- “You said we were going to play the game like we had nothing to lose. Well, I lost something. I lost someone. That's why I'm here.”
- ―Danny to Rusty
Daniel "Danny" Ocean is the leader of the crew and recruits its members to pull off a heist.
Some time later, he married Tess Ocean, who after finding out he is a deceptive criminal separated with him. The conflict between the two caused him to ruin himself.
While having been implicated in at least thirteen confidence schemes and frauds, he was charged and convicted for one about four years prior to the Benedict Job. He became eligible for parole at some point during his sentence which was for more than four years. Managing to convince a parole review board he had been rehabilitated, he was granted parole. While in prison, he was divorced from Tess. He found out about the divorce on the final day of his sentence, when he received the divorce papers along with the rest of his belongings he had on his person entering incarceration.
Main article: Benedict Job
Danny was recommended Terry Benedict as a possible target for a job by Denny Shields. Very soon after Danny's release from prison, he headed to Atlantic City, NJ to recruit Frank Catton for the job, and to uncover the whereabouts of Rusty Ryan. Frank told Danny what he had heard last about Rusty's activities and also agreed to join Danny for the job. To ensure his travel plans weren't jeopardized, Danny checked in with his parole officer, whom he convinced that he had intended to abide by his parole agreement.
In violation of his parole, Danny headed to Los Angeles. Danny surprised Rusty at his poker lesson, where he was training a small group of celebrities. When one of the celebrities, Topher Grace, asked Danny about his occupation, he responded that he had recently been released from prison. With the attention then on the crime for which Danny was convicted, Rusty suggested that the reason Danny failed the theft was for lack of a reliable buyer after stealing the goods. Disregarding Rusty, Danny asserted that his method seemed reliable. Even as the two calmly disputed Danny's failed theft, they were taking advantage of the novice celebrity gamblers. As Danny began to bet in high amounts, Rusty talked the novices into calling his bets and eventually losing to Danny's play.
Once the candidates are gathered, he gives them a short warning about the job and a choice to be involved. After they all accept, Danny and Rusty give a brief presentation of the plan. After tasking each member of the crew, he and Rusty oversee that each member's role is accordingly executed. Linus Caldwell finds Tess during his own task and, after bringing Rusty's attention to her, he causes Danny to reveal the major intent for the Benedict Job. After convincing Rusty to stay on the job, Danny explains his intent for Tess to the rest of the crew except for Linus. With Saul Bloom keeping Benedict occupied, Danny surprises Tess in a dining hall at one Benedict's hotels and after an attempt at light conversation, he tells her he wants her back. Benedict interrupts their conversation causing Danny to leave. On the eve of the heist, Basher Tarr informs the group about his jeopardized task, Danny hints at an alternative method, but is quickly shut down by Rusty. After Basher redeems his own role, Danny and a few members of the crew drive to the California Institute of Advanced Science in order to steal a pinch. During the pinch heist, Yen is injured causing Danny to reprimand Linus for risking the crew's welfare. With tensions still high from Yen's injury,
Danny and Linus return to the hotel suite the crew booked. As a ploy to get Linus to take charge, a few of the crew pretend to cut Danny from the job. On the night of the heist, Danny lets himself be spotted by Benedict in order to gain attention and then be detained, so becoming, after again visiting Tess to bid her farewell and plant a cell phone on her. With the help of accomplice Bruiser, Danny temporarily escapes detention to meet Linus in the Bellagio cages' elevator shaft to the vault. Once the city's power is blown, he and Linus descend down the shaft, take out the two vault guards, and break into the vault.
Leaving the infiltrating members of the crew behind, Danny returns to the detention room, where Bruiser is solo pretending to rough him up. Benedict arrives and inquires about Danny's involvement in the robbery having just took place. After Danny denies any knowledge of the robbery, Benedict releases Danny, who offers him assistance in finding the culprits, but only as a trade for Tess. While Tess is secretly watching from the hotel suite, Benedict agrees to Danny's offer, giving her cause to split from Benedict. After hearing the details of Danny's offer, Benedict changes his mind and then releases Danny, who has been in violation of his parole ever since leaving New Jersey, into the custody of the local police. Just as Danny is about to be driven away, Tess runs to him to inquire about their future.
