One Tree Hill Wiki
One Tree Hill Wiki

Karen Roe was a supportive mother and successful business woman who lived all of her life in Tree Hill until many seasons in the present. Growing up, she began a relationship with Dan Scott which soon lead to her falling pregnant with her first child but was left heartbroken when Dan chose a basketball career over her. Karen was technically a single mother of Lucas Scott but she had Keith Scott to help. Karen was forced to balance her personal life with her business life, running a cafe, and later the nightclub Tric, in the center of Tree Hill. Despite running the business alone for many years, Karen enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Deb Scott during the later years of her management. Karen also had a complex romance with Keith Scott, who helped her raise Lucas but the two eventually were engaged until he was killed. He did, however, father her second child Lily Roe Scott. After giving birth, Karen left Tree Hill to be with her old boyfriend Andy Hargrove but returned for big occasions such as Lucas' wedding to Peyton Sawyer and the birth of her first grandchild.


Early life

Karen Roe was born in 1970 and grew up in the town of Tree Hill. Attending Tree Hill High School, she developed a relationship with high school sweetheart and first love Dan Scott. Becoming the sociable, popular girl at school, including getting the title of 'Captain' of the Tree Hill Cheerleaders, Karen established a fun, enjoyable life at high school. During her relationship with Dan, unknown to her, Keith Scott, Dan's elder brother, developed a secret infatuation with her, but was never confident enough to announce his feelings to her. Attending the Snow Ball, Karen and Dan were voted Tree Hill High's Snow Ball King and Queen. This is when Karen announced her love for Dan and their plans for the future, marriage, children and living in Tree Hill together as a couple. ("Crash Into You")

Towards the end of high school at almost eighteen years of age, Karen fell pregnant with her high school sweetheart, Dan's child. Shocked at her revelation, Dan asks Karen for an abortion but Karen decides she wants to keep the baby. Trying to be the supportive father, Dan promises Karen that he will be there for the birth of Lucas and as she went into labour, there was no sign of Dan. Only his brother Keith was there at the birth and he cried as Lucas was born. When Lucas was born Karen looked over to Keith and told the nurse the last name Scott, however, Dan never showed up as Dan choose college over his future life with Karen and Lucas.

From the moment Dan left her, Keith was always there to support her with Lucas. He helped look after him as she opened her first business, a cafe called Karen's Cafe. Although the infatuation from Keith never went away, he kept his distance and they established a close friendship and relationship as Keith watched no one get close to Karen following her breakup from Dan, which had a life changing effect on Karen. As the cafe began to become a success, Dan arrived home from college having left after his first semester. He arrived home with his the new love of his life, his college sweetheart Deb, who was also pregnant. Arriving home to Tree Hill back from school, Dan approached Karen and asked for joint custody of Lucas. He expressed a desire to help raise Lucas. However, Karen denied him the opportunity as she believed that they would never get out from under his control if she agreed for custody or accepted any money he offered. Growing an extreme detest for Dan, she kept it a secret from her son and Keith, afraid she would lose him. As Lucas grew older, she gave a job to his best friend Haley James who practically became a member of the family due to Lucas and Haley's close bond. Continuing to be the best mother possible for Lucas, Karen pushed Lucas in the direction of his dreams to give him the confidence to believe in himself enough to be whatever he wanted, although teaching him to stay clear of his father Dan and half-brother Nathan whilst allowing him to create a father and son relationship with his Uncle Keith. As later before Keith's death, he filedfor adoption over Lucas even thought Keith and Lucas Had the Daddy/Son bond from day one.

Character arc

Season 1

As her son, Lucas, is asked to join the Raven's basketball team, Karen is faced with a dilemma, does she let him go and play with his half brother and be under observation by his father or tell him no and not let him chase after his dreams. At first, when she denies him the opportunity of joining the team, but finding how much he wants it, she begins to encourage him to play the game he loved at school, and with his mom's permission, Lucas joins the team, not before warning Dan to stay away from Lucas and let him play. For his first game, Karen makes an excuse not to go but really can't face the past at her high school. She begins to argue with her son as Lucas gets in a fight with Nathan, but Lucas asks his mom why she wasn't there. He also tells her he isn't playing well due to Dan being there, as though he controls Lucas. Karen encourages him to ignore Dan and goes to Lucas' second game. Now a mother of a varsity player, Karen is invited to the boosters club, where the rest of the mothers meet, on arrival insults are thrown at her and her son and Karen begins arguing with the other mothers before storming out, such as Shari Smith whom she used to go to high school with. Telling Lucas to take the high road as Nathan is putting him through hell at practice, she decides to do the same and at the burning boat event apologizes to Shari and decides to forget her high school past. ("Pilot") ("The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most") ("Are You True?")

