Veronica Mars/Pilot

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Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate September 22, 2004
Production Number 475258
Written by Rob Thomas
Directed by Mark Piznarski

1x02 →
Credit Where Credit's Due
Veronica MarsSeason One

Pilot is the first episode of the first season of Veronica Mars. Veronica Mars' life comes crashing back to reality: her best friend's dead, her boyfriend broke up with her, her mom left her and her dad, she was raped at a party, and now she's a social outcast.

Starring: Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Percy Daggs III (Wallace Fennel), Teddy Dunn (Duncan Kane), Jason Dohring (Logan Echolls), Sydney Tamiia Poitier (Mallory Dent) (credit only), Francis Capra (Eli "Weevil" Navarro)

and Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars)

Guest Starring: Michael Muhney (Sheriff Don Lamb), Corinne Bohrer (Lianne Mars), Amanda Seyfried (Lilly Kane), Lisa Thornhill (Celeste Kane)

and Kyle Secor (Jake Kane)

Co-Starring: Daran Norris (Cliff McCormack), Brandon Hillock (Deputy Jerry Sacks), Brad Bufanda (Felix Toombs), Patrick Wolff (Hector Cortez), Tom McCafferty (Fireman Bill), Duane Daniels (Vice Principal Clemmons), Kirk Fogg (District Attorney), Benito Paje (Phuong), Randy Seidman (Clown), Ruth Stehle (Mrs. White), Linda Castro (Teacher #1), Jonathan Chesner (Corny), Mark Styles (Boy at Keyboard), Zac Henry (Mouth), Elvin Lai (Favorite Band Sucks T-Shirt), Nicole Monica (Dance Team Advisor), David E. Taylor (Steve), Seraina Jacqueline (Inga Olofson), Amber Ojeda (Cat in the Hat Raver), Chris Wiley (Band Dork), Heather Brittany (Pep Squadder), Joshua Levine (Pencil-Necked Geek), Annie Hinton (Judge), Scott Barry (Tony)

Uncredited: Gordo (Backup), Christian Clemenson (Abel Koontz)


Plot Overview

Poor Veronica Mars. She lost her boyfriend Duncan Kane, the son of software billionaire Jake Kane, who dumped her unceremoniously one day about nine months ago). She lost her best friend, Lilly Kane, (Duncan's sister who was murdered). She lost her mother, Lianne Mars (she walked out on the family after Veronica's father Keith, the local sheriff, accused Jake Kane of the murder, and was subsequently proven wrong and run out of office). She even lost her virginity (Veronica crashed a party at Shelly Pomroy's house where someone drugged and, presumably, raped her; the police ignored the crime because of her father's unpopularity, and she doesn't dare tell her father).

Now Veronica and her father make a living as private investigators, Keith handling the big jobs, and Veronica pitching in where she can with surveillance and research. She also has to deal with high school, where she's become a pariah with the rich kids after the fallout from the Lilly Kane murder, especially Logan Echolls, son of a movie star, Lilly Kane's ex-boyfriend, and an enormous annoyance to Veronica and her life.

The only kid who will have anything to do with Veronica is Wallace Fennel, the new kid whom Veronica saves from retribution from an angry Latino motorcycle gang (Wallace got a couple of them arrested for shoplifting). Veronica ends up helping clear the gang members' names and saving Wallace's ass, earning his eternal servitude as a reward. Logan is embarrassed in the process, but the rich kids' attempt at revenge is foiled by Weevil, the aforementioned gang's leader.

Meanwhile, Veronica, following her father's original suspect for the Lilly Kane murder on behalf of his adultery-suspecting wife, tails Jake to a seedy motel where he meets with an unseen person... a person who happens to be driving Lianne Mars' car. Intriguing!


