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"M.A.D." was the twentieth episode of the first season of Veronica Mars.

In this episode, Veronica investigates a situation involving a girl, Carmen, who is being blackmailed by her boyfriend with an explicit and revealing video. Meanwhile, Veronica and Logan's relationship slowly becomes public, and Veronica receives some important information regarding her sexual assault case.



Veronica takes incriminating photos of Tad Wilson.

A girl named Carmen Ruiz breaks up with her long-term boyfriend, Tad Wilson. However, before he leaves, Tad shows her a phone which has an embarrassing sexual video of her that she has no recollection of. Veronica agrees to help retrieve her phone. Veronica ensures that her and Tad both have their phones confiscated, at which point she takes Tad's Carmen enters Mars Investigations and smashes Tad's phone, but Tad instant messages Veronica with the video again. Tad and Carmen get back together as Carmen is being blackmailed. A student mocks Tad for his supposed homosexuality, even though he wants to join the Navy (referencing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, which was in effect at the time). Veronica talks to Carmen again, and she has a new plan, which involves Carmen inviting Tad to a romantic walk on the beach.

Keith notices an ad for $50,000 for the whereabouts of Duncan Kane The two start on the project of finding Duncan before Keith leaves on a date with Wallace's mom. Weevil informs Veronica that Duncan bought a cheap car shortly before he ran away. Logan and Veronica go back to his house before Aaron awkwardly comes walks in on them making out on the couch. While Veronica is in the bathroom, Logan's friends Dick Casablancas and Beaver come, and Veronica sneaks out to keep her and Logan's relationship secret. Aaron attempts to be helpful by giving her a ride home and returning her purse, and Aaron is generally supportive of Veronica and Logan's relationship.

At the boardwalk, Carmen asks Tad to talk to Seth, an openly gay student, while Veronica takes pictures. Veronica talks to Mac and asks her to create a "sexually explicit website" involving Tad. Veronica and Carmen talk to Tad, who show him the recently created website, and Veronica says she will send the website to the Naval Academy if he doesn't break up with Carmen and deletes the video of Carmen. Meanwhile, Keith gets a lead on Duncan's stolen car, which is in Tijuana, Mexico, but it turns out Duncan sent the car to Mexico as a decoy.

Logan invites Veronica on a date out, indicating that he wants to make their relationship public. Logan also says that he thinks that Aaron likes her. Veronica notices an add in the newspaper, which says that they are seeking Lianne Mars, who has just been put under a notice of legal proceedings in the classified section. Veronica tracks Keith upon learning about the ad, following him to a hotel before finding him with Alicia Fennel on the ballroom dance floor. It is evident the couple is having a good time.

At school the next day, Veronica and Carmen find out that Tad has released the video of Carmen. Veronica suggests sending the incriminating email in retaliation, but Carmen refuses to oblige with her request. Veronica takes a look at a screenshot from the video and notices the same lanterns as Shelly Pomroy's house, where she was drugged and raped a year earlier. Mac talks to Veronica about a passport she found of Roberto Nalbandion, who lives in Argentina and is likely an alias for Duncan. Veronica enlists Mac's help in time-stamping the date of the video, and it turns out that it was the same night of Veronica's rape.

Clarence Wiedman confronts Alicia Fennel about her relationship with Keith, who tells her about Wallace bringing a bugged plant to the Kane office. Veronica gets Weevil and the biker gang to tie Tad to the flagpole, and she tells him that she knows about the roofies the night of Shelly Pomroy's party, where she was raped. He says that Logan gave him the drugs, which were not roofies, but GHB. Veronica stands up Logan for their date.

