In the article “These Questions Need Answers: An Essay on the Veronica Mars Pilot,” Jason Mittell deconstructs the narrative qualities of Veronica Mars in order to make sense of what he claims is an exceptional, “remarkable piece of television.”
What I think is the most essential and outstanding device in the Veronica Mars narrative machine its “erotetic narrative,” which Mittell defines as the “framing of the story as a series of questions and answers.” The title character is the daughter of a shamed and humiliated ex-cop private investigator, which already creates a dichotomy of episodic and serial elements. The family P.I. business encourages open-and-shut, 22-minute cases. Meanwhile, Veronica serially investigates the truth behind her family’s past. The pilot introduces several questions for Veronica to begin tracing: the location and motives of her mother, the identity and motives of her rapist, and the actual cause of her best friend’s death. As if juggling all these mysteries was enough, Veronica Mars is also a proud, intelligent, and somewhat sassy student in high school. As shown in the pilot, she still has to deal with the average drama of the average student in Average California Beach Town High School, including staying one step ahead of the dumb mean jocks and the overbearing school administration.