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I swear to God, Dawson, you are a slow f*cking learner.
~ Tommy tormenting and berating his son Dawson verbally.

Tommy Cole is the main antagonist of the 2014 Romance movie The Best of Me, which is based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks with the same name.

He is a sordid and callous malefactor, with three sons. Two of them having the same occupation and the third (Dawson Cole) being the eccentric and voluptuous man, who is both a bully victim of the family and teenager with a regular school life, as well as a love interest in his life.

He is portrayed by Sean Bridgers, who also portrayed Old Nick in Room and Chris Cleek in The Woman.


In 1992, Tommy is first introduced at his derelict and crummy home, gambling with his sons and massaging a woman, when his unique son Dawson Cole enters and is immediately offended for trying to be helpful. That evening, Dawson overheard his father talking behind doors to the girl he was with, about how tragic his son is. Dawson abandons home and finds shelter in a truck in someone’s garage.

The farmer holds him at gun point, taking him for a trespasser. After the explanation that he fled from home for father trouble, the farmer (whose name was Tuck Hostetler) grants him permission to stay at his and repose. Cole and his delinquents later discover Dawson’s location and learn from him after finding him, that he is dating Amanda. Tommy, Ted and Abee attempt to torment Dawson and make Amanda’s life horrible, to loose her love interest.

Tuck immediately intervenes and fires his gun on the ground, next to where the villains were standing and threaten to kill them if the touched him. After a several gunfires, Tommy and his sons flee and Dawson is saved, for the time being.

Some time later, when Dawson and his friend Harvey were being betrothed with their lovers and Tuck is attending the ceremony, a crime occurs at his home. Tommy and his men ambush him and pond him on the forehead, causing him to open up a flesh wound and vandalizing his entire garden by running over everything with his tractor. Tommy responds with saying, “We don’t fear an old scumbag”.

Dawson finds Tuck injured in action and calls an ambulance. When asked what happened, Tuck replies; It was a tree. Given the clue of what Dawson said to him when they first met and was asked about the bruises on his face, Dawson fuels himself with ire and drives off with Harvey trying stop him, while he goes after revenge.

Tommy and his sons are found at their hangout in an area in the woods, smoking weed and drinking booze. As Harvey’s attempts to appease the adversaries are futile, Dawson withdraws Hostetler’s shotgun and jumps in velocity into and belligerent and impulsive fight with his family, only ending up accidentally shooting Harvey in the head.

A court is appointed for the crimes the Coles committed, as Dawson gets 21 years in jail for manslaughter and the other three are imprisoned for a longer period for their transgressions.

Two decades later, Dawson is released from prison and is getting on with life. Amanda and him are reunited for discussion about their old relationship. Dawson meets an old and younger relative to him, Aaron Cole shopping food for his grandfather who is revealed to be Tommy. At the same time, a sordid and odious looking Ted and Abee enter the store revealing that their period in prison has expired. They susceptibly threaten to kill him if he tries to take Aaron away from them. Cole returns to his former home and meets an old Tommy Cole holding Aaron under his oppression. He tells him that he wants nothing to do with him anymore and that he wishes to keep Aaron for himself and train him into a malefactor. But Aaron is easily convinced on Dawson's side as he knows Tommy's sole inclination is to turn him into something he is not in order for him to loved by him. As he's languished in cell he was in truth nothing, but finished.

One year later, when Amanda and Dawson had gotten back together; Tommy, Ted and Abee plan murder Dawson once and for all. One night when he is driving to Amanda's he is forced into running over by train. Abee and Ted were pushing his truck from behind to get killed. This fails and the two felons step out of their truck with guns to finish him off. But Dawson manipulates them by climbing beneath the truck and stunning them, causing them both to get shot and succumb to their wounds. But just as the malefactors are beaten and Cole thought he'd seen the last of his old and long-time enemies, turns around and sees his murderous father across the road, aiming a shotgun at him and fire a bullet into the left side breast, falling to the ground dazed.

Dawson is failed to be mitigated or cured at the hospital and Amanda falls into despair to have lost her long loved man. Tommy Cole's fate is obscure, but he is most likely sent back to prison and spends the remainder of his last days there.


Tommy is described as cruel, mean, callous, torturous, vexatious and bigoted man, who believes he has the right to control over those who are not as sordid as him. As Abee and Ted are his only sons who are lippy malefactors and delinquents, he takes pleasure in having fun gambling, causing havoc to property and mocking his only regular life living son, Dawson.

Tommy is also ornery and interprets his son as insolent, when he tries to have appease or care for his father. Tommy spends time telling Dawson about the negatives about him, whilst berating, abusing, punching him. As vindictive, he can retaliate against folk who makes him feel marginalized, just one little inch, just like he did to Tuck when he intimidated him with his shotgun.


  • In the book, his name is Crazy Ted.
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