I dont know if you were looking for pimp in the phone book and just stopped at P.I..... Keith Mars in "Kanes and Abel's"

Enrico Colantoni Interview
May 28th 2006


Last year , out of the blue, Enrico Colantoni emailed me. He'd seen my Enrico Colantoni Fan Site and, no doubt, his curiosity got the better of him. A few emails later, we had arranged to meet here in San Francisco for an interview.

I confess, until I actually saw him in the hotel lobby, I thought there was a chance I was being punked. But there he was: a living, breathing actor and all around nice guy. We were joined by my friend and photographer Seth Williams. He chimes in with an occasional question and he took all the great photos, which will get much bigger if you click on them. (We talked for quite a while, so only the Veronica Mars questions are on this page. For the Monk questions you can go here. To read the entire, mostly unedited, version of the interview, go here.)

Teresa: As the co-star of the series, do you get any control? Do you get input into the character?

Rico: Not really. Rob [Thomas] is pretty clear-minded. He knows what he wants. You know he’s already broken half the series, half the season for next season. What he is open to is problems that might come


up. Just a difficulty understanding the plot line or a history point or… but he won’t tell you who the killer is. He won’t tell you how much you know. He just sort of… it’s all on a need to know basis.

Teresa: So when did you find out who the killer was this season?

Rico: Oh, when I watched it.

Teresa: You didn’t know until then?

Rico: I read that last episode, got to the part where I died in a plane crash and I went I’m not going to read anymore, but then they said keep reading.

Teresa [to Seth] I don’t want to spoil it for you, but he doesn’t die.

Seth: Oh, right.

Teresa: But I won’t tell you who the killer is in case I can get you to watch it.


Rico: I was so surprised by it. It was very cool. I can’t talk about it if you’re going to see it.

Seth: Oh no, go ahead, guys. It doesn’t mean… Sometimes the information doesn’t always reach the end point when I start watching it anyways.

Rico: Right. You’re on auto-pilot, too.

Teresa: For some reason with Monk, I get spoilers all the time and find out what’s going to happen before it happens.

Rico: Oh, you do? Oh, nice.

Teresa: With Veronica Mars I try to avoid it entirely, because it really would kind of spoil the show for me.

Seth: It’s like Twin Peaks?

Rico: Yeah, the whole season is around a big mystery.

Seth: Okay.

Rico: But what they’re going to do next year is have two or three big mysteries throughout the year. So they’ll be like a six or seven story plot line, a four story a four episode plot, instead of this…. in the past it’s been one big mystery.

Teresa: With the separate mysteries for each episode, right?

Rico: Yeah.

Teresa: Why do you think they decided to go that direction?

Rico: Just to spice it up. Make it a little more interesting. I think it’s hard to write 22 episodes having to keep including bits of information.

Teresa: And not just the 22 episodes, but he brought in the first season mysteries again.


Rico: All that stuff too.

Teresa: That was brilliant.

Rico: And that’s where you sort of look at Rob and say, “You know what you know better than me.” Because a lot of those things, they happen in the moment. You know, “Harry Hamlin we need you back for an episode.” Well, Harry says he doesn’t want to come back for anything less than four episodes. “Okay, well then we’re going to have to deal with that. We’re going to have to find another story line, it wasn’t what we were intending, but what a great idea.” You know so you’re working, you’re open to everybody and everybody’s collaborative input. That’s what makes him great.

Teresa: [Harry Hamlin’s] character’s resolution was great for the audience, too.

Rico: Wasn’t it so satisfying?

Teresa: Yes.

Rico: He was so smarmy. What a brilliant man though. I just love listening to him talk: a smart, smart man. Yeah, but when he died I didn’t lose any sleep. You can even tell in Keith’s reaction when he asked Veronica so how’s Logan taking the, you know, whatever and he’s sort of like, thank god, another one bites the dust.

Teresa: I think Logan was as relieved as everybody else.

Rico: Yeah, but Logan, oh boy, talk about the weight of the world.

Teresa: Do you want you’re TV daughter dating him?

Rico: You know what, he’s loyal and true.


Teresa: So how’s it feel to be surrounded by all the younger actors?

Rico: It’s really weird.

Teresa: Not use to that are you?

Rico: No, not at all. Because I have admiration for them, you know, their talent. So when they sort of look up to you and say, “What do you think of this?” I go, “Uh, I don’t know. I’m a kid too. I

don’t know.” And then I have to rewind and go, oh yeah, I’m papa. I’m a young papa, but I’m still papa compared to them. I’m like what George Segal was to me.

Teresa: See, that’s what I had down here. Do you feel like George Segal now?

Rico: In a lot of ways, but George has got the greatest stories in the world. George’s stories include, you know, everybody. So I’m like “George what was it like hanging out with you know Larry Olivier?” [He does a George Segal impression, something not too many people have in their repertoire.] “It was all right. It was quiet.” Wow! Good old George.

Teresa: He’s kind of youthful himself for his age, isn’t he?

Rico: Yes. And we’re born under the same astrological sign, so I hope and pray that I am as youthful and as happy as he is at his age.

Teresa: Do you think that at that age you’ll still be doing television? Do you think there will be television?

Rico: Yeah, no absolutely. It will be on little things like that, but TV’s great. TV is fun and it satisfies my blue collar work ethic. I get to go to work everyday. You know, movies would be great, but then there would be way to much time off in between.

Teresa: And you’d get nervous.

