Brian O’Conner’s 10 Smartest Decisions, Ranked

Brian O’Conner’s 10 Smartest Decisions, Ranked

The upcoming Fast X movie has promised the return of franchise characters such as Vin Diesel’s Dominic Toretto and Michelle Rodriguez’s Letty Ortiz. Several new actors including Jason Momoa and Brie Larson have also been confirmed to be joining the franchise.

With all the talk of new character introductions and the return of classic Fast and Furiousfamily members, it’s hard for fans not to think of one key character whose absence has been noticeable in the past few films: Paul Walker’s Brian O’Conner. While the franchise is now know for its frequent absurdity, O’Conner was once one of the characters who balanced out his bad decisions with a lot of smart ones that became franchise-defining moments.


Confronting Braga

Braga smiling and looking off-screen in Fast & Furios.

Brian had a lot of guilt over the role he thought he played in Letty’s death in Fast & Furious so when it was revealed that she was still alive in Furious 6, it was only right for him to be the one to figure out what happened.
Related: 10 Unpopular Opinions About Fast & Furious 6, According To RedditBraga was happily surprised to see Brian in the LA prison with him, thinking he’d have a chance to finally get revenge on the former FBI agent but instead, Brian was able to mine him for information on Letty. One misstep and the prison break-in plan would have failed, but the decision proved to be a smart strategic move in helping Brian get the information needed to understand and take down Shaw.

Going Back For Monica

Monica Fuentes pointing a rifle in 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Women in Brian’s life have sometimes created blind spots that have gotten him into trouble and undercover customs agent Monica Fuentes was one of those women in 2 Fast 2 Furious. However, without those feelings Brian wouldn’t have made the decisions that ultimately saved her life.
In the movie’s final sequence, Brian deviated from his plan to ditch one of Carter Verone’s men and instead used him to figure out where Monica was and keep Verone from killing her. Instead of running with the money he chose to go back for Monica and confront Verone. His decision kept Monica alive and helped Customs apprehend finally Verone.

Bringing Roman To The Team

Roman poses in front of Jeep Gladiator in a poster for Fast and Furious 9.

Tyrese Gibson was introduced to the Fast and Furious franchise as Roman Pierce in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Roman has taken on more of a comedic role since his original depiction as a grudge-holding former friend from Brian’s delinquent past, but he’s contributed greatly to the team since them.
Fast 5 brought together many faces from previous Fast and Furious films and since Toretto was not in the second installment, the decision to bring Roman (and Ludacris’ Tej) to the team can be entirely credited to Brian. Both characters played huge roles in the success of some of the teams most outrageous ideas including parachuting a car from a plane onto a narrow mountain road and even going to space.

Going Back For Dom

Dominic Toretto smiling faintly in Fast and Furious.

As the leader of the team, Dom made a lot of sacrifice plays and many of them were unnecessary. At the end of Fast 5, Dom cut Brian loose from the vault they were carrying during their Rio heist, sacrificing himself so that Brian can get free.
Thankfully, Brian made the smart decision and went back for him. If it hadn’t been for Brian, Dom would have been shot by Zizi. It was the obvious decision for Brian to make and the smartest, keeping the heart of the team alive and making sure he brought Mia’s brother home to her.

Calling Mia

Mia looking confused in Fast and Furious.

In the last movie Brian made an appearance in, Furious 7, Brian gave Mia a call when he and the team decided to take the fight with the film’s villains, Deckard Shaw and Mose Jakanade, to the familiar streets of LA. Brian called to tell Mia it was OK to move on if something happened to him, but Mia was having none of it.
Instead of it being the final goodbye he was anticipating, Mia gave him even more of a reason to fight to return home when she told him she was pregnant with heir second child. Since Walker had died by the time Furious 7, came out many thought his character would have a similar fate, but with that call, a door that seemed to be closing got propped open. Brian likely would have done his best to get home either way but the call to Mia helped give him the extra push.

Earning Dom’s Respect

Brian and Dom standing side by side in Fast and Furious.

Dominic had a reputation for keeping his family close-knit, so Brian had to get creative when it came to earning his trust in the first movie. It became clear to him that before ever earning Dom’s trust, Brian would have to first earn his respect.
Related: Every Member Of Dom’s “Family” In The Fast & Furious Franchise, Ranked By BraveryIt was a smart decision on Brian’s part because respect was the foundation that Dom had built his family on and if Brian didn’t have it, he would have never been brought into the family. Trust and respect went hand in hand for Dom so when Brian broke the trust, he knew the only way to recover would be to once again earn Dom’s respect, something he had already learned how to do.

Going Rouge

Brian O'Connor posing next to a red car in The Fast and the Furious.

In The Fast and the Furious Brian was easily able to mold himself into the street racing scene as an undercover cop since he already had a long history with cars after having been sent to juvie for committing grand theft auto. That same history is what led him to going rouge.
Brian officially left his position in law enforcement at the close of Fast & Furious, and it was a decision that was long overdue. He had become a bit of a hypocrite trying to selectively uphold laws that he himself was constantly breaking. He had also fallen in love with Torretto’s sister Mia so continuing to work for the people breaking apart her family would’ve made a relationship impossible.

Letting Dom Go

Brian and Dom in a car in The Fast and the Furious

If Brian hadn’t let Dom go at the end of The Fast and the Furious, none of the subsequent films would’ve been made without some serious adjustments to the great car racing movie’s most iconic plot points. Brian letting Dom go was a risky move for him at the time but had a serious payoff.
By letting Dom drive away at the end of the franchise’s first movie Brian kept alive the chance of a future relationship with Mia. He was also able to keep some of the respect that Dom had for him which is the only reason they were able to team up again in the future. As a cop, it was a decision that had more repercussions than advantages at the moment, but it helped set up his better future.

Breaking Dom Out Of Prison

Dominic Toretto stand in front of a street lined with souped up cars in The Fast and the Furious

Luckily Dom never actually made it to the prison he was being transported to at the end of Fast & Furious. His transport to the prison was intercepted by Brian and Mia, marking Brian’s true departure from law enforcement as all three of the became wanted fugitives.
Related: The 10 Best Fast & Furious Characters, According to RankerThe only reason Dom didn’t kill Braga and didn’t run is because he wanted to do the right thing and hoped the judge would be lenient. When the judge instead went in the opposite direction, Brian made the smart choice, the only one that would allow him to live with himself, and kept Dom out of prison. It also released him from the shackles that working for the law had put on him.

Leaving The Team

Brian looks at Dom from his car in Furious 7

Instead of recasting Brian after Paul Walker’s death or killing the character off, Brian was instead written out as having left the team. Not only did it perfectly play into the trajectory of the character, it was also the smartest choice that Brian could’ve made after the lifestyle had put his growing family in jeopardy.
Brian voiced his apprehension to becoming a father in Fast 5 since his own father hadn’t been there for him but he was able to be better for his kid. He did start to miss the bullets but ultimately saw that nothing would ever be more real for him than the life he created with Mia.
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