"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.
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.
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.
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.
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 didnd't kill Lilly, but he's still more prone to violence than he lets on.
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.
Interrupted Suicide: in the season 1 finale, although it could be argued he was just being his usual manic self and wasn't actually planning to jump off the bridge.
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.
Et Tu, Veronica?: 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.
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.
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, arguably (they were both raped and went through a lot of shit, but unlike him, she didn't take it out on other people.) also, arguably, 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.
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.
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).
Batman Gambit: Pulls a rather awesome one of these in "My Mother, the Fiend".
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.
"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: involved in a romantic and professional relationship with notorious criminal Cormac Fitzpatrick.
Wicked Stepmother: subverted. This was theorized as a motive for the bus crash, 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 up… [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 Father: 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.
Actor-Shared Background: At the beginning of his trial, Aaron Echolls states that he has been voted People Magazines Sexiest Man Alive in 1987. The actor playing Aaron, Harry Hamlin, has been voted Sexiest Man Alive in 1987.
Vigilante Execution: murders Aaron Echolls (on Duncan's orders). Also implied to have murdered the killer of Abel Koontz's daughter.
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.