The second season, November 2004 - May 2005, contained 24 episodes and once again ended with a cliffhanger. To see music featured during this season, see Season 2 Music.
- Theresa lies to Ryan, telling him, that she had a miscarriage, to make sure he comes back with the Cohens, after she understands how unhappy he was, while living with her.
- Seth's refusal to leave Portland where he was staying with Luke and Carson Ward after running away in the season one finale.
- Seth and Ryan's eventual return to Newport Beach.
- The introduction of two new boyfriends: Summer's Zach Stevens, a "WASP version of Seth", and Marissa's D.J., her family's yard worker (who breaks up with her after realizing that they were together to anger Julie Cooper).
- Ryan's relationship with Lindsay Gardner, a new student at The Harbor School on an academic scholarship, which complicates under the realization that Lindsay is actually Kirsten and Hailey's illegitimate half sister.
- Caleb's arrest on bribery and related charges, ending with his acquittal after former employee, Renee Wheeler, testifies about their past affair.
- Caleb's resignation as CEO of the Newport Group, and corresponding appointment of Julie as CEO and Kirsten as CFO.
- The introduction of Alex Kelly, an emancipated 17-year-old who works at The Bait Shop nightclub with Seth, and both of them having an ensuing relationship.
- The discovery of the past affair between Caleb and Renee Wheeler, from which a daughter was born : Lindsay, and the subsequent attempt by Caleb, to try to establish some kind of connection with her, which culminates with the request to be able to recognize her as her daughter.
- Lindsay being confirmed by a DNA test to be Caleb's daughter, only to leave for Chicago with her mother.
- The secret relationship between Julie and her ex-husband Jimmy Cooper, and the subsequent egoistic transfer of the man to Maui, for, as he says : " rediscover himself and perhaps be a better father for his daughters ".
- Julie's ego-driven project of "Newport Living", a lifestyle magazine.
- Seth and Zach (mainly Seth), with the help of Summer, create a comic book (and then graphic novel) called Atomic County, based on The Core Four, in a superhero version.
- Summer breaking up with Zach after realizing she still has feelings for Seth, with whom she gets back together.
- Marissa and Alex have a brief but passionate relationship, which ends with Alex's low-profile departure from Newport Beach.
- Caleb suffering a minor heart attack, and his subsequent desire to become more-family oriented.
- The arrival and departure of Rebecca Bloom, Sandy's previous flame, wanting to clear her name for a crime that occurred years ago (and the death of her father and Sandy's mentor, Max Bloom).
- The arrival and departure of Lance Baldwin, a man from Julie Cooper's past, who blackmails Julie with an 80's pornographic videotape (The Porn Identity) starring herself and Lance, which debuted at the Newport Living launch.
- The arrival and departure of Carter Buckley, the new magazine editor for Newport Living, and his sexual tension with Kirsten.
- Trey Atwood's release from jail, temporary lodge with the Cohens, and move into Alex's old apartment.
- Trey's arrest (and subsequent acquittal) on charges related to a local bad girl, Jess Sathers, overdosing on drugs and nearly drowning at his 21st birthday party, with whom he begins to have a sexual relationship.
- The deterioration of Caleb and Julie's marriage, and his deliverance of divorce papers partially because of her affair with Jimmy, Caleb's ensuing death occurred before the papers were signed.
- Trey (while under the influence of drugs) attempting to rape Marissa.
- Kirsten's addiction to alcohol and consequential car crash.
- Seth meeting George Lucas and Zach taking Summer to the prom, which eventually switches as Zach meets Lucas and Seth goes after Summer.
- Caleb's dies from an heart attack.
The Season Finale opens with Caleb's funeral, for which Hailey Nichol and Jimmy Cooper return. After Kirsten Cohen gets drunk yet again, Sandy Cohen decides to send her to a rehabilitation clinic. Initially unwilling to go, Kirsten is convinced by her family. Jess Sathers and Trey Atwood become involved in a drug deal at the Bait Shop. Ryan Atwood finds out about Trey's attempted rape of Marissa Cooper, and confronts him. They fight, and Marissa arrives as Trey is in the process of strangling Ryan. She shoots Trey in the back, and it was unknown if he would live or die.
