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Feminist Detection at UCSD: Veronica Mars
by Curtis Marez `

During its first two seasons, Veronica Mars is set in the fictional beachside community of Neptune, somewhere between Los Angeles and San Diego, where the title character solves crimes while working for her father’s detective agency, Mars Investigations.  Her high school is played by public school Oceanside High in Oceanside, California and the crimes Veronica solves often foreground class and gender issues, including violence against women (see the “Veronica Mars and Feminism” clip and commentary).  In season three the young detective enrolls in Hearst College, represented in this clip by UC San Diego (although Hearst is more usually represented by San Diego State).  Veronica becomes a criminology major and gets involved in the investigation into the murder of a dean and the prime suspect, a professor who was having an affair with the dean’s wife (SPOILER ALERT: the TA did it!).  At the same time she attempts to identify a campus rapist. What is the significance of bringing elements of the detective genre to college? By combining the roles of detective and student researcher, what does the character of Veronica Mars suggest about the aim or value of education?  Why does the show juxtapose a feminist protest and a scene of Veronica and her boyfriend breaking up? Is it significant that the protestors prominently include women of color?

This Commentary is related to the following Clips:
Feminist Detection at UCSD: Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas (2006) Veronica Mars brings her detective skills to bear on campus crimes.