Overlooked mystery series boasts solid performances, captivating story
Creator: Rob Thomas
Starring: Kristen Bell, Percy Daggs III, Teddy Dunn, Jason Dohring
Studio information: Warner Home Video, 935 minutes on six discs
Special features: Deleted scenes, extended takes, gag reel
There are two mysteries at the center of Veronica Mars
. One is straightforward: who murdered Lilly Kane, Veronica’s best friend? The other involves the more complex question of how to put together the pieces of a life shattered by a series of events. In Veronica’s case, not only must she deal with the murder of her best friend, but also her loss of popularity at school due to her father, sheriff Keith Mars, who’s fired for his belief that Lilly’s father is responsible for her murder. As if this weren’t enough to cope with, Veronica’s mother leaves home unable to deal with the family’s new circumstances, and her boyfriend—Lilly’s brother Duncan—dumps her. All this is set up in the show’s first episode, and—as the series unfolds— Veronica slowly solves the murder—as well as the other weekly mysteries she elucidates for her friends and classmates—and she gains self-knowledge as she puts her life back together.
Kristen Bell uncannily portrays Veronica as simultaneously smart, vulnerable, tough and injured. The remaining cast is uniformly good, but Jason Dohring as Logan Echolls (Duncan’s best friend and Lilly’s former boyfriend) deserves special mention for the combination of cockiness and hurt he brings to his character. Creator Rob Thomas and his staff provide crisp, clever writing throughout the season, the supporting characters transcend typical function as mere plot devices, and guest stars are well-utilized. Paula Marshall (from Thomas’ previous TV series, Cupid) is a particularly welcome presence for several episodes. If you missed this show last season (given its ratings, you probably did), do yourself a favor and give it a shot. It’s a thematically compelling, stylistically coherent and fully realized 22 hours of television.