- Peter Gallagher as Sandy Cohen
- Kelly Rowan as Kirsten Cohen
- Benjamin McKenzie as Ryan Atwood
- Adam Brody as Seth Cohen
- Mischa Barton as Marissa Cooper
- Melinda Clarke as Julie Cooper
- Rachel Bilson as Summer Roberts
- Tate Donovan as Jimmy Cooper
- Alan Dale as Caleb Nichol
This season added Alan Dale to the cast. In the first episode, Chris Carmack returned for an appearance as Luke Ward, but was not credited in the main cast. Tate Donovan left the cast during the season, but came back for a guest appearance during the season finale. Alan Dale left the cast after his character Caleb Nichol's death.
|Picture||Title||Episode #||Writer||Episode #|
|The Distance||2.01||Josh Schwartz||November 4, 2004|
|The summer is coming to an end, and Seth hasn't returned home to Newport. In the midst of home renovations, Sandy and Kirsten are strained and missing their son. Ryan has begun his new life with Theresa in Chino, as Marissa is alone and in a dark place. Summer is slowly getting over Seth.|
|The Way We Were||2.02||Allan Heinberg||November 11, 2004|
|Now that Ryan and Seth have returned to Newport, its time to get back to school. The boys reunite with their former girlfriends but it becomes apparent that things will not be going back to the way they were. Caleb's legal troubles catch up with him, and Hailey has bad news for Jimmy.|
|The New Kids on the Block||2.03||Stephanie Savage||November 18, 2004|
|Ryan knows, in a slightly adventurous way, Lindsay, a newcomer, with whom at first she only manages to fight; Seth instead, after having convinced himself to be selfish, decides to get hired in a bar to get some tickets for a concert he wants to give to Summer and her new boyfriend; here he meets Alex, the girl who supervises the place. Sandy resigns from his office because he wanted to prevent him from legally representing his father-in-law. Zach proves to be very understanding, deciding not to go to the concert to give Summer and Seth the chance to clear up and to understand who he really wants. Caleb tells his daughter and Sandy that he wants to resign and that he has decided to name Julie as the new president of the Newport Group, much to Kirsten's disappointment. At the concert Summer is aware of the effort made by Seth to get the tickets and is grateful, but he spoils everything kissing her; this leads her to the decision to introduce Zach to his father. Even Ryan and Lindsay overcome initial difficulties and begin to make friends.|
|The New Era||2.04||Josh Schwartz||December 2, 2004|
|It's a new era in Newport Beach. Kirsten and Julie try and work together at The Newport Group, while Sandy tries to find out what Caleb is hiding. Seth and Ryan go on a double date with Lindsay and Alex, but it ends differently than the four of them might have expected.|
|The SnO.C.||2.05||John Stephens||December 9, 2004|
|It's the annual "SnO.C." winter dance. Seth wants to take his relationship with Alex further, but she might have other plans. Marissa's secret relationship with D.J. is exposed, while Zach continues his pursuit of a Seth-free relationship with Summer. Sandy solves Caleb's legal puzzle ending with a shocking twist.|
|The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't||2.06||Josh Schwartz||December 16, 2004|
|It's Chrismukkah once again in The O.C. and this year, Seth wants to take it global. As Caleb is faced with the looming prospect of going to prison, Sandy convinces him to come forward and reveal the truth about his involvement with Renee. Julie and Jimmy spend some quality time together. Caleb's confession shocks the Cohen and Nichol family to the core, and nothing will be the same again.|
|The Family Ties||2.07||Josh Schwartz||January 6, 2005|
