-11-17) 2T6257
When the gang heads to The Bait Shop to see The Subways, Taylor's horsing around causes a major rift between Seth and Summer. Marissa, determined to end the potentially explosive rift between Ryan and Volchok, does whatever it takes to watch out for Ryan. Meanwhile, Matt, Sandy's Newport Group partner, goes above and beyond the call of duty; Julie Cooper reigns supreme as the only "bitch" in Orange County; and for once Ryan needs to use brains instead of brawn
59 8 "The Game Plan" Tate Donovan Cory Martin 5.90[37] December 1, 2005 (2005-12-01) 2T6258
As the seniors at The Harbor School and Newport Union prepare their college applications, Ryan, Seth, Summer and Marissa decide what to do about their futures, and whether to go to college. Unable to make a decision, Marissa attends Johnny's surf competition instead of completing her college application. Meanwhile, Julie is forced to return to her roots and live in a trailer park, and Kirsten, eager to get back to work, asks a friend for help. Sandy invites an old friend from UC Berkeley to dinner with Seth and Ryan. 
60 9 "The Disconnect" Tony Wharmby Stephanie Savage 5.88[38] December 8, 2005 (2005-12-08) 2T6259
Ryan takes an internship working for Sandy and Matt at the Newport Group, but he ends up working harder to save Matt's reputation. Determined to get accepted to Brown University, Summer and Seth do whatever it takes to stand out at The Harbor School. Johnny finally tells Marissa how he really feels about her, and after a stressful weekend, Ryan and Marissa cross paths and end up telling each other the truth about their time apart. 
61 10 "The Chrismukkah Bar-Mitzvahkkah" Ian Toynton Josh Schwartz 6.22[39] December 15, 2005 (2005-12-15) 2T6260
After the gang spends hours picking out the perfect Christmas trees, they devise a special plan to help Johnny. Meanwhile, the holidays bring out a somber Summer who misses her mother, and Johnny's desperation leads him to take extreme action and attempt armed robbery to get the money he needs for surgery. Kirsten puts the past behind her and reaches out to Julie Cooper, and when a reminiscing Seth vows to put a little "mukkah" into Ryan's "Chris", Ryan gets Bar-Mitz-vahkkahed on the third annual "Chrismukkah" episode of The O.C. 
62 11 "The Safe Harbor" Tony Wharmby Mike Kelley 5.13[40] January 12, 2006 (2006-01-12) 2T6261
Summer, Seth and Ryan launch a campaign to get Marissa back into Harbor, and Johnny struggles between a friend's happiness and his own feelings. Meanwhile, Sandy must make an ethical decision that could change Marissa's fate, and Summer's father, Dr. Neil Roberts, and Julie Cooper are apprehensive about admitting to the lies they have told their respective daughters. 
63 12 "The Sister Act" Ian Toynton Leila Gerstein 5.36[41] January 19, 2006 (2006-01-19) 2T6262
Fourteen-year-old Kaitlin Cooper returns to Orange County during her winter break from an exclusive Montecito boarding school, bringing with her a lot of attitude and a few secrets. Much more in the mold of her mother Julie, than her sister Marissa, Kaitlin turns heads as she tries to get closer to her family in the only way she knows how. 
64 13 "The Pot Stirrer" Norman Buckley John Stephens 5.70[42] January 26, 2006 (2006-01-26) 2T6263
While Marissa does all she can to get to know her sister again, Kaitlin stirs up trouble for the gang as she prepares to celebrate her birthday. Meanwhile, Sandy tries to encourage Seth about college, but Seth finds a better alternative. Sandy and Matt work together to secure a contract for the new hospital, and Julie continues her quest to put her family back together. 
65 14 "The Cliffhanger" Michael Lange J. J. Philbin 5.70[43] February 2, 2006 (2006-02-02) 2T6264
Summer discovers the truth about Seth; Sandy and Matt encounter an obstacle to their hospital project, and Kirsten and Julie take their matchmaking business a little too far, causing Julie to go into hiding. Marissa finally tells Johnny how she truly feels and Kaitlin wonders which "Cooper" Johnny really likes. 
66 15 "The Heavy Lifting" Ian Toynton Stephanie Savage 5.25[44] February 9, 2006 (2006-02-09) 2T6265
The tragic news of Johnny's death forces the friends to sort out their problems. After Johnny's cousin, Sadie Campbell, arrives in Newport, Ryan helps her move and get rid of Volchok, causing Ryan to question his and Marissa's relationship. Meanwhile, Kaitlin's winter break is over, and just as she gets close to her family, she once again has to say goodbye. In the wake of Newport's latest events, Kirsten and Julie press on with their Valentine's Day party. 
67 16 "The Road Warrior" Michael Fresco Mike Kelley 7.36[45] March 9, 2006 (2006-03-09) 2T6266
Sadie and Ryan go on a road trip to find one of Johnny's relatives. Although Ryan returns to his old "Chino" ways, the trip brings him and Sadie closer, and results in Ryan and Marissa's relationship ending. Meanwhile, Marissa is implicated in Johnny's death, and Seth and Summer discover Julie and Neil's secret. 
68 17 "The Journey" Roxann Dawson John Stephens 5.40[46] March 16, 2006 (2006-03-16) 2T6267
Ryan struggles with the decision of whether or not to invite Marissa to his birthday party, and Sandy wants to include one of Ryan's relatives in the celebration. Meanwhile, Julie and Dr. Roberts come clean with Summer and Marissa. Also, Ryan and Sadie, along with fellow new couple Marissa and Volchok, grow closer. 
69 18 "The Undertow" Robert Duncan McNeill Mark Fish & J. J. Philbin 5.73[47] March 23, 2006 (2006-03-23) 2T6268