Rico: I’d get nervous. Even if the money’s in the bank it’s just…. I don’t know how anybody can just do one picture. Yeah, you make like 90 million dollars in that one picture, you don’t need to work, but my mind would rot. I need to go and dig my ditches. I need to go bang a nail every day. I need that and TV gives it to you. And I’ve been really fortunate because it’s been one show after another show after another show. Even Hope and Gloria it was like 35 episodes it was like a year and a half of steady work. And now we’re going for three years on this thing.

Teresa: Are you surprised?

Rico: No. No, because we were we are truly the right show at the right time for the UPN and the CW. If we were on CBS or NBC we wouldn’t have lasted a season. We just wouldn’t have.

Teresa: You think you’re sort of a prestige project for them.

Rico: Yeaahhh. Oh yeah. That’s why that’s why we have that clout, the press and the loyal, loyal fan base, even if it’s a tight 4 Million.

[Try a loose 3 million.]


Teresa: But they’re there.

Rico: They are they’re so there.

Teresa: And organized.

Rico: And organized and that whole banner thing. That’s enough to make Dawn Ostroff go, I love this show as much as you guys do, she’s thinking, so yeah that’s all I need. You know, ten million people aren’t watching us, but you’ve got to weigh into account that it’s not on a big time network. Now the CW is going to cover like 97% of the market that UPN didn’t so….

Teresa: How much do you think UPN was, maybe 70?

Rico: Maybe 70% yeah.

Teresa: So that doesn’t give you a chance really to climb up in the ratings?

Rico: No, no, it doesn’t. Even in San Diego you couldn’t get UPN unless you had a certain cable subscription. So, that’s why I never watched it, because I couldn’t get it in my hotel room where I was staying. It’s like, “Look they don’t have UPN. What’s that about?”

Seth: They did that with the SCI FI Channel for a long time we couldn’t get that when they first started out.

Rico: Yeah, couldn’t get it.

Teresa: Yes, but UPN’s supposed to be a network.

Seth: Yeah exactly.

Teresa: Well, not anymore. So are they going to continue to film down in San Diego?


Rico: Oh, yeah. That’s the only chink in the armor, I think. If they could film in L.A. it would just be so wonderful. Everybody would be so happy.

Teresa: Well, now would be the perfect time to move up, because Veronica’s going to college now. You could change all the sets.

Rico: I understand, but it’s just, it’s still not a runaway hit.

Teresa: And it’s cheaper to do it in San Diego?

Rico: So much cheaper. They save I don’t know how many hundreds of thousands of dollars every episode just by filming it in San Diego. Like half a million dollars an episode they save.

Teresa: Wow. What do you think the CW will expect from Veronica Mars next year?

Rico: You know what? I think they’ll expect everything they’ve been expecting. Hold on to Gilmore Girls, because that’s really their flagship show, and if we do as well as them maybe even build on them, you know, especially in that key demo which they love so much that 18 to 34.

Teresa: They do get that demo though?

Rico: They sure do. Yeah.

Teresa: You mentioned before that you were directing a play. Is directing something you enjoy doing.

Rico: It is now, but not on television.

Teresa: Different?

Rico: Those guys are whips. They’re right brain oriented. You know what I mean? They’re just like [machine gun sound] efficient and organized and I’m like “What do you think of this?” and “How about that?” “Yeah, that’s good. We could do that.” And all the sudden there’d be a producer over my shoulder [tapping his watch] “You’re four set ups behind.” You know, it’s like I would just… I would lose it. But theater or a film when there’s time to nurture and watch things organically evolve, it’s great. It’s great.


Teresa: So is this the first play you’ve directed?

Rico: Yeah, my first play outside of an acting class.

Teresa: What’s it called?

Rico: Well, the theater company is the Echo Theater Company and every year they do a series of one acts and we commission playwrights that we’re quite fond of to write new one act plays. This year the theme was an outdoor park or a back yard. So we got eight playwrights who wrote variations on that theme. Mine was a seven minute piece called Hartshorne, which is about two extremely conservative teenagers who are looking to break out of their restrictions and they become Satanists. So they decapitate their dog. And it starts right at the end of the decapitation where they’re going: “What did we just do?” “What happened?” “This is for Satan.” “Oh right, okay.” Because, you know, it’s very funny and very dark and it’s exactly what I like.

Teresa: Funny and dark?

Rico: Dark and funny. Dark and funny. Dark and funny.

Teresa: Veronica Mars has a little of that too.

Rico: It really does, right? Especially that pilot, I really liked that pilot. In the original pilot it was so much darker and seedier. I mean the opening shot in the original pilot, before we changed it, was her taking pictures of a john in a motel room. And then the episode they showed she was like in school in a classroom, but that opening shot in the beginning it was like, ooh my God, Then where they live is just so clearly on the other side of the tracks, where the pool was just dirty and it was just like a small apartment and that’s where they lived. Les Moonves says, “We can’t have that. We’ve gotta feel like she’s taken care of. Like her father can take care of her.” Suddenly we went up the social ladder a little bit.


Teresa: There are still lines in the earlier scripts that give the impression that they’re living in a little more poverty than it appears they are.

Rico: Yeah, yeah. Because the exteriors of that apartment building is in Pacific Beach and it’s beautiful and very expensive. It’s right on the water.

Teresa: There aren’t a lot of really cheap apartments in that area.

Rico: No, there aren’t.

Teresa: Do you think having been the TV father of a TV teenager that you’re going to be better at being a father to your own daughter when she gets to be that age?

