At the start of season 1, Veronica, played by Kristen Bell, is a typical high school student ... well, not exactly. Her best friend was murdered, her dad (played by Enrico Colantoni) was kicked out as sheriff for investigating one of the wealthiest people in their town, and now she helps in her dad's PI business after school. In helping on her dad's cases, investigating her friend's murder, and solving cases for classmates at school, Veronica spends much of her time on surveillance, asking the teen leader of a local bike gang (played by Francis Capra) for favors, and sometimes getting thrown in jail. Not really your classic extra-curricular activities on most high-schoolers' resumes! The investigation of her best friend's murder, which was officially closed out by the police with the supposed culprit in prison, runs as a continual thread throughout the first season, though there is usually another case in each episode, often something a bit lighter brought to her by a classmate or a case her dad is working on. After the events surrounding the murder and her dad's public disgrace, Veronica is no longer welcomed by the wealthy, cool kids in her hometown of Neptune, CA. Now, her only close friend at school is Wallace, played by Percy Daggs III, plus she has a couple of on-again, off-again romantic relationships. Mostly, though, she's a loner with a sarcastic mouth that gets her into trouble and a dark undercurrent from all that she's been through. Season two also takes place in high school, season three takes place on a local college campus, and then there's a 10-year gap before Veronica returns to Neptune for season four.
We both absolutely loved this show! We are fans of Kristen Bell (we've also been watching The Good Place this past year and enjoyed her in House of Lies with Don Cheadle), and she's in top form here. The rest of the regular cast is just as good, and the writing is excellent. If the premise sounds a bit dark to you, well ... it is. Veronica's mom left, her best friend was murdered violently, and her dad was publicly disgraced, so there's good reason for her inner darkness. But this show also has plenty of humor, which we always appreciate to offset the darker moments. And while Veronica doesn't have many friends any more, her relationship with her father is very close and loving, with plenty of amusing banter between them. The underlying mystery plus the cases she solves in each episode provide plenty of suspense, action, and whodunit tension. We loved every moment of this show, through all four seasons and the movie, and were very sorry when it ended.
Veronica Mars is currently available with a subscription on Hulu and for purchase on Apple+ (though we had to rent the movie on Amazon for $2.99). You can also purchase episodes or seasons of the TV show on Amazon.
This trailer provides a preview of the first three seasons, with a teaser about the fourth, to give you a full idea of the arc of the series (without any spoilers):