A few months after the Benedict Job, Danny is released from prison. He meets Rusty and Tess in the prison's parking lot and rides off with them being tailed by Benedict's goons. Under the alias Miguel Diaz, Danny moves with Tess to a large house in a neighborhood of East Haven, CT where the two can enjoy their earnings together and escape the thieving world's pressures, for which they employ a code for communication when in danger. In East Haven, he had trouble coping with common ethical standards and easily became distracted with opportunities for various criminal activities.
Main article: Benedict's Ultimatum
After Tess gives Danny an account of her confrontation with Benedict, Danny gathers with the crew to review their expenses from the Bellagio Job's take and come up with ideas for how to go about paying back Benedict. Once in Amsterdam, Danny, Rusty, and Linus meet with Matsui, who promises them various commissions.
van der Woude Job
Main article: van der Woude Job
Fabergé Coronation Egg Contest
Main article: Fabergé Coronation Egg Contest
After The Night Fox hinders their employment Danny meets with and threatens him. The Night Fox, as Francois Toulour, proposes to Danny a contest in which they are to steal the Fabergé Coronation Egg, the victor of which will gain bragging rights for who is the better thief. Once Danny hears Toulour's offer for salvation, he immediately accepts it. Danny successfully secures a method to win by meeting with Gaspar LeMarc, who gives him legitimate details about the egg's transportation. After pretending to fall prey to Toulour's sabotage, Danny and Tess surprise Toulour at his mansion to give him the news of his defeat.
Main article: Bank Job
As Reuben goes through a midlife crisis, Danny tries to dissuade him from the risky business move of partnering with Willy Bank. As a result of partnering anyway, Reuben eventually suffers a myocardial infarction, so Danny and the crew gather to discuss options for retribution against Bank. Adhering to a common code of etiquette, Danny visits Bank to offer him a Billy Martin. When Bank declines, Danny and the crew go about determining the plan for revenge.
He visits a kid named Eugene and pays him a hundred grand to rig certain slots machines. He and Rusty hire a guy to help them figure out an innovative method to cheat at roulette tables. When the roulette test fails they leave their test subject behind and seek a different method.
As the plan becomes stalled, he and Rusty fly in consultant Roman Nagel to privately assess the job's potential and give advice and resources as needed. Once back on track, the crew continues their respective roles. The device for Nagel's exit plan fails before the crew can correctly position it, so Danny, Rusty, and Linus visit Benedict to request a loan for another device. With Bank's celebratory diamonds now in the plan, Danny and the crew discover how difficult procuring them will be. They present the news the Benedict, who originally proposed stealing the diamonds and continued to pressure the crew to steal them. As Benedict takes a more active role within the job, Danny helps him prepare to shill Bank at a gaming expo.
On the night of the Bank Hotel and Casino grand opening, Danny rides in with several whales, whose reservations he had taken, hinting by means of extortion or deception, from Bank's books earlier that day. In order to get the players back, Bank offers Danny a deal, which Danny accepts with no intention of upholding. With Bank's trust, Danny brings the whales to a large banquet area overlooking the center room of the casino. From there he surveys the action, communicating with the rest of the crew as the plan unfolds.
Just before the crew begins working the drill's portion of the plan, Danny brings the whales down to the tables. With the Greco shut down, he and Rusty activate the rigged gambling equipment and play the part of the lucky winners. Before Bank has a chance to recover from the first quake's effects, the second quake hits, and Danny rushes the whales near him out the emergency exits. As Bank watches in shock, Danny approaches him, remarks at Bank's losses, refutes Bank's threats, and just as the diamonds are extracted from the roof of the hotel he walks away in confidence. Some time later, Danny visits Benedict to explain why and how they tricked Toulour and what they did with Benedict's portion of the take.
Personality, appearance, and traits
Danny is a risk taker, being no stranger to a life of high stakes crime. Even though he has a lot of blind sides , he constantly sees opportunities for cons, having to resist the urge to commit to them. He is loyal and very protective of those close to him. He speaks convincingly , lightly, assertively, and confidently, even when under pressure to perform. Nagel describes him as having style and brio. For all of his pulled jobs, Danny has a great deal of foresight to overcome any changes affecting his plans and to be one step ahead of his targets.
He stands at above average height, with tan skin, and salt-and-pepper hair kept lightly combed over and short. His voice is bassy and somewhat monotone. He typically wears slacks with a sporting jacket to match, and a dress shirt with the top button undone.
In the film trailer for Ocean's 8, starring Sandra Bullock as Danny's estranged sister Debbie, it's revealed that Danny has apparently died sometime in 2018, when Debbie visits his gravesite.