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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to <i>Veronica Mars</i>’ cast and characters

We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to Veronica Mars’ cast and characters

Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

It truly was a long time ago that we used to be friends with Veronica Mars—or at least accustomed to seeing the badass gumshoe on our television. The UPN show first premiered in 2004, and while it quickly became a critical favorite, the ratings never quite matched the fierce devotion it inspired in its fandom. Rob Thomas’ series about a smart and savvy high school girl who solved mysteries large and small managed to make the jump to freshman year of college (and a new WB-UPN merger of a network, The CW), but was canceled after its third season. Still, its cast and creator never lost faith there were stories left to tell, as Thomas and star Kristen Bell very publicly kept up a campaign of hope to continue their project in some form. And thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, they succeeded: The Veronica Mars movie delivered a new chapter in her story, nine years after the events of season three, as Veronica returned to her hometown of Neptune—with plenty of fan service and nostalgia.

But the show was always a densely plotted knot of stories, with a broad panoply of folks orbiting Veronica’s world, drawn from the seedy criminal underworld and wealthiest neighborhoods alike. Not only that, but Thomas followed up the movie with two novels that he considers canon to the Veronica Mars universe, meaning even fans of the show and film might not be fully up on where the major players and supporting characters are going into Hulu’s new fourth season. Below, we’ve assembled a guide of where the narrative of nearly everyone of importance left off at the end of that second book. You won’t find entries on the dearly departed (adieu Lily Kane, Lynn Echolls, Meg Manning, Gia Goodman, and others) or the major culprits of past crimes (Aaron Echolls, Beaver Casablancas, Mercer Hayes, etc.), as they’ve already come and gone. But don’t worry, marshmallows: It’s spoiler-free for the upcoming season.

Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

When we last left Veronica (on-screen), she’d given up the comfort of a life with Piz and a lucrative law career to move back to Neptune—to be with Logan and go back to the private investigator game. Since the movie, Veronica has gotten gun training, met her previously unknown half-brother, Hunter (though her mother, Lianne Mars/Reynolds/Scott, with whom she reconciles, remains the worst, even in sobriety), and moved in with Logan, who finally got her the pony she always wanted (read: a puppy named Pony). She’s also had a falling out with Weevil, thanks to the ex-biker’s hush-money participation in the coverup of the sheriff department’s corruption. But on the plus side, she reconnected with ex-boyfriend Leo (in a platonic, “detective team-up” sort of way), somewhat disappointed her father (by returning to this life and world), and continued to outsmart the corrupt sheriff’s department, even if it seems things are only getting worse in Neptune. [LaToya Ferguson]

Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

Turns out, being in a brutal car accident sucks just as much as you might suspect. After having a surreptitious meeting with Deputy Sacks violently cut short when the officer’s car is slammed into by an unknown driver, Keith Mars is critically injured (and Sacks killed), and the road to recovery is a long one. His recuperation from bed rest to once more being an active private investigator lasts nearly as long as the time it takes for him to come to terms with the fact that his daughter gave up her promising legal career in New York in order to once more delve into the seedy underbelly of Neptune as a detective. He may never fully embrace her choice, but he’s accepted it, and father and daughter are once more working together at Mars Investigations. But Keith hasn’t been quite the same after his injuries—the former sheriff now walks with a cane. [Alex McLevy]

Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

The spoiled, hotheaded son of a movie star, Logan Echolls initially comes across as the epitome of everything our heroine hates about Neptune High’s rich-kid elite. But there’s a softer side lurking beneath his brash exterior, and during Veronica’s season-long investigation into the murder of Lily Kane—who was dating Logan when she died—the antagonism between the two unexpectedly shades into attraction. Their subsequent, tumultuous relationship comes to a head in season three, after Veronica heads to college and begins seeing drippy nice guy Piz. But #TeamLogan would have their devotion rewarded years later with the Veronica Mars movie, when the now-adult sleuth returns to Neptune to clear her ex-squeeze, now a lieutenant in the Navy, of the murder of his pop-star girlfriend. Their love affair re-sparked, the two eventually move in together, with Logan even fulfilling Veronica’s childhood dream of owning a pony. (Admittedly, it’s just a puppy named Pony.) Whether these lovebirds can keep their relationship status to “on” may depend on Logan resisting the urge to clock somebody in the face—a tall order for any lifelong bad boy, reformed or no. [A.A. Dowd]