At Nathan's beach house party, a tape of Karen and Dan talking about their futures at their Prom is played to irritate Lucas and is successful as he leaves the house to confront Karen. At home he asks her about why she didn't let Dan pay anything to give them a better life, but Karen reveals that he would then have had control. At the father-son game, Lucas tells his mom he might change his name to "Roe," Karen tells him it is only a name and is Keith's name too. She tells him he was named "Scott" as she thought she still had a future with Dan. Lucas eventually decides to keep his surname to maintain his connection with Keith. Karen invites Keith to the annual small business dinner and they attend together, only to be seated with Dan and Deb. The two brothers throw insults at each other and as Keith drinks too much, he punches Dan forcing Karen to break up the fight and take Keith home. She lets him sleep on the sofa and he tells Karen that he loves her and always has. The following week, Keith, Lucas and Karen attend an event Nathan and Dan hold. They intend to stay away from Dan, although that is almost impossible, but Karen finds Dan and tells him to move on from high school, like she has. ("Crash Into You") ("All That You Can't Leave Behind") ("Every Night Is Another Story") ("Life in a Glass House")

The following day, in the cafe, Karen is accepted into a school in Italy on a cooking course she applied for months ago. Surprised, she is forced to live with the reality that she can't go as she has too many tie backs. However, with Keith's offer to look after Lucas, Deb's offer to look after the cafe, and Lucas' persuasion to go, Karen has no reason to decline the offer and agrees to go. As she leaves the airport for her 6 week trip, she kisses Keith to try and start a potential relationship on her return. ("The Search for Something More")

After 6 weeks on a cooking course, Karen steps off the plane to learn Lucas and Keith have been in an accident. Unable to forgive Keith for drinking before driving with her son, she tells Keith there is no chance of a relationship. She also finds out Dan saved her son's life and thanks him with a hug. At the hospital, she discovers a lot has changed, her son now has a tattoo, and the girl he always talked about, Peyton, only visited once who she got on with very well, and a new girl, Brooke, his girlfriend, visited regularly who she found was harder to get on with, but had no doubt how much she loved him. Keith, unknown to Karen, pays for the insurance that Karen couldn't afford, but this comes at the cost of his garage, which he signs over to his brother, Dan. As Lucas is going to be ok, Karen forces him to rest, which he doesn't do. He tells her about his relationships and also goes to Peyton's without permission whilst Brooke and her are talking. Due to him running out on her, Karen is forced to take Lucas back to the hospital. Karen gives Jake a job to support his baby Jenny, as well as making a cot for her if he needs to bring her to work. Karen also offers Deb a partnership at the cafe, which at first Deb is reluctant to accept, but eventually gives in and accepts their new job partners. ("Hanging by a Moment") ("I Shall Believe") ("Suddenly Everything Has Changed") ("The First Cut Is the Deepest")

On the weekend game, Karen is forced to attend and forgives Keith by asking him for dinner, which she later cancels due to the trip. Larry also attends the event and the two begin a flirtatious friendship. The two laugh like school kids after the students get out even though Karen only gave permission to Brooke and the cheerleaders, without Whitey's consent. On their return, Karen and Larry have dinner in the cafe and as Keith walks in, he realises how close they are and walks back out. On their first date, Karen insists Keith and her are just friends and they spend the rest of the night talking. They decide to dig up a capsule she buried in high school and found a photo of her and Dan with Keith looking on in the background, Larry says that boy in the background is in love with the girl in the foreground. Whitey and Keith catch them trespassing, much to Keith's unhappiness. As she is dropped off by Larry, Karen answers the door to find Keith on the doorstep proposing. ("Spirit in the Night") ("To Wish Impossible Things")

In shock, Karen rejects the proposal due to her new perspective on life since Italy as there is a lot more out there they haven't seen. Lucas also tells her that he has gotten Brooke pregnant, at first Karen slaps him and then cries realizing he has done the thing she didn't want him to do. She comforts him as he cries with confusion as to what to do next. He also asks Karen about how close she was to getting an abortion and although Dan wanted one, Karen decided she wanted her son in her life so kept him. After finding out Brooke lied, Lucas tells Karen the news that she isn't pregnant after all. Keith visits Karen and tells her he is leaving Tree Hill as it is no longer his home. Dan tells Lucas to ask his mom about what really happened when he was born, Karen explains that Dan wanted joint custody after his first semester at college, but she refused as he would take control, a shocked Lucas walks out and begins to wonder if he should be seeing Dan in a different light. Keith also was shocked about Dan's appeal, and thought Karen would have known him well enough to tell him. Karen tries to stop Keith from being angry and is successful, but he is still determined to leave Tree Hill, as Lucas walks in, he reveals he wants to do the same. ("How Can You Be Sure?") ("What Is and What Should Never Be") ("The Leaving Song")

Karen gives Lucas permission to leave Tree Hill, but only because Keith will be with him, she tells him that Tree Hill will always be his home, but she respects his wishes, she tells him there is 'only one Tree Hill' and then lets her son and her closest friend leave the town that she has grown up in. ("The Games That Play Us")