When an old nemesis returns to Newport, Ryan gets caught up in helping her, causing a rift between him and Sadie. Seth and Summer are faced with a new problem that Taylor tries to solve. Meanwhile, Marissa finds herself all alone in Newport with no one to turn to, and Sandy grapples with business pressure. 
70 19 "The Secrets and Lies" Michael Fresco Stephanie Savage & Josh Schwartz 5.50[48] March 30, 2006 (2006-03-30) 2T6269
Julie and Dr. Roberts announce their engagement and the Cooper ladies move in with Summer and her dad. Meanwhile, Marissa drifts away from the Summer and the rest of the group when she seeks solace in the bad company of Volchok and his crew. Ryan tries to move on with Sadie, but Seth's concerns for Marissa get in the way. At the Newport Group, Sandy's woes with Matt continue and Kirsten surprises Seth with a night out. 
71 20 "The Day After Tomorrow" Norman Buckley Leila Gerstein 5.06[49] April 6, 2006 (2006-04-06) 2T6270
The students receive their college acceptance and rejection letters, forcing them to make some life-altering decisions. Ryan and Sadie try to decide what do after high school and their decision concerns Sandy and Kirsten. Taylor throws a "College Sweatshirt Party" at Harbor and Marissa and Summer patch up their friendship. Meanwhile, the drama surrounding Sandy's job intensifies and seeps into the Cohen household. 
72 21 "The Dawn Patrol" Ian Toynton Mike Kelley 4.33[50] April 13, 2006 (2006-04-13) 2T6271
Ryan leaves Newport to visit his mother, but before they meet he has a steamy encounter with her co-worker. Meanwhile, Seth is keeping secrets, and Taylor and Summer devise a foolproof plan to figure out what is going on with him. When their plan backfires, Summer is devastated. Julie Cooper visits a surprised Volchok and gives him some stern advice. Later, Marissa confronts Volchok's friends and saves a girl from an intense situation at a party. Meanwhile, Sandy puts an end to the trouble with Matt but leaves Kirsten at home alone. 
73 22 "The College Try" Tony Wharmby J. J. Philbin 5.62[51] April 20, 2006 (2006-04-20) 2T6272
With graduation just weeks away, Ryan, Seth, Summer and Marissa leave Newport to attend their respective pre-freshman orientations at UC Berkeley and Brown University. While dropping the boys off at the airport, Kirsten is surprised to see Theresa and her familiar-looking baby boy. At Brown, Seth runs into Anna, and they instantly connect. Meanwhile, Kirsten and Sandy attend a hospital benefit where Kirsten vents her frustration and falls back into an old habit. 
74 23 "The Party Favor" Michael Lange John Stephens 5.62[52] April 27, 2006 (2006-04-27) 2T6273
Harbor's senior prom brings out the best and the worst in everyone. Taylor has a great time, while Summer does not enjoy herself with her surprising prom date. Seth and Anna come up with a plan to win Summer back for Seth. Meanwhile, Marissa convinces Volchok to go to the prom with her, and Ryan brings an unexpected old flame. When one of the girls is elected prom queen, it truly becomes a night to remember. Later, when Taylor's prom funds are discovered to be missing, Ryan returns to his old ways by taking matters into his own hands and going to fight Volchok. 
75 24 "The Man of the Year" Tony Wharmby Stephanie Savage 5.10[53] May 4, 2006 (2006-05-04) 2T6274
Dealing with the repercussions from prom night, Ryan must make a deal with Volchok. Meanwhile, although Sandy is named "Man of the Year" by a magazine, the district attorney continues to investigate his unique involvement with the new hospital. After she receives a call for help from Kaitlin, Marissa visits her little sister at boarding school. Ryan's bloodied hands force Theresa to make a difficult decision. Meanwhile, Seth's actions ignite even more trouble in Newport. 
76 25 "The Graduates" Ian Toynton Bob DeLaurentis & Josh Schwartz 6.40[54] May 18, 2006 (2006-05-18) 2T6275
As Seth, Ryan, Marissa and Summer approach the end of senior year they prepare for their new lives in college and beyond. Before this Seth must confront his recent misdeeds or deal with the wrath of Sandy and the police. Ryan's proud mother arrives with a surprise for him. Marissa receives an astounding proposal that may radically change her plans. Summer, facing the prospect of going away without Seth, says her emotional farewells to her friends. Sandy shocks Kirsten by making a big decision after visiting his old Public Defender's office. Kaitlin returns and moves into Julie's home, vowing to become the next Cooper to rule The Harbor School. To Taylor's joy, the "core four" turns into the "fab five"; however, although the kids may be ready to move on to bright futures, unresolved issues from their past could ruin everything, as one of the "core four" will not survive this episode. 

DVD release

The DVD release of season three was released by Warner Bros. in the US on October 24, 2006 after it had completed broadcast on television. As well as every episode from the season, the DVD release features bonus material including a gag reel, featurettes, and the making of a music video by The Subways.

The O.C. - The Complete Third Season
Set details[55] Special features[55]
  • 25 episodes
  • 7-disc set
  • 1.78:1 aspect ratio
  • English (Dolby Surround 2.0)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Music Video - Making of The Subways music video
  • Pass The Remote - Scene surfing commentary.
  • Gag reel
  • Featurettes
    • What's In a Name?
    • From Script to Screen - The Party Favor
Release dates[55][56][57]
 United States  Canada  United Kingdom  Australia
October 24, 2006 September 4, 2006 September 6, 2006

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