- "Everyone has a sob story. It doesn't give you the right to be a bully."
- ―Sam to Tory
Samantha LaRusso (often called simply "Sam") is a main character in the first season of Cobra Kai and one of the main protagonists of season 2. She is the daughter of Daniel LaRusso. She becomes the second disciple of the new generation of Miyagi-Do Karate and is one of the best students alongside Robby.
Fictional Character Biography
Pre Karate Kid
Samantha is the daughter of Daniel and Amanda LaRusso. At the age of 8, she was taught karate by her father, but as she got older she lost interest and quit. However, she retained her knowledge and skill based on how she was able to fend off Kyler at the movie theater and when she flipped Miguel on their date.
In her teenage years, she hangs out with the other rich, popular girls at her high school. One such friend was the queen bee of her class; Yasmine, who had been chatting on the phone when her SUV collided with a Pontiac Firebird owned by Johnny Lawrence. A furious Johnny banged on the window of the SUV, demanding Yasmine furnish her driver's license and name of her insurance agency to him. Samantha, who was in the backseat, did not know how to react, and saw this angry man as a potential crook. Yasmine, who did not know protocol for handling a car accident, drove off. When Johnny's car was towed to LaRusso Auto Group, he recognized Daniel's daughter as one of the girls he shouted at.
Her relationship with her father is strained by his meddling in her potential romance with a fellow student named Kyler, but they reconcile after Samantha sees Kyler bully Miguel's friend group and subsequently ends their relationship. When Kyler begins spreading lies about her, Samantha is briefly friendless. Miguel eventually defends her and defeats Kyler's clique in a lunch room fight, after which he and Samantha begin dating. Samantha really likes Miguel but hides their relationship from her parents because her father disapproves of Cobra Kai. A series of assumptions and misunderstandings lead Miguel to believe that Samantha is ashamed of him and involved with Robby Keene. Between that and Robby's resentment over his father's Johnny Lawrence karate tutelage of Miguel, antagonism sparks between the two boys when they meet at a beach party. Samantha is upset with Miguel's behavior and breaks up with him. After a second confrontation with Miguel at the All-Valley Tournament, Samantha returns home and resumes her own karate training.
Sam, upset over her breakup with Miguel blocks him on social media. At first she decides not to join Daniel's Miyagi-Do Karate training because she does not want to fight her Cobra Kai friends, but soon changes her mind.
She tries to patch things up with Aisha but the latter is upset with her when Daniel insults Cobra Kai in his commercial. She develops a dislike to new Cobra Kai student Tory. When her mom's wallet is missing during a pool party she immediately accuses Tory who angrily denies having it. She then grabs Tory's hand but Tory knocks her down. This incident starts their rivalry.
After struggling to get more students at Miyagi Do for several days Sam's Daniel's and Robby's luck changes when Cobra Kai's ruthless teaching cause several students to join Miyagi-Do. Overtime she and Robby develop feelings for each other. While Robby at first thinks it is a bad idea for them to date, he soon eventually changes his mind and the two start dating but don't tell Daniel.
When Sam and Robby go to a skating party together they run into Miguel and Tory who are a couple. While she and Miguel wait in line to get more skates Sam asks him why he is dating Tory which offends him and the two have a brief argument. When Tory intentionally knocks her down, Sam, fed up with her behavior, knocks her down, but this angers Miguel and causes both she and Robby to get kicked out despite Miguel and the possible manager being unaware that Tory started it.
When Sam and Robby go to Moon's house for a party she gets revenge on Tory by beating her in a drinking contest, but she gets too drunk which makes her woozy. After finding out from Aisha that Miguel returned Miyagi's medal of honor which Hawk stole a while ago she goes outside to get some air. When Miguel checks up on her she thanks him for returning the badge and the two share a kiss but immediately regret it. However, they are unaware that Tory saw them kiss.
After the cops arrive everyone leaves the party and Sam tells Robby not to take her home because she does not want her parents to see her drunk. So, Robby takes her to Johnny's house and the two spend the night there. The following morning however Daniel arrives at Johnny's door, and both he and Johnny have a brief fight until Sam and Robby stop them Daniel then angrily takes her home.
