Even though One Tree Hill went off the air five years ago, it somehow only feels like yesterday. Fans of the hit CW show have never faltered. To this day, any true fan will still happily debate Team Brucas vs. Team Leyton, even though this far down the line, there really is no contest. Out of all the characters to float through the town of Tree Hill, some have been amazing and played by incredible humans, like the lovely and talented Sophia Bush. And then some characters are the worst people to grace our TV screens pretty much ever.
If you’ve ever screamed at your TV when you saw Nanny Carrie or Rachel Gatina, you’re not alone. Not every One Tree Hill character can make this cut, but the ones who impacted the show’s storylines are on this list. Who do you think is the absolute worst OTH character, and who is the best? See where your favorites made it on this list!
26. Nanny Carrie
There have been plenty of jerks on OTH, but only a handful of total psychos. Nanny Carrie was legitimately insane. At first, she just seemed like your average homewrecker, who just wanted to ruin Nathan and Haley’s relationship. If we didn’t hate her enough for that, then she came after our beloved Jamie. Once she kidnapped that cutie, she became a full-fledged lunatic. Thankfully, Grandpa Dan wasn’t going to let her take the one person who actually loved him away. When Nanny Carrie came back and kidnapped Dan in a plot to lure Haley to her death and kidnap Jamie again, it was pretty clever. The drama was great TV, but Nanny Carrie is just the worst.
25. Psycho Derek
Poor Peyton really had a rough senior year, you know, between her fighting with BFF Brooke, losing her mom, and then getting a psycho stalker who pretended to be her brother. Just when she needed a connection to her mom, Derek came around and played on her emotions. But he wasn’t her real brother, he was some psycho named Ian who found Peyton’s live stream (which, tbh, we knew was kind of a bad idea). Much like all the psychos of Tree Hill, Derek came back again and tied Peyton up on her prom night. Thank god B. Davis was able to help save the day (and get attacked in the process).
24. Rachel Gatina
Some fans loved Rachel, but she is not a good person. We can never forgive her for releasing the time capsule video and ultimately, one that led to Jimmy Edwards break down and the school shooting. If that wasn’t bad enough, Rachel got Haley fired from her tutoring job for cheating, hit on married men, caused Cooper to crash the limo, and then randomly married Dan Scott. Rachel is one of those friends who can suck the life out of a friend group. We’re glad she left Tree Hill.
23. Katie Ryan
Some athletes get a little too intense when they’re trying to get ahead, and Katie is one of those people. When Katie found out she looked like Clay’s late wife, she took things way too far to get herself a guy. She dyed her hair, stalked Clay, and decided she’d pretend to be his dead wife to win him over. When that didn’t work, because he had a normal girlfriend that he loved, Katie went psycho. She decided to show up at Clay and Quinn’s house to shoot them in the middle of the night. Then she left them to bleed out for way too long (in real life, they would not have survived). Like all of the psychos on OTH, Katie was vanquished in the end but it could not come fast enough.
22. Taylor James
Haley has many siblings, but Taylor was the absolute worst. She lived for the drama. Anything she could do to rile her sisters up, especially Quinn, she would do it. Taylor is the girl that Nathan lost his virginity to and even though that was obviously way before Naley existed, it would rub anyone the wrong way to know their husband had sex with their sister. Right?
The fact Taylor thought it was okay to bring that up makes her a terrible sister. Then, to upset Quinn after she moved to live near Haley, Taylor showed up with Quinn’s ex-husband at dinner and packed on the PDA, making literally everyone uncomfortable. We don’t like her.
21. Victoria Davis
Victoria certainly redeemed herself in the later seasons of OTH, but does that actually make up for all of the terrible things she did? She treated Brooke horribly for the majority of her life and it’s a miracle that Brooke turned out the way she did with such uncaring parents.
Victoria was too focused on herself and her failing marriage to ever give her daughter the love she deserved. And when they finally began working together, it was a constant power struggle, with Victoria even stealing Brooke’s company and manipulating her daughter. Once she became a grandma to Brooke and Julian’s two sweet babies, Victoria *finally* acted like a good person trying to redeem her past. But does a cheetah ever really change its spots?
20. Dan Scott
The award for the worst parent in Tree Hill goes to Dan Scott, no contest. And that’s saying something. In the first four seasons, Dan was a true villain. He was always pitting his sons against each other, even after they became true friends. The fact that he left Karen to raise Lucas on her own, then got Deb pregnant mere months later and then gave Nathan a lavish life while ignoring his other son is awful enough. But the fact he lauded it over Karen and Lucas, for their entire lives, is even worse.
Then, to truly make him unredeemable, he killed his own brother for pretty much no reason. Had he actually tried talking to Keith instead of, you know, shooting him, he’d have learned that his brother didn’t actually try to kill him, his wife, Deb did! In the later seasons, Dan was purely entertaining, though crazy, and his relationship with Jamie was cute, even though he is a murderer. That’s why he wasn’t put directly next to all the other psychos.
