- "Everybody's got a sob story. Doesn't give you the right to be a bully."
- ―Samantha LaRusso to Miguel Diaz[src]
Initially apart of the popular clique at West Valley High School, she soon is exiled and becomes the second student of the new generation Miyagi-Do Karate. She goes on to be of the best students. Following a huge fight with her rival Tory however, she is left traumatized and conflicted over her feelings towards karate, before overcoming her fear.
Born October, 2002, Samantha is the daughter of Daniel and Amanda LaRusso and the older sister of Anthony. At the age of 8, Sam was taught karate by her father, and was close to Mr Miyagi. He described their relationship as the first time he felt like a Grandfather. As Sam got older, she lost interest in karate and quit. However, she retained her knowledge and skill.
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 for kissing Miguel. 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 left traumatized by the events of the school fight. Her arm now dons three scars from the impact of Tory Nichols' brass knuckles. Sam's consequence for fighting is a two-week suspension from school. Her parents attempt to protest the suspension but fail to change the principal's mind. She struggles to regain a sense of normalcy after the event but is determined to help Miguel with his surgery. In the meantime, she writes emails to Robby who is serving time in a juvenile detention center for his role in Miguel's accident. As she waits for his replies, Sam organizes a car washing fundraiser in the hopes of contributing to Diaz's medical fund. When the students from Cobra Kai Dojo attack Nathaniel and steal the fundraising money to donate in the name of Cobra Kai, Sam steps up to train the Miyagi-Do Karate students properly and becomes their leader while Daniel is away at Okinawa, Japan to save the dealership which is at hands of collapsing by Tom Cole. Her escapades are cut short by her mother, who is upset over Sam's returns to karate. Sam brushes her mother's concerns off, claiming that she doesn't know what is going on with the rivaling dojos.
Things gradually worsen between the dojos as the Cobra Kai's seek revenge for Miguel's accident. Sam refuses to be bullied and decides to show the Cobra Kai students they aren't doormats. The Miyagi-Do students take a stand during what escalates into an intense soccer game. To retaliate, the Cobra Kai students attack Chris at his work, leading the Miyagi-Do students to confront Cobra Kai. The confrontation leads to a fight in an abandoned mall shop. Sam suffers a panic attack during the fight as her body shuts down and stops her from defending Demetri or the rest of the Miyagi-Do students. She is forced to witness Hawk break Demetri's arm while Tory taunts Sam to show herself. Sam blames herself for Demetri having his arm broken and breaks down in her mother's arms at the hospital while waiting with the Miyagi Do's for Demetri's arm checks.
Left with more trauma, Sam decides to quit karate for good and distances herself from everyone. Upon returning from Okinawa, Daniel learns the severity of Sam's trauma. He reconnects with her over a father-daughter fishing trip, though she isn't keen on the idea. She makes it known that she doesn't want to learn karate anymore and just wants her friends to be safe. The trip helps her remember why she loves karate, and Daniel reminds her that only she can help herself when she's down and no one else. He sympathizes with her and assures her that he wants what is best for her. She decides to continue her training and learns how to fight with a bo staff.
When Miguel returns to school now fully recovered, Sam reconnects with him as he slowly realizes how bad things became after his accident. He refuses to train under Kreese or be friends with Cobra Kai students after everything they did to Sam and the others. Her and Miguel deliver a speech together to save the All Valley Karate Tournament when the council deems it "harmful to the community." They convince the city council to hold the tournament, which brings Miguel and Sam closer. They share a moment in the Miyagi-Do dojo that is unfortunately witnessed by a now released Robby. He believes Sam and Miguel were dating the entire time he was in juvie. He also thinks they were having an affair before Miguel's accident. Robby attempts to fight with Miguel until Sam pushes him away. The pair end their relationship, and Robby leaves. In the days that follow, she and Miguel share a kiss and playful banter, though they have yet to label their relationship. They instead work together to unite the students from Eagle Fang Karate and Miyagi-Do Karate. Over the week of Christmas, they convince the two dojos to work together by "parent trapping" them at the LaRusso family home. Their efforts at peace are derailed by a surprise attack from the Cobra Kai dojo.
