"You know what they say: 'Veronica Mars: she's a marshmallow."
Veronica Mars had it all - her dad was sheriff, her parents were in love, she had a loving boyfriend, a fabulous best friend, and lived the fairytale life. Then it all fell apart with her boyfriend dumping her, best friend's murder, her father accusing a town hero of the crime and losing his job, Veronica being ostracized, her mother leaving, and Veronica being drugged and raped at an 09er party. Who knows what really happened? Well, she will. Soon.
Action Girl: While she's not as handy in a fight as most of the other characters, she can definitely hold her own. Helps that she has a taser.
Alone with the Psycho: With Aaron Echolls in the season one finale, Beaver/Cassidy in the Season 2 Finale and with Mercer and Moe in the conclusion of the first season 3 storyline. She once again ends up in this situation in the movie, this time with Lou Cobbler.
Character Tics: She tilts her head to the side when asking for a favor. Weevil humorously lampshades it, noting that as soon as she walked into the room, obviously to ask him for information, she "did that head tilt thing" and added a demure "hey".
Cool Loser: smart, pretty, formerly a cheerleader - and starts the series as a pariah at her high school. However, her backstory (best friend killed, father shunned by entire town) backstory makes it justified.
Damsel in Distress: Not often, but occassionally she gets in over her head and needs saving, particularly during finales/resolutions. However, she doesn't much care for it, and each time she's a little less helpless, culminating in the Hearst Rape resolution, where despite being drugged, she manages to fight off the rapists.
Defrosting Ice Queen: in the pilot she's balks at the idea of letting anyone (Wallace, in this case) get close to her. Her friendship chops get better over the following seasons.
Determinator: stubborn, headstrong, always willing to see things through.
Expository Hairstyle Change: hacks off her long hair after her ostracization and rape. Over the course of the series it grows out again, possibly signifying her overcoming the trauma.
Fallen Princess: was once a cheerleader and part of the popular crowd. Then it all went to hell.
Fatal Flaw: I Work Alone. From past experience Veronica knows Love Hurts, and prefers to keep people at arms' length—often justified by claiming she's protecting them. She takes after Keith in this regard, and sometimes this comes back around to bite them in the rear—such as when Keith is hired to investigate infidelity in the Dean's wife. Veronica knows for a fact that Mrs. The Dean is unfaithful—she's seen it with her own eyes—but because Keith names no names, he doesn't learn that the answer's under his (daughter's) nose until she independently connects the dots.
Intrepid Reporter: she's on the school newspaper, and one episode features a plot where she runs a sensational story against the sschool administration's wishes.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Veronica is manipulative, unpleasant, condescending, judgmental, constantly mistakes revenge for justice, and at times, very prideful. However, she genuinely wants to help people, uses her skills for good most of the time, and is extremely loyal to those close to her.
Meaningful Name: 'Veronica' means "true image", thus tying into her seeking the full picture
Missing Mom: her mom abandoned her pre-series due to blackmail, as revealed later.
Petite Pride: although apparently she was quite insecure about her small breasts as a freshman.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: as flashbacks show, she was the calm, reasonable one in her friendship with Lilly.
10-Minute Retirement: in the summer between seasons 1 and 2 Veronica gives up on sleuthing. She can't keep it up for long. As the movie reveals, she takes a much longer one - lasting 9 years - after the events of season 3.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Subverted. She loses her good qualities during the 3rd season, which is a major reason why the season was criticized. Thankfully, she reverts back to the Heart Of Gold side in the film.
Underestimating Badassery: The kids at Neptune High really have no excuse. The FBI does, but they still shouldn't. Sheriff Lamb, despite being a general moron, never underestimates her.
The former sheriff and Veronica's father, who lost his job and the town's respect after accusing Jake Kane, the most loved man in Neptune, of murdering his daughter Lilly. While the Lilly Kane murder case is officially closed, Keith, like Veronica, is dedicated to finding out the truth... and protecting his own daughter.
Back in the Saddle: Gets hired as a consultant for one episode to help Sheriff Lamb investigate a series of murders.
Beware the Nice Ones: he's a soft-spoken, genuinely nice guy - unless matters of justice or Veronica's well-being are concerned.
Big Damn Heroes: From time to time, Veronica will get in over her head, and he has ended up saving her life more than once.
Morality Pet: to Veronica; he starts her on the path to softening up and making friends, and doesn't hesitate to give her a What the Hell, Hero? speech when it's deserved.
New Transfer Student: in the pilot, which is why he's initially unaware of Veronica's unsavory reputation.
Duncan Kane (Teddy Dunn)
Veronica: One day, he just dumped me, with no warning...
Veronica's aloof ex-boyfriend, Logan's best friend, and Lilly's (slightly younger) brother. Stays distant from Veronica, yet is more civil to her than most 09ers. It is clearly shown he's hiding things from everyone... but what?
Insane Equals Violent: he has type 4 epilepsy, which often manifests itself in rage fits, which makes him a suspect in Lilly's murder. Ultimately partially subverted - he didn't kill Lilly, but he's still more prone to violence than he lets on.