19. Alex Dupre
On One Tree Hill, there have been many, many women who tried to break up perfect relationships. Just as Julian and Brooke were starting to fall deeply in love, Alex stepped in and decided to mess literally everything up. Fans understood that Alex had her issues and that Julian was trying to be a good guy and help her out, but Alex was 100% manipulating him. When she called Brooke out for being unable to have children, she officially became a character we could never and would never love. Even though she eventually backed off of Julian and got herself involved in another love triangle, she was just too much drama, even for a show like this one!
18. Deb Scott
Much like Dan, Deb wasn’t that much better of a parent. Her drug and alcohol issues aside, she let a tyrannical man control and manipulate her son. She basically left Nathan defenseless against Dan. Then, instead of divorcing Dan like a normal person, she attempted to kill him and she let Keith take the blame. Which then led to Keith’s tragic and untimely death. Even after getting help for her addictions, Deb still wasn’t ready to be a mom. She went on to date one of her son’s best friends and lied to him about it! Her true redeeming quality is the fact she broke a bottle of champagne with Nanny Carrie’s face to save Haley and Jamie.
17. Jake Jagielski
Jake was a good guy, but he was also kind of the worst. He was really cute and exactly what Peyton needed after her first attempt at dating Lucas. He played the guitar and had a baby, making him the charming single father that we all loved. But Jake knew that he had real drama in his past. It wasn’t exactly in his past, either, given that his baby mama, Nikki, showed up to wreak havoc on Jake’s life and everyone around him. She dragged Peyton into the mess and hooked up with Lucas. It is a good thing Jake broke it off with Peyton after she proposed (and said “I love you, Lucas” in her sleep…lol). He needed to let her move on.
16. Quentin Fields
In classic OTH fashion, Quentin was a total jerk when we first met him. He just needed some attention from authority figures, like his teacher and basketball coaches. Haley knew that Q needed a strong hand in the classroom, and she knew her husband could handle Q on the court. Quentin really turned over a new leaf after he became friends with Nathan and Haley’s son, Jamie. The two became BFFs and even had a dance they did together. But because One Tree Hill won’t let us keep nice things, Q was shot by a psychopath and died.
15. Antwon “Skills” Tanner
There have been many throwaway friends on One Tree Hill. They’re often people who pop up for an episode or two every season, but they don’t have much substance. At first, Skills seemed like one of those friends, until we realized he was always there for Lucas and Haley, and pretty much everyone else, too. Haley gets pregnant and he’s one of her most supportive friends. His friendship with Jamie is A+. As weird as his relationship was with Deb, he kept things interesting.
14. Marvin “Mouth” McFadden
Mouth started out as another good friend of Lucas, but his friendship with Brooke (and even Rachel) is what made him the best. His love life was strangely complicated, not only was he sleeping with his boss, but he got himself into a love triangle with his high school GF, Gigi and post-college GF, Millie. But Mouth isn’t the guy to live with endless drama or string girls along, so eventually, he reconciled with Millie to get back to their once-perfect relationship.
13. Clay Evans
When Lucas and Peyton bounced from Tree Hill, we were introduced to two new characters, Clay and Quinn. Clay could never fill the hole Lucas left behind. He was a nice guy and he did mean well in becoming Nathan’s agent. We liked his relationship with Quinn once he admitted he’d lost his wife, Sara. But, he wound up having the weirdest backstory revealed.
Apparently, he was so overcome with grief after the death of Sara, Clay managed to forget he had a son? Like… HOW?! He kind of fits in with the bad parents of Tree Hill.
12. Quinn James
Like Clay, Quinn was nice enough, but she was no Peyton. Quinn was a nice alternative to Taylor when it comes to Haley’s siblings because she was actually a normal person who wasn’t doing everything she could to ruin her sisters’ lives. She was also a good aunt to Jamie, which was pretty much essential to audiences because that little baby angel was one of the best parts of the whole dang show. On the other hand, Quinn had no real issues other than what happened with Clay and crazy Katie and was a little boring to watch. Sure, she had a divorce storyline… but it lasted all of five minutes before she and Clay were happily in love and it was NBD. It’s not a bad thing to have a semi-drama free life but in Tree Hill?! COME ON.
11. Millie Huxtable
Millie wasn’t without her flaws. Working with Brooke, she launched the “zero is not a size” campaign and that really mattered, and we’re not talking just on the TV show. But sadly, Millie is only human and she succumbed to jealousy. Like, hard. After just thinking something happened with Gigi and Mouth, Millie proceeded to cheat on her boyfriend and he obvi broke up with her. She then spiraled down a dark path after Alex introduced her to cocaine which, NGL, was pretty random for the show. Thankfully, Millie had friends like Brooke looking out for her and ones who helped get her back on track and coke-free.
10. Whitey Durham
Whitey should have just adopted all these poor kids from the bad Tree Hill parents’ club and raised them himself. He had the life lessons they all needed to hear but never got because their parents were so wrapped up in their own dramz. He wasn’t about to listen to whining or nonsense. He treated his players fairly and didn’t baby them. Not only that, he called out Dan Scott for being a terrible person every chance that he got. ICON.