Season 2

Karen starts to study at the university. Her teacher, a guy named Andy Hargrove, seems to like her a lot, and they start dating. Dan finds out and gets Andy fired. Andy has no problem losing his job because he loves Karen very much, and hopes he doesn't get another girl in his life. Keith gets engaged to Jules, but Jules is hired by Dan to break Keith's heart and to make Karen jealous. Karen realizes that she actually is jealous, and she confesses that to Keith. But out of the plan Jules really falls in love with Keith. Right before the wedding Karen finds out Dans arrangement with Jules, and she threatens to tell Keith. Jules leaves and Keith is heartbroken. Not just because Jules left him, but also because both Karen and Lucas knew about the arrangement and didn't tell him (Lucas found out earlier, but he wanted Keith to be happy so he didn't tell him.) Keith decides to leave town for a while. Andy has to go home to New Zealand for his ill mother, and Dan gets his Visa revoked, which means it will be hard for Andy to come back to the United States. Andy invites Karen to come with him, but Karen says that she can't. Karen tries to contact Keith but fails, and she gets upset and cries on Whitey's shoulder. She decides to go after Andy after all because she remembers that Keith once told her that she runs away from love, and she doesn't want to do that with Andy.

Season 3

Karen and Keith come back (at separate times) and decide to become a couple. She learns that it was Deb who started to fire to try and kill Dan. Later, she and Keith plan to get married. Meanwhile, the time-capsule from season 2 has been leaked and because of that certain events happen into where Keith goes into the school after it has been announced that there is a student with a gun. Keith gets killed and Karen goes into a major depression. About three episodes before the season ends Whitey helps Karen see that people still need her, that Keith is always with her, and she needs to live her life. At the end of this season she announces to Dan that she's pregnant, whom Keith is the father of.

Season 4

Karen was pregnant with Keith's baby. She helps Haley to cope with her pregnancy as she herself was in the same situation when she was 17 and pregnant with Lucas. She continues to work in the cafe and supports Deb when she is struggling with her prescription drug addiction. She planned on going to the State Championship with Deb however, she decided to take Deb to rehab. Dan begins to become closer to Karen as he wants to support her through this pregnancy. They go out on "dates" and Karen even turns to Dan when she needs help as she feared that her house had been broken into. Dan stayed with her all night to make sure that she was okay. They eventually kiss while Lucas looks on through his bedroom door. Lucas finds out that Dan killed Keith and confronts him in front of Karen in their house. Karen collapses and is taken to the hospital. Her daughter, is born while she is in a coma. While in her coma, Karen flatlines and it is then that she sees Keith in a meadow filled with lilies. She has an emotional reunion with Keith and she meets her daughter (who is grown up). Her daughter asks her what flowers are in the meadow, to which Karen replies, " This is a lily." Keith tells her to go back to be with their daughter and to "look for him in the lilies."

Two weeks later, Karen visits Keith's grave and tells him that their daughter is called Lily and that she sees him in her everyday. She then goes to visit Dan, who is now in prison, to talk to him and to show her hatred towards him. She then spits on the glass panel on the cell door and walks away.

Missing Years

After Karen has given birth to her and Keith's daughter, Lily Roe Scott, she meets Andy and they get back together again. Then she travels around the world with him and Lily for three years.

Season 5

Karen sends a post card to Lucas.

Karen, Andy and Lily are travelling around the world in Season 5. She returns for Lucas and Lindsey's wedding. She visits Brooke and her store (which was previously Karen's Cafe) to tell her that she loves what she is doing with her business. Peyton arrives and thanks Karen for the office in TRIC. Karen then tells them that she came to see them to tell them that if you don't end up with the person you love, you can find that love in someone else or their work.

When Lindsey leaves Lucas at the altar, Lucas travels with Karen, Andy and Lily for four weeks.

Season 6

During her son's wedding, Karen tried to return prepared to see Lucas marry Peyton. However, due to the lack of notice and Peyton's pregnancy, Karen was in Grenada during her son's wedding. She, and her partner at the time Andy, do send Peyton a crib before the wedding for her upcoming baby with Lucas.

However, Karen returns to Tree Hill when Peyton falls unconscious before going into labor. She helps Lucas care for her granddaughter, Sawyer, while Peyton is recovering in the hospital. She then brings Sawyer into Peyton's room to meet her mother for the first time.

Karen continues to help Peyton and Lucas care for Sawyer in her early days at home, and she visits Keith's grave with Lucas. As they return home, they confront Dan, who has just visited Peyton. Karen and Lucas pass Dan without saying a word.




Romantic Life



  • Karen's four episode absence in the first season was because of Moira Kelly's temporary departure from the series for maternity leave.
  • Karen is the only main female character (besides Deb and Peyton) to not appear in Season 7 and Season 8.
    • Neither she nor Peyton appear beyond the Season 6 finale, "Remember Me as a Time of Day"
  • Karen is one of the only 4 main characters to not appear in the ninth and final season. The others are Peyton, Whitey, and Rachel.
  • Moira Kelly was prepared to return beyond season 6, but because Chad Michael Murray and Hilarie Burton didn't, Mark didn't want her to.