Why Did Lianne Mars Leave Neptune?

Status: Ongoing

When Lianne Mars was in high school, she was Lianne Reynolds, queen of the prom to Jake Kane's king. All their classmates assumed that Jake and Lianne would make a life together. They were wrong. Years later, Jake lived the life of a very successful businessman with wife Celeste, son Duncan and daughter Lilly, and Lianne lived a less prosperous but nonetheless good life as the wife of Sheriff Keith Mars and loving mother to their daughter Veronica. Or so it seemed.

All was not, however, as it seemed and it took the murder of Lilly Kane to shatter many of the illusions of Veronica's life, not least, those pertaining to her own family. Her parent's marriage did not have the strength to survive the public humiliation and loss of status brought upon them in the wake of Keith's dismissal for pursuing Jake as the murderer of his daughter. Lianne fell apart; she drank heavily. At the time Veronica thought Lianne abandoned her family because of Keith's determination not to be run out of town despite the loss of status, income and their home. The music box and note Lianne left behind were no comfort to her. An unforgiving Veronica, left to face ostracism, economic hardship and rape alone, lived with yet another illusion, that of her mother as nothing more than a coward.

But as she peeled away the layers in her search for the truth about the death of her best friend Lilly, Veronica discovered that she was still far from knowing the truth about her own mother. Or herself. She found that before Lianne left, she had been sent photographs of Veronica upon which gunsights had been drawn, that the man responsible was Kane Software's head of security, Clarence Wiedman, that Jake may be Veronica's father and that Lianne hadn't just left town, she was on the run, begging Veronica in a rare call not to try to track her down, a sentiment echoed by Keith, who unlike Veronica is prepared to move on with his life without Lianne.

For Veronica, that was no option. She found her mother, drunk and terrified in a lonely bar. Reluctantly, Lianne told her tale, of having been certain Jake did not kill Lilly because she was with Jake at the Neptune Grand hotel at the time Lilly was killed, a time Veronica now knows to be wrong, and that Celeste confronted them there, staying only 20 minutes. Such information is dangerous for the Kanes and the false alibis they gave. Lianne is convinced that she cannot be with Veronica because to do so would risk her daughter's life. Lianne's conviction is reinforced by Clarence Wiedman following Veronica to the bar.

Maybe Lianne is a coward. Maybe she is not. But one thing is certain. Veronica Mars is no coward and won't be terrorised into losing her mother again. With all of her savings, her investment for her future, Veronica places Lianne in a rehabilitation center, to keep her safe and make her whole.

Mystery Summary as of 1.16 "Betty and Veronica"

All summaries: 1.22 1.21 1.16 1.15 1.09 1.05 1.01

Clues for Why Did Lianne Mars Leave Neptune?