Mystery of the Week

In high school, it is not so much a mystery as a conundrum, as Veronica attempts to get new friend Wallace off the hook with the biker gang. Wallace, who has a part time job at the local Sac-n-Pac, has inadvertently attracted their malice by alerting the sheriff's department of the presence of two of the bikers in the store, taking alcohol without payment. Sheriff Don Lamb's inept handling of the scene exposes Wallace to their ire, despite his attempts to retract the accusation, and Lamb walks away with proof from the in-store video camera. Wallace's punishment of being duct-taped naked to the school flagpole is a taster of what is threatened to come. Veronica manages to kill three birds with one stone when she sets up Logan, in retaliation for his tormenting her, with a bong in his locker. Once in the evidence room at the sheriff's department, the bong is remotely controlled to smoke and spark, leading to the arrival of the fire department. The fire chief, a friend to the Mars's, switches the video from the Sac-n-Pac with one Veronica has taken at the Seventh Veil which shows one of the deputies receiving sexual favors. When the bikers are in court, the video is shown, embarrassing Lamb and forcing the collapse of the case against the bikers. Wallace is forgiven, Logan is vengeful and Veronica makes an important ally of Weevil, the bikers' leader.

For Mars Investigations, Keith is engaged by Celeste Kane. Despite her contempt for both Keith and Veronica, she wants Keith to ascertain if her husband is having an affair. Keith, on the trail of a bail jumper, leaves it to Veronica to follow Jake. Veronica snaps him at the Camelot hotel, meeting a mysterious woman in the early hours. Once Keith sees the license plate number of the woman's car, he puts a stop to further investigation, to the puzzlement of his daughter until she discovers that the car belongs to her mother, Lianne.

Lawyer Cliff McCormack asks for Veronica's help with another matter - checking out the Seventh Veil and its means of keeping its liquor license. Veronica puts her discovery that the answer lies in corruption in the sheriff's department to good use.

Lilly Kane's Murder

The pilot sets up the basic facts. Lilly Kane, daughter of software billionaire Jake Kane and his wife Celeste, was Veronica's best friend and Duncan's sister. Logan Echolls was her boyfriend. On the day an excited Lilly told Veronica that she had a secret, "a good one," she was murdered, and her body was left by the side of the Kane family swimming pool. Abel Koontz, a disgruntled former employee of Jake's company, subsequently confessed to the killing, and shoes and a backpack belonging to Lilly were found on his houseboat. He sits on death row.

Keith Mars is not satisfied with the outcome and has an extensive file which shows that he continues to investigate. In this episode, he adds to that file the picture Veronica took of Lianne's car at the Camelot, from when Veronica tailed Jake. Veronica discovers the file.

Lianne Mars's Disappearance

According to Veronica, Lianne Mars could not face the loss of status and economic security that came with Keith's ouster from the office of Neptune's sheriff, and she abandoned Keith and Veronica one month later. Logan hints that Lianne was well known as something of a drinker.

Veronica discovers that her mother has returned to Neptune to meet Jake Kane in the middle of the night at the seedy Camelot hotel. This throws her original assumption as to her mother's motives into turmoil and she is determined to find out the truth.

Veronica's Rape

Having supported her father, Veronica was ostracized by her former friends, the sons and daughters of the rich in Neptune. Determined to hold her head high, she went to one their parties, taking place at the home of Shelly Pomroy. Duncan and Logan were there. The drink she found in her hand was spiked and Veronica woke in a bed the next morning without her panties. She had been raped. She had no memory of events after collapsing onto a lounger on the patio and was unable to persuade an unsympathetic Sheriff Lamb to investigate. To this day, she has no idea how or to whom she lost her virginity, but the night seems to be the basis of her wanton reputation.

