This report presents a modem approach to the theoretical and experimental study of complex nonlinear behavior of a semiconductor laser with optical injection-an example of a widely applied and technologically relevant forced nonlinear oscillator. We show that the careful bifurcation analysis of a rate equation model yields (i) a deeper understanding of already studied physical phenomena, and (ii) the discovery of new dynamical effects, such as multipulse excitability. Different instabilities, cascades of bifurcations, multistability, and sudden chaotic transitions, which are often viewed as independent, are in fact logically connected into a consistent web of bifurcations via special points called organizing centers. This theoretical bifurcation analysis has predictive power, which manifests itself in good agreement with experimental measurements over a wide range of parameters and diversity of dynamics. While it is dealing with the specific system of an optically injected laser, our work constitutes the state-of-the-art in the understanding and modeling of a nonlinear physical system in general.