|After Caleb's confession, The Cohens try to welcome Lindsay as part of the family. Jimmy is faced with a choice when Marissa finds out about his relationship with his ex-wife, Julie. Seth attempts to be a "bad boy" like Ryan to impress Alex. Summer finds out what Zach did on his Christmas break while Ryan and Lindsay want to know if it is too awkward for them to be together.|
|The Power of Love||2.08||John Stephens||January 13, 2005|
|When Sandy forgets his and Kirsten's 20th wedding anniversary, he finds himself going to a lot of trouble to make it up to her. Seth and Ryan's respective relationships with Alex and Lindsay add to the trouble, and doubt falls upon their futures together. Marissa and Julie continue to butt heads over DJ, and Summer wants to take her relationship with Zach to the next level.|
|The Ex-Factor||2.09||Josh Schwartz||January 20, 2005|
|After a girls' night out, Ryan finds Marissa to blame for a drunk and passed out Lindsay. Alex's ex is in town and Seth is determined to find out who it is. Meanwhile, Julie and Kirsten collaborate to promote Newport Group's image.|
|The Accomplice||2.10||Allan Heinberg||January 27, 2005|
|Things heat up between Sandy and Kirsten when Sandy decides to help his mentor in law school find his daughter, Rebecca, whom was Sandy's first love. Seth and Zach start up a comic book based on their lives in Newport, while Summer questions why she's been left out. Ryan makes the attempt to unite Lindsay and Caleb after Lindsay tells Ryan she is curious in getting to know her "new" father. While Julie is in Paris, Marissa looks for new ways to rebel; in doing so, her friendship with Alex increases.|
|The Second Chance||2.11||Josh Schwartz||February 3, 2005|
|After hearing about Lindsay and Ryan's failed attempt at dinner with Caleb the night before, Kirsten arranges a dinner that she can supervise. But her presence makes no difference when Ryan and Caleb butt heads and disaster strikes. Sandy keeps Rebecca's presence in Newport a secret from Kirsten after deciding to take her case to court. Marissa and Alex's relationship intensifies, while Seth and Summer spend a lot of time together at Zach's insistence.|
|The Lonely Hearts Club||2.12||Josh Schwartz||February 10, 2005|
|It's Valentines Day 2005 in Orange County when Sandy and Kirsten's conflict about Rebecca continues. Ryan tries to make peace with Caleb to spend Valentines Day with Lindsay. While Seth, Zach, and Summer head to San Diego in hope to make their Comic Book idea succeed Seth has a breakdown and ends up in a lonely state. Marissa and Alex take a step forward in their relationship while Julie returns from her trip in hope to reconnect with Marissa.|
|The Test||2.13||John Stephens||February 17, 2005|
|As Sandy continues working on Rebecca's case, Kirsten questions how strong their feelings are for one another. Seth continues his downward spiral in the aftermath of Zach and Summer's Valentine's night together, while Marissa confronts her fear about her relationship with Alex. Caleb offers Lindsay a place in his family, but not without a paternity test.|
|The Rainy Day Women||2.14||Josh Schwartz||February 24, 2005|
|It's a rainy day in Newport where Lindsay decides to take the DNA test and makes a difficult choice regarding her life with Caleb while Ryan helps her through it. Sandy still wants to help Rebecca with her case and tries to convince her not to run again. Kirsten is still upset and wishes her marriage would go back to normal and for Rebecca's case to be over with. Meanwhile, Seth thinks he's lost Summer forever untill Summer is unable to hide from her feelings once and for all. Marissa moves out of the Cooper-Nichol mansion and moves in with Alex after she tells her mother about Alex being her girlfriend.|
|The Mallpisode||2.15||Stephanie Savage||March 10, 2005|