Arc Advancement


  • In the past, Veronica was dumped by first love Duncan Kane, without explanation.
  • In the past, Veronica's best friend Lilly was murdered. Abel Koontz confessed to the crime and is on death row.
  • In the past, Keith Mars pursued Jake Kane for the murder of his daughter Lilly, a course which brought disaster to his family and led to their becoming social outcasts.
  • In the past, Veronica was drugged and raped by person or persons unknown at a party. It was not investigated and her father does not know.
  • In the past, Lianne Mars left her husband and daughter one month after Keith Mars was voted out of office as Sheriff of Neptune.
  • Wallace Fennel, a new kid in town, is humiliated by the local biker gang by being duct-taped naked to the school's flagpole. Veronica is the only one willing to cut him down and a friendship is formed.
  • Jake and Lianne meet at 1am at the Camelot hotel for reasons unknown. Veronica obtains the evidence when investigating Jake's alleged adultery on behalf of his wife Celeste.
  • Logan torments Veronica with the loss of Duncan and her mother. Veronica responds by putting a bong in his locker and alerting the school authorities. When Logan retaliates by breaking the headlights of Veronica's car, further vengeance is forestalled by the bikers, who come to Veronica's aid.
  • Weevil, leader of the local bike gang, agrees a deal with Veronica to stop harassing Wallace if she can get two of the members of his gang out of trouble. Veronica does and Weevil is indebted to her, a debt he repays by stopping Logan from inflicting further damage.
  • Veronica discovers that Keith is still investigating Lilly's murder, and that he believes that Lianne's reappearance is somehow connected. Keith lies to her and she determines to find out what really tore her family apart.


  • Veronica: She's not the girl she was. Veronica has developed a tough shell in response to the traumatic events in her life which have left her a loner and outcast. That shell nearly caused her to rebuff the hand of friendship offered by Wallace, but the marshmallow within had better sense. Helping her father in his private detective business has made her jaded as to the frailties of human nature. She more than stands up to abuse, she retaliates...hard. She is not above tampering with evidence or breaking into her father's safe to get what she wants. She loves her dad, but she won't let him protect her from truths. She's smart, she's quick-witted and she's a formidable opponent.
  • Wallace: After the worst possible start at a new school, Wallace is quick to recognize Veronica's worth, despite the things that he learns are said about her. He is perceptive enough to realize that there is much more to her than meets the eye. Wallace has the courage and decency to form his own judgment about the girl who rescued him, and offers friendship to the lonely Veronica.
  • Duncan: He is something of an enigma. As Veronica's boyfriend, he was perfect in her eyes and as the son of a billionaire, he is a natural member of the school's elite. But he dumped Veronica without explanation and appears to have done little or nothing to stop Veronica being treated like dirt by his friends, especially Logan. He pulls Logan off her half-heartedly and offers his former girlfriend no comfort, not even a glance. He was traumatized by the murder of his sister, in a nearly catatonic state the night she was found and he seems little livelier now.
  • Logan: "Every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass. He's ours." So says Veronica about the arrogant son of a movie star and once boyfriend of Lilly. Logan delights in taunting Veronica with vicious jibes, calculated to cause pain. When Veronica sets him up with the bong, he retaliates with violence to her car and the threat of more before he is stopped by Weevil. However, unlike most bullies, he is not a coward and despite repeated blows from Weevil, he refuses to apologize to Veronica.
  • Weevil: Local bad boy by inclination and situation, Weevil has no moral qualms about challenging first Wallace, and then Veronica with his gang by his side. He is threatening and sexist but nonetheless impressed when Veronica refuses to back down or fear him. When she offers him a deal, he accepts and ends up respecting her.
  • Keith: Keith is struggling as the single parent of a teenage daughter, but the facts of their life makes it necessary to give her more freedom, and to expose her to more of the harsher realities of life, than he would like. He knows Veronica misses her mother and is saddened by it, but isn't above lying to his daughter when he learns that Lianne was the mystery woman visited by Jake Kane at the Camelot. He is engaging and funny and loves his daughter to pieces and worries about her.
  • Lilly: The impact Lilly had on those around her still reverberates after her death. Alive, Lilly was vibrant and fun. Veronica, Duncan and Logan all loved her so much that a year after her death, they are still picking up the pieces.
  • Sheriff Lamb: Keith's successor as sheriff, Lamb is a poor replacement. His arrogant and unsympathetic handling of the crime at the Sac-n-Pac loses him the prime witness, who he then humiliates in front of the perpetrators and their friends. His response when Veronica reports her rape is cold and malicious. He even seems to take sadistic pleasure in it. His favorite catchphrase is to advise the weak, as he sees them, to go see the wizard. He needs to go see the wizard and ask him for a redeeming quality, because there was none to be found here.


