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Welcome to the dark side. At the end of The O.C.'s second season, Marissa (Mischa Barton) shoots the troubled Trey to stop him from strangling his brother, Ryan (Ben McKenzie). She saves her boyfriend's life, but it leads to her expulsion from Harbor High--just as she was to begin her senior year. Meanwhile, Ryan's guardian, Kirsten (Kelly Rowan), is doing time in rehab. It won't be easy for her to stay dry with two-faced resident Charlotte (Jeri Ryan, Shark) making every attempt to take advantage of her vulnerability. Ever the hothead, Ryan recovers in time to punch out the mean new dean (Eric Mabius, Ugly Betty), who expels him next. So, Kirsten's husband, Sandy (Peter Gallagher), hires a tutor, while Marissa attends public school where she falls in with the surfing crowd, including the besotted Johnny (Ryan Donowho). Arguably, Marissa's newly widowed mother, Julie (Melinda Clarke), is hit hardest when she finds that husband Caleb (Kirsten's father) didn't leave behind as much money as expected. Then the mansion is repossessed, and wild child Kaitlin (Willa Holland) returns from boarding school. And that's just the beginning of Julie's woes. By the finale, two of these people will be gone forever, but it wouldn't be The O.C. if there weren't some bright spots along the way. College-bound couple Seth (Adam Brody) and Summer (Rachel Bilson) are still full of quips, the Tracy Flick-like Taylor (Autumn Reeser), who plays a bigger role in the next season, is a welcome addition, and the soundtrack is jam-packed with material from the likes of MIA, Gang of Four, Sufjan Stevens, Lady Sovereign, and the Subways, who appear in "The Anger Management." Sadly, this would be the last full season of The O.C. as only 16 episodes were produced for the fourth and final year. --Kathleen C. Fennessy