As much as Veronica Mars has been about the epic love story between Veronica (Kristen Bell) and Logan (Jason Dohring), it's also been about the collateral damage their relationship leaves in its wake. One of the first to fall was a tough one to witness: Deputy Sheriff Leo D'Amato, played by Max Greenfield. Since we know Greenfield is back for the Veronica Mars revival, let's relive that painful bit of the past.
Veronica first met Leo in season 1, when she was still determined to find out who killed her best friend, Lilly Kane (Amanda Seyfried). After knowing Greenfield as self-assured Schmidt on New Girl, it's easy to forget that this character was so naive and endearing. All Veronica saw when she stopped by the sheriff's office to deliver her dad Keith Mars (Enrico Colantoni) a sandwich was a new, prettily packaged tool at her disposal. In a bit of aw-shucks flirting, he confessed to her that he gets lonely and hungry when he's working the late shift and might eat the food himself.
"Oh, my Deputy Leo, you might as well leave me a key and a map," she said to herself.
But a funny thing happened, even as Veronica was using Leo to access the evidence room and steal the CD of the anonymous tip implicating the wrong guy in Lilly's murder. She downed an entire pizza with the guy and discovered that he's kind of perfect. This was one of the first times she ever showed real remorse for hurting someone in her detective work.
Still, even after Leo got suspended for Veronica's actions, he found a way to forgive her. And she continued to use him, albeit with his complete consent. This was finally a guy who might be good for her, we all thought as we watched his bashful, 1000-watt smile.
Except, yeah, it was totally weird that he was 20 and she was 17 — just a junior in high school — and for some reason her dad was the only one bothered by this, despite the fact that the age of consent is 18 in California. This actual working adult even showed up to meet her at a high school dance. (In the Veronica Mars movie, she did finally joke about the uncomfortable underage situation.)
After their kiss at the dance, Leo and Veronica were actually a thing for three more episodes. During that time, he did more illegal favors for her — delivering gift-wrapped interrogation tapes! — and she rewarded this by... getting closer to Logan (Jason Dohring). Even as a diehard LoVe fan, it hurt my heart to revisit their few short moments together. He was such a gentleman! He took her on an actual dinner date!
At least Veronica did the decent thing and broke up with Leo after her second mind-melting kiss with Logan. Not that she was all that gentle, giving him an "it's not you, it's me" speech that included the detail about her kissing Logan.
"So, my response is supposed to be what, thanks?" he asked, incredulous.
"Probably overshooting a bit, huh?" she admitted, right before asking him to help her with one more case, which he agreed to... for some reason?
After their breakup, Leo continued to help Veronica from time to time. Finally, in season 2, someone got to do a favor for him — not Veronica, but her father and Logan. Leo stole the sex tapes of Logan's dad (Harry Hamlin) and Lilly, hoping to sell them for money to put his sister with Downs syndrome in a private school. Logan bought the tapes instead and erased them (screwing up the murder case). Keith then helped by writing a report that let Leo resign from the sheriff's office and get off the hook for the theft.
In the movie, Leo, a redeemed police detective in San Diego, seemed to have gotten over being used by Veronica and had a pretty good sense of humor about her asking him for another favor.
And lastly, in a very important detail going into the new season: In the Veronica Mars novel Mr. Kiss and Tell, she flirted with Leo again while doubting whether she could handle life with Logan.
All this is to say, with Leo back for season 4, we are fully prepared to watch him have his heart stomped on one more time. It will be sweet, sweet agony.