The Show

  • In the original pilot, the show opened on Veronica carrying out surveillance on a cheating couple, cynically commenting on love. It wasn't present in the aired version on UPN but was included on the DVD version.
  • When Veronica walks down the street the morning after Shelly Pomroy's party, she should have passed her car and seen that someone had written insults on the front and back windows. The footage was shot but not used until episode 21 "A Trip to the Dentist."
  • There was talk of the show being on HBO and it was originally envisaged having a harder edge. This had to be changed when UPN picked it up. One scene they tried, but failed, to retain from the original was related to the bong. When Veronica gave Corny the drawing, Corny's excitement is evident. He wasn't being asked to make a bong in the shape of a cherub, he was being asked to make a bong in the shape of a man's penis. This is what Vice Principal Clemmons and Deputy Sacks were supposed to find in Logan's locker. When Logan confronted her at the beach, their dialogue was meant to be "Do you know what your little joke cost me?" "Well, I'm pretty sure you won't be getting your cock bong back." Kristen Bell has reportedly said that that was her favorite line in the pilot.
  • Logan's puka shell necklace was allegedly a response to network concerns that viewers would have difficulty telling Duncan and Logan apart.

The Music

  • "We Used To Be Friends" by the Dandy Warhols: The show's theme song, plays during the credits.
  • "Insincere Because I" by the Dandy Warhols: Plays during Veronica's flashback of when she was with Duncan and when he dumped her.
  • "Sitting On Top of the World" by Botany Boyz: Plays during Wallace's shift at the Sac-n-Pac.
  • "Just Another" by Peter Yorn: Veronica and Duncan's song, plays during Veronica's flashback to her sixteenth birthday.
  • "White Line (Don't Do It)" by Grandmaster Flash: Plays during the carwash.
  • "Give You More" by Taxi Doll: Plays as Veronica arrives at Shelly Pomroy's party.
  • "Girls" by Death In Vegas: Plays when the roofies affect Veronica at Shelly Pomroy's party.
  • "Bathroom Stall" by DAMe Lee: Plays as Logan taunts Veronica in the car park at Neptune High.
  • "Weak Become Heroes" by the Streets: Plays when Veronica gives Corny her drawing and as she prints off the photographs from the Camelot.
  • "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult: Plays as Keith cooks the steaks on the barbecue.
  • "Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba: Plays as Wallace and Veronica wait outside the sheriff's department for events to take their course.
  • "Atomic Girls" by the Wannabes: Plays when Veronica finds Wallace at the beach and gives him the video from the Sac-n-Pac.
  • "Butterflies" by David Garza: Plays as Veronica drives back to Mars Investigations.

Behind the Scenes

  • Jason Dohring and Teddy Dunn originally auditioned for the part secured by the other.
  • Creator Rob Thomas was responsible for the short-lived TV show Cupid.