Rico: Yes, because I feel that who I am I sort of lend to Keith. I don’t think he was necessarily written that way, but I love Kristin and I respect her and I love my kids and I want to respect them. So it does give me an opportunity to sort of see how it feels. You look at a daughter and know that she’s like doing things you don’t really want to know and you give her enough rope to hang herself and you know that you’re going to be there when she needs you. That’s the only thing I can hope for as a dad that when they are in trouble that they’ll come to me. Not to stop them from getting into trouble, I just don’t want them to hide it. I want them to be able to come to me when they fuck up.

Seth: Not to fear to come to you?

Rico: Not to fear to come to me, right. That would be the greatest achievement I could hope for as a dad.

Teresa: I think some of the best scenes in Veronica Mars are the ones when he has those discussions with her.

Rico: Right, I love those scenes. When I get to work with her it’s usually in a chunk. It’s like a whole day, because we do all the interiors at the Mars apartment and the Mars investigation stuff all in one day. It’s great, it’s great. It’s like home. And then there are those odd days when we’re on location and I’m working with somebody that I’ve never met and it’s like uhhhhh.


Teresa: It’s not as easy cold like that?

Rico: Not as easy and it’s cold and you gotta like you know jump out of window and stuff.

Teresa: They made you do that yourself? Didn’t they have a stunt guy for that?


Rico: Oh, for sure. It was like, “Cut!” “Oh, thank God. Doo Doo Doo,” coat over my shoulders. “All right, action!” [Imitates breaking glass.] “Great.” [Claps.] “Good job, Rico.” I love it when they pat me on the back.

Teresa: After the stunt guy’s done the work.

Rico: “Thanks, thanks. Good job, Rico.” “Shut up.” Rod [Rowland], the guy who plays Liam Fitzpatrick…

I actually saw the one episode where he was about to beat the shit out of Veronica. Remember that one?

Teresa: Yes.

Rico: And I thought, who is that guy? He’s so intense and so mean. Oh fuck. And then when I realized I had to fight him I go, “Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?” And I’m in the dressing room and I see him and I go, “Uh oh.” And he looks at me and he goes, “Do you remember me?” I go, “I don’t know.” “I’m Robbie from New York” “Robbie? That skinny little fuck back in New York.” He goes, “Yeah, I bulked up a little bit.”

It turns out I’ve known him way back in New York. We used to hang out all the time in New York and what a joy it is to have that connection with somebody that you’re supposed to hate. I’m not one of those actors who needs to hate somebody, you know, to hate them. I need to really feel safe with them. I really need to trust them and then we can we can get up and say, “Hey thanks, bro. Thanks for holding me up. Thanks for making eye contact with me. Thanks for keeping it safe.” Thank God, cause that’s intense when you’ve got to fight somebody.

Teresa: I’m sure it made it easier for him to do that, too.

Rico: Yeah, but he could do that anyway. He’s that kind of actor. He’s all [panting]: “Arrr I hate you.” And I’m laughing. “Action! Cut!”

Rico signs a few autographs for me.

Read what Rico said about his guest starring role on Monk!

Read the whole damn interview!

Thanks to Forrest Prull for all his help setting this up.

Old News on Veronica Mars
Please see the main site for new news

Excerpt from The Salt Lake City Weekly
Veronica Mars
Tuesday, Oct. 3 2006 (The CW)

Season Premiere: After surviving two seasons on UPN being watched more by critics than actual people (once again, critics are not people, they’re scum—and I oughta know), the 26-year-old “teen” detective lands at The CW with a Get Ratings or Die! edict. That said, the Season 3 premiere effectively pulls off the trick of offering as much for newbies to latch onto (sparkling, fluid dialogue and viral pop-cultural zings for Gilmore Girls holdovers—introducing prime-time’s first Battlestar Galactica references, frak you very much) as for the VM faithful reconnect with (Kristen Bell’s brainy-beauty charm and a gnarly noir subplot for dad, Enrico Colantoni). It’d be a shame if the new CW had to cancel one of the smartest shows on TV in favor of One Tree Hill reruns, just sayin.’

Full Article

Excerpt from IGN.com
Enrico Colantoni on the Future of Veronica Mars
Exclusive Interview: IGN chats with the Mars dad about moving to The CW and that mysterious briefcase.

by Eric Goldman
May 26, 2006

IGN TV: Do you know what's in the briefcase yet? Did you know when you were shooting it?

Colantoni: Ahh, well when we shot it, it was just a briefcase full of cookies.

IGN TV: Wow, and that's why Keith didn't go to see his daughter at the airport?

Colantoni: Yeah, that's exactly it. 'Cause he's like stuffed. "Uhhhh, Veronica… they were snickerdoodles! I couldn't go!" "Dad?" [Colantoni hums the first bars of the Veronica theme song] But no, I don't know what's in the briefcase. He hasn't told us. It could be this or it could be that.

Full Article

Excerpt from Zap2it.com
UPN Wants More 'Mars'

Monday, April 11, 2005
08:25 AM PT

"With its terrific ensemble cast, sharp writing and high production values, we're tremendously proud of the level of quality that 'Veronica Mars' brings to UPN," says UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff. "Headlined by the brilliant Kristen Bell, this intriguing, youthful series continues to garner tremendous buzz and critical acclaim, and this is the type of smart, compelling show we want viewers to expect from UPN."

Full Article

L to R: Kristen Bell,
Dawn "smartest network exec ever" Ostroff,
Enrico Colantoni

Enrico Colantoni appeared April 17th on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (ABC).

