Where Would Kaitlin Cooper Be Now?

As a distinguished fan of The O.C., I feel like the writers robbed me of the O.C. experience I truly craved: I never got the full, fleshed-out storyline for Kaitlin Cooper that I always wanted. Though I loved Summer, I was hardly a Marissa fan — she was just too dramatic for me. Stop drinking and get it together, Coop. I needed someone with a little bit more of an edge, which is just who Kaitlin Cooper grew up to be, at least she did in my version of the show's afterlife. Sadly for me and fans of TV bad girls everywhere, The O.C. ended after Season 4, just as we were getting a glimpse into the potentially fantastic character that was Kaitlin. As a result, I've never been able to shake this nagging question: If The O.C. had continued on, where would Kaitlin Cooper be in 2015?

Fun fact — two different actresses played Kaitlin. In the first season, Kaitlin was portrayed by Shailene Woodley, who is known today for her acting chops (she was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2012) and for being just a tad bit of a hippie (she's admitted to making her own beauty products). The second, though, was Willa Holland, who played the fresh-from-boarding-school mini Cooper. (Holland appeared on Gossip Girl and currently stars on CW superhero show Arrow .) And no offense to Woodley, but Holland was the superior choice for the badass troublemaker that Kaitlin would become.

When she came back from boarding school, Kaitlin was basically cutting school, befriending Luke’s polo-playing twin brothers, and generally wreaking havoc in Newport. After Marissa died, she acted out and then slowly got her life together. Whether it stemmed from Julie’s happiness in marrying Frank Atwood or just a slow maturation hitting our girl, Kaitlin finally seemed to be on the right path. And here's where I think that maturity streak would have landed her:

Kaitlin Hit The Books At A Big School

I don’t think that Kaitlin had the grades to get into an Ivy League school like Summer did, but she would have gotten her act together enough to be accepted to a Big Ten school like the University of Michigan or Penn State. She’s a plane ride away from Julie (who is happy and coupled up so Kaitlin doesn’t think she needs to take care of her), but Kaitlin can always come home when she wants to, especially to see her new baby brother. Her major? Law. Since when has Kaitlin ever backed down from an argument? (Note: Sandy Cohen loves this.)

Kaitlin Threw Herself Into Her Work

After graduating from law school, Kaitlin opted to move back closer to home and took a very well paying job at a firm in Los Angeles. She became the firm’s youngest partner and was known statewide as a terrifying litigator. Like I said, when did Kaitlin ever back down from a fight?

Kaitlin Found A Partner That’s Her Opposite

When we met new Kaitlin, everything she said was with a sneer, so it’s hard to believe that she’d end up with such a clean-cut guy, but she did. James, Kaitlin’s longtime beau, is a quiet, unassuming research scientist who is doing work on communicable diseases. They met at a dog rescue — Kaitlin just can’t resist those pooches, and she puts in a good number of hours a week volunteering with dogs. James was there to get one to stave off his loneliness. They’re considering getting married, but get off her back, Julie. They’re just taking their time.

See? This is where The O.C. should have ended, you guys.

Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (4)