Robert "Robby" Keene is one of the main characters in the Netflix series Cobra Kai, being a minor antagonist turned protagonist of the first and second seasons, one of the two secondary antagonists (alongside Tory Nichols) of the third, and in a currently unknown role in the fourth. He is the son of karate sensei Johnny Lawrence and Shannon Keene.
Initially a troublemaker that breaks the rules, Robby begins to change his ways after working with Daniel LaRusso. He becomes the first disciple of the new generation of Miyagi-Do Karate, and becomes one of the best.
Unfortunately, a fight with his rival Miguel Diaz, in which he severely and gravely injures him by accident, gives him a short sentence in juvie. Following his release from juvie however, Robby is left conflicted over where his alliances lay, leaving him susceptible to the smooth-talking John Kreese. Through corruption from Kreese, Robby is recruited into the new Cobra Kai Dojo, betraying Daniel and Samantha in the process and to take seek revenge against his father and Miguel.
He is portrayed by Tanner Buchanan in his first villainous role.
Robby is Johnny's estranged son from a failed relationship with Shannon Keene. Johnny is absent for much of Robby's childhood which causes a strained relationship between the two. With his mother frequently behind bars and his father absent since his birth, Robby has no role models in his life. Robby falls in with drugs, stealing, and dropping out of school. After his father, who had a change of heart, hears about this, he comes to Robby's aid and tries to convince him that he loved him and wanted him to have a good life. Robby did not believe his father and refuses to go back to school.
But after discovering that Johnny has changed his ways and seemingly wants to start a closer relationship with him, Robby visits the Cobra Kai dojo to talk to his father, only to see him hugging his student Miguel Diaz. Convinced that Johnny likes his student more than his own son, Robby plots his revenge by getting a job at Daniel's car dealership. However, Robby thrives in the job and develops a friendship with Daniel. Throughout the second half of the first season, Daniel teaches Robby karate the same way Mr. Miyagi taught him, and in the process becomes the father figure and mentor that Robby never had and the two become very close. Robby also stops his bad behaviour and begins to change his ways, too.
But after discovering that Robby lied to Daniel about his relationship with his father Johnny Lawrence, Daniel bans him from his house and auto dealership. Robby enters the All Valley Karate Tournament alone and faces off against Hawk in the semi-finals. He loses the first point to Hawk, but wins the second point by using the lessons Daniel taught him. Hawk begins to taunt Robby and in response Robby mocks Hawk's Mohawk. Angered, Hawk kicks Robby while his back is turned and dislocates Robby's left shoulder, which results in Hawk's disqualification and Robby's advancement into the finals. At the urging of his wife, Amanda, Daniel forgives Robby and becomes his coach in the All-Valley Tournament. Miguel, who had hated Robby after a misunderstanding involving his girlfriend, viciously attacks Robby's injured shoulder. Robby puts up a tough fight and scores 2 points against Miguel despite his injury. While trying to help Miguel up, Miguel yanks Robby's arm and further injures his shoulder. With the next point deciding the winner, he ultimately loses to Miguel. Following the tournament Johnny apologizes to his son, and Robby replies, "It's okay, dad.", implying that he does still love his father despite their misunderstandings. Daniel is impressed that Robby maintained dignity, focus, and fair play during the match, as well as performing a two-legged kick that not even he was able to master. In the end, Daniel re-opens Miyagi-Do Karate and takes Robby in as his first student.
Robby begins training with Daniel. While training with Daniel, Robby's arm heals and he is able to take off his cast. While shopping with Daniel they run into Johnny. When Daniel goes to pay Johnny tries to talk to him, but Robby is still mad at him and he tells Johnny he is having a hard time forgiving him. When Johnny accuses him of trying to torture him by training with Daniel whom he refers to as a prick, Robby defends Daniel and says he is a better man than he (Johnny) will ever be.
Sam soon joins the dojo and starts training with Robby. Robby's home-life isn't great as Shannon soon takes off with some guy, leaving Robby home alone with no food or electricity as bills go unpaid. When Robby mentions to Sam about his mom leaving and Sam tells Daniel, who has Robby come stay with him, Sam and Amanda.
Robby along with Sam and Daniel have trouble getting students to join the dojo at first mainly due to Cobra Kai out-promoting them. However, after sometime their luck changes when a bullied victim named Demetri requests to join and they gladly accept. At the mall Demetri is cornered by Hawk and other Cobra Kai members, but Robby and Sam come to his rescue and beat up the bullies. Robby's, Sam's, and Daniel's luck further improves when a handful of Cobra Kai students leave because of the vicious teachings and join Miyagi Do, though Robby and Sam are at first unhappy that the students joining are the ones that tried to beat up Demetri in the mall.
