Veronica Mars

Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot

10
Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Sep 22, 2004 on UPN
9.4
out of 10
User Rating
927 votes
48

EPISODE REVIEWS
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  • (RE-)VISITING HOURS HAVE BEGUN

    The Veronica Mars Season 1 Dossier: Episodes 1-8

    Set your time machines for 2004: We're taking a closer look at one of TV's most beloved cult series.

  • Episode Summary

    EDIT
    Veronica's junior year at Neptune High gets off to a rocky start as she is targeted by the P.C.H. Biker Gang for helping a snitch who later becomes one of her best friends.

    Meanwhile, her dad, Keith, forbids Veronica to investigate Jake Kane, a local billionaire and father of Duncan Kane, her ex-boyfriend. Ignoring his orders, she makes a shocking discovery about her family's past.moreless

    Who was the Episode MVP ?

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    SUBMIT REVIEW
    • Vernonica Mars Pilot

      8.4
      Besides "Supernatural," I've never watched anything on The CW, UPN, The WB or any other company that has resided on that channel. For the most part, I wanted nothing to do with the shows that aired their.. I'm sure there's plenty of "One Tree Hill" and "Gossip Girl" fans, but I'm not one of them. So, you can imagine my surprise when I learned about "Supernatural," "Smallville" and "Buffy" and how they all resided on this channel. Even more surprising is that Veronica Mars existed for three seasons here as well. Watching the Pilot episode, I'm surprised by how quirky, dark and intriguing it is. For an early Kristen Bell role, a high school noir and a teenage-orientated show, the pilot is an impressive piece of work by the future creator of "Party Down." I did have some issues with it, but for the most part, I can see this being something I'd want to watch.



      My main problem with the show is also, to some weird extent, what makes the show work as well as it does. I'm not sure how I feel about the rapid pace of the writing, how it jumps from one thing to the next with only Veronica's narration holding it together. We learn right off the bat that Veronica Mars is a student at Neptune High School, where status and money is the most important thing, and if you're not rich, you're low on the totem pole. However, Veronica's father was the former sheriff turned gumshoe detective, so she gets some leniency. But we learn right from the start that she's not a normal teenage girl. She helps a new kid named Wallace who's being bullied, does favors for her father's old friends and even investigates cases herself. She, in other words, does things way outside of what she should be doing as a seventeen year old.



      If the show were just about Veronica Mars growing up in a town with her detective father, it would be interesting enough, I suppose. Kristen Bell is a strong actress in the role, and the supporting cast seems like the type that you could grow to like. However, Rob Thomas (the creator) bashes us over the head with plot point after plot point: Veronicas mother disappeared a few years ago without a trace, Veronica used to date Duncan Kane, a popular boy at school, before they broke up and before his sister, one of Veronica's best friends died. Veronica was raped at a party by somebody who roofied her and she can't remember what happened. Veronica deals with bullies. There's just a lot going on here that could've perhaps been spread out a little bit throughout the first season instead of the first episode. As I said, the fast pace also benefit's the pilot overall; I thought it was fun to watch Veronica juggle all of these things, and the voiceover, for the most part, works. I just wish it didn't feel so cluttered. There were times, I admit, where I was feeling like I wanted the show to just slow down and let me absorb what was happening.



      But the pilot gives us a good solid starting point. I still don't know what to think of some of these supporting characters… the Kane family seems like a strange group, so it should be cool to see more of them, but Logan seems like a giant jerk and that Weevil character who rides the motorcycle seems like one second he could be a dangerous man and the next second, he could be Veronica's good friend. I guess time will tell what kind of a character he is. For now, I'm willing to go along with everything and see how it unfolds.moreless
    • Good start

      8.5
      This was an excellent pilot episode. Just enough back story to catch you up but not too much as to bog it down. A little dark for your average Nancy Drew fan as you have Veronica getting roofied and raped, her mother is suspected of being an alcoholic and abandonment, her best friend murdered, and biker gangs. But it all seems like an average day in the life of this not so average teenager. I just started watching the show and I think I will continue on to see where it goes. I think it is slightly brilliant to run a season long story arc.moreless
    • Introducing Veronica Mars, and does it in-depth

      9.5
      Rarely ever does a pilot dare to touch on so much of the basic of the main character as in Veronica Mars, and even rarer is it as sucsessful doing so.