It is a true crime that Whitey didn’t stay on the show for its entirety. The kids of Tree Hill will always need his guidance. But his wisdom will always live on among fans of the show.
9. Keith Scott
Keith was gone way too soon. He was a troubled man, but he owned up to his flaws. Where Dan saw himself as perfect, Keith saw himself as okay. But Keith was a good man. He stepped in to help Karen take care of Lucas after his deadbeat brother dumped them like they were nothing. Keith loved Karen the whole time and honestly, his biggest fault was not telling her sooner. Of course, they got together right before he died which was just cruel. And — duh — he got Karen pregnant before he died, so then she had to go on a raise the baby without him. His lessons lived on with Lucas for years after his death, and his death was a critical element in the show’s development, sad as it was.
8. Karen Roe
When it comes to parents, Karen was the only one on the show who cared for her child unconditionally. She didn’t need Lucas to be a star athlete in order for her to love him. She just did. She was a single mom, who worked her butt off to take care of her boy. She was a great role model for not only Lucas but all of his friends. She also did a good job of not demonizing Dan, she let him do that himself. When she spit in his face in that jail cell, fans around the world cheered for joy.
7. Peyton Sawyer
Peyton told Nathan once that after “people always leave,” sometimes they come back. Well, Peyton didn’t come back for her best friend’s wedding. She didn’t return when her best friend had twin babies. Out of all the characters on One Tree Hill, Peyton had the most troubled life, between the deaths of her moms, being stalked by psychos, meeting her biological dad, getting pregnant and almost dying in the process, and her crazy cycle of relationships. High school Peyton liked to pretend she was apathetic, but she did care. Whenever she did mess up though, she would admit it. Like when she kissed Lucas even though he was dating her best friend. Peyton was a complicated character.
6. Julian Baker
When Julian Baker first showed up in Tree Hill, it was with an ulterior motive. He wanted to get back with Peyton, but boy was he not the one. Thankfully, he gave up on that fast and quickly became one of the most charming guys on the show. In fact, he turned from a Hollywood playboy into an earnest sweetheart. He was the man that Brooke had been waiting for all this time. He was kind of oblivious at times and hurt Brooke in the process, and for that, he had to get knocked down a few spots on this list. But in the end, he was a great husband, a good friend, and he always had an interesting storyline.
5. Jamie Scott
Jamie became a main character after the show’s time jump. He was a pretty good kid, despite all of the crazy stuff that often went down in Tree Hill. The best part about Jamie was all of the friendships he had with other characters. His relationship with Brooke was hands down the sweetest one on the show. Jamie having love for his (evil) grandpa made Dan Scott an almost-likable character, if only momentarily. He managed to make the school bully his friend and helped him become a nice kid. Jamie was pretty great at being a friend, just like his mama. He was also just so cute, you couldn’t dislike him if you tried!
4. Lucas Scott
This is an argument every OTH fan will get into, who was the better Scott brother, Lucas or Nathan? It wasn’t Lucas, that is for sure. He was a good guy, don’t get me wrong, but in reality, he didn’t have much character redemption. He toyed with the hearts of the women of Tree Hill too much. That scene where you don’t know who he’s calling to propose to shows that his heart wasn’t always in the right place. The man was meant to end up with Peyton, but did he actually know that? Also, when his brother went missing, he didn’t even show up to the search party. Sure, that has more to do with the actor than the character, but it still reflects poorly on Lucas Scott, in the end.
3. Haley James Scott
Haley James didn’t stay tutor girl for long. She was more than just Lucas Scott’s BFF. Instead, she proved to be everyone’s confidant. She became an incredible wife, mother, and overall human being. She had her faults, yes, aka that mess with Chris Keller in season two, but she redeemed herself. She was committed to winning Nathan’s heart once again. Then, Haley stood by Nathan in his darkest moments and helped him become a better man. Literally, no one in Tree Hill would have survived without her. She was the mama that we all needed.
2. Nathan Scott
Nathan Scott grew the hell up over the course of One Tree Hill. When we first met him, he was a total idiot. He only cared about basketball, having sex, and partying. To be fair, he had horrible parents so there’s a good chance he didn’t know any better. His relationship with Haley is what made him into a great man. At first, everyone was wary of tutor girl dating the arrogant Nathan Scott. But this couple was the true OTP on OTH. Their love survived so much, risks of infidelity, addictions, deceit, and more. Even if Nathan slipped into a dark spiral, he always came out of it on top and better than he was before. His love for his family made him the better Scott brother in the end.
1. Brooke Davis
Is there anyone more deserving of the #1 spot that B. Davis? Character development is important and boy did Brooke have a lot of that. She started out as a drunk party girl, then a boy-obsessed cheerleader, but ultimately, she became the best friend to everyone who needed one. She was wronged constantly, by her friends, by her parents, and even by the world. But Brooke was always determined to keep moving. When a boyfriend screwed her over, she wasn’t going to wallow in misery. She told him off and moved TF on. Because no one wronged Brooke Davis and got away with it. After a heartbreaking storyline about infertility, in the end, Brooke got her dream life with a great man and two adorable babies.