Robby and Sam develop feelings for each other. While Robby initially thinks it is a bad idea for them to date, the two soon realize thy cannot hold their feelings back and start dating. When someone knocks on Sam's door Robby opens it and sees Miguel. He asks him why he is here, and Miguel says he came to give back Miyagi's Medal of Honor which Hawk stole when he trashed the dojo earlier. Not wanting Sam to know Miguel gave it back because he does not want her to rekindle with him, Robby hides it in his pocket and later puts it outside so someone could find it which Demetri does the next day.
Eventually, Robby and Sam agree to tell her parents about their relationships, but put that on hold when they see Shannon in the house. Shannon apologizes to Robby for leaving him, and tells him she is going to rehab so she can get better.
Robby and Sam go to Moon's house for a party the night before the first day of school. During the party Sam gets drunk, and unbeknownst to him Aisha tells Sam that Miguel returned the Medal of Honor and a drunken Sam and Miguel share a kiss. After the cops arrive, Robby tells Sam he will take her home but Sam tells him not to because she does not want her parents to see her drunk. He then takes her to Johnny's house and the two spend the night with him.
The following morning Robby tells Johnny that he will tell Daniel that it is his fault he and Sam did not come home, but after Daniel comes into Johnny's house he tells Robby he has lost his trust and forces Sam to leave. Johnny takes Robby to school which he appreciates. Before class he tells Sam that Miguel gave him the Medal of Honor. Sam, who already knew, asks why he did not tell her before, to which Robby replies he was scared their relationship would be put at risk if he did. They kiss and then go to class.
When Cobra Kai student Tory reveals that Sam and Miguel kissed at Moon's party, Robby has a shocked look on his face. Tory then attacks Sam, causing Robby to push Tory against a wall and try to stop the fight. However Miguel arrives and, unaware of Robby's true intention, tackles Robby which causes the two to fight and a huge brawl between the Cobra Kai and Miyagi Do students. Robby and Miguel have a long fight. At times Robby has the upper hand and at times Miguel has the upper hand. When Miguel tells Robby that Sam loves him more than Robby, an enraged Robby aggressively attacks Miguel and gains the upper-hand, but this is short-lived as Miguel recovers, and flips Robby over and traps him in an arm lock. Miguel decides to let him go after remembering Johnny's advice to show mercy and even apologizes to him. However, an enraged Robby attacks Miguel and kicks him off a railing, severely injuring him. Robby is shocked at what he just did. When Samantha screams "Robby what did you do?". Robby runs off from the scene.
While at the hospital, Daniel expresses shock over what Robby did to Miguel. At the Cobra Kai Dojo, Hawk angrily tells Johnny that his lesson to Miguel about showing mercy which Miguel followed by showing mercy to Robby, led to Robby severely injuring Miguel. It is currently unknown where Robby is; it's most likely he has either gone into hiding or he has been arrested for his role in Miguel's hospitalization.
Robby is on the run from the police and officially a fugitive, wanted for the part he played in kicking Miguel over a railing at West Valley High School. He has also been expelled from West Valley High. The police make urgent appeals to find the boy, and show a photo of Robby during a news segment that Johnny watches. He and Daniel decide to work together to find Robby, who has stolen a '93 van from the LaRusso Auto Group. Robby knew that the company would not notice the van was missing as it is a trade-in and nothing flashy. He removes the GPS tracker from the van and ditches it far away from where he ultimately resides. He cuts his hair rather short and appears homeless, in an attempt to be unrecognizable by the police who are looking for him.
Robby visits his mother Shannon at her rehab centre in Episode 2 and she gives him a sandwich to eat and comforts him and he cuts his hair even shorter. Daniel arrives and tries to reason with Robby, explaining that he spoke to a lawyer and his sentence will be much lighter if he turns himself in. Before Daniel can explain, the police arrive and Robby realizes that his former boss turned him in. He tries to run but is apprehended by the officers before he can flee. Daniel promises to visit everyday, but Robby coldly tells him not to bother as he is taken to a juvenile detention center. Robby's time in juvenile hall is rough, as he is targeted by a fellow detainee Shawn. He attempts to stay out of trouble by reading a book. He also refuses to speak with Daniel when he calls.
One day, while watching TV and eating lunch, Robby watches Sam on the news talk about Miguel and her attempts to raise money for his surgery. She mentions that she hopes that Robby did not mean to hurt Miguel. Shawn begins to mock Sam and Robby snaps at him to shot up. Shawn then challenges him to a fight and attacks him, but Robby blocks his punches and kicks the two goons, but one of the goons rams into him and slams him on the table, and punches him in the ribs, while the other goon kicks him. Shawn grabs Robby and shoves him against a locker. Shawn then throws Robby on the ground and his goons and stomps on him. Robby is sent to the infirmary but when he returns, Shawn takes his pillow.