      Not only does the pilot offer the beginning of the Lily Kane murder investegation as the main plot, but it manage to tell us alot about Veronica Mars in this regular lenght episode.



      We get to see her interaction with her father(a very important part of the show), we get sassy and rough Veronica dealing with the sub-plot of helping Wallace, a more vulnerable VM as we get to know glimses of how she lost her virginity and we get to see a bit of Kristen Bell's talent as her face tells a long story at the end when she's hurt of a lie told by her father, while still loving him.



      There's alot of other smaller or bigger glimses of what's to come, and there's no doubt Rob Thomas knew exactly what he was looking to create during the first season. In many ways did Veronica Mars do exactly the same Lost have got so much aknowledge for doing. They had the plot down from the start, and never doubted their ability to deliver. A shame Veronica Mars, unlike Lost, haven't got the praise and audience they deserved.moreless
    • A memorable introduction.

      10
      Now I don't know about most people but I find that many of the shows I watch, I forget much of what happens in the first episode or so. However with Veronica Mars it doesn't matter how many episodes I watch or how long I go without watching it that first episode always remains lodged in my mind. Almost everyone I know who has watched it says the same thing, it sticks in your head and weedles away until you feel like you must know more.

      It never fails to amaze me the simplicity and the brillence behind the first episode but it truely is amazing. The episode introduces several problems that you feel like you need to solve which makes you feel inclined to watch more. A fantastic first episode.moreless
    • Brilliant set up for an amazing series...

      10
      Veronica Mars was one of the smartest shows to air on television. The writing is fast paced, witty and sharp and I've rarely seen as talented a cast. If your attention is drawn away from the episode for even a minute, it is almost guaranteed you will miss a plot point, important dialogue or flashback. It's heartbreaking that a show with so many talented people attached to it has been cancelled. But, luckily, thanks to the DVD, the show lives on. If you have any doubt, just watch this pilot.



      In the first 20 minutes alone, we learn that Veronica is a high school student, works for her father's private eye office, lives in a town with no middle class, and used to be part of the privileged group. Now she is a smart mouthed outcast with an undeserved reputation. We learn that Veronica's boyfriend broke up with her for unexplained reasons, her best friend Lilly was murdered and it was national news. Because her dad was portrayed as the bumbling sheriff who went after the wrong man, Veronica lost all her friends and her mother. The local biker gang and the current sheriff are introduced. We see Veronica cut down the new kid, Wallace, from a flagpole and develop her first friendship in quite a while. I cannot type as fast as the episode progresses.



      But, the brilliance of this episode and the series is not just amount of story packed into 42 minutes. As viewers, we have a season long mystery arc to try and solve along with Veronica, as well as her "everyday" cases. The characters are real and genuine and remain true to themselves. Veronica's relationship with her dad is, perhaps, one of the best parts of the show. This is apparent, even in this first episode. One could not hope for a better set up for the series. I just watched it again as a loyal fan, but I remember watching it for the first time like it was yesterday. If you are thinking about watching the DVDs for the first time, do it. If you are already a fan, this episode is worth a second, third or fourth viewing.moreless
    Kirk Fogg

    Kirk Fogg

    District Attorney

    Guest Star

    Benito Paje

    Benito Paje

    Phuong

    Guest Star

    Randy Seidman

    Randy Seidman

    Clown

    Guest Star

    Michael Muhney

    Michael Muhney

    Sheriff Don Lamb

    Recurring Role

    Corinne Bohrer

    Corinne Bohrer

    Lianne Mars

    Recurring Role

    Amanda Seyfried

    Amanda Seyfried

    Lilly Kane

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

    FILTER BY TYPE

    • TRIVIA (7)

      • Veronica's Le Baron plates are 6BLA504.
        Mars Investigation's phone number are 555-0137.