Excerpt from TV Guide.com
Mum's the Word for Veronica Mars' Dad
by Matt Webb Mitovich

"If Keith were sheriff again, he wouldn't have any conflicts, and everything would be easy. [He and Veronica] would be back on the right side of the track, and order would be restored in Neptune. You've got to have a guy like Lamb to be the a--hole — and he is such an a--hole."
Jan 17, 2006

Full Article

Excerpt from IGN.com
IGN Interviews Enrico Colantoni
A one-on-one with Veronica Mars's dad.
by Eric Goldman
April 10, 2006

COLANTONI: They sort of teased me in the beginning of the first season, where he was walking this fine line of, is Keith really a corrupt guy or is he a good guy? And they ended up cutting it out, because the network really wanted him to go one way. They wanted him to be the stand up guy. Since then, I've always hoped that they made him more three dimensional, that they made him just a little more on the other side of the law. That he's willing to sort of bend the law a little bit. It seems more humanistic that way. Especially since he's so out of the rules. He really doesn't have to live up to any standards as a policeman, you know what I mean? And I would like to just see him bend it a little bit more, whatever storyline that takes. Maybe a little undercover thing. Maybe just a little bit that shows that he can be corrupted. That he's not without fault.

Full Article

Excerpt from the Los Angeles Daily News
These 5 actors shine in supporting roles
You may not know their names, but whenever they're in a scene, the TV show suddenly starts to sizzle

You know them when you see them: They're supporting characters on your favorite TV shows whose scenes seem to pop just a little more than the others, whose presence elevates a good show to great. In other words, they're folks you wouldn't mind seeing more of. Here are five of one TV writer's favorite supporting players.

• Enrico Colantoni, "Veronica Mars" (9 p.m. Wednesdays; UPN). "Veronica Mars' " sexy, street-smart teenage detective (Kristin Bell) and deadpan dialogue has made the show cool, but Colantoni brings it warmth. He co-stars as Veronica's divorced father, Keith, a sheriff-turned-private-investigator who recruits his daughter for his cases.

Colantoni credits his and Bell's chemistry: "It was immediate. ... My only concern was, she's so cute and blond and blue-eyed ... how will anyone buy me as her father?" he says. "She's adorable, she's funny, and she does no wrong. Thank goodness -- if she was bratty on any level, I would hate to come to work."

The father and daughter are "underdogs who have fallen from grace," he notes. "They constantly get knocked down, but they always get back up."

Full Article (Just in case you want to know who else made the list.)
Posted on Sun, Nov. 20, 2005

Article published Saturday, September 24, 2005
Now's the time to take TV journey to 'Mars'

You heard the rave reviews about UPN's Veronica Mars (9 p.m. Wednesday) last season, but you also knew it had a continuing story line and figured by the time you heard the buzz it was too late to tune in and get caught up.

You were probably right, but the show wrapped up its first-season mystery in May and an all-new one kicks off this week. Now is the time to journey to Mars.

Though this year's mystery is new, character arcs from last year continue, including the revelation of which of our teen detective's unseen beaus was at her door at the end of the May season finale. Was Veronica (Kristen Bell) greeting psychologically damaged Logan (Jason Dohring) or her ex-boyfriend, Duncan (Teddy Dunn)?

The season premiere takes a few twists before settling on which guy she's squiring around Neptune, Calif., now. What's established early is that Veronica is now viewed as one of the rich kids rather than the outcast she was last year. Her father, Keith (Enrico Colantoni), has written a book he's now promoting on The Julie Chen Show (when you're a low-rated, critically adored series like Veronica, it doesn't hurt to stroke UPN overseer Leslie Moonves, Chen's husband).

New characters arrive, including a mayoral candidate (Steve Guttenberg) and the hot-to-trot stepmom (Charisma Carpenter, Angel) of two of Veronica's fellow students.

By the end of the hour, which is a little too slow-paced, there's a tragedy that will set up the new mystery. No doubt, Veronica will be on the case.

From the San Jose Mercury News
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The new TV season:
Some extra love for "Veronica Mars"
Charlie McCollum, 01:15 PM

UPN is really, really trying to pump up the promotion volume for "Veronica Mars," its critically-acclaimed drama that has had trouble finding an audience.

The show, which is scheduled to return with new episodes on Sept. 21 behind a new installment of "America's Next Top Model," will air four episodes on UPN's big brother, CBS, starting Friday, July 29 at 8 p.m. Back-to-back episodes will be shown the 29th, followed by single installments on Aug. 5 and 12.

The idea is to expose the series, which follows the life of an 18-year-old high school student (the marvelous Kristen Bell) who dabbles in solving mysteries, to a wider audience for the start of its new season on UPN. The episodes haven't been picked yet, but UPN boss Dawn Ostroff says they won't be ones that deal too deeply with the season-long murder mystery that dominated season one.

And speaking of "Veronica Mars," Ostroff says the network is NOT asking for any tonal changes in the series. Creator Rob Thomas has been quoted as saying he was having a "mini-war" with UPN over changes the suits wanted in the show, setting off great concerns within "Veronica's" cult following.

NEW YORK -- Former "Angel" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" star Charisma Carpenter has been added to the cast of UPN's "Veronica Mars."

"Veronica Mars" stars Kristen Bell as a smart, fearless 18-year-old apprentice private investigator who is dedicated to solving the toughest mysteries of her wealthy seaside community of Neptune, Calif.

Carpenter will play Kendall Casablancas, a sexy trophy wife and stepmother to brothers Dick and Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas, two of Veronica's rival, affluent schoolmates, UPN announced Thursday.

The 34-year-old actress, who played the character Cordelia Chase on "Angel" and "Buffy," will appear in at least six episodes.