Wallace Fennel (Percy Daggs III)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

Duct-taped to a flagpole, new kid in school Wallace Fennel gets cut down only when its biggest outcast arrives, Veronica elbowing her way through gawking students to do the right thing and make a new friend in the process. And that was that. From there on out, Wallace was in Veronica’s corner, a friendship that even survived a romantic entanglement between their parents (He was also one of the only people she talked to about her rape.) It’s not just Wallace’s access to student files that makes him a great ally—though the files are helpful, and still within reach, even if it’s all more ethically sketchy now that Wallace is coaching JV basketball at Neptune High. But Watson—sorry, Wallace—is also one of the few people in Veronica’s life who calls her on her bullshit, an invaluable quality. Where Veronica goes, chaos tends to follow, and that’s not always great news for those in her immediate orbit, but it’s a price he’s always been more than willing to pay. After all, he’s the one who first called her a marshmallow. [Allison Shoemaker]

Eli “Weevil” Navarro (Francis Capra)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

Things were looking up for Weevil Navarro early in the Veronica Mars movie. After years of issues with the law—the price you pay when you lead your own high school motorcycle gang—things were finally all good. Married, with child, Weevil had even stopped riding motorcycles after his daughter’s birth. But after Weevil tried to help Celeste Kane after she was harassed by bikers, she shot him, and Dan Lamb’s sheriff’s department planted a gun to make it look like self-defense on Celeste’s end. So after re-learning the fundamental fact the Neptune criminal justice system would never work for him, Weevil went back to his old life as a PCHer. In Mr. Kiss & Tell, Weevil ends up being acquitted, but after taking Keith Mars’ advice to sue the sheriff’s department, he instead takes a payoff—even going on the news to downplay the corruption of the sheriff’s department, leading to a fallout between himself and Veronica. But at the same time, he’s chosen the route that will help him provide for his family in a far safer way than the biker lifestyle allowed. [LaToya Ferguson]

Dick Casablancas (Ryan Hansen)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

Let’s face it: Dick’s always been kind of a... well, dick. From his lowest lows (encouraging younger brother Beaver to have his way with an unconscious Veronica at a party) to rare moments of growth (apologizing to Mac for the way he treated her in high school), Dick has almost always maintained a devil-may-care attitude, give or take some bottoming out in college. But he’s been a constant companion of Logan Echolls since those days, living at home with the now-Navy lieutenant these past years while surviving on a steady diet of surfing and sun. With Logan gone so much (and coupled up with Veronica to boot), Dick is finally on his own—and he still likes to have a good time. [Alex McLevy]

Cliff McCormack (Daran Norris)

Public defender Cliff McCormack is simpatico with Veronica and Keith in ways that practically make him an honorary Mars: the rapier wit, the downtrodden clientele (“My name is Cliff, and I’ll be your ‘If you can’t afford an attorney” attorney), the ill repute among the Neptune elite. His willingness to participate in schemes that would put any real-world lawyer at risk of disbarment makes him an indispensable Mars Investigations associate, whether he’s doing monster-truck-rally schtick in a phony voiceover audition meant to draw out a delinquent ex-husband or posing as a reporter interviewing the purported witness to Lynn Echolls’ suicide. Cliff’s slick, but he’s loyal, and he remains a crucial ally after Veronica moves back to Neptune to head up the family business. [Erik Adams]

Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn)

Let’s all say it together: “Duncan Kane: He used to be my boyfriend.” The first of Veronica’s love interests was a sensitive boy-next-door type who also happened to be the son of a gazillionaire. But his sister Lilly’s murder, his own untreated depression, and the (incorrect) revelation that he and Veronica might be half-siblings put a hell of a damper on things. The circumstances surrounding Duncan’s exit are a little hard to summarize—the bus bombing, Meg Manning’s death, the subsequent birth of their child, her abusive parents, Vinnie Van Lowe, etc.—but it gave him a chance at peace that, as far as we know, was interrupted only briefly when he took out a hit on Lilly’s real murderer. Don’t expect him to turn up now. [Allison Shoemaker]