Cultural references[]

  • A stuffed figure of Garfield can be seen.
  • Veronica says jokingly that Keith and Alicia Fennel play Bingo at Veterans of Foreign Wars on their dates
  • Veronica says "Okely-dokely," a reference to the character Ned Flanders from The Simpsons.
  • Veronica's teacher mentions a tin can telephone.
  • Keith says "money for nothing," referencing the Dire Straits song of the same name.
  • The episode mentions the website eBay.
  • Carmen Ruiz and Veronica reference the action drama film Top Gun.
  • Tad Wilson calls Seth Boy George.
  • Carmen compares her situation to that of the Star Wars Kid.
  • The episode mentions that Duncan aced his PSATs.
  • The episode makes strong references to Don't ask, don't tell.
  • Logan mentions that the club at which his father's boat is docked is called The Albacore Club. That name, and the flag with the club logo that is seen briefly in the episode, are both references to the club with the same name and logo in the movie Chinatown.
  • Carmen likens her tape problem to Paris Hilton's famous sex tape. Hilton actually guest starred earlier in the season.

Arc significance[]

  • Keith discovers the Kanes are offering $50,000 to find Duncan.
  • Mac finds out that Duncan bought an Argentinian passport for himself.
  • Keith runs a missing persons notice in the paper for Lianne Mars, so that he will be eligible for divorce, which Veronica notices.
  • Clarence Wiedman shows Alicia Fennel the bug Veronica planted in his office and tells her to break-up with Keith or she will be fired.
  • Carmen Ruiz can't remember the night of the party where Tad Wilson taped her. It was the same night that Veronica was raped.
  • Tad Wilson, while taped to the flagpole, admits that he used GHB on Carmen and that he got it from Logan.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]


  • "Gold Rush" - Kissinger
  • "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo" - Lobo
  • "Finding Out True Love Is Blind" - Louis XIV
  • "Tu Abandono" - X. Herrera
  • "Let's Sail Away" - Josh Kramon and Jeff D'Agostino
  • "Love Is Here to Stay" - Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
  • "Crimson and Clover" - Tommy James & the Shondells

Production details[]

  • This episode was originally called "Tit for Tad".
  • "M.A.D." stands for Mutually Assured Destruction; a term used by Veronica throughout the episode.

Quotes and trivia[]

Veronica: What? I blockaded the door. I hung an "Out of Order" sign.
Logan: This is wrong. I mean, a boy in a girls' bathroom. It's just…
Veronica: So wrong, it's right?

Veronica: How long does it take you to create a highly incriminating, thoroughly libelous, sexually explicit website?
Mac: Uh… forty-five minutes, give or take?

[ Cliff examines Loretta Cancun's initial police report. ]
Cliff: "Screw you, pig." Nice. Okay, like a big girl now?


  • This episode marks the first appearance of Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas.
  • Veronica's threat to tell Tad's Naval Academy classmates that Tad is gay (even though he is not) is a potent one because of the US Military policy at the time, commonly known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," prohibited any non-heterosexual military member from revealing his or her sexual orientation. This policy has been in place since 1993 and was a replacement for the previous policy on the matter, which was a total ban on all homosexual servicemembers.
  • Among the awards in the Echolls's house are Oscars and People Choice Awards.
  • This episode's title, "M.A.D.," refers to the geopolitical doctrine of "mutually assured destruction," in which it is assumed that neither one of two heavily armed enemies (usually nuclear superpowers) will dare to attack the other first because both possess such large stockpiles of deadly weapons that there is no scenario in which a war between them would not spell destruction for them both. The doctrine was best known during the Cold War era, when military strategists hoped that it would prevent nuclear war between the US and USSR.
  • This episode had 3.04 million viewers on its first airing.


  • As Kristen Bell is getting out of the car, her shirt rides up and exposes a wireless microphone pack in the small of her back.
  • Dialogue and the time stamp from the video of Shelly Pomroy's party indicates that the party took place on Dec. 7, 2003. In "A Trip to the Dentist", Veronica refers to it as "Shelly Pomroy’s end of the year party" (which could mean either end of the calendar year or end of the school year). In "Charlie Don't Surf", Veronica tells Parker Lee the party was an "end of the year bash, summer 2004".
  • When Veronica and Logan are talking in front of the fireplace, you can see the boom mic reflected in the mirror above the mantle, going back and forth between them as they say their lines.
  • Veronica drops her LeBaron off at Weevil's uncle's shop to be fixed. But later that day, when she takes the pictures of Tad and Seth at the boardwalk, she is sitting in her LeBaron. Then the next day, Logan brings her car to her, saying he had someone pick it up from the shop that day.

External links[]