Steve Guttenberg is also joining the cast and will appear in at least seven episodes, the cable channel said. He will play a charismatic major league baseball team owner and leading candidate in the race for mayor of Neptune.

Guttenberg, 46, stars in the upcoming TV movie "The Poseidon Adventure." His screen credits include the "Police Academy" films and "Three Men and a Baby."

The Keith Mars Story

Keith Mars is the father of TV's newest and brightest young detective, Veronica Mars. Once sheriff of the little seaside town of Neptune CA, Keith now eeks out a living as a private detective with the able assistance of his teenage daughter.

Season one of Veronica Mars began with both father and daughter conducting their own separate investigations into the death of Lilly Kane, Veronica's best friend. In Keith's original investigation he suspected Jake Kane, the victim's rich and powerful father, was involoved in her death. His suspicions led to his recall election, the loss of his job, and social ostracization for him and Veronica. The two also must deal with their adandonment by wife and mother Lianne.

Between tracking down bail jumpers, investigating unfaithful spouses and keeping his hand in the Kane murder case, Keith does his best to protect, encourage and love Veronica.

His paternity, however, does come into question. His missing spouse Lianne was also involved with Jake Kane around the time of Veronica's conception and she is a little fuzzy on who the father might be.

No worries, though, a paternity test (and one of the best-acted scenes in the history of television) reveals Keith is indeed Veronica's biological father.

He and Veronica become even closer as the season draws to a close and they join forces to find Lilly's real killer.

“Tonight we eat like the lower-middle class to which we aspire.” "Pilot"

Keith: Let's do something normal fathers and daughters do.
Veronica: Buy me a pony?
Keith: I was thinking I'd watch TV and you'd rub my feet.
Veronica: Hmm. Yeah, that's normal.
"The Girl Next Door"

Veronica: Hi, Dad. Their case is fuzzy and circumstantial.
Keith: You know the odd 1thing? Those were also her first words.
"Clash of the Tritons"

“Veronica I am without a doubt your father."
"Leave it to Beaver"

"The hours are long, but I get to carry a gun...." Enrico Colantoni 2004

“It's like listening to the Brady Bunch with a reggae soundtrack.”
"Drinking the Kool-Aid"

"Well, to be fair, I am your patron." "Mars Vs. Mars"

Keith: Have you been playing nice with the other children?
Veronica: You know Dad, I'm old school, an eye for an eye.
Keith: I think that's actually Old Testament
"Meet John Smith"

Keith Mars is played by versatile character actor Enrico Colantoni, best known for seven seasons on the NBC comedy Just Shoot Me. Enrico has discussed Veronica Mars in recent (2004-2005) interviews. Here are some of his comments —

"We're doing a TV show right now called Veronica Mars and Warner Bros. is producing it for UPN. It's a teenage detective story and it's really great. It's dark...."

originally published on 08/29/04

"We're in San Diego right now. It's hard to find out anything bad about it right now. It's still so new, and it's exciting. I get to play a private investigator and dad to a teenaged girl. The writing is so good. The critics are saying it's their favorite show of the year. But all of that stuff could easily turn into the kiss of death."

originally published April 18, 2005

"We just started... We are still trying to feel each other out. We are still cautiously optimistic about what it can be and where we can go with it. It is hard to say, it is a drama, it is a lot of fun, it is a single camera, it is a different medium from a sitcom.

"It started on September 22 [2004]. It is a teenage detective story and Veronica is a 16-year-old girl who lives with her dad — I am her dad. I own a private investigation office and there has been a murder that sends the whole town into chaos. There are mysteries every week, and there is a Twin Peaks element to it because there is this murder that haunts every episode.

"As cheesy as it might sound, it is actually a well-written show and the characters are well-defined. It is not a piece of cheese at all. It is very good and will not only attract a young audience, but also an old audience. UPN is certainly stepping up to the plate by taking on new dramas like this and they are in the middle of a facelift that I think will pay off.

From Askmen.com

May 15th 2005



From The Boston Hearld
Fans are up for 'Mars': UPN show can
thank viewer campaign for renewal
By Sarah Rodman
Friday, May 6, 2005 -

In addition to starring in one of the best new shows of the season, the cast of UPN's Veronica Mars apparently is psychic.

Twenty-four hours before UPN announced it was picking up the terrific teen detective series for a second season, the six actors expressed supreme confidence in that possibility, even though their show is among the lowest-rated of this year's new offerings.

In Boston last month to drum up support for their critically beloved but audience-starved show, the giddy, affable gang agreed that with its weekly audience gains, the quality of the writing and the devoted fan base, Veronica Mars was a shoo-in for pick up.

Veronica: I don't know. It sounded like a falling body. It really freaked me out.
Keith: A falling body?
Veronica: Yes. A falling body.
Keith: Would you describe the sound as Hitchcockian?
Veronica: I'm glad you're able to entertain yourself.
Keith: Oh, sweetie, don't sell yourself short. I find you completely entertaining.

"The Girl Next Door"

Fresh off shooting the season finale (Tuesday at 9 p.m. on WSBK, Ch. 38) and punchy from a tireless promotional schedule that had them making stops at malls and radio stations across the country - often beginning at 6 a.m. - the actors were bullish.

"I'm banking on a network that's committed to going from sixth to fifth, and if they're really committed to that then they need this show," said Enrico Colantoni (Just Shoot Me), who plays Keith Mars, the gumshoe dad of the title character played by Kristen Bell.

Fans of the show, which normally draws between 2 million and 3 million viewers, weren't so sure, however. They mounted an elaborate "Save Veronica Mars" campaign before it even was announced that the show was technically in danger.

