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Nancy Drew is a 2019 horror mystery series on The CW. It is the third television adaptation of the titular character created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate, following a 1970s crossover with The Hardy Boys and a short-lived 1995 standalone series.

Nancy Drew (Kennedy McMann) solved her first mystery when she was just seven years old, but after her mother died of cancer, she gave all of that up. Working at the Craw diner with former high school frenemy George Fan (Leah Lewis), city girl Bess Marvin (Maddison Jaizani), and cook Ace (Alex Saxon), she is pulled back into solving mysteries when Tiffany Hudson, wife of local rich businessman Ryan Hudson (Riley Smith), dies in the Craw's parking lot. Now Nancy, George, Bess, and Nancy's ex-con boyfriend Ned "Nick" Nickerson (Tunji Kasim) are all suspects in her death and Nancy has to prove who actually did it.

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Complicating matters is the fact that Nancy's father, Carson Drew (Scott Wolf), is keeping secrets from her, and the fact that video footage from before Tiffany Hudson's death points to the killer being a ghost...specifically, "Dead Lucy," the ghost of Lucy Sable, a girl who died years ago and whose body was never found. When Nancy discovers evidence that her parents might have been involved, she also discovers that Lucy's ghost might be more real than she ever imagined.

From there, Nancy and her friends realize that something big has happened to Lucy that it may be tied to other spooky things going on in Horseshoe Bay.

The show is notable for being the first successful small-screen adaptation of Nancy Drew in the new millennium after years of failed attempts involving different networks. ABC created a Pilot Movie in 2002 that did not generate enough interest to merit a series. The critical and financial failure of the 2007 film adaptation put any more adaptation on hold until 2015, when CBS was reportedly developing a series starring Sarah Shahi as an older Nancy. A pilot was shot, but its creators eventually ditched it in favor of Doubt (which ended up being canned after one season). Two years later, the same creators attempted to pitch a pilot again, this time revolving around a middle-aged Nancy, to NBC, but received a negative response.

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The show is currently airing its second season and has been renewed for a third season. In October 2020, it was announced that The CW is developing a backdoor pilot for a potential spin-off series focusing on Tom Swift. Tom, now reimagined as a gay African-American man, will appear in an episode of Season 2, leading into the series.

The series is not connected to Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, which came out the same year.