  • 1.01 "Pilot"
  • Lianne Mars wanted to leave Neptune after her husband Keith lost his reputation and his job as sheriff as a result of investigating Lilly Kane's murder and forming the belief that Lilly's father, Jake, was guilty.
  • Keith believes Jake is a liar based on earlier experience with him. Lianne dismisses this.
  • Lianne left town, abandoning her husband and her daughter, Veronica, a month after Keith was voted out of office.
  • Lianne left a note - "Veronica, I have to leave for a while. I'll be back for you soon. Love always, Mom." — and a unicorn music box for her daughter.
  • According to Logan Echolls, Lianne was known to drink, by implication, excessively.
  • Veronica learns that there is a connection between Jake and her missing mother, when she identifies Lianne as the mystery woman Jake visits at one in the morning at the Camelot Motel.
  • 1.03 "Meet John Smith"
  • Keith will not discuss with Veronica the question of what Lianne was doing at the motel with Jake or why he won't go and get her even though she is only in Arizona.
  • Veronica ascertains her mother's address in Arizona.
  • Lianne stayed in Arizona with an old college friend, Adrianna, but left a few weeks before because she thought Keith would come looking for her.
  • Adrianna tells Veronica that Lianne cares about her. Veronica is skeptical.
  • 1.05 "You Think You Know Somebody"
  • Lianne was disturbed by the news that Veronica was dating Duncan Kane.
  • Lianne tried to take Veronica to Palm Springs three days before she disappeared. At the time, Veronica thought the incident was just one more on the growing list of odd things her mom was doing and chalked her nerves up to the vodka.
  • Veronica finds a safety deposit key amongst her mother's things. She retrieves the contents.
  • There are candid photographs of Veronica taken by a professional who knew Veronica's schedule the year before. On each a bull's-eye target is drawn on Veronica.
  • Veronica considers whether her mother left, not because of Keith's disgrace, but because of the threat to her daughter.
  • Veronica assumes that her father is unaware of the photographs.
  • Keith tells Veronica that the reason he hasn't tried to find Lianne is because he may not want to.
  • Lianne calls Veronica and tells her that she does not want Veronica to find her. She adds that everything will make sense when the time is right.
  • 1.07 "The Girl Next Door"
  • The connection between Jake and Lianne goes back a long way.
  • In 1979, Jake and Lianne were high school sweethearts, king and queen of the prom, and the popular expectation was that they would marry.
  • Keith says, "A man's gotta be pretty committed to a woman, who would agree to raise another man's child." Does he speak from experience?
  • 1.08 "Like a Virgin"
  • Koontz, a former employee at Kane Industries, alleges that Lianne used to visit Jake during lunch hours. This would indicate the connection between them lasted long after high school.
  • Koontz alleges that Veronica is Jake's daughter.
  • 1.09 "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
  • Veronica is not certain of her paternity and Duncan may be her half-brother.
  • Clarence Wiedman, head of security at Kane Software, was responsible for the photographs in Lianne's safety deposit box.
  • 1.10 "An Echolls Family Christmas"
  • When Veronica confronts Jake about the photographs from Lianne's safety deposit box taken by Wiedman, he denies any knowledge of the matter.
  • Jake claims he didn't want Lianne to leave town and he doesn't know why she hid the photos.
  • Jake is sufficiently shaken by his encounter with Veronica to confront his wife, Celeste, in public, asking urgently and repeatedly, "What did you do?"
  • 1.15 "Ruskie Business"
  • Someone has been calling Veronica's cell phone for a week and hanging up without speaking.
  • By dialing the code for 'last number' after another hang up call, Veronica is informed that it was a blonde woman at the Sagebrush Cantina in Barstow who last used the phone.
  • Veronica finds Lianne there. She is drunk and shabby-looking.
  • Lianne's response to her discovery is fear. "Veronica. Oh my god no. No. Please. No. No. I can't be seen with you. They are going to hurt you."
  • Clarence Wiedman watches them.
  • 1.16 "Betty and Veronica"
  • Clarence Wiedman followed Veronica to Barstow, alerted by means of a bug in her bedroom.
  • Lianne is convinced that if she re-establishes contact with her daughter, Veronica's life will be in danger.
  • Lianne believes that Jake could not have murdered Lilly as at the supposed time of Lilly's murder, Lianne was with Jake at the Neptune Grand hotel.
  • Celeste confronted Jake and Lianne at the Neptune Grand hotel and was there at the hotel for about 20 minutes.
  • Jake and Celeste provided each other with alibis on the day of Lilly's death by claiming that they had spent two to two and a half hours together at the Neptune Grand, alibis that are not consistent with Lianne's account.
  • Veronica now has reason to believe that her mother was chased from Neptune, partly or wholly, to protect the Kanes' false alibis.
  • Lianne Mars is no longer physically lost to Veronica but is in a rehabilitation center, paid for with Veronica's college savings.
  • 1.21 "A Trip to the Dentist"
  • Whatever Lianne's reasons for staying away, or leaving rehab, she finally comes home.
  • 1.22 "Leave It to Beaver"
  • Lianne failed to complete her course of treatment at the rehabilitation center.
  • Lianne continues to drink by filling her water bottle with alcohol.
  • Veronica orders Lianne to leave.
  • Lianne leaves, taking the bounty secured from the Kane family for finding Duncan, earmarked for Veronica's college fund.