Her first impression of Veronica Mars is that she's a cute little California girl with a big mouth.
She's not wrong about that.
What Olivia is wrong about, however, is that Veronica isn't just another Valley-Girl feminist organizing marches to denounce the patriarchal NYPD. It's barely five minutes in the interrogation room - Veronica had laughed in Elliot's face and told him to go find a punching bag and get some of that testosterone out of his system, and then she'd talk to him - before Olivia finds herself kicking out Weinberg (the A.D.A. this week, and she still misses Alex and Casey) and pulling up a chair.
"What's your partner's problem? Hasn't gotten laid in a year?"
Olivia stifles a laugh. "I'm not about to ask him how long it's been."
"C'mon, you two look close. Your captain knew to call you when he brought me in." At Olivia's look of surprise, Veronica folds her arms and leans back in her chair, posture completely at ease despite facing down a detective in an interrogation room. "Look, Detective Benson, I know why I'm here. I'm not saying you're not doing your jobs. But whoever's leaking your failed cases isn't me or Sam."
"Why are you a suspect, then?"
"Because I'm an outspoken young educated woman. Because the letters show a grasp of grammar and syntax that your average guy on the street won't have. Because Sam Kingston's my boyfriend and he's already been cited twice for threatening a police officer and destruction of public property. He's a pain in the ass, Detective, but he's not your guy."
Her boyfriend, Samuel Kingston, late of Tallahassee, Florida. NYU student, pre-law, one of the highest GPA's in the school. Bright kid, bright future - except for his taking swings at cops with a tire iron and smashing up a police car. His sister, Victoria Kingston, had reported a rape two months ago, and Olivia and Elliot had tried everything. There are some cases that you can't solve, but that hadn't been good enough for Sam, taking out his frustrations on a patrol car.
Olivia had thought it was over, but then a week later, someone started leaking all the 15th Precinct's unsolved cases, rapists and murderers that had walked free, to every news outlet in Manhattan.
Veronica's a smart girl, and there's something in her tone that Olivia latches onto.
"So who is?"
"You're asking me?" Veronica replies, raising an eyebrow almost as good as Elliot's.
"Yeah," Olivia says, pulling the girl's file out of her bag and sliding it across the table. "I figure you're a good resource. Cop's daughter turned private investigator, undergrad from Hearst in journalism, currently at John Jay for your master's in criminal justice."
Veronica opens the file, scans the information about her, and laughs when she reaches a particular line. "I never dated Eli Navarro, you know. He'll be flattered by the insinuation that he was my love muffin and a 'notorious gangster'."
She offers a few more comments ("Aaron Echolls was never convicted on the attempted murder charge. He got one count of murder and a stat-rape charge for Lilly, and the jury added on a count of child abuse and endangerment after Logan and Trina testified. Legally, he never tried to kill me, but I wouldn't mention that to me or my father."), then slides the folder back across the table.
"So, any insights, Miss Mars?" Olivia asks.
She takes a deep breath, and Olivia is stunned by the cloudy haze to her eyes and tremble in her voice. "Whoever raped Vicki Kingston won't ever be caught, you know."
"Because he was smart enough not to leave any evidence, and even smarter to pick a time when Vicki was already drunk and coming home from a date that went badly. She had GHB in her system and previous bruises from the asshole she was with, and the rapist knew any jury in the country would look at Vicki's promiscuity and say 'she had it coming, she was asking for it'."
And it's then that Olivia sees the clench of Veronica's jaw, the way her fingers are gripping the edge of the table, and how Veronica's staring at the wall to Olivia's left. This is so intensely personal Olivia wonders why it's not in her file.
"What happened to you, Veronica?" she asks softly.
"58% of all rape victims were raped when they were teenagers. Less than a quarter ever report it, because who's going to believe a dumb teenage girl who went to a party where there were drugs and then claims she was raped? Of those who do report it, 72% will never face their rapist in a courtroom, usually because the police don't believe them. Detective, believe me when I tell you I know what it took for Vicki Kingston to report her rape, and believe me when I tell you I know you can't solve every crime."
"No one ever -"
"Not even your father?"
"He doesn't know. He won't ever know."
Olivia says nothing, just rounds the table, crouches next to Veronica, and hugs her with all of her strength.