Jimmy Cooper (The O.C.)

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Jimmy Cooper
The O.C. character
Jimmy Cooper Season 1.jpg
Tate Donovan as Jimmy Cooper
First appearance "Premiere"
(episode 1.01)
Last appearance "The Case of the Franks"
(episode 4.13)
Created by Josh Schwartz
Portrayed by Tate Donovan
Graham Miller (flashbacks)
Occupation Ship captain
Financial planner
Manager, The Lighthouse
Co-owner, The Lighthouse
Family Unnamed brother
Spouse(s) Julie Cooper
(ex-wife; 2 children)
Significant other(s) Kirsten Cohen
(ex-girlfriend [before pilot])
Hailey Nichol
Children Unborn child
(child, with Kirsten; aborted)
Marissa Cooper
(daughter, with Julie; deceased)
Kaitlin Cooper
(daughter, with Julie)
Residence Formerly:
Newport Beach, California

James Cooper is a fictional character on the FOX television series The O.C., portrayed by Tate Donovan. He is often described as extremely unreliable, immature and cowardly, due to his actions. (e.g. stealing his client's money, borrowing money from dangerous men and failing to pay them back). However, he's also shown to be a loving father and was far closer to his daughter, Marissa, than her mother was. He was known to be talk of the town with his good looks and was Sandy Cohen's rival for his wife Kirsten Cohen.


Jimmy also has an off-screen brother in Phoenix, who was briefly mentioned in some episodes, including "The Nana". While in college, for two summers he managed The Lighthouse, a restaurant in Newport.[1] It is also revealed in the episode "The Homecoming" that Jimmy is a big fan of sports, especially American Football (Miami Dolphins)[2] and ESPN Classic.[3]

Season 1[edit]

Jimmy was a financial planner who managed the accounts and investments of many Newport Beach residents. He studied political science at the University of Southern California, but ended up with a career in high-profile investments. Jimmy had also taken part in these investments as well. However, after a series of bad investments he was left in a dire financial situation, and he began to siphon money out of his clients' accounts in an attempt to earn lost money back. He came under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and arrested by the FBI. Ultimately, lawyer Sandy Cohen, Jimmy's next-door-neighbor and husband of Jimmy's ex-fiancée Kirsten, defended Jimmy in court and, as a result, Jimmy avoided jail time. However, he had to repay his clients because of the scheme and eventually went bankrupt. At this time, Jimmy's wife Julie, a gold-digger, also filed for divorce.

Jimmy eventually moved to an apartment flat nearby, and restarted his life. He ultimately entered into a restaurant operation with Sandy. However, he was forced to sell off his shares because of some back room dealings made by Caleb Nichol (Kirsten Cohen's father). After the sale of his shares, he became rich once again and was able to purchase a yacht befitting a Newport Beach resident.

Season 2[edit]

In Season Two, Jimmy failed to fire up a relationship with Hailey Nichol, and began sleeping with his ex-wife, Julie, who was married to Caleb Nichol. When the truth was exposed to the community, Jimmy decided that he needed to leave before he messed up anyone else's life. After comforting his daughter Marissa at the beach, he departed for Maui. In the Season 2 finale episode, Jimmy returned briefly to Newport Beach in order to attend Caleb's funeral and lend support to Julie and Marissa. In a talk with Julie, they jointly resolved to reform into a family unit again, making Marissa happy.

Season 3[edit]

However, at the beginning of Season Three, it was revealed that Jimmy was once again up to his old tricks, blowing a deposit by a man named Don. Don began hounding Jimmy for his money, and Jimmy repeatedly stalled for time. Meanwhile, he convinced Julie that nothing was wrong, and even proposed to her for a second time; she heartily accepted. When Caleb's will was to be read, Jimmy felt he could pay Don back with some of the money that Caleb had left Julie. However, at the reading it was revealed that Caleb had died penniless, leaving a panicked Jimmy in a world of trouble. When Don asked him one last time for his money, Jimmy told him he didn't have it. Don and two of his men drove Jimmy out to the pier and severely beat him. A battered and bruised Jimmy subsequently called Marissa to his boat and told her he had to leave again. Marissa agreed, on condition that Jimmy never return to Newport, as it would be too painful to say goodbye to him for a third time should he return and then leave again. Jimmy also asked Marissa to return his wedding ring to Julie, which she duly did. Jimmy then left Newport once again, leaving a heartbroken Julie and Marissa. In the season three finale, he asks Marissa (who has been having serious doubts about attending college) to join him for the next few months, working on a cruise ship. She accepted the offer the day of graduation but dies on the way to the airport after her ex-boyfriend, Kevin Volchok, runs her and Ryan off the road.

Season 4[edit]

Jimmy briefly returns in the episode "The Chrismukk-huh?". In an "alternative universe", it seems that if Ryan had never arrived in Newport, Jimmy would have eventually divorced Julie, and married Kirsten. Jimmy's appearance throughout the episode however, was purely non-canonical. He also appeared in flashbacks in "The Case of the Franks." During the flashbacks, we discover that Kirsten and Jimmy were planning on going to USC together. However, Kirsten decided to go to Berkeley, causing them to break up. We also find out that she was pregnant with Jimmy's child at the time but aborted the baby, unbeknownst to Jimmy.


  1. ^ "The Rivals". The O.C. Season 1. Episode 17http://dmca.free.fr/scripts/theoc/season1/theoc-117.htm |transcripturl= missing title (help). 2004-01-21. Fox. 
  2. ^ "The Homecoming". The O.C. Season 1. Episode 11http://dmca.free.fr/scripts/theoc/season1/theoc-111.htm |transcripturl= missing title (help). 2003-11-03. Fox. 
  3. ^ "The Family Ties". The O.C. Season 2. Episode 7. January 6, 2005. Fox.