Allusions and References

  • Neptune: The name of the town comes from Neptune, the Roman god of the sea. The trident, which appears on Neptune High School's seal, is the weapon that Neptune used and was notably famous for.
  • Go see the wizard: Lamb's favorite saying is based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, or possibly the film, The Wizard of Oz. In the story, Dorothy is told that the wizard can send her home. She travels the yellow brick road to reach him, picking up a scarecrow seeking a brain, a tin man seeking a heart, and a lion seeking courage on the way. Much like Lamb, the wizard proves to be a fraud, but each character learns that they had what they needed within themselves all the time.
  • Flo-Jo: Athlete Florence Griffith Joyner, who Wallace suggests Veronica reminds him of as she races up the stairs to witness Logan's locker search.
  • Smokey the barely legal: Fire chief Bill is playing on words when he greets Veronica. Smokey Bear is the mascot of the Forest Service. The "the" is popularly included following a hit song that added it to keep in rhythm.
  • My daddy took my T-Bird away. And you know what I won't be having? Fun, fun, fun.: Logan's summary of the lyrics of "Fun, Fun, Fun" by the Beach Boys.
  • The Outsiders; Sodapop: The Outsiders was a book and film about juvenile gangs and alienation. Sodapop was one of the characters, played by Rob Lowe.

Memorable Moments

  • An overhead shot shows Wallace duct-taped naked to the flagpole with the misspelled word "snich" painted on his chest.
  • Logan sits on Duncan's lap, rubbing his chest, taunting Veronica.
  • Veronica and Weevil banter - "So it's big, huh?" "Legendary." "Well let's see it. I mean if it's as big as you say, I'll be your girlfriend. We could go to prom together. What? What seems to be the problem? I'm on a schedule here, vato."
  • Cliff, on his preferences, "I make no apologies. I like this case, it's tawdry."
  • Lilly's body lies by the pool, a gaping wound on the side of her head.
  • "Quite a reputation I've got, huh? You wanna know how I lost my virginity? So do I."
  • Veronica reaches for her panties on the floor after waking up and realizing she has been raped. Tears caress her face.
  • Keith dances off screen in excitement at steak on the menu.
  • Veronica is humiliated by Lamb in his office when she reports the rape.
  • Veronica gives Lamb the finger gun in court, after humiliating him.
  • Logan stares down at Veronica, a crowbar behind his neck.
  • Weevil takes Logan down.

Worldwide airdates

First runs of Veronica Mars: Pilot around the world:

  • Sweden: SVT2, January 12, 2006, 8PM (CET)