Cindy “Mac” MacKenzie (Tina Majorino)

If Wallace is Veronica’s Watson, Mac is her Q. The two become friends when they work together to figure out who posted a fake Purity Test score for Veronica (a test Mac herself created to wreak havoc among the 09ers), but Mac’s tech wizardry is perhaps her 100th most valuable quality. After surviving Neptune High, Hearst College, and that terrifying season two finale together, the pair finally team up on an official basis when Mac quits her cushy job at Kane Software to join P.I.s Mars and Mars at Mars Investigations—though she must have accrued a bunch of vacation time, because she won’t be appearing in season four. Too bad: She’s got a killer haircut now, too. [Allison Shoemaker]

Stosh “Piz” Piznarski (Chris Lowell)

Poor Stosh Piznarski. After spending years as the dedicated boyfriend of Veronica—moving in with her in New York City, loyally standing by her side through law school (and presumably paying the bills via his job at NPR)—she tossed him aside with barely a second thought when Logan re-entered the picture and she moved back to Neptune. One would assume that would be the end of the line for any future interactions with Piz—and who could blame him?—but the long-suffering ex-boyfriend will return in some capacity for the new season. [Alex McLevy]

Sheriff Dan Lamb (Jerry O’Connell)

Sheriff Don Lamb died in the line of duty, which is the kind of thing that gives you (and Veronica) mixed emotions. But that was not the end of the Lamb legacy in Neptune, as the movie revealed his younger brother, Dan (in all his Trip McNeely glory), had become sheriff. As such, Neptune became even more corrupt, ultimately leading to the death of Deputy Sacks (clearly an orchestrated hit) and the critical injuries of Keith Mars (collateral damage). Unlike his brother, Dan proved himself as more actively dangerous, gleefully turning a blind eye to a cartel, while also sharing his brother’s incapability of taking sexual assault seriously. In Mr. Kiss & Tell, it looks like he’ll run unopposed in the sheriff’s election… until General Marcia Langdon comes in and makes him look the fool he is, beating him and ushering in a new era. [LaToya Ferguson]

Leo D’Amato (Max Greenfield)

Illustration for article titled We used to be friends: A catch-up guide to iVeronica Mars/i’ cast and characters
Photo: Michael Desmond (Hulu)

Oh, marble-mouthed Deputy Leo. Yes, it was kind of weird a 20-year old cop was interested in a 17-year-old high school student, but Veronica Mars went out of its way to make it work. (Look, it did far more than Pretty Little Liars ever did, with a smaller age difference than the ones there.) While Leo had his ups and downs with the Neptune Sheriff’s Department, eventually, he became a detective with the San Diego Police Department. In Mr. Kiss & Tell, Veronica calls in Leo for back-up in the Grace Manning rape case—rightfully believing Dan Lamb wouldn’t properly do his job—and it seems like sparks might be rekindling. At least, on Veronica’s part; Leo mostly thinks Veronica should consider joining the force. [LaToya Ferguson]

Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino)

Neptune’s most disreputable private eye has never stopped doing what he does best: Trafficking in the seediest of the seedy when it comes to ways of turning a buck in the more questionably legal areas of his profession. When Veronica returned to Neptune, she found the detective profiting off the definitely criminal activity of planting hidden cameras on celebrities and selling the resulting footage to trashy gossip sites. Working out of his van, it looked as though he’d seen better days; still, he’s Mars Investigations’ main competition. [Alex McLevy]

Richard Casablancas Sr. (David Starzyk)

Richard Casablancas is far from father of the year material, even by Neptune standards. One of his sons, Dick Jr., truly earns his first name, while the other, Cassidy (or “Beaver”), turns out to be a mass murderer. But let it not be forgotten that he’s also an especially shady businessman, conning investors in his real-estate company out of millions—a scheme that Veronica naturally uncovers and which lands Casablancas in prison for a year. Last we see of him, he’s at least working on the bad-dad part, hoping to spend a few months with his surviving son, Dick, before heading to the slammer. There’s no official word, however, on what he’s done since getting out—including the state of his marriage to trophy wife Kendall, who he eventually learns was having an affair with Logan. [A.A. Dowd]