Bell was not at all surprised and was very grateful that the viewers got involved so early, noting that these days fans are savvy enough to know that "if you're not making money for your network, you're on the bubble."

The producers and the people at the network and the studio, they all read that [internet chatter] religiously and know that there is a lot of fan support out there," says Teddy Dunn, who plays Duncan Cane, Veronica's former boyfriend and, in a shocking soapy twist, possible brother. "The following that we have is extremely loyal; hopefully it's growing."

It's easy to understand that loyalty. The smart, funny and poignant series traffics successfully in universal "high school is hell" truths and weekly detective riddles that appeal to viewers of all ages. It delicately balances a procedural structure with the central ongoing story line of a former popular girl (Bell) ostracized by the in-crowd after her then-sheriff father accuses the town's wealthiest resident of murdering his own daughter - Veronica's best friend and Duncan's sister, Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried).

Though the renewal is good news, fans most likely are concerned with the immediate future, and Bell says they won't be disappointed.  "The last episode is like a mini action movie, and I have the bruises and cuts all over my body to prove it."

The 24-year-old actress promises resolution for all the season one mysteries, including the truth about Veronica's paternity and the unmasking of Lilly's killer. "Every question that's already been posed will be answered, and there will be a new question at the end," says Bell. She teases that the cliffhanger will be so big that "every audience member who's ever watched the show will need to know the answer by the beginning of season two."

Hopefully, all those people and more will be intrigued enough to further explore life on "Mars." — END ARTICLE

From Newsday.com
REVIEW Veronica's excellent misadventure
May 10, 2005

He did it. No, he did it. No, the dog did it. Everybody and her pet bulldog comes under suspicion in tonight's whodunit-solving season finale of UPN's sinfully underrated sleuth saga "Veronica Mars." A twistier capper than this, you haven't seen in eons. Everything that seems clearly solved isn't, right up to the last, lingering moment of this action-packed hour.

But there are plenty of payoffs, including the season-long hunt for who killed Lilly Kane, the rich-kid best friend of Kristen Bell's title high school outcast and part-time detective.

Keith Mars: This is important, you remember this, I USED TO BE COOL.
Veronica Mars: When?
Keith Mars: '77. Trans-Am, Blue Oyster Cult in the 8-track, foxy, stacked blond riding shotgun, racing for pink slips. Wait a minute, I'm thinking of a Springsteen song. Scratch everything. I was never cool.

It's no Nancy Drew world for Veronica. Her sunny California beach town is awash in wealth, show biz, politics, gangs, substance abuse, tense DNA tests and teen fun-runs to Mexico. Veronica herself has been reeling all season from Lilly's messy murder, her mother's disappearance and her own apparent assault at a wild party she barely remembers. Last week gave us the truth about the latter: Veronica had been drugged but actually had consensual relations with Lilly's half-crazed brother Duncan - who we'd previously learned might also be her half-brother, thanks to the troubled Mars mom's indiscretions.

A lot to follow? Yeah, but worth the effort. "Veronica Mars" reverberates 10 ways from Tuesday. It's a kick-butt mystery in which Bell's Veronica is no perky little snoop but a shrewd investigative partner for Enrico Colantoni as her affable ex-sheriff dad on cases of Internet blackmail and other sordid threats. It's a gritty family drama, with mom Corinne Bohrer popping in and out of their lives while battling her own demons. It's a sweet romance for Colantoni, who's recently been hitting the dance floor with Erica Gimpel as the mom of his daughter's best bud, and for Bell, whose giddy fling with Jason Dohring's bad-boy Logan recently flipped to her suspecting him in Lilly's killing.

It's also a look at the underside of wealth and fame through Kyle Secor's controlling cyber-tycoon Kane and Harry Hamlin as Logan's detached movie-star dad. It's even a teen soap with a keen-eyed view of high school jockeying.

The youth angle is never discounted, despite Veronica's adult wranglings. As the season-ender's circuitous solution puts her through a seemingly unending wringer of perils - is it six times or 12 that we fear for her life tonight? - Bell reacts not just like a sharp sleuth but like a terrified kid. For every clever tactic she concocts, there's a genuine freak-out. That underlying reality is what makes "Veronica Mars" so potent. A fight here looks like a real fight, all grappling and stumbling. Even good news seems sublimely poignant. And the fear Veronica feels is palpable, inspiring at-home holding your breath as she thinks/screams/battles her way to safety.

The acting is first-rate, though in a non-showy way unlikely to earn awards. Like adolescence, it's an internal process. The filming, too, has an unaffectedness idiosyncrasy, all those offbeat angles suiting the cockeyed way its heroine might view her life. Veronica Mars knows too much, yet not enough. She's learning and growing. So is her show (which UPN has savvily renewed for next season). It's grown on us, that's for sure. — END ARTICLE

From the Houston Chronicle.com
Veronica Mars has an allure of deep, dark mystery
UPN's teen cult show finale is tonight, and a second season is in the offing

Veronica Mars is the pariah of Neptune High.

Once upon a time, she was in with the in-crowd. But then her best friend, Lilly Kane, was murdered. Veronica's father, Neptune's sheriff, was tossed out of office when he accused Lilly's billionaire dad of the crime. Her mom, folding under the pressure, deserted her. Her boyfriend, Lilly's brother Duncan, dumped her.

“This is so endearing. My bad-ass action figure daughter is afraid to draw a teensy little drop of blood.”
Drinking the Kool-Aid

In a desperate attempt to hold her head high among former friends, Veronica crashed an end-of-the-year rager, where she was roofied and date-raped.