      • Veronica's dog in this pilot is different from the one seen in the series. This one is a brown and white American Bulldog, while the later one is a brown American Pit Bull Terrier. When the show got picked up, they decided to recast Backup. This was done to avoid dealing with Backup One's dog trainer, as their lack of preparation for the pilot shoots delayed production a lot.

      • Text of the note from Veronica's mother:
        Veronica,
        I have to leave for awhile.
        I'll be back for you someday.
        Love Always,
        Mom

      • When Keith is bending over Lily's body, you see Veronica's arm appear on the right side of the screen and then fly up to her face. The next shot is of Veronica running and coming to a stop, seeing Lily's body, and covering her face with her hands in shock.

      • The laptop used by Veronica in this episode changes from scene to scene and even between shots within a single scene. In the scene where Veronica zooms into the photo of her mother's car, it's a Dell computer as the lid or the sides of the laptop are visible. However, as the keyboard and the screen is shown, it's clearly an Apple PowerBook.

        The Dell is also used in the scene where Celeste Kane visits Mars Investigations and the Apple can be seen when Veronica first downloads the photos taken at the Camelot motel from her camera.

      • The word "snitch" written on the duct tape on Wallace's chest was actually misspelled--it read "snich." According to the pilot script posted on creator Rob Thomas' website, this mistake is intentional.

      • The Mars' apartment was different in the pilot to how it would appear subsequently. The front door, size and layout of the apartment change. In the pilot, the kitchen has a wall partition between it and the lounge area which disappears later.

    • QUOTES (27)

      • Keith: And Veronica, when you go after Jake Kane, you take Backup.

      • 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 Johnnie Cochran was booked?
        Cliff: I make no apologies. I like this case. It's tawdry.

      • 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. (long pause) Then one day, with no warning, he ended things.

      • Logan: (to Veronica) So does your, uh, does your dad still think that Lilly's father did this? That's my girlfriend. Your friend. Duncan's sister. Your dad is destroying the Kane family. What's the matter with you people, huh? What's the matter with you?

      • Veronica: Did you take the case?
        Keith: Well, we need the money, Veronica.
        Veronica: Good, I would have been pissed if you hadn't.
        Keith: Well, I wouldn't have cared if you were.

      • Veronica: (to Wallace) Congratulations, Sport. In your short time here, you already managed to piss off the motorcycle gang and the local sheriff.

      • Cliff: I heard 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.

      • Veronica: (voiceover) Quite a reputation I've got, huh? You wanna know how I lost my virginity? So do I.

      • Keith: I nailed our bail jumper one hundred yards from Mexico... Twenty five hundred bucks. No sack dinners tonight. Tonight we eat, like the lower middle class to which we aspire. Fire up the 'bachie.

      • (Veronica Mars reports a crime to Sheriff Lamb)
        Lamb: I've got not a shred of evidence to work with here but that really doesn't matter to your family, now does it? 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.

      • Logan: Hey, Veronica Mars. Do you know what your little joke cost me?
        Veronica: Well, I'm pretty sure you won't be getting your bong back.
        Logan: (breaks right headlight of Veronica's car) Wrong answer. Would you care to guess again?
        Veronica: Clearly your sense of humor.
        Logan: (breaks left headlight of Veronica's car) 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.

      • Weevil: Sister, the only time I care what a woman has to say 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.
        Felix: Dude, Weevil, don't let Blondie talk to you like that!
        Veronica: Sounds like your buddy here wants to see it too.

      • Wallace: That might play with the masses, but underneath that angry young woman 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!

      • Clemmons: Veronica, why does trouble follow you around?

      • Veronica: (Voiceover) 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.