|After Lindsay moves to Chicago with her mom, Ryan is heartbroken and Caleb's confused. Seth, Summer, and Marissa invite Ryan to the mall to get his mind off things. Caleb tags along to vent when Sandy tries to make amends with Kirsten by searching for her wedding ring or even a grand gesture that will take her back to when Sandy first proposed. Meanwhile, Alex learns that Marissa might not be as into her as she thought she would be. Kirsten and Julie call an editor for Newport Living but at the same time Julie's Riverside past catches up to her.|
|The Blaze of Glory||2.16||Mike Kelley||March 17, 2005|
|Spring has flung in Newport where Marissa recruits Ryan to help her with Harbor School's Pep Rally Bonfire. Alex accepts that her and Marissa are from two different lives and knows she is fighting a lost cause. Seth is stuck and misses last year's good times while Summer disagrees and tells him it's time to move on. Meanwhile, Julie still doesn't know what she is gonna do about her blackmailer and seeks some advice from Sandy. Kirsten wants Carter to stick with the magazine despite his reservations.|
|The Brothers Grim||2.17||Josh Schwartz||March 24, 2005|
|When Ryan's brother, Trey, gets out of jail and gives Ryan a call, the Cohens give him a warm welcome. Though, Ryan knows nothing good can come from it. Zach returns from his Italy trip and gives some news leaving Summer curious and Seth not really sure what to think. Meanwhile, after Julie admits her naked mistake to Kirsten, they both agree to get Caleb in on it for more help. Newport Living is officially launched.|
|The Risky Business||2.18||Josh Schwartz||April 7, 2005|
|Sandy reluctantly serves as host/auctioneer at yet another OC benefit; Trey lies to Ryan to prove that he can be self-dependent; Carter reinvigorates Seth and Zach's comic book dream, much to the annoyance of Summer. Marissa moves in with the Cohens.|
|The Rager||2.19||John Stephens||April 14, 2005|
|It's Trey's 21st birthday and Marissa, anxious to help Trey and Ryan forge a relationship, throws a birthday party for Trey at the Cooper-Nichol mansion that turns out to be a rager. Seth is left in hot water by both Summer and Zach, but why? Sandy wants to continue his friendship with Carter, leaving a confused Kirsten. Meanwhile, Julie shares some memories with an "old" friend and in the process learns a few things and gains a few ideas.|
|The O.C. Confidential||2.20||Mike Kelley||April 21, 2005|
|Sandy and the boys devise a plan to save Trey from going to jail after he took the fall for supplying drugs at his birthday party. Kirsten and Carter, fulfilling more than their editorial duties, take a trip to Featherbrook's winery. Meanwhile, Caleb returns home and questions his marriage with Julie.|
|The Return of the Nana||2.21||Josh Schwartz||May 5, 2005|
|Sandy, Seth and Ryan travel to Miami to visit the Nana after she tells Sandy she is getting married. Unable to go because of work, Kirsten is left on her own to deal with her feelings for Carter. Trey misinterprets Marissa's friendship; Zach invites Summer to a home-cooked dinner.|
|The Showdown||2.22||John Stephens||May 5, 2005|
|Seth and Zach declare themselves rivals for Summer's affections; Marissa is still reeling from being nearly raped by Trey; Sandy confronts Kirsten when her drinking problem becomes very apparent; Caleb hands divorce papers to Julie.|
|The O.Sea||2.23||Josh Schwartz||May 12, 2005|
|Seth and Zach squabble over who should take Summer to the prom and who will meet George Lucas for dinner; Sandy takes drastic actions with a recovering Kirsten; Ryan starts to piece together what happened between Trey and Marissa, courtesy of Theresa; Julie's attempts to poison Caleb take a surprise turn.|
|The Dearly Beloved||2.24||Josh Schwartz||May 19, 2005|
|Kirsten hits rock bottom after Caleb's funeral, prompting Sandy to finally take action; Jimmy Cooper resurfaces and almost immediately renews ties with a mourning Julie; Jess bullies Trey into participating in a drug deal that turns into a shootout; Ryan finally learns the truth about what happened between Trey and Marissa, leading to a bloody confrontation.|