If that sounds like a lot of drama, well, it all occurred before the series Veronica Mars even began. And for those who have tuned in to one of the year's best sleepers all season, tonight promises a big payoff.

Teen TV has several strong shows in regular rotation, but it has been quietly dominated by melodrama (7th Heaven), preciousness (Gilmore Girls), earnestness (Everwood) and self-awareness (The O.C.). Smart, sharp, dark and funny, Veronica Mars is a multifaceted standout.

With Veronica, creator Rob Thomas avoided the typical teen-drama elements and invented his own genre: teen noir. Like pulp mystery writer Jim Thompson, he relies on the tweaking of expectations: Things are not as they seem. Every character has richness and depth. Every story line a hidden meaning. Every nuance a payoff.

Thomas cites the Village Voice's description of the show as his favorite. "They called it the first show to fuse Heathers and Chinatown," he says proudly.

The cast of characters is anchored by its charming titular heroine.

Veronica is portrayed with a rare combination of toughness and vulnerability by gifted newcomer Kristen Bell. Her character is a tangle of contradictions: cute but hard, cocky but insecure, angry but sad, scornful but lonely.

Veronica channels her emotions into solving the mysteries of and around her life, big and small. She uses skills acquired from working in her father's private-investigation firm to earn cash off her rich classmates, who hire her to crack cases involving fake IDs, scummy boyfriends and computer scams.

Close to the vest

Unlike her chattier television counterparts who express every feeling that pops into their attractive heads (say The O.C.'s Seth Cohen or Gilmore's Rory Gilmore), Veronica holds her cards close. Classic gumshoe elements like voiceovers and flashbacks clue in the viewers to some of her inner thoughts as she tries to uncover by any means necessary who killed her friend, why her mother left and what led to her rape.

In doing so, Veronica strikes unlikely alliances with her classmates: the new-kid outcast Wallace (Percy Daggs III), tattooed biker thug Weevil (Francis Capra), bratty rich kid Logan (the wildly charismatic Jason Dohring). But she never allows these relationships to distract her from the business at hand.

"She's strong and intense but also beautiful and witty and sarcastic," Bell says while killing time with fellow cast members before a fan meet-and-greet in Dallas last weekend. "I wish I'd had a role model like Veronica."

Transforming roles

Similarly, Weevil and Logan avoid stereotypes.

A child actor, Capra had untough credits like Free Willy 2 and Kazaam on his résumé before, as he puts it, "I started doing gangster (expletive) as soon as I started getting facial hair."

Capra's Weevil is rough and manipulative, but a surprising sensitivity surfaces, a duality that could have roots in his real life. "I had to get real hard," he says. "Being the kid from Free Willy 2, but coming home to the lights being turned off and being evicted from many homes. I know what it's like when Weevil has to put up that wall, when he feels like he's getting too soft, getting too close to somebody."

Dohring's character also has been transformed, after starting the season as a predictably spoiled rich kid. "There's an intensity that I like," he says of Logan. "If he wants something, he gets it, by whatever means it takes. I like the charm he has when he's cutting people apart."

His relationship with Veronica flowered into something unexpected by season's end as he flitted between unlikely ally and someone she can't trust.

As the series heads into tonight's climactic season finale, it brings with it a rabidly loyal (if modestly sized) following. When a show defies convenient categorization, its success relies on word of mouth. A teen drama involving such weighty issues will always be a tough sell.

"The network was worried about having a teen show where the protagonist has been raped, her friend murdered, her dad a pariah, her mom disappeared," Thomas admits. "How are you going to be able to handle it and have a degree of humor and warmth?"

Charms the cynics

The allure of Veronica Mars is difficult to convey to those who have not converted. A thumbnail summary for the show is as tough a pitch as a story line involving a high school girl who slays vampires.

But like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars has that special alchemy attributable to cast, chemistry and story. Even cynics have been warmed by Veronica's charms.

The writers and forum members of TelevisionWith-
outPity.com, a heavily trafficked Web site full of snide television commentary (slogan: "spare the snark, spoil the networks"), have rallied around Veronica Mars since the pilot, a fact that has not escaped Thomas' attention. "It's like having a free, huge focus group each week," he says.

In spite of Veronica's middling ratings, UPN announced last month that the show will return for a second season, news Thomas broke on TWoP. Fans, who had started a promotional mail campaign to combat possible cancellation, rejoiced. But those involved in the show exude a confidence in spite of the numbers.

"I wasn't shocked at all," Bell says. "There are some things that you just know. I knew it when I read for the pilot."

Season 2?

Had UPN dumped Veronica, it certainly wouldn't have been the first quality young-adult show to face untimely death. (See Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life and Wonderfalls). But the underdog network is banking that a growing cult following combined with summer reruns and a first-season DVD set aimed for a September release will boost the numbers for an anticipated Season 2.

And it's not just kids who tune in. Veteran actor Enrico Colantoni (Keith Mars, Veronica's dad), best known for his role as Elliot in Just Shoot Me, says he's gotten positive feedback from some elderly fans. "I was on a plane sitting next to a 90-year-old lady," he recounts. "All of a sudden she leans over and says, 'I love Veronica Mars! You're not going to tell me who killed Lilly, are you?'"

That mystery will be solved tonight. But the biggest mystery is whether UPN's commendable patience and dedication to this outstanding program will set an example that quality television should be judged by more than just Nielsen ratings.