Noble Male, Roguish Male: he's Noble (polite, well-spoken, a gentleman, a by-the-book boyfriend and a good student) to Logan's Roguish (hot-headed, snarky, prone to fighting and sleeping around).
Papa Wolf: To save his daughter from her abusive, religious grandparents, he kidnaps her and flees to Australia - abandoning his friends, relatives, and status in the process.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: he's mature and rational (blue) compared to manic Logan (red oni).
Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring)
Veronica: Every school has an obligatory psychotic jackass. He's ours.
Lilly's boyfriend when she died, Duncan's best friend, and ringleader of the "Treat Veronica Like Crap" brigade, whom he blames for Lilly's death. Suffers under the thumb of his famous, abusive father, gains respect and love for Veronica over the course of the series.
Alpha Brat: a well-connected bully who flashes his wealth every which way. Moreover, while he's fond of a good fight, he generally prefers snide putdowns and messing with people's heads to acts of physical aggression.
Desperately Craves Affection: his sucky home life means he finds comfort in friends and romantic relationships instead - which is why Lilly's murder and Veronica's "betrayal" came as a double blow to him.
Drowning His Sorrows: his relationship with alcohol definitely goes beyond "getting drunk at a party for fun". He even carries a flask to school for a Quick Nip.
Hearing that Veronica had caught him cheating by telling Lilly about his affair (true) and assuming that she was the one who murdered Lilly (not true) leads to him kicking Veronica out of his teen crowd.
A worse example occurs in the season 1 finale: Logan, held up at the police station as a suspect in Lilly's murder, calls Veronica for help. Cue Sheriff Lamb telling him Veronica was the one who accused him of murder in the first place.
Knight in Shining Armor: at his best, he's deeply protective of those he cares about. This is actually part of why he and Veronica are incompatible: she (claims she) doesn't need someone looking over her shoulder.
Enemy Mine: He teams up with Logan, whom he strongly dislikes, in season 2 to find the real killer of Felix Toombs within his own gang.
Friend to All Children: he's very sweet towards his younger relatives, and a proud father to a 3-year-old in the movie.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Underneath all the criminal behavior and the bad attitude, he's actually a pretty good guy. He has a soft spot for his grandmother, he's torn up over the fact that one of his fellow biker gang members was killed, and he even offers Veronica ride back home when she gets stranded on a school field trip, even though the two were fighting at the time.
Lovable Rogue: even after becoming Veronica's ally and friend, he's not above a theft or a fight.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: in the film, Weevil sees an SUV being harassed by a bunch of PC Hers on his way to pick up diapers for his kid. He knocks on the door to ask if the driver needs help and promptly gets shot by said driver...Celeste Kane. In the end she enlists the police to help make it look like he was the gang leader, including planting a stolen gun on Weevil.
Only Known by Their Nickname - At first. Towards the end of the 2nd season and predominately during the third season, he starts going more and more by Eli or Navarro, representing him walking away from his old life of crime.
Reformed Criminal: By the time the film rolls around, he's no longer involved in crime and he has a wife and kid.
Veronica's quirky, highly-skilled hacker friend, who she met trying to find out who posted false results on an internet "Purity Test" - a test Mac herself had designed. She has tendencies toward being slightly amoral, but cutely so.
Evil Counterpart: To Veronica. They were both raped and went through a lot of shit, but unlike him, she didn't take it out on other people. Also in intelligence. Cassidy is one of the few other characters to really outsmart Veronica. It's shown several times in "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang" when he hires her to tail Kendall, Cassidy takes one look at the photos she brings him and notices that the bags have switched and declares that it's not enough to prove she's cheating - then later, beats her in the fake stocks competition - minor things but good clues to later events.
Honey Trap: She pulls this stunt to clear Wallace's name.
Put on a Bus: decides to return to her mom and child and leaves Neptune.
Rags to Riches: she's Terrence's daughter from a one-night stand with a waitress, who gets the opportunity to live the perfect life for a while.
Meg Manning (Alona Tal)
"You have friends, Veronica."
1x08 Like A Virgin
An 09er girl who actually remained friendly to Veronica after the Lilly Kane case, and needs her help occasionally. Meg's kindness earns Veronica's hard-to-win trust, to the extent Veronica would believe cartoon birds braided Meg's hair.
Took a Level in Jerkass: in the first episode of season 2. At first it seems like she's jealous of Duncan getting back with Veronica, but later episodes reveal that she's pregnant with Duncan's baby and the ensuing stress really gets to her.
"My soul is doomed to walk the Earth until justice has been served... and as kind of a side project, I dispense fashion advice."
1x06 Return Of The Kane
Veronica's dead best friend and Duncan's older sister, whose murder starts the circumstances that start the show. Despite being dead, she often appears from Veronica's subconscious to offer advice on her murder.
Bi the Way: Or would have been in Vassar with her boyfriend's ex if she weren't murdered.
Expy: Of Laura Palmer. She's a teenage girl whose mysterious murder sparks off the plot of the series.
Fille Fatale: very sexually experienced, very seductive and had a fling with Aaron Echolls, among other things.