Liam Fitzpatrick (Rodney Rowland)

When the Fighting Fitzpatricks were introduced, they were a much-needed menace, considering the series’ previous motorcycle gang was composed of high schoolers. (Effective high schoolers, but high schoolers nonetheless.) Leading the charge was Liam Fitzpatrick, a psychopathic dirtbag who got off on intimidation and violence. Even the PCHers were afraid of them, and by the series’ end, Liam was responsible for Vinnie Van Lowe’s ultimately successful sheriff campaign (and in making Keith Mars, once again, look incompetent). But in Mr. Kiss & Tell, he’s not the intimidating hooligan he once was. In fact, the Fitzpatricks’ influence in Neptune is no longer what it was, because Liam spent the past decade dropping the dime on his underlings to stay out of prison. [LaToya Ferguson]

Clarence Wiedman (Christopher B. Duncan)

Is Clarence Wiedman a thorn in Veronica’s side, or just a guy with very particular skills that both line up and come into conflict with hers? The head of Kane Security has a knack for handling things, and using all those skills (and the Kane family’s considerable resources) to achieve the impossible. Need someone to track your son’s meddling girlfriend? He’s there. Need someone to bribe a patsy into taking the fall for your daughter’s murder? He’s your guy. Want to put out a hit on your sister’s murderer from the gorgeous Australian beach where you’re hanging out with your baby daughter? Clarence stands ready. He’s formidable solo. Teamed up with Veronica—a rare occurrence—and that doubles. [Allison Shoemaker]

Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret)

The stereotypes of the privileged ’09ers always had their best embodiment in shallow and petty Madison Sinclair, as opposite a personality to Veronica as it’s possible to have without serious psychological disturbances. But the 10-year class reunion proved Madison hadn’t grown at all; after screening Veronica’s sex tape, she finally earns herself a punch in the face from the P.I. Since then, she’s kept her distance from Veronica, and wants her family to, as well—Madison warned her father against even letting her nemesis in the building of his company. Basically, if she has a chance to make Veronica’s life worse, she will. [Alex McLevy]

Jake Kane (Kyle Secor)

Jake Kane may not be Lilly Kane’s murderer—a rare instance of Keith Mars being dead wrong about something—but all the same, he sucks. The tech giant gets arrested at the end of season one, not for killing his daughter, but for covering up evidence he thought would convict his son. And lest you think that makes him a kind and loving father, watch almost any scene with the two of them, and feel the cruelty rolling off the screen in waves. In season three, he’s revealed to be a member of the nefarious secret society the Castle, another strike against him. At one point, he also has an affair with Lianne, Veronica’s mother, leading the Kanes to suspect that Veronica might be Jake’s daughter. But never fear: The answer to the question “Who’s your daddy?!” remains “Ew, gross, Dad,” and the dad in question is Keith Mars. [Allison Shoemaker]

Celeste Kane (Lisa Thornhill)

It’s pretty disturbing that someone could be compared to the odious Jake Kane and still earn the title of “worst Kane parent,” but Celeste is something special. The woman Veronica now refers to as “the richest divorcée in Southern California” was always a class elitist, looking down on those with family fortunes, but in the film she accidentally shoots Weevil, then works with the corrupt sheriff to make it look like self-defense. While Weevil was ultimately acquitted of all charges (thanks to Mars Investigations), Celeste Kane remains proof that the rich almost never get what’s coming to them. [Alex McLevy]

Lianne Scott/Mars/Reynolds (Corinne Bohrer)

You don’t see much of Lianne, Veronica’s troubled mother, in the first three seasons of Veronica Mars. She spends some of it in Arizona or on the road, some of it in rehab, some of it lying about being in rehab, and some of it—not much—with Veronica and Keith, the latter of whom she attempts to win back after hightailing it during the Jake Kane arrest debacle. She’s the instigator of one of the show’s most heartbreaking moments (“I bet on you, and I lost. I’ve been doing that my whole life. And I’m through”), but the second Veronica Mars novel reveals that she’s pulled her life together, and while there’s still plenty of drama involved, mother and daughter find a way to reconcile. [Allison Shoemaker]

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