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The first new FOX network series of the 2003-2004 season, The O.C. was co-produced and co-created by McG, director of the Charlie’s Angels theatrical films, and Josh Schwartz, a 26-year-old University of Southern California graduate, upon whose academic research the series was based. The titular initials stood for “Orange County,” as in California. A troubled and troublesome teenager from a rough neighborhood and an unhappy home environment, Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie) was on the verge of becoming a full-time lawbreaker when he was taken under the wing of public defender Sandy Cohen (Peter Gallagher).