The brawl leads to a battle between Tory and Sam, in which Sam initially attempts to run away from as she still hasn't recovered emotionally from their last encounters. As Tory pummels Sam and begins to attack her with nunchaku, Sam remembers what her father said - only she can help herself when she's down. She regains her strength and is able to fight Tory until they are interrupted by a bloodied Miguel, Hawk, who has now joined the side of Eagle Fang Karate, and Demetri. Hawk warns Tory that the fight is over. She eerily tells Sam that the war between them will never end. Daniel learns of the attack and confronts Kreese, and the three rivaling sensei's - Daniel, Johnny, and Kreese, agree to a tournament to determine if Kreese will leave the valley or if Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang will. Eagle Fang and Miyagi-Do merge for the sake of training, bringing Daniel and Johnny together as joint senseis. Sam stands by Miguel as they resume their training, preparing for the the tournament against Cobra Kai Dojo.
Sam appears in the video game Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues as a playable character in the Miyagi-Do side of the story & as a boss in the Cobra Kai side of the story. She is voiced by Valerie Rose Lohman.
Sam is a nice, polite 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 dumps Kyler, showing she is against bullying. After dumping Kyler, he ruins her reputation with her friends by 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.
She forms a friendship with Robby. Unfortunately a misunderstanding makes Miguel angry and accidentally hit Sam, causing her to dump him because she was holding Robby's hand. 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 then she knows that she made a mistake for starting the extended rivalry between.
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, who is angry at Daniel for insulting Cobra Kai in order to promote Miyagi Do, takes her anger out on her, as well as has already befriended a new Cobra Kai student Tory. Believing that Tory has stolen her mom's wallet, she accuses her, but the latter denies without proofs. 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, she still has feelings for Miguel, and on the night before the first day of school a drunken Sam and Miguel share a kiss. Despite Miguel 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.
Her fight with Tory leaves Sam traumatized to the point that she freezes and has a look of fear on her face when Tory calls out her name, leading to her quitting karate. However, after getting encouragement from Daniel, she rejoins karate and eventually gets over her fear during her fight with Tory, allowing her to gain the upper hand over the latter.
After Miguel is released from the hospital, the two rekindle their friendship. However, her relationship with Robby ends when he attacks Miguel for believing they had a thing going on. Shortly after the break up, she and Miguel rekindle their relationship.
- "You don't have to worry about me, Dad. I can handle myself. I'm a LaRusso."
- ―Samantha 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 with sound technique. 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.
After recovering she suffered from fear against Tory. Samantha skillfully defeated Cobra Kai students but froze when confronted by Tory. During the brawl in the house she held her own against Cobra Kai students but was forced to flee when Tory attacked her. Managing to overcome her fear and aided by a bo staff which gave her a superior reach to Tory's nunchucks she eventually was able to successfully fight Tory off.
Daniel is Sam's father. The two have a close relationship. She was trained by Daniel is Karate as a kid, until she decided to stop. In season 1 of Cobra Kai, Sam occasionally gets upset when Daniel is too overprotective. Their interaction significantly increases after Sam joins Miyagi Do in the beginning of season 2. When Sam goes through some rough patches, such ad her break up with Miguel and fear of Tory, Daniel comforts her. By the end of season 3, Sam along with the Miyagi Do and Eagle Fang students are training at Miyagi Do, with Daniel and Johnny as her senseis.
Miguel is Sam's boyfriend. After defeating her ex boyfriend Kyler and the latter gang when they were mocking Sam during season 1 of Cobra Kai, the two go on a date and become a couple. However, their relationship becomes strained when Sam does not want to bring him to her house to meet her family, due to Miguel being apart of Cobra Kai. Things get more strained when Sam does not respond to his texts. Unbeknownst to Miguel, Sam's mother took her phone away, which is why she is not responding. When Sam arrives to a party with Robby, Miguel wrongly assuming they are together, confronts Sam and attacks Robby, but accidentally hurting Sam in the progress, leading to her dumping him.
In season 2, the two don't have much interaction. Sam is upset over their break up in the beginning of the season, and wants nothing to do with him due to his actions. Sam however, would move on from Miguel and date Robby. Sam however, disapproves Miguel dating Tory because of their bad blood, and even confronts him on that, making Miguel upset. On the night before the first day of school, a drunk Sam thanks Miguel for returning Mr. Miyagi's badge of honor, and the two share a kiss, but immediately regret it due to them already being in relationships, but are unaware that Tory saw them. After Miguel is kicked off the railing by Robby the following day, Sam is horrified. At the hospital she tearfully says that she hopes Miguel is ok.
