Episode 1: Pilot
In the small but picturesque lake town of Cedar Cove, municipal judge Olivia Lockhart is a beautiful woman who is known to everyone in town for running a respectable courtroom. When Olivia rules to extend her decision on a divorce case involving a very young couple and the tragic loss of their newborn, the new editor-in-chief for the Cedar Cove Chronicle, handsome Jack Griffith, arrives to Olivia's judges' chamber to introduce himself and get the scoop. Jack is interested in Olivia, but she closes the door in his face, unable to talk about the case.
Alone in her office with her loving but nosy mother Charlotte, Olivia takes a phone call from Senator Pete Raymond, who explains a federal judge's position has opened up in Seattle and he'd like to nominate her. Jack waits outside the courtroom, desperate for a news story. Charlotte leaves and Jack corners her at her car, asking to do a personal story on Olivia for the paper. Charlotte, thinking he would be a perfect match for her daughter, agrees.
That night, Olivia gets ice cream with her daughter Justine, a recent college graduate. Justine works at a local coffee shop and hopes to sell homemade necklaces and make something of her college degree soon. She's dating an older man, Warren, who is a wealthy home developer and is eager to provide for her. Olivia doesn't quite approve of the relationship. The next morning, the Cedar Cove Chronicle has a front-page story Jack wrote about Olivia and the divorce case. Olivia is annoyed and Cecilia, the young waitress and wife involved in Olivia's peculiar divorce case, is frustrated with the front page story as well, not wanting the whole town to know about her personal life. As she waits tables, her estranged husband, Ian, walks in. Since he is in the Navy, he'll be shipping out for six months and although they are divorcing, Ian still cares for Cecilia. The two still share a bond over the sudden death of their four-day-old daughter, Allison Marie.
Warren cooks Justine dinner and surprises her with a diamond engagement ring. Justine sweetly declines his proposal, insisting they hardly know each other yet; she wants to wait to get married. She hurries off to a high school reunion committee meeting, where she sees her old flame, Seth, for the first time since graduation. All her old feelings come rushing back as they catch up with each other, and she is left confused about her relationship with Warren.