      • Wallace: Girl, you should hear what people say about you.
        Veronica: So then what are you doing sitting here?
        Wallace: You sat next to me.
        Veronica: This is my table.
        Wallace: And what a fine table it is. What do you suppose this is made of? (knocks on table) Oak?

      • Veronica: (voiceover) This is my school. If you go here, your parents are either millionaires, or work for millionaires. Neptune, California, a town without the middle class. If you're in the second group, you get a job. Fast food, movie theaters, mini marts. Or you could be me. My after school job means tailing philandering spouses or investigating false injury claims.

      • Logan: Hey, Ronnie. Hey, we've decided that 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 that make you horny? Hey, D.K., flex for your ex.
        Duncan: Shut up, Logan.

      • 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.

      • Mrs. Murphy: (to a sleeping Veronica) Congratulations, you're my volunteer. Pope. An Essay on Man. Epistle I.
        Veronica: 'Hope springs eternal in the human breast. Man never is, but always to be blest: the soul, uneasy and confined from home, rests and expatiates in a life to come.'
        Mrs. Murphy: And what do you suppose Pope meant by that?
        Veronica: Life's a bitch until you die.

      • 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.

      • Veronica: God, Lilly, I see the Prozac's working.
        Lilly: High on life, Veronica Mars. I've got a secret. A good one.

      • Wallace: I suddenly feel like I'm in a scene from The Outsiders.
        Veronica: Be cool, Sodapop.

      • Keith: Who's your daddy?
        Veronica: I hate it when you say that.

      • Keith: (eating Mac & Cheese) Say what you want about real cheese, but I am a fan of the orange powder packet stuff.

      • Lamb: (to Wallace) You need to go see the Wizard. Ask him for some guts.

      • Veronica: (Cutting Wallace down from the flagpole) You're new here, huh? Welcome to Neptune High. Go Pirates!

    • NOTES (8)

      • Although Amanda Seyfried originally auditioned for the role of Veronica, she ended up reading for the role of Lilly Kane. Rob Thomas called her "the biggest surprise of the year," saying she was 100 times better than anyone else who read for the role. He was so impressed that he wrote her character into the show more than he had originally planned.

      • In the original pilot script, there were some name changes:
        Lilly's name was Samantha
        Lianne's name was Rebecca, then Abbie
        Wallace's last name was Collier
        Logan's last name was Hewitt
        The Kanes' last name was Cain, then Caine.

      • When Veronica develops the pictures she took of Jake Kane at the Camelot, she prints one off. In the picture, the actor playing Jake is not Kyle Secor. Kyle Secor wasn't originally in the pilot because of the expenses, but when the show was picked up they re-shot most of the scenes with Mr. Secor for the aired version.

      • The theme song to Veronica Mars is "We Used To Be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols, which can be found on their album Welcome to the Monkey House.

      • The pilot originally had a different opening (which can be seen in the Season 1 DVDs), which Rob Thomas much preferred but the network found too dark. The network asked Thomas to write an opening the way they wanted, so they could screen test both. He tried to sabotage it by filling it with intentionally cheesy lines like "and that's when my private detective senses got the better of me." The plan backfired when the cheesy version tested better and that script was sent to the L.A. Times for review, where one writer praised the show but singled out the opening voice-over for criticism.
        The offending lines were removed before the episode was actually shot.

      • The bong that was planted in Logan's locker was originally going to be a penis-shaped one. Kristen Bell has said that her favorite line in the original pilot script was:
        Logan: You know what your little stunt cost me?
        Veronica: Well, I'm pretty sure you won't be getting your cock bong back.

      • Music:

        "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult
        "Sittin' On Top Of The World" by Botany Boyz
        "Bathroom Stall" by Dame Lee
        "Butterflies" by David Garza
        "Girls" by Death in Vegas
        "White Lines (Don't Do It)" by Grandmaster Flash
        "Pata Pata" by Miriam Makeba
        "Just Another" by Pete Yorn
        "Give You More" by Taxi Doll
        "Insincere Because I" by The Dandy Warhols
        "Weak Become Heroes" by The Streets
        "What You Want" by The Wayouts
        "Atomic Girl" by Wannabes
        "All You Need Is Love" music box instrumental, originally performed by The Beatles

      • Special premiere on a Wednesday night. Aired at 9pm ET.