This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Despite not really having any angst in the books over her mother's death, in the show, Nancy is wracked with angst from it and has given up solving mysteries due to it.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Nick definitely wasn't an ex-con in the books, while Bess wasn't a "city girl." She was also George's cousin, which was changed for the show. Also, having Nancy so much older when her mother died effectively does this for her.
  • Adaptational Diversity:
    • In the books, George and Nick were both white, while here they are Asian and black, respectively.
    • Bess too is white in the books but played by an actress of Iranian descent in the show. She is also gay.
  • Adaptational Nationality: In the books, Bess is presumably American. In Episode 4, we learn that she is actually English.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Bess usually has blonde hair in the books, while she has dark hair in the show.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • In the books, George's last name was "Fayne," while in the show, her last name is "Fan," probably due to the change in ethnicity.
    • Ned Nickerson also goes by "Nick" instead of "Ned."
    • The town's name is also changed from "River Heights" to "Horseshoe Bay," although there is a street named River Heights.
    • A downplayed example with Bess. Her last name is Turani in the show, but her mother told her that she was descended from the Marvin family, which is why Bess came to Horseshoe Bay.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Nancy has gone from a chipper sixteen-year-old to an angst-ridden eighteen-year-old It is later revealed that she turned nineteen during the pilot.
    • George has gone from Nancy's best friend to someone who resents Nancy for not standing up for her in high school.
  • Age Lift: The books start with a sixteen-year-old Nancy in high school, while the show begins with Nancy having graduated high school and waiting to apply to college.
  • Amateur Sleuth: Nancy, of course. She became one when she was twelve.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The Marvin family.
  • Big Bad: In the non supernatural side of things, Everett Hudson certainly counts.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Hudsons, the richest family in Horseshoe Bay. They’re snobby, feuding with each other and classist. And in the case of Everett, cruel enough to drive a teenager to kill herself and threaten the life of a newborn.
  • Canon Foreigner: Ace, Ryan Hudson, Karen Hart, and Lucy Sable are all new.
  • Casting Gag: The medium, Harriet Grosset, is played by Pamela Sue Martin, who played Nancy Drew in The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries.
  • Darker and Edgier: The first Nancy Drew show with actual supernatural elements, including ghosts.
  • Deal with the Devil: In the episode “The Haunted Staircase”, when George’s younger sister Ted is kidnapped and her kidnapping turns out to be connected to the first mystery Nancy solved, we learn that both kidnappings are the result of the kidnappers making deals with a demon named Simon to obtain something that they wanted desperately, in exchange for sacrificing the child to Simon. What’s more, Ted’s kidnapper was recruited by the first kidnapper, now in jail!
  • Didn't Think This Through: Ace's plan to "rescue" Carson from jail involved faking his way into a prison transfer which takes a few minutes for it to be discovered. Carson himself lampshades how Ace's plan is to take Carson to his own house and it's less than an hour before the place is surrounded by the cops with Ace acting like Carson is his "hostage" to push them to get proof of his attack. His heart was in the right place but Ace really should have put more planning into this.
  • Driven to Suicide: Poor Lucy Sable.
  • Exact Words: In the second episode, “The Secret of the Old Morgue”, George kicks her bucket over on the last night of the Summer Festival, and the bucket is full of blood, an omen which means that George was going to die within the year! But nobody said that she would stay dead ...
  • Fanservice: Hello, half-naked Nancy and half-naked Nick.
  • Five-Token Band: Nancy is white and female, Ace is Jewish, Nick is black, George is Chinese-American and Bess is Iranian-British and gay.
  • Foreshadowing: Used to excellent effect to set up the truth of Nancy's parentage. The first ghost featured in the show is Dead Lucy, right after Nancy places her Sea Queen Crown on Lucy's gravestone. After Kate Drew dies, she practically asks her (adoptive) mother to start haunting her and Dead Lucy answers.
  • Girl Posse: Nancy's friends in high school, who stopped being her friends when her mom died.
  • He Knows Too Much: In "The Sign of the Uninvited Guest", Lucy Sable's brother tried to kill Nancy when she confronted him on the truth.
  • Hotter and Sexier: This may be the first Nancy Drew adaptation to show Nancy and Nick half-naked and having sex.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Aside from the pilot, each episode title sounds like a Nancy Drew novel, i.e. "The Secret of the Old Morgue" and "The Curse of the Dark Storm."
  • In Name Only: Besides the show's name and the occasional Mythology Gag there, this show (at most) barely uses any of the books from the franchise. Main series and Spin-offs. Not to mention the fact that Ned, Bess, and George all get new names so this trope doesn't work with them.
  • Instant Birth: Just Add Water!: Lucy giving birth takes place between roughly mid-afternoon and only an hour or two after sunset. Notably it averts Clean, Pretty Childbirth with the umbilical chord being cut and the dress bloodstained.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Rita Howell's final message to George in "The Curse of The Dark Storm" - that the protection of the salt circle will only work if George believes it's real - could easily be read as a message to critics who struggled to suspend disbelief over the supernatural elements: in order for the show's supernatural premise to work, one must accept it at face value.
  • Love Triangle: Nancy between Ned and Owen Marvin.
  • Magical Realism: This is the first Nancy Drew adaptation where ghosts actually exist. The murder is still done by a human being and Nancy has to solve it, but...you know, there are ghosts.
  • Murder by Mistake: In ''The Sign Of The Uninvited Guest’’, we learn that this is why Tiffany Hudson died. The killer was trying to kill Ryan Hudson by poisoning a salad meant for him, but Ryan didn’t want any dressing on his salad so George returned it to the kitchen, but when Ace saw the salad, he thought it was meant for Tiffany, so he plated it for Nancy to give to Tiffany. Oops.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Carson gets arrested, because Karen found Nancy's diary, left out in the open, and read about Nancy's suspicions that her dad killed Lucy.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first mystery Nancy solves is finding a missing child in a hidden staircase — which is a reference to The Hidden Staircase, the second Nancy Drew novel. The girl's name is Rose Turnbull, a nod to Rosemary Turnbull, one of Nancy's clients from the 1930 edition of The Hidden Staircase.
    • In "The Curse of the Dark Storm", Nancy has to solve the mystery of an antique clock, which eventually leads her to the Lilac Inn. This is a reference to both "The Secret of the Old Clock" and "Mystery at Lilac Inn."
