Enrico Colantoni as Keith Mars
|Last appearance||"The Bitch Is Back"|
|Created by||Rob Thomas|
|Portrayed by||Enrico Colantoni|
|Occupation||Private Investigator/ Sheriff|
|Significant other(s)||Alicia Fennel
Keith is the father of Veronica Mars. They have a very close relationship, and he is very protective of her. Keith was formerly the sheriff of the fictional Balboa County and later operated as a private investigator.
After going after popular billionaire Jake Kane for the murder of Jake's daughter Lilly, an emergency recall election removed him from office. His credibility was hurt even more after Abel Koontz confessed to the crime. Shortly thereafter, his daughter, Veronica, became a social outcast for siding with her dad and his wife, Lianne, left them. However, he refused to leave town and instead became a private investigator under the name Mars Investigations. Veronica does most of her sleuthing through Keith's numerous contacts and resources.
At the end of "Like a Virgin," Abel Koontz implied that Veronica was the biological daughter of Jake Kane. Veronica had a chance to find out who her father was in the next episode, "Drinking the Kool-Aid," but she shredded the paternity test. In "Hot Dogs," Keith sent in his own paternity test, which proved that Veronica is his biological daughter.
Since Veronica's mother, Lianne, left the family, Keith has been in three romantic relationships: one with Veronica's guidance counselor, Rebecca James, one with Wallace Fennel's mother, Alicia Fennel, and another with a client, Harmony Chase. His relationship with Rebecca was short-lived, because Veronica was uncomfortable with her father's dating, as she felt he should be looking for Lianne. He dated Alicia for several months, but they broke up in "Blast from the Past," after he confronted her about her lying to Wallace about his biological father, and, in the ensuing argument, Alicia questioned Keith's parenting skills. Keith began an affair with Harmony Chase after she hired him to find out whether her husband was cheating on her. Though Keith had strong feelings for Harmony, Veronica convinced Keith that it was a huge moral failing to be involved with a married woman, and Keith ended the affair in "Of Vice and Men."
After the revelation at the end of Season One that Aaron Echolls murdered Lilly, he ran for Sheriff against incumbent Don Lamb in Season Two. He lost by a narrow margin after Lamb accused Keith of being indirectly responsible for the bus crash that killed several Neptune High students. Several years earlier, Keith had pulled bus driver Ed Doyle for DUI but had not charged him. Ed Doyle was the driver in a bus crash which killed several students, and many, Sheriff Lamb among them, believed that Doyle crashed intentionally as a suicide attempt. He said after the election that "we'll get 'em in 2010," so, barring another recall election, Lamb's position appeared safe for another four years. After Sheriff Lamb's death in "Mars, Bars", he is asked by the County Commissioner to return as acting sheriff. In the final episode, he is up for election for the post he once held, and the series ends without clarity as to whether he won.
Keith enjoys Italian food, spending time with Veronica, jazz music and "noir flicks". His favorite musicians are The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Aretha Franklin, The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, Blue Öyster Cult and Fleetwood Mac. His favorite films are The Big Chill, Slap Shot, Rear Window and Blazing Saddles. He enjoys watching anything on the Food Network, Austin City Limits and Charlie Rose. His favorite book is his own Big Murder, Small Town and his heroes are his daughter and Humphrey Bogart . He also is quite fond of sports, especially baseball.
Keith has appeared in every Veronica Mars episode to date, and is the only character aside from Veronica to do so.
As a private investigator and former sheriff, Keith possesses certain sleuth skills, which include the following:
- Tailing cars
- Training in handgun usage
- Tracking/Bounty Hunting
- Performing thorough background checks
- Keith got a 97 on his private investigator test.
- "You know what, this is important. You remember this: I used to be cool."
- "Sorry, sweetheart. You can't buy love. Bored wives of the wealthy, however, can."
- "And, Veronica, when you go after Jake Kane, you take Backup."
- "Honey, it's fine. Chicks dig scars."
- "Part of me is proud...and let's just leave it at that."
- "Who's your daddy?"
- Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season, Warner Home Video, 2005, UPC 01256972774.