A second season whodunit suggests hope. —END ARTICLE

From AZCentral.com
Intelligent life on 'Mars'
by Mike Duffy
Knight Ridder Newspapers
May. 9, 2005 10:50 AM

The real mystery is why more people aren't already hooked on Veronica Mars.

It's only the freshest, most engagingly offbeat new series of the year. and spiced with the sly, charming energy of Kristen Bell as the coolest teen detective since Nancy Drew, "Veronica Mars" finally reaches the tense moment of whodunit revelation on the show's first season finale at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Who murdered Lilly Kane? That's the answer loyal Veronica Martians have been waiting for all year and series creator Rob Thomas, the sharp-witted man with the wily sleuthing plan, promises there will be no cheap perpetrator thrills in finally solving the murder of Veronica's best friend.

Veronica: I'll be at home with the only sane Mars family member.
Keith: You mean the one that eats from the garbage and keeps bringing me dead birds.
"Hot Dogs"

"The trick is to surprise people," says Thomas. "And yet you can't just pull somebody off the curb. People can't feel like you've cheated them."

The overall audience for "Veronica Mars" may be teensy - averaging just over 2.4 million viewers each week compared to the 23 million or so who tune in "Desperate Housewives" each week - but they're totally hooked. And they pay very close attention.

"The same person I envisioned being the killer at the beginning is still the killer," says Thomas.

So will it be Lilly's devious, software billionaire father Jake? Or maybe her perplexing brother Duncan? Or her old boyfriend Logan? Or some other homicidal creep?

Whoever it is, says Thomas, it will all make logical whodunit sense and when the "Veronica Mars" DVD is released later this year, the truly obsessed can piece together the mystery all over again clue-by-carefully-revealed clue, says Thomas. "I'm really excited about the DVD," Thomas says, "because it might help us build an audience."

Oh, that. Lousy ratings. It's the longtime curse of imaginative, high-quality cult shows from "My So-Called Life" to "Freaks and Geeks." Tiny audiences usually spell quick cancellation doom, but thanks to the smart, patient support of UPN programming boss Dawn Ostroff - and the small network's desperate need for a signature hit that doesn't feature steroid-inflated pro wrestlers, "Star Trek" space cadets or bad sitcoms with cacophonous laugh tracks - "Veronica Mars" has become a rare exception to the rapid oblivion rule. It's already been renewed for a second season.

We felt the audience watching the show was very devoted," explains Ostroff. "It's just a matter of getting more people to watch. So we'll be looking at different ways to market the series. I think 'Veronica Mars' can be a big hit."

In addition to being a terrifically stylish mystery series, a clever teen noir with a spikily irreverent wit, "Veronica Mars" is perhaps the most perceptive portrait of contemporary adolescent attitudes and peer group interaction anywhere on network television.

"This is a generation that's seen it all," says Thomas. "They're prematurely jaded, media-savvy, sensory-overloaded kids. And Veronica is the poster child for that... The thing that's heroic about her is her reaction to all this tragedy."

Her best friend was murdered. Her mother mysteriously took off. And everybody at Neptune High School, in a sunny California beach town, pretty much loathes her. No biggie. Veronica's fearless, a proudly self-confident outsider, nobody's teenyboppin' fool.

On top of that, she's a very nifty chip off the sleuthing block, following in her detective father Keith's gumshoe footsteps, lovingly bonded to him in TV's best new father-daughter pairing. It's an emotionally layered relationship wonderfully captured in the chemistry shared by Bell and TV dad Enrico Colantoni ("Just Shoot Me").

But without Bell's captivating lead performance, which is infused with a playful, sparkling intelligence, "Veronica Mars" just wouldn't be the same. UPN's Ostroff calls her "a breakout star."

Concurs Thomas: "Kristen's phenomenal. It's hard to imagine the show working without her. I've been very, very spoiled by her."

Bell feels the same way. "Rob and I are very similar. I think we have the same sensibility as far as the way we speak. We both have a cynical, sharp sense of humor," says Bell, chatting during a recent quick visit to Detroit to promote the series.

"It's been very cool," adds the petite 24-year-old Bell, who makes you believe she's just 17. OK, an unusually together 17. "I feel cooler because I play Veronica. She's like the girl you really want to be friends with. She's much cooler than I am. She just knows exactly what to say and she's very tough."

Tough but tender. Veronica sports a hip, eclectic fashion look as protective emotional armor.

"A lot of it's a sense of style and a lot of it's hardening your outside because you feel really soft inside," says Bell of Veronica's fashion profile, which one critic amusingly described as a blend of tomboy threads and trashy Catholic school girl outfits, a black leather jacket and short skirts.

"In all her flashbacks, Veronica's dressed in pink and bubblegum. Now she's covering up her feeling vulnerable," explains Bell. "So she dresses hard to sort of feel hard and stay tough and have thicker skin." END ARTICLE


Kristen Bell is Veronica Mars

Teddy Dunn was Duncan Kane

Francis Capra is Weevil Navarro

Jason Dohring is Logan Echolls

Percy Daggs III is Wallace Fennel


CW Official Site

Warner Bros. Official Site


Keith Mars: Who's your Daddy?
Veronica Mars: I hate it when you say that.
"Leave It to Beaver" or "Pilot"

This website is so not official. Most of the pictures are courtesy of UPN and I'm just not going to discuss where I got the other ones. Warner Bros., UPN, Stu Segal are all entirely blameless. Veronica Mars belongs to them. I did write some of this, however, and that stuff is copyright 2005. The Veronica Mars first and second season version of the theme song is "We Used to be Friends" by The Dandy Warhols.