Johnny arranges to see Robby accompanied by Reverend Bobby Brown, but is occupied with Miguel's surgery turnout and misses the meeting with Robby. Bobby tells Robby to give it more time but he leaves and tells Bobby that this was a waste of time. Robby then does community service in the hopes he will be released early. Johnny attempts to talk things through, and seems to be following through with his attempts for the first time. He oversteps later and grabs Robby's arm causing him to push his father away and spill the soup. When he returns to juvenile hll, Shawn mocks Robby by saying he has no one and that both his dad and girl left him. He also vandalized Robby's bed.
In the days that follow his old resentments, heartbreak over his perceived betrayals at the hands of those he came to trust and the overall state of his life resurface. He is visited by John Kreese, who talks to him about Johnny and advises him to defend himself in prison. Robby initially tells Kreese to leave him alone, but is intrigued by the man and researches Kreese. He also checks his email and begins to respond to an email from Sam when Shawn unplugs the computer. He challenges Robby again but a security guard interrupts. The next day, Shawn makes a fake friendly gesture to Robby, but Robby, who has reached his limit with the abuse he's receiving in juvie and the mental games from Kreese, retaliates by striking Shawn first. They engage in an intense fight and Robby gains the advantage over Shawn rather quickly, though the fight spreads into the halls. Two guards pull the boys apart, and Robby smiles at Shawn while bloodied. After meeting with the warden, Shawn and Robby both admit to not "snitching", which leaves them with a mutual respect.
After being released from juvenile prison and assigned to probation, Johnny and Daniel attempt to reconnect with him, but Robby cuts ties with both of them because of them turning him to the police. He goes to the nearby Juvie office to fill out probation forms, when Tory comes from the office. Robby gets up and looks like he is about to attack Tory. Tory warns him not to and if he fights, he will go back to Juvie. He calms down and they exchange insults as Tory started the fight but Robby ended it. Tory tells Robby that she and Miguel broke up a few days ago. She warns him about Sam and attempts to explain that Sam will go to Miguel, but Robby defends Sam. He believes Sam is a good person but Tory is not so sure. Before she leaves, she tells him to write check the "stable" box next to home life.
After leaving the office, Robby goes to see Sam at the Miyagi-Do Dojo and wants to rekindle their relationship. He walks in on Sam and Miguel training together and they are in a compromising position. This angers Robby who believes they are dating making him believe Tory was right about Sam. He harshly insults Sam and accuses her of cheating with Miguel. He believes that her relationship with Miguel is why she stopped writing, and she counters that he stopped replying. He snaps back that it was hard to write back when he was "getting his face busted in" daily. She is surprised by this while Miguel tries to nicely explain that she had PTSD from the fight. Things escalate quickly between Miguel and Robby, and attempts to throw a punch at Miguel. Sam blocks Robby and pushes him away, telling him to stop. Thinking she has betrayed him for Miguel ever since Moon's party, Robby breaks up with Sam and tells her that Miguel and Sam deserve each other, admitting that their relationship was a mistake. Robby leaves in anger over the amount of betrayals and leaves Sam devastated about her break up with Robby. Later in the night, Robby realizes he does not have anywhere to go and ends up the Cobra Kai Dojo.
He sleeps at the dojo and is taken under the wing of John Kreese, though Robby is reluctant to trust the man. Hawk nearly tries to attack him and still has a grudge at him for what he did to Miguel but Kreese says he is here to stay. He is noticed by Tory who invites him along to a mission with Kyler, Hawk and some other Cobra Kai members. The groups breaks into the zoo to steal a cobra for Kreese, but are interrupted by a security guard. Thinking the mission failed, the group retreats but Robby appears with the snake. He befriends the Cobra Kai's, though Hawk's anger toward Robby remains. He begins training with the dojo and stays relatively focused on his karate training.
When Johnny arrives at Cobra Kai after the attack on the LaRusso family home, he sees Robby training with Kreese and is surprised by the alliance. Johnny and Kreese begin fighting as Johnny refuses to rejoin the dojo, with Kreese now wanting to kill Johnny. The fights is eventually stopped by Robby, who defends Kreese and attacks Johnny for being responsible for his suffering. Johnny instantly switches to the defense and refuses to fight his son, though Robby is intent on unleashing his pent up anger. He shouts that he is responsible for everything bad that's happened, and lunges. Johnny blocks Robby's attack and accidentally pushes him into the lockers. He hits his head and is unconscious, much to Johnny's dismay. Robby eventually regains consciousness, just as the fight between Johnny, Daniel, and Kreese is over. Robby stands next to Kreese much to the shock of Daniel, Johnny, Miguel, and Sam, who have all gathered outside the dojo. Robby coldly tells them to all leave, before retreating into the battered dojo with Kreese. He begins his training with Kreese to defend Cobra Kai in the tournament to determine which dojo will stay in the valley.