Shortly after waking up from his coma in season 3, Sam visits him and gives him a get well card, and the two apologize to each other for the whole situation. After Miguel is able to walk again, he returns to school and rekindles his friendship with Sam. After finding out that the All Valley Tournament is cancelled, the both of them had a speech about karate and defending other people. Back at Miyagi Do, Miguel and Sam celebrated and also did karate. They almost kissed until Robby caught them. Robby tried to hit Miguel again until she defends and fights him back. She told him not to hit Miguel. After he refuses to not kick him, he said that her and Miguel deserve each other. Over time, they rekindle their former romantic feelings for each other and end up kissing at one point. By the end of the season, Sam is training with Miguel and the other Eagle Fang and Miyagi Do students at Miyagi Do.
Robby is Sam's ex-boyfriend. They meet each other at the LaRusso's house during season 1 of Cobra Kai when Robby is waiting for his karate lesson with Daniel LaRusso, Robby quickly develops a crush on Sam but she's oblivious to this. Later in the season, Sam and Robby go to a party together. When they arrive at the party, they're seen holding hands together, but this angers her current boyfriend Miguel, which cultivates in Miguel accidently hitting Sam when attempting to attack Robby, causing Sam to dump him.
In season 2, Robby moves in to Sam's house after his mom takes off with a guy. This along with both being in Miyagi Do, causes them to have more interactions. They develop feelings for each other and eventually become a couple. However, on the night before the first day of school, a drunk Sam kisses Miguel, without Robby's knowledge. When Tory exposes the kiss the following day at school, Robby is shocked. Despite learning the fact that she kissed Miguel, Robby is still loyal and protective of Sam. At the end of the school fight, Sam sees that Robby kicked Miguel off the school railing which makes Miguel unconscious. Sam asks Robby, "what did you do."
When Sam is interviewed about the fight in the beginning of season 3, she defends Robby by saying that Miguel being kicked off the railing was an accident. While Robby is in juvie, Sam emails him several times to check up on him, but eventually stops after he doesn't respond. She however, is unaware that Robby isn't writing due to him constantly being harassed. After eventually being released from juvie, he goes to Sam's house, but sees her sparing with Miguel, and then accuses her of cheating. Sam defends herself, but Robby doesn't believe her. When Miguel defends her, Robby tries to attack him, but is stopped by Sam. Robby then ends their relationship and walks out, saddening Sam.
Tory is Sam's rival. They first met at the beach club. When Sam thinks that Tory stole her mom's wallet, Tory accidentally pushes her into a table of food . At the roller skating rink, Sam and Robby realizes that Tory is dating Miguel, making her a quite disappointed. While Sam was putting on her roller skates, Tory eventually shoves her and she shoves her back causing her and Robby kicked out of the rink. Meanwhile, at Moon's house, they were having a drinking contest making Sam win. At night, she thanks Miguel for returning the medal until they shared a kiss. Tory saw them kissed and she was not happy about it. During class, Tory was at the intercom saying for what Sam did. She told everyone that she kissed Miguel. She had her spiked bracelet to scratch Sam, which was causing three scars on her arm. Technically, when Tory was about to scratch Sam again, she kicked her off the stairs.
In season 3, they usually don't have much interaction to each other. In the arcade, Cobra Kai and Miyagi were fighting against each other. When Sam knocked out a person, Tory calls out her name, making Sam stop fighting. Tory told her to show herself and that the fight between them is not over yet. After Sam finishes her warm-up, she goes to the back door of Miyagi Do, until she sees Tory appear out of nowhere. Tory and Sam had a fight because of causing the school fight. When Tory kicked her, Sam was having flashbacks of the school fight. She initially grabs Sam's hair to place her whole face at the pond. Tory said that she started this and she wants to finish it. After placing her face in the pond, Sam couldn't breathe anymore and realizes that it was all a dream. Back at the Larusso's, Eagle Fang and Miyagi Do were thinking of working together until Cobra Kai breaks in the Larusso's house. She calls out Sam's last name to fight against her. When Sam went inside the Miyagi Do dojo, she realizes that Tory is here. Sam grabbed her boa stick and Tory had nunchucks. The both of them fought against each other until she broke Mr. Miyagi's photo. Sam says that's she not afraid of her. Hawk and Miguel told her to stop the fight, calling them traitors.
- Samantha is the second female karate student to learn Miyagi-Do, following only in the footsteps of Julie Pierce.
- Throughout the course of the series, Sam has quit karate at least once a season.
- She is the only Miyagi-Do Karate student to never have been trained under Johnny Lawrence or Cobra Kai Dojo.
- Despite breaking up with Miguel, Sam still has feelings for him as she was shown to be repeatedly bothered by him dating Tory and she kissed him during Moon's party, though she was drunk at the time. Miguel also still has feelings for her.