Nancy Drew Episode 1: Pilot

Nancy Drew Episode 1: Pilot

cw pic

From the moment I discovered a new “Nancy Drew” television series was premiering… I was hooked! Anyone who knows me… knows that I love Nancy Drew and everything that goes along with her. I missed out on watching the 1977 series with Pamela Sue Martin as I was a new mom with a one-year-old… not much time left to be hooked on Nancy Drew, as I was hooked on my son, Stephen! I vaguely remember hearing about the show on tv, but I had a one year old to chase after and it had been over fifteen years since I’d even cracked open a Nancy Drew book! Later when my daughter, Melissa, was born I began buying Nancy Drew books at tag sales… hoping to make her a Nancy Drew fan… but she never read past the Mystery of the Old Clock. But I saved her books and they now sit on her book shelves for McKinley and Grace to enjoy… and hopefully they will become Nancy fans!

cw nancy

Kennedy McMann portrays Nancy Drew in this series… and I was into liking her from the get go… I actually fell for her after seeing the many promo pics and teaser trailers… but I had months to wait… and wait. Finally on Oct. 9th, (2019) at 9 p.m… I watched “live!” Very seldom do I ever watch anything live with commercials… but nothing was keeping me from this show! As I now collect Nancy Drew books and everything Nancy Drew, and spend much time in my many Facebook “Nancy” groups… I couldn’t wait to watch and chat about the show! So let me just say first off, I love the actress playing Nancy Drew in this show… she definitely has my approval! And from all I’ve read in the Facebook groups… everyone gives her a nod… as to the other’s… there’s mixed feelings at this point, but that may soon change!

Love the mention of how she loved mysteries from a little girl!

From the first few minutes of the opening pilot…. showing the teen prom queen falling to her death on the rocky waters edge of Horseshoe Bay… it made me reflect back to another favorite show of mine… Dark Shadows…. I was a fan! I’m also a fan of Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew… she is perfect for the show… giving Nancy just a slight look of a slightly older than the 18 year-old Nancy in the books… and she has the perfect color hair of titan red. Originally in the books, Nancy began as a girl of golden blonde locks, slowly evolving into red, titan, and strawberry blonde. No one ever seemed to have known for sure as to why the change… surmising it’s been said that it might have come about from a book cover when the artist changed her hair color… either by accident or himself deciding it looked better? It seemed to have stuck after that to the reddish tones, although the newer books today often show a more blonde Nancy!


Nancy hung her “Sea Queen” crown on Dead Lucy’s gravestone!

1, 2… 3, 4, 5… you’ll never get out of here alive… you’re a “Sea Queen” Nancy Drew… school friends sang out to her by the gravestones. Yes I was hooked immediately… as I got my first glimpse of the new “Nancy Drew” and in what better spooky setting… she’s in a cemetery, at night, and dressed in a prom dress. This was Nancy a year ago… you soon see her in a different setting… with a different boyfriend and soon to be… new friends!

Dead Lucy in graveyard

Dead Lucy made her first ghostly appearance to Nancy in this cemetery… I knew immediately that this was my type of show… as I believe in those type of sightings and have had a ghostly experience you can read about over HERE… maybe I should rename it Dead Lizzie! Our Nancy, even the one from 1930, doesn’t believe in ghosts! Maybe in this show… she just might end up so believing… we will see… but Nancy is the only one who sees Dead Lucy!

Nancy… “I don’t believe in ghosts, I believe in looking for the truth!”

I enjoyed the flashback of seven-year-old Nancy…. the very curious young Nancy, who her parents referred to as “just born that way.” The little girl somewhat reminded me of my seven year old granddaughter McKinley in looks and the red hair, but I don’t think she would be as brave as this little seven year old Nancy. From the first glimpse of this young Nancy and her mom, they both shared the use of a flashlight! But I’m still puzzled as to what this young Nancy saw that night when her mom appeared with the flashlight… it seemed her father and another man were burying a box… young Nancy was watching her first mystery unfold before her eyes… and she soon began to chase the shadows; from then on, Nancy always has a flashlight when she’s exploring. 

A few years later, our still “young” Nancy saw her first shadow to chase… she followed the shadow man to discover the kidnapped, Rose Turnbull, behind a hidden staircase. She was hooked in sleuthing mysteries from that point on…

Nancy name tag

Nancy dons a name tag more than her magnifying glass in this series!

