It's safe to say that Veronica Mars started out as the Twin Peaks for a new generation: In its first episode, the writers introduced audiences to a mystery the likes of which hadn't been seen since David Lynch's "Who killed Laura Palmer?" That question was, of course, "Who killed Lilly Kane?" In the pilot of Veronica Mars , we're introduced to our titular character in the midst of trying to solve a major case: The murder of her best friend. Lilly, the beautiful, popular daughter of the town's wealthiest residents, was seemingly beloved by all — so, the central question for much of the show centered around why anyone would ever want her dead. It was a question that ate away at Veronica for years, and without her determination to find Lilly's real killer, Neptune may have never learned that it was movie star Aaron Echolls — the father of Lilly's then-boyfriend Logan — who committed the crime. Of course, identifying Aaron as the murderer was far from easy — in fact, there were tons of other suspects that audiences and Veronica alike would have pointed a finger at long before Aaron revealed himself as a threat. And in hindsight, it seems pretty crazy that we suspected any of these people.
Veronica Mars is a true noir, and that means audiences had to contend with a lot of red herrings before the show even got close to revealing the truth about Lilly's murder. No one was safe from Veronica's suspicion, no matter how close she was with the person in question — people lie, and no one knows that better than Veronica. But, while plenty of the people on this list are guilty of something, only Aaron was guilty of the ultimate crime — we just didn't know it back then. Here are all the people who kept us up at night until the truth finally came out...
Well, he was the one who confessed to the crime, even if Keith and Veronica didn't buy his story for a minute. Still, his cruelty in speaking to Veronica about her dead friend and her absentee mother did suggest that Abel had a few screws loose.
Keith was suspicious of Jake from day one — the events of the night of Lilly's murder didn't make sense to Keith, and rightfully so. Ultimately, though, it wasn't Lilly's father who committed the murder, Keith was right to be suspicious: Jake did obstruct justice by hiring Abel to take the fall for the crime. His intentions were good — he wanted to protect his son Duncan, whom he believed killed Lilly after having an epileptic episode — but his decision also let Lilly's real killer go free.
Eli "Weevil" Navarro
We had no idea that Weevil had anything to do with Lilly until it was revealed midseason that he and Lilly were actually in a secret relationship behind Logan's back. Weevil even went so far as to get a tattoo of Lilly's name to prove his love for her. While Weevil was angry at Lilly for cutting him off, he wasn't the culprit — he could never hurt someone he cared for the way he did Lilly.
Duncan was Veronica's first love and Lilly's loyal brother, so it seemed impossible that he would be behind such a heinous crime — until it didn't seem so impossible. Duncan may not have been a bad guy, but he certainly behaved like someone covering something up. His battle with Type-4 epilepsy made him forget most of what happened the night of Lilly's murder, leading him to believe that he accidentally killed his sister.
Celeste was the kind of overbearing mother who would drive any free-spirited teen crazy, which is exactly what she did to Lilly. It wasn't implausible to think that she could have killed her daughter in a fit of rage, especially considering the strange Kane-orchestrated murder cover-up.
By the end of Season 1, I adored Logan even more than I loathed him in the very first episode. When his allegedly "ironclad" alibi turned out to be a lie, I was worried that the show would destroy his character and turn him into a true villain. Luckily, that didn't happen, and Logan and Veronica were free to be together. Unfortunately, the reveal that Logan's dad killed Lilly was a double-whammy for our boy: Not only did he lose a dad, but he also had tainted memories of his beloved girlfriend, who was cheating on him with his own father. I guess you can't win them all.
The good news is that when you re-watch Veronica Mars, knowing that Aaron is the true killer, it makes it a whole lot easier to hop on the LoVe train. Amen.
Images: Warner Bros. Television (7)