‘She’s pretty hardboiled, huh?’: Rewriting the Classic Detective in Veronica Mars

  • Taryn Norman
Part of the Crime Files Series book series (CF)


The 2004–7, three-season television series Veronica Mars created by Rob Thomas follows its eponymous protagonist, a high school student played by Kristen Bell, whose life is turned upside down by the murder of her best friend, Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried). Following in the footsteps of her father (Enrico Colantoni), the county’s former sheriff, Veronica becomes a private detective and attempts to solve her best friend’s murder. While the new Sheriff, Don Lamb (Michael Muhney), identifies Veronica as ‘hardboiled’, traditionally this quality has fallen under the purview of masculine identity — for example, the genre’s most famous characters, Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade. Critics’ definitions of ‘hardboiled’ even appear to eschew feminine identity through an emphasis on a ‘tough, shell-like exterior, a prophylactic toughness that was organized around the rigorous suppression of affect and was mirrored by his detached, laconic utterances and his instrumentalized, seemingly amoral actions’ (Breu 2005, 1). The required geographical and social mobility of this figure that frequently leads him into violent interactions with the criminal underbelly and corrupt forces further aligns the hardboiled detective with traditional masculine identity.


Teenage Girl Underage Drinking Masculine Identity High School Girl Honorary Member 
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© Taryn Norman 2015

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  • Taryn Norman

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