  • Veronica (voiceover): This is my school. If you go here, your parents are either millionaires or your parents work for millionaires.
  • Veronica (voiceover): The only reason I was allowed past the velvet ropes was Duncan Kane. Son of software billionaire Jake Kane, he used to be my boyfriend. Then one day, with no warning, he ended things. And let's not forget Logan Echolls. His dad makes twenty million a picture. You probably own his action figure. Every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass. He's ours.
  • Veronica: Leave him alone.
Weevil: Sister, the only time I care what a woman has to say is, is when she's riding my big old hog but even then it's not so much words, just a bunch of oohs and aahs, you know?
Veronica: So it's big, huh?
Weevil: Legendary.
Veronica: Well let's see it. I mean if it's as big as you say, I'll be your girlfriend! We could go to prom together. What? What seems to be the problem? I'm on a schedule here, vato.
  • Lamb: You need to go see the wizard. And ask him for some guts.
  • Cliff: Your dad's out tracking down bail jumpers half the time and yet somehow all the cases that come in here still get handled. How is that?
Veronica: We're efficient.
  • Cliff: One of my clients, Loretta Cancun, dances at the Seventh Veil…
Veronica: Classy.
Cliff: These are my people, V. She was busted for vandalism, taking a baseball bat to the washing machine that stole her quarters at Suds'n'Duds.
Veronica: And Johnny Cochran was booked.
Cliff: I make no apologies. I like this case, it's tawdry.
  • Keith: How's school?
Veronica: If you think we're going talk about my school day and not the fact that Celeste Kane was in your office ten minutes ago, you're deluded.
  • Keith: When you go after Jake Kane, you take backup.
Veronica: I always do.
  • Veronica: God, Lilly, I see the Prozac's working.
Lilly: High on life, Veronica Mars. I've got a secret, a good one.
  • Veronica: Here's the deal. Leave that kid at school alone for a week and I'll make sure your boys walk.
Weevil: Why you care so much for that skinny negro anyway? Things I heard about you, he must really lay the pipe right, huh?
Veronica: Yeah, that's it.
  • Weevil: You get lonely out here remember, Weevil love you long time.
  • Veronica (voiceover): Quite a reputation I've got, huh? You wanna know how I lost my virginity? So do I.
  • Logan: Hey Ronnie. Hey, we've decided that we'd, uh, we'd rather surf than study today, you wanna come with? Duncan will promise to take his shirt off. Does that sweeten the pot? Does it make you horny? Hey DK, flex for your ex.
  • Corny: This is so twisted. I love it.
  • Keith: Who's your daddy?
Veronica: Ack. I hate it when you say that.
Keith: You know what, this is important. You remember this. I used to be cool!
Veronica: When?
Keith: '77. Trans Am, Blue Öyster Cult in the 8-track, a foxy stacked blond riding shotgun, racing for pink slips. Now wait a minute, I'm thinking of a Springsteen song. Scratch everything, I was never cool.
Veronica: I don't know which bothers me more, "foxy" or "stacked."
  • Keith: Twenty five hundred bucks. No sack dinners tonight. Tonight, we eat, like the lower middle class to which we aspire. Fire up the ‘bachie. Ya-pa-ba-pa-ba, bom-pa-da-bompa, ba-bop. For real, steaks.
  • Wallace: You know, we could get into a lot of trouble for this.
Veronica: Give it here.
Wallace: Wait. I'm gonna do it. I just thought one of us should state the obvious.
  • Bill: Well if it isn't Smokey the Barely Legal.
  • Lamb: Is there anyone in particular you'd like me to arrest or should I just round up the sons of the most important families in town? I've got not a shred of evidence to work with here but that really doesn't matter to your family, now does it. Ummm...look at this. She cries. I'll tell you what Veronica Mars, why don't you go see the wizard? Ask for a little backbone.
  • Wallace: I owe you big time.
Veronica: I had my own reasons for doing it, trust me.
Wallace: Oh no you don't. You really think I'm gonna let you get away with that? That might play with the masses. But underneath that angry young women shell, there's a slightly less angry young woman who's just dying to bake me something. You're a marshmallow, Veronica Mars, a twinkie.
  • Logan: Do you know what your little joke cost me?
Veronica: Well, I'm pretty sure you won't be getting your bong back.
Logan swings the crowbar and takes out a headlight. Veronica flinches. Logan grins and twirls the crowbar.
Logan: Wrong answer. Would you care to guess again?
Veronica: Clearly your sense of humor.
Logan takes out the other headlight.
Logan: Nope. You're usually so good at pop quizzes. No, the correct answer is my car. That's right. My daddy took my T-Bird away. And you know what I won't be having? Fun, fun, fun.
  • Felix: Hey yo. Is this O-Town any good? I mean my little sister likes it but you know, she likes ponies and juice boxes too.
  • Wallace: I suddenly feel like I'm in a scene from "The Outsiders."
Veronica: Be cool, Sodapop.
  • Weevil: My uncle has a body shop on the highway. If you come in, you know, I can make sure your body gets the full service treatment.
Veronica: Okay, now you apologise.
Weevil: I'm sorry, w-was that too dirty, ‘cause…
Veronica: Not to me dork. To him.
Weevil: Right. No.
Veronica: Fine. He has the only copy of the Sac-N-Pac video. Wallace, let's go decide what to do with it.
Weevil: Okay. Wait, wait, wait, look, look. I'm sorry man, umm, for, you know, taping you to the-the flagpole, I'm sorry.
Wallace: All right.
Weevil: Can I have the tape back now?
Wallace: Nope.
  • Veronica: I used to think I knew what tore our family apart. Now, I'm sure I don't. But I promise this: I will find out what really happened, and I will bring this family back together again. I'm sorry, is that mushy? Well, you know what they say. Veronica Mars, she's a marshmallow.