I just think our emerging hormones are destined to alter our relationship and I'm trying to limit the fallout
—Joey to Dawson
Pilot is the series premiere and first episode of Season 1 of Dawson's Creek.


EMOTIONS IN MOTION -- At the onset of their sophomore[1] year of high school, Dawson Leery (James Van Der Beek) and his best friend, Josephine "Joey" Potter (Katie Holmes), battle with the knowledge that their lifelong friendship may be changing. Adding to Joey's confusing emotions is the arrival of the radiant Jennifer Lindley (Michelle Williams), who appears to be "the girl next door," but has an air of mystery surrounding her as she harbors a dark secret from her past. Rounding out the clique is Pacey (Joshua Jackson), whose gift for sarcasm is topped only be an over-confident knack for stumbling awkwardly unprepared into adult situations.


James Van Der Beek as Dawson Leery
Michelle Williams as Jen Lindley
Joshua Jackson as Pacey Witter
Katie Holmes as Joey Potter
Mary-Margaret Humes as Gale Leery
John Wesley Shipp as Mitch Leery
Mary Beth Peil as Evelyn Ryan
Nina Repeta as Bessie Potter

Recurring cast

Leann Hunley as Tamara Jacobs
Mitchell Laurance as Benjamin Gold
George Gaffney as Bodie Wells
Ed Grady as Mr. Ryan

Guest starring

Nicole Nieth as Nellie Oleson


Ric Reitz as Bob Collinsworth
Rick Forrester as Big Guy
Evan Kelly as Roger Fulford


Wit. We like that around here
—Dawson, to Jen
DawsonShow some respect man, she's somebody's mother
PaceyI have it on pretty good authority that mothers have excellent sex lives


  • Nellie's dad owns the video store where Pacey and Dawson work.
  • Dawson and Jen met before, when they were kids
  • Tamara kisses Pacey
  • Dawson asks Joey jokingly if she has a crush on him and she lies
  • Joey discovers Dawson's mom is having an affair
  • Joey and Dawson have the same conversation about Spielberg and the Oscars in the season four finale.


  • The first script and revisions were ready in August 1997[2]


hey pretty girl | BODEANS
jen arrives
as i lay me down | SOPHIE B. HAWKINS
jen sits at her dock
tubthumping | CHUMBAWAMBA
jen meets nellie in school; pacey in class
mercy me | SAY-SO
dawson, jen and joey in the cafeteria
good mother | JANN ARDEN
bessie gives joey lipstick
i'll stand by you | THE PRETENDERS
joey rows down the creek




Rewatching the Dawson's Creek pilot 20 years later (EW • MARCH 2018)

Notes and references

  1. This was retconned at the beginning of Season 2Season 1 clearly starts in summer and ends after one semester in autumn/winter. However, Season 2 starts in the summer and the gang is starting their sophomore year, in retrospect making Season 1 the first semester of their freshman year
  2. Katie Holmes IG. (January 2018)
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