Following the 2014 Kickstarter-backed movie, Veronica Mars returns with a ‘boom’ as Season 4 delivers a brilliant cozy mystery.

The new season brings back the wonderful Kristen Bell as Veronica Mars along with most of the main cast, with plenty of recurring characters and guest stars, all the while remaining accessible to new fans as well. At the start of the season, Veronica provides a helpful background of her life in fictional Neptune, California, as a private detective alongside her father, Keith (Enrico Colantoni). As always, the banter between Veronica and Keith is sharp and delightful, stacked with puns, references, and sarcastic retorts. Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) also makes a telling return and the fan-favorite lead pair finally finds themselves in a stable relationship.

In the season’s main storyline, Mars DetectivesInvestigations investigates a bombing at Neptune, which used to be a popular Spring Break destination. With a wide array of potential suspects with conflicting motives, Veronica and Keith have their hands full. But, they are helped in their investigations by a 16-year-old budding sleuth Matty Ross (Izabela Vidovic), whose motel-owner father is killed in the first bombing. Veronica mentoring her young protégé has a Tony Stark-Peter Parker vibe to it, with Veronica and Keith even quoting Tony almost verbatim at one point. With Matty basically being Veronica 2.0, I honestly would love to see Matty solving crimes by herself on a spinoff show. Logan also plays a prominent role in the case and is not just resigned to being a boyfriend.

Over the course of the investigation, Veronica and Keith end up befriending two of the prime suspects. There is the nightclub owner played by Bell’s costar from The Good Place, Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who is quick to dish out justice to would-be sexual assaulters. There is also J.K. Simmons who brings the perfect blend of menace and charm as an ex-con working for the shady real estate developer ‘Big Dick’ Casablancas. Other characters in the mix include Patton Oswalt’s amateur detective/pizza delivery guy, a Congressman of Arabic descent and a pair of Mexican drug cartel hitmen, with all having ties to the bombings.

With just eight episodes, creator Rob Thomas delivers one of the sharpest whodunnits, with clues and twists coming at regular intervals and keeping you hooked throughout the season. The miniseries made me revaluate another of my favorite sassy private investigators, Jessica Jones, whose final season felt bloated at times. Veronica Mars packs a lot more plot and personality in its episodes, with the main story reminiscent of a cozy  Agatha Christie novel. Despite the gut-wrenching twist at the end, the new season of Veronica Mars is an extremely satisfying watch, with enough hope for the future. If my googling ‘Veronica Mars Season 5’ immediately after the finale is any indication, Veronica’s (and Matty’s) story certainly deserves to continue.

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