Missing White Woman Syndrome: Weevil mentions that shortly after her murder, a little girl from his neighborhood named Marisol Reyes disappeared, but she didn't warrant the same amount of media coverage or therapy sessions for the students. (The issue, of course, runs somewhat deeper - Lilly was the daughter of a local celebrity, and brutally murdered whereas Reyes simply disappeared).
Posthumous Character: She's dead before the series starts, and is only seen in flashbacks or present-day visions of the living characters.
Batman Gambit: Pulls a rather awesome one of these in "My Mother, the Fiend", using Veronica's fatal flaw (her addiction to investigating) to unearth the truth about a decades-old incident and oust the then-principal of the school.
Veronica: You read Machiavelli this summer, didn't you?
Reasonable Authority Figure: Though he does have to deal with Veronica more than he would like, most of the time he is portrayed as this.
Clemmons: I can't tell if my job will be easier or harder with you gone. Any advice in case I get another student like you? Veronica: Don't keep all your passwords taped to the bottom of your stapler. [Beat] And stay cool, Mr. C.
Madison Sinclair (Amanda Noret)
"Regular soda? Why don't you just fill the cup with lard?"
1x21 A Trip to the Dentist
A Neptune High student, and one of Veronica's main rivals.
Star-Crossed Lovers: he dated Molly Fitzpatrick, of the "Fighting Fitzpatricks" who were the main enemies of the PCHers.
Neptune Sheriff's Department
Sheriff Don Lamb (Michael Muhney)
"Why don't you go see the Wizard? Ask him for a little backbone."
Keith Mars' incompetent, cruel successor, famous for "catching" Lilly Kane's murderer. Quickly won Veronica's anger and distrust, given how he laughed her off when she tried to report her rape. He spends most of the series acting like a slimy bastard, and getting in the way of Keith and Veronica's investigations.
Police Are Useless: In the Back Story, he laughs at Veronica when she reports that she's been raped. Even when he's not an antagnoist, he is generally incompetent and more than a few of his men are corrupt.
Dick and Beaver's gold-digging stepmother, who spends time by seducing teenage boys such as Logan. She's smarter than she lets on though, and has mysterious ties to the "Fighting Fitzpatricks" - this girl's got a massive secret identity.
Bonnie and Clyde: She's involved in a romantic and professional relationship with notorious criminal Cormac Fitzpatrick.
Dead Person Impersonation: her real name is Priscilla Banks; she assumed the identity of a younger girl from her school who died in a car crash.
Wicked Stepmother: Subverted. This was theorized as a motive for the bus crash that nearly killed her stepsons Dick and Cassidy as well, but it was disproven.
Aaron Echolls (Harry Hamlin)
Aaron: We told your mom that we were all gonna get dressed up in costume as our favourite animal. You remember her animal?
Logan: Yeah, it was a mermaid.
Aaron: When she realized we played a trick on her, no one else had gotten dressed upÖ [fondly] she wore that costume around for the rest of the day anyway.
Logan: Yeah, I remember that day. On the way home I spilled a milkshake in the Beamer and you gave me a nosebleed.
1x13 Lord of The Bling
Logan's father, a famous actor, with an image as a wonderful family man - hiding the man who beats his son and cheats on his wife. Shows love for his family, but his extreme violence and cruelty overpowers it.
Abusive Parents: He routinely abuses his son - a trait that seems to run in the Echolls family, seeing that Aaron's father, too, used to beat him.
Karma Houdini: subverted - he gets acquitted at the trial, only to be assassinated by Clarence Weidman on Duncan's orders.
Narcissist: He watched his own movies, all the while commenting how attractive he is in them.
Daddy's Girl: she has no love for her stepmother, but adores Aaron who is nothing but gentle and supportive towards her - which is why she disbelieves Logan's stories of their father's abusive ways until she sees first-hand what he's capable of.
The Head of Security at Kane Software, whose job duties include a number of things not classified as legal.
Enemy Mine: He teams up with Veronica to investigate a murder in a season 2 episode.
Scary Black Man: Unusually for this trope, he's not powerfully built, but that desn't make him any less scary.
Vigilante Execution: He murders Lily Kane's killer Aaron Echolls (on Duncan's orders). He's also implied to have murdered the killer of Abel Koontz's daughter after tracking him down to Las Vegas.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: He murdered Aaron but left Kendall, who was showering in the next room, unharmed, there was an implication he murdered the man who killed Abel's daughter, and at the end of the series, he managed to get an order to kill Veronica overturned, though he did so without actually refusing the order. On the other hand, he did stalk Veronica, threaten her mother, and was willing to cover up for Duncan when it was thought he was Lilly's killer.
Woodrow "Woody" Goodman (Steve Guttenberg)
A powerful citizen of Neptune - owner of a burger joint and a professional baseball team, The Neptune Sharks. Becomes Mayor of Neptune in season 2.
Your Cheating Heart: He hooks up with his campaign manager. And molests young boys for a hobby.
Stosh "Piz" Piznarski (Chris Lowell)
"I think that's half of life, just knowing the difference."
3x10 Show Me The Monkey
Wallace's new roommate at Hearst, deeply into music, and has a blatant crush on Veronica - which she takes forever to notice.