While Sam is in class on the first day of school she is threatened by Tory over the intercom. When She and Tory meet in the hallway, Tory viciously attacks her. Robby attempts to stop the fight, but Miguel, unaware of Robby's intention, attacks Robby. Sam and Tory resume the fight and a huge brawl between Miyagi-Do and Cobra Kai soon breaks out. Sam tries to get Tory to stop fighting but the latter won't listen. Despite struggling for a while, Sam is eventually able to get the upper hand. However, Tory then attacks Sam with her spiked bracelet and manages to injure Sam's wrist with it. Tory is about to stab her with the bracelet but Sam kicks Tory off her and then kicks her down the stairs, winning the fight. However, after Robby kicks Miguel off the railing, resulting in Miguel being badly injured, Sam screams "Robby what did you do?"
Sam is rushed to the hospital. When Daniel and her mom Amanda LaRusso visit her in the hospital, they are appalled at Sam's condition and vow to get Tory expelled from school. Sam starts crying and blaming herself for what happened, saying she is not concerned about that; all she wants is for Miguel to get better. When Daniel returns to the hospital and notices Sam isn't in the room Amanda tells him the doctor prescribed X-rays for her, believing her injuries more serious than originally thought; possibly a broken rib.
Sam is a nice and smart person. Despite hanging out with the popular crowd who are mean and nasty, Sam does not behave like them, showing she has her morals, and is able to maintain her true self. However joining the popular crowd does end their friendship with Aisha Robinson, though they are at the very least on speaking terms.
After noticing her boyfriend Kyler bullying Miguel, Demetri and Eli she dump Kyler, showing she is against bullying. After dumping Kyler he ruins her reputation with her friends b making up lies about her, which causes her to lose her friends. Fortunately she develops a relationship with Miguel and even becomes friendly with Robby.
Unfortunately a misunderstanding makes Miguel angry and accidentally hit Sam, causing her to dump him. At the All Valley Tournament she seemingly makes up with Aisha after apologizing to her. She ultimately leaves the tournament after Miguel angrily tells her that he will hurt Robby, showing that she cares for Robby and fears Miguel.
At first she is heartbroken over her relationship with Miguel ending. However after joining Miyagi-Do Karate where she spends time training and hanging out with Robby whom she develops feelings for, she seems to forget about Miguel.
She tries to fix her friendship with Aisha but the latter has already befriended a new Cobra Kai student Tory. Believing that Tory has stolen her mom's wallet she accuses Tory who denies. The two then get into a brief scuffle. Following this the two are rivals, though it's mostly on Tory's part as she frequently bullies and insults Sam.
She and Robby eventually become a couple. However on the night before the first say of school a drunken Sam and Miguel share a kiss. Despite regretting the kiss as they are both in relationships, Tory who is dating Miguel sees them kiss but they are unaware that she caught them. It is the kiss that leads to the school brawl the following day.
After Miguel is rendered unconscious during the school brawl as a result of Robby kicking him off the railing Sam screams "Robby what did you do?. At the hospital Sam tearfully says she hopes Miguel's ok, showing she feels guilty about what happened. Sam even blames herself for the school fight.
- "You don't have to worry about me, Dad. I can handle myself. I'm a LaRusso."
- ―Amanda LaRusso to Daniel LaRusso[src]
Samantha trained in martial arts with her father as a child, and it is shown in season 1 that she has retained that knowledge when she performs a takedown on Miguel. In season 2 she shown training, sparring, and fighting, and we see that she is a quick, acrobatic, and elusive fighter. Thanks to their tandem training she fights extremely well alongside Robby, holding off several Cobra Kai students during the brawl at the mall. She has more trouble in her one on one fight with Tory during the school brawl, however, barely defeating her after a protracted contest.
- Samantha LaRusso is somewhat compared to the following characters:
- Ali Mills - Both are broken up by their ex-boyfriends for a series of misunderstandings and conflicts and later gained their male friends in which would eventually lead into their relationship. Both also have shallow friends (In Ali's case, Barbara and Susan. In Sam's case, Yasmine and Moon).
- Daniel LaRusso - both are being trained in karate.
- Julie Pierce - Both are teenage girls being trained in karate. Both were taught karate by their fathers at a young age.
- Despite breaking up with Miguel, Sam may still have feelings for him as she kissed him during Moon's party, though she was drunk at the time, so it is unclear whether or not she still truly has feelings for him. Miguel still has feelings for her.
- It has not been stated whether Sam ever met Mr. Miyagi, but considering she was around 9-10 years old when he died and how close he and Daniel were, she more than likely did and would have been old enough to remember him.
- Despite having some story plots in season 1 she wasn't seen as one of the important characters. In season 2 however her story plots are some of the central plots of the season, making her a key character.