    • In “The Haunted Ring”, Nancy reveals that her high school is named Keene High School. The pseudonym of the various Nancy Drew writers is Carolyn Keene.
    • Hannah Gruen shows up in "The Whisper Box", not as the Drews' housekeeper, but as the head of the Horseshoe Bay Historical Society.
    • “The Search for the Midnight Wrath” introduces The Bobbsey Twins.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Nancy's mom died while she was at school prom, though her mom insisted so she wouldn't miss out on her social life. Still, Nancy wished she stayed for her mom's last moments. Nancy resented her dad for this.
  • One of Our Own: Ace gets into a suspicious car accident in the end of “The Tale Of The Fallen Sea Queen” and is in a coma for the next two episodes. He recovers, though.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Ace’s real name has yet to be revealed.
  • Only Sane Man: Ace is the least emotionally damaged person out of the cast.
  • Paranormal Episode: For the Nancy Drew franchise as a whole.
  • Plot-Powered Stamina: The Drew Crew gain this during the last couple episodes of season one and the first couple of season two which all take place over the course of a single week, with the characters being shown to spend the majority of several nights awake. Admittedly they are shown to sleep several times so it's less glaring than most examples, but it seems that there was little, if any, sleeping done between the beginning of The Girl in the Locket and the middle of The Reunion of Lost Souls, a period of three days and two nights.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Nancy got away with her Kid Detective schtick for a while since everyone just found it cute, but her still running around insisting she can solve any mystery better than the town's actual law enforcement in her late teens just annoys a lot of people and has made her a bit of a social pariah even though it initially made Nancy a hero when she found a lost child in her initial foray into detective work. This even makes the police chief question her motives in looking into the dead Lucy incident.
    • Nancy figures she can just break into the town morgue by picking the lock. As it happens, like any modern-day lab that recently had a body go missing, it has a lock that can only be opened via keycard and code.
    • Breaking into places to do private detective work is, you know, illegal. Nancy gets caught at the aforementioned morgue and has charges brought against her. As of "The Riddle of the Broken Doll", Nancy is sentenced to do community service because of it.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "The Girl in the Locket", Nancy calls Ryan out being an immoral stuck-up rich snob, especially since she learned that he's her biological father.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: While dybbukim are a part of Jewish tradition, dybbuk boxes are a modern invention.
  • Sex for Solace: The likely reason why Nancy is sleeping with Nick. She is still grieving over her mother’s death from cancer and sleeping with Nick probably helps her cope with the loss.
  • Skewed Priorities: In "The Search For The Midnight Wraith", Gil Bobbesy is more concerned with whether or not Nancy brought the money she agreed to pay him than the fact that she's currently trying to save him from going into diabetic shock. He even raises the price when she tries to keep him focused on the matter at hand.
  • Spooky Séance: Nancy, George, and Bess have one with the medium and try to contact Tiffany Hudson...but end up contacting Dead Lucy instead.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Lucy Sable and Ryan Hudson. Their romance was ruined by Ryan’s snobbish father, Everett, who ultimately caused Lucy to become suicidal.
  • Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl: The last scene in the pilot is one of these appearing right behind Nancy who turns out to be Dead Lucy.
  • Theme Naming: George and her sisters Ted, Charlie and Jesse all have masculine-sounding names.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Towards the end of season 1 reveals that Nancy is not biologically Carson Drew's daughter.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Victoria and George. Though it's not Played for Laughs, as George is forced to be the responsible one with a job while her mother spends most of her time drinking (which she claims helps her deal with her clairvoyance).
  • Weirdness Magnet: The Roman burial coins act as this (at least when removed from their lead lined box), attracting not just ghosts, but spirits who were never human to begin with, in massive numbers.
  • Wham Episode: "The Haunted Ring" has Nancy trespass inside Keene High and spot a photo of Lucy with Karen, suggesting that the latter may know Lucy aside from her reputation in high school.
    • The knife Nancy found, which is tied to Gomber's case, in "The Haunted Staircase" has Carson's DNA on it.
    • Nancy is knocked out in the East Wing of the asylum due to a supernatural presence. The appearance of roaches in the faux Drew residence confirms it in "The Lady of Larkspur Lane".
    • "The Whisper Box" suggests that Tiffany was assassinated because she was close to finding a suspect in the Lucy Sable incident.
    • And "The Sign of the Uninvited Guest" reveals that Tiffany was actually Murdered by Mistake when Lucy Sable's brother got into the Claw restaurant and poisoned salad intended for Ryan Hudson in an attempt to avenge Lucy's death, only for the salad to go to Tiffany instead.
    • Nancy and the gang summon the power of the Agleaca to help the former win Casey's case. However, the price is that Owen needs to die. Nancy later coughs the wreath, which means that the Agleaca is not pleased that she bailed on the deal.
    • "The Haunting of Nancy Drew" reveals that Lucy was never murdered. She took her own life when she couldn't handle being the town pariah any longer. But From a Certain Point of View, the murderer is the whole town. Or at the very least, Everett Hudson is the real murderer, since he was the one to spread the rumors about Lucy in an effort to keep her away from Ryan. At the end, Nancy discovers from the DNA results that Lucy is her real mother. Carson admits it when Nancy confronts him about it, and confessed that he and Katherine adopted her to honor Lucy's wishes. They were also there when Lucy fell to her death, but were too late to stop her.
    • The team at the end of "The Fate of the Buried Treasure" can't appease the Algeaca. Nancy notices that the sand turned into seaweed during the event, which leads the team to come up with a plan to kill it instead.
    • Odette shows up in "The Riddle of the Broken Doll" before George and the episode suggest that whatever mistakes she's making like getting olive oil when she's not suppose to suggest that she's sometimes possessed without her knowing.
  • Wham Line: In “The Sign of the Uninvited Guest”, as they’re realizing that something isn’t right with their theory, Ace gives one that not only upends the mystery, but the entire series.:
    Ace: I made that plate.
  • Wight in a Wedding Dress: Not quite a wedding dress, but Dead Lucy is wearing a white dress of a "Sea Queen," the local version of Homecoming or Prom Queen.


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