    • ALLUSIONS (11)

      • Company name: The Seventh Veil
        The creative keeper of liquor license is named after the origin of the modern striptease, the 'Dance of the Seven Veils'. Depending on whom you believe, it might origin from the biblical tale of John the Baptist's execution, or from the Assyrian and Babylonian myth about Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, love, war and sex whom removed one veil for each of the seven gates she passed through to get to the underworld, until she arrived naked. There's several other counterparts to the latter as well. In western culture the 'Dance of the Seven Veils' was popularized in Oscar Wilde's 1893 play Salome.

      • Keith: It's up and at'em, Atom Ant.
        A reference to the Hanna-Barbera character 'Atom Ant', who was a cartoon ant and a superhero, often helping the police with their work. He first appeared in The Atom Ant Show in 1965.

      • Weevil: Weevil love you long time.
        Allusion to Full Metal Jacket where the Vietnamese hookers tell the American men "me love you, long time".

      • Company name: The Camelot Motel
        Camelot is the legendary court and castle of Arthurian Legend, from which King Arthur and Queen Guinevere ruled England. It was also the home of the Knights of the Round Table.

      • Character names: Kane & Abel Koontz
        The surname went from 'Cain' in creator Rob Thomas' original project notes, to 'Caine' in the original script, and ended up as 'Kane' when the show was picked up because there were real people who had those pitched surnames and first names. The name 'Kane' is indelibly associated with the Orson Welles masterpiece, Citizen Kane. 'Charles Foster Kane' happened to be just as rich as 'Jake Kane', and William Randolph Hearst, the real life person Citizen Kane was based on, lived on the seaside estate San Simeon. In the Hebrew Bible, Cain and Abel are two sons of Adam and Eve. All three variants of the surname Thomas' used, are variations on the one from the Bibles. While the Jewish traditions and Greek New Testament have somewhat different interpretations, they all have in common the story of Cain and Abel. It should be noted the 'Abel Koontz' character appear from the beginning with that name in Rob Thomas' notes. The surname Koontz might be a homage to influential writer Dean Koontz.

      • School name: Neptune High School
        Neptune was the Roman god of sea and water. His weapon of choice was the trident which appears on Neptune High's school seal.

      • Fireman: Well, if it isn't Smokey the barely legal.
        Reference to Smokey the Bear, an animated brown bear who has been the spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service's campaign against forest fires since 1944.

      • Weevil: All right, one week. After that, we come for you, your boy, and your little dog too.
        'Weevil' might have spent a little too much time being questioned by 'Sheriff Lamb', as his "and your dog too" ending is channeled from his referral favorite, The Wizard of Oz. Specifically the 1939 MGM movie classic starring Judy Garland, where 'The Wicked Witch of the West' tells 'Dorothy', "I'll get you my pretty, and your little dog too.".

      • Logan: My daddy took my T-bird away, and you know what I won't be having? Fun, fun, fun.

        This is a reference to the popular Beach Boys song, "Fun, Fun, Fun."

      • Veronica: Be cool, Sodapop.

        It's a reference to the S.E. Hinton book The Outsiders. Sodapop was one of the main characters along with his also oddly named brother Ponyboy. Sodapop was played by Rob Lowe in the movie version of The Outsiders.

      • Sheriff Lamb: You need to go see the Wizard. Ask for some guts.
        Referring to 'The Wizard of Oz', who gave the 'Lion' courage, the 'Tin Man' heart, the 'Scarecrow' brains, and sent 'Dorothy' home. 'Wallace' is recommended guts, but also 'Veronica' got the same reference from 'Sheriff Lamb' during the episode, when she reports rape and he responds; "Why don't you go see the Wizard. Ask for some backbone.".

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