Everybody in the sunny Southern California beach town of Sunset Beach knows everybody else's business. Gregory Richards, a high-powered attorney, and his estranged wife, Olivia, along with their children, Caitlin and Sean, represent the upper classes. Ben Evans is as wealthy as Gregory. However, Ben has other problems: mainly, he's married to Meg, but his presumed-dead wife, Maria, has returned to Sunset Beach. The scheming Annie and her Aunt Bette and Cole Deschanel are among the other residents who mingle and manipulate in the various town hangouts.