Meet John Smith
Episode No.   Season
3 1x03 One
Original Broadcast Date October 12, 2004
Written By
Story By
Teleplay By
Directed By
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"Meet John Smith" was the third episode of the first season of Veronica Mars.

In this episode, Veronica helps a boy, Justin Smith track down his long-lost father. In addition, Veronica starts a relationship with Troy, and Duncan Kane starts experiencing severe mental difficulties after he stops taking his antidepressants.


After a group of boys point out Veronica and call her a "9," Troy Vandegraff comes up to her and invites her on a trip on his father's boat. After a running schoolmate knocks Veronica's books out of her hands, Duncan Kane helps her pick them up. After school, Keith Mars questions Veronica about why her guidance counselor called that day. Veronica dodges his questions and tells him her realization that her mother was having an affair with Jake Kane. Meanwhile, Duncan is getting annoyed with his parents, especially Jake, who is pressuring him academically. The next morning, Veronica wakes up from a dream in which she is making out with Duncan.

Veronica and Keith go to a video store, and Veronica sees one of the boys who was talking about her earlier, Justin Smith. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Duncan has been taking antidepressants for roughly six months. Veronica accepts Troy's proposal to go out, while Duncan talks with Logan about his disappointment towards his new girlfriend, Shelly. Veronica drags Justin into the women's bathroom, where he tells her that he wants her help in finding his long-lost father. Justin is unable to produce any valuable information about him besides that his name is John Smith. Meanwhile, the guidance counselor, Rebecca James meets with Keith and tells him that Veronica talks back to teachers, is late, and is socially isolated. Keith retorts by saying that nothing is wrong with his daughter. At dinner that night, Jake laughs at how Duncan is planning to get a life coach. Duncan angrily pushes back at his parents.

The next day, Keith meets Wallace and Veronica tells Keith about her investigations. Veronica asks Wallace to steal guidance counselor records for him. Meanwhile, Duncan has stopped taking his medication. In addition, Justin hands Veronica a mixtape, hinting romantic intentions. Veronica and Troy are having a good time on their date. However, Troy becomes a little too aggressive and Veronica pulls away from his attempts to kiss her. She looks after him in despair. As she wonders what's wrong with her, the camera cuts to Duncan and his new girlfriend making out in a car. However, he accidentally calls her "Veronica." Wallace retrieves Justin's guidance counselor file, which contains records that his father died when he was in first grade. However, Justin soon receives a note from his father, leaving a contradiction.

Later, Justin visits Veronica and requests her help once again. She accepts. She reopens investigations and makes progress. The next day, Veronica talks to Troy again. When Logan makes a quip to Duncan about Veronica, Duncan gets aggressive. He sees Veronica and Troy talking (and eventually kissing), and flips over the side of the bleachers in anger and jealousy. Veronica takes Duncan to the hospital. Jake questions Duncan about how his accident happened, but Duncan asks his father to leave so he can talk to the doctor himself. Their whole conversation is not shown, but Duncan tells him about his refusal to take the antidepressants. Keith visits the guidance counselor and asks her to talk to Veronica.


Justin meets "John Smith."

Veronica shares her pictures of the three John Smiths who live in San Diego to Justin. Justin possibly recognizes the third picture, and Veronica reports that he is a petty criminal. After school, Veronica and Justin follow his father. Justin dashes out to "John Smith 3" and realizes that it is not his father, even though the two share the same handwriting. Meanwhile, Duncan suffers from hallucinations of Lilly as a result of his withdrawal from the medication. Veronica and Justin follow John Smith to his house. Veronica pokes her nose into the house and sneaks into the garage. Although the man denies having a son, a woman soon pulls into the driveway. In fact, it is Justin's father, who it is revealed is a trans woman. Justin angrily repulses his parent, now called Julia—but Veronica comforts him with tales of her own long-lost mother.

Veronica soon enough decides to go try to find her mother in Arizona. Meanwhile, Duncan starts taking his antidepressants again. The next day, when Duncan encounters Veronica, he returns to his old, withdrawn self. Keith goes on a coffee date with Rebecca. Justin reconnects with his parent through his video store job. Veronica visits the apartment where her mother stayed, but runs into an old college friend of hers, who does not provide any useful information. In addition, Veronica visits Troy, who embraces her.

Cultural references

Because several scenes in the episode take place in a video store, several movies are referenced:

  • Julia asks for The Matrix Reloaded.
  • Julia says that she enjoyed the noir film Consenting Adults. Justin then recommends Body Heat.
  • Keith mentions The Cowboys when he is renting a movie with Veronica.
  • Keith also mentions Slap Shot.
  • Justin makes a reference to Marlene Dietrich.

In addition, several other cultural references are made:

  • Duncan sings part of "Summer Nights" when he is on the bleachers.
  • Troy hits his fist on the jukebox during his date with Veronica, referencing a move created by the character Fonzie from the sitcom Happy Days.

Arc significance

  • Veronica tries to find her mother.
  • Going cold turkey from his medications, Duncan hallucinates Lilly telling him that the secret of what really happened the day she was murdered will come out.


Main Cast

Guest Stars


  • "No Blue Sky" - The Thorns
  • "Art" - Louque
  • "Goodbye World" - Luke Adams
  • "Edge of the Ocean" - Ivy
  • "Rock and a Hard Place" - Supreme Beings of Leisure
  • "What Are You Afraid Of?" - West Indian Girl


Keith: Part of me is proud… and let's just leave it at that.

Veronica: Hey, would you do me a favor?
Wallace: Why did all the hair on the back of my neck just stick up?

Keith: How was your date?
Veronica: Oh, you know. Lousy conversation, but the sex was fantastic.
Keith: That's not funny.
Veronica: I don't know. I'm pretty sure it was.

Keith: It's that just I never want you to think your mom's the villain in all this.
Veronica: Isn't she?
Keith: No, it's not that simple.
Veronica: Yeah, it is. The hero is the one that stays, and the villain is the one that splits.

Troy: Wanna know what I'm doing this weekend.
Veronica: I'm guessing it involves auto-eroticism.

Duncan: Remember how things used to be?
Veronica: [voiceover] You mean between us? Or before Lilly died? Or two weeks ago before your friend took an interest in me?
Duncan: Veronica?
Veronica: Not really, no.


  • Veronica shows Justin his 1st grade report card that states that his father died earlier that year. Later, Justin tells his father that he thought he was dead since he was 11. The ages do not match up.
  • The handwriting on John Smith's post-it that Veronica finds in the parking lot changes from print to script from the time she picks it up to when she compares it to the scholarship letter.
  • While Veronica is driving Duncan to the hospital, they pass the same auto body shop twice.
  • When Duncan goes into the hospital, the doctor puts x-rays on the light-box which clearly show a hoop earring that Duncan does not have.

External links