Keith Mars 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 Balboa County and later operated as a private investigator.
Keith Mars grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. As a high school student, he was a swingman between the gearhead and art-geek cliques and would race his '78 GTO in the streets of his hometown. He played bass for a local rock band that played Springsteen and Warren Zevon and styled his hair mimic Rick Springsteen's feathered hair.
At twenty-one, he was a newly hired deputy of the Neptune Sheriff's Department when he formed a friendship of sorts with his neighbor, Marcia Langdon. The arrest of Marcia's brother, Bobby "Tauntaun" Langdon never sat easily with Keith, especially the fact that Marcia was the one to turn him in.
As a twenty-two-year-old deputy in Fresno, California, Keith saw Terrence Cook pitch three times in Triple-A.
Keith worked for the Balboa County Sheriff's Department throughout most of his daughter Veronica's childhood and was elected Sheriff when Veronica was nine.
From Sheriff to PI
After going after popular billionaire Jake Kane for the murder of his 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.
During Veronica's junior year, she met Abel Koontz, who implied that she was actually the biological daughter of Jake Kane. (Like a Virgin) Veronica had a chance to find out the truth but shredded the paternity test. (Drinking the Kool-Aid) Keith later sent in his own paternity test, which proved that Veronica is his biological daughter. (Hot Dogs)
Since Veronica's mother, Lianne, left the family, Keith has been in three romantic relationships: Veronica's guidance counselor, Rebecca James; Wallace Fennel's mother, Alicia Fennel; and his client, Harmony Chase. His relationship with Rebecca was short-lived because Veronica was uncomfortable with her father's dating. He dated Alicia for several months, but they broke up in after he confronted her about her lying to Wallace about his biological father, and in the ensuing argument Alicia questioned Keith's parenting skills. (Blast from the Past) 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. (Of Vice and Men)
After the revelation that Aaron Echolls murdered Lilly, he ran for Sheriff against incumbent Don Lamb. 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 of the bus that had crashed and killed several students, and it was then believed that Ed Doyle had intentionally crashed the bus in order to commit suicide. He says 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, Keith is asked by the County Commissioner to return as Sheriff. (Mars, Bars)
Keith enjoys Italian food, spending time with Veronica, jazz music, and "noir flicks". His favorite musicians are The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Thelonious Monk, The Beach Boys, The Everly Brothers, Blue Öyster Cult, and Fleetwood Mac. His favorite films are Slap Shot, The Big Chill, 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.
As a private investigator and former sheriff, Keith possesses certain sleuth skills which include:
- Tailing cars
- Trained in handgun usage
- Tracking/Bounty Hunting
- Performing thorough background checks
- Keith got a 97 on his private investigator test.
- Keith is one of two characters to appear in all 72 episodes of the TV series, the movie, and the first book the other being Veronica.
- Rob Thomas had originally wanted a very middle-American dad to play against the wealthy beach town folk of Neptune and included a line in the original pilot script in which Keith talked about driving around Omaha as a 20-year-old. The line was changed to driving around Schenectady after Enrico was cast, as Thomas didn't think did look very Nebraskan. The Schenectady line did not appear in the finished pilot, however, and years later the original Omaha line was included as part of the second Veronica Mars book, Mr. Kiss and Tell.
- "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."
- "Did you watch House of Wax again? You know that Hilton girl gives you nightmares."
- "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 ?"
- "’77. Trans Am, Blue Oyster Cult in the 8-track, a foxy stacked blond riding shotgun, racing for pink slips. Now wait a minute, I’m thinking of a Springsteen song. Scratch everything, I was never cool."
- Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season, Warner Home Video, 2005, UPC 01256972774.