Nancy seemed to change after the death of her mother Katherine Drew… and a year later… our Nancy had tanked in school and didn’t continue onto college with her friends… instead she took a job as a waitress, working with girls who weren’t, at this point, her best friends. This was the first sighting of George Fan (Fayne) who was so immediately unlike George from the books… and strange! George owned The Claw diner, where Nancy was now working, and very bossy to Nancy and mentioned how she didn’t like her from high school… she was holding a grudge! The only other waitress there beside Nancy was our Bess (Marvin)… and no she’s not blonde or even plump and unlike the books, not a cousin to George! Bess would probably like her character here, as she’s very thin, but I don’t know if she’d like being a brunette. She could probably eat whatever she likes now… as in the books she was written as plump and was always chastised in wanting that second piece of cake! She’s not a native to Horseshoe Bay, but instead comes from the big city to live with her aunt, who lives in a mansion on the cliffs… I was intrigued… in hoping we see this mansion on the cliffs. Surely a ghost hunting will take us there!

As to this new Ned… now Nick… I have very mixed feelings. When you’ve read and envisioned a character for so long, you picture them in your head… this is not how I pictured my Ned! While I like some things he says to Nancy, like the constant, “you ok”… and how he seems to look out for her… I’m still not sold on him… and I wish there hadn’t been the initial “sex” opening scenes in the show. Nick mentions he graduated from The University of Florida… so it seems he’s a few years older than Nancy and as you’ll soon discover, he’s already intertwined with her father, as lawyer/defendant… how long has he been in Horseshoe Bay?

The biggest change to this Nancy Drew series was the addition of the casual sex that was in the opening scenes. I think it could have been better accepted if they hadn’t had Nancy Drew having sex that quickly. We all know that this eighteen-year-old Nancy wouldn’t be the same as the eighteen-year-old Nancy from the books… but there could have been a little restraint on opening night.

I feel this show could have been an awesome mother/daughter series to introduce young girls into reading, but that’s out now! Darn CW… you could have had more viewers! I just know my little three Nancy Drew granddaughters… Ella, Nina and Ana, in Florida would have so loved to watch this… they loved the 2019 Nancy Drew movie, which we all watched together like five times while I was there. That film just so happened to have been filmed in my mother’s hometown of Monroe, Georgia… and I just happened to have watched much of the filming, which you can read about over HERE! I even wrote for 30 days straight on All About Nancy Drew for my April 2018 A to Z.

Nancy holds locket at grave

locket shes holding

All that remains for Nancy to remember her mother by… the “locket”

Once again, like the book, Nancy’s mother dies, but Nancy isn’t three or even ten, she’s like almost eighteen years old, ready to graduate, and go off to college. In one of the first glimpses we see of Katherine Drew, we see the locket that Nancy later holds by her mother’s grave! In learning of her mother’s soon to be death, Nancy tailspins in school with grades suffering and college goes on the back burner. While her friends go off to college… Nancy goes to work as a waitress at The Claw in her hometown of Horseshoe Bay in Maine. Finally, this show gives us the state she lives in… the fans of the books are still trying to discover through clues as to which state Nancy actually lived in… is it New York, New Jersey, Iowa.. or?

When the murder of Tiffany Hudson occurs… our own Nancy Drew becomes a suspect! We soon learn from Chief McGinnis that George’s mother is a drunk, Bess had been picked up for shoplifting and Nick (Ned) was an ex-con!

As Nancy is questioned by Det. Karen Hart, Nancy has flashbacks of looking for clues in her mind… she sees a large diamond ring on Tiffany’s hand while she was on the phone… but it was no longer on her hand as she lay on the ground… dead! We soon see a different side of Carson Drew… we learn he’s dating Det. Hart… to Nancy’s dismay!

Nancy quickly realizes how Chief McGinnis no longer wants her help in solving mysteries… as he brings all the girls, along with Nick and Ace (bottle washer at The Claw) in for questioning. You quickly learn that George’s mother is a drunk (really) and Bess, not a native, but was supposedly picked up in the city on a shoplifting charge, which she strongly disagreed on… which is why she’s now living in Horseshoe Bay with her aunt… in a mansion by the cliffs.

If I had written this show, I would have had Nancy leave home to come to Horseshoe Bay alone… to clear her head of her mother’s death. Once the mysteries began… Bess and George would have shown up, and Ned would come into the show after the girls were more established. Carson might come after Nancy was brought in for questioning… if Nancy felt the need to call him… and Hannah would most definitely send her tins of chocolate chip cookies!

While Nancy has always been on the hunt to solve the mystery of Dead Lucy… she now has a new mystery to solve… who killed Tiffany Hudson!

When Chief McGinnis turns to Nick, he mentioned how he had been involved in a murder… which Nick quickly defended himself as being a young underage teen and how his record was sealed… but now the beans have been spilled! All eyes looked at Ned!!! That made me quickly feel that Nick didn’t always live in this town… but I later learned that Carson Drew had also been his lawyer… which further tells me that more on this will surface in future shows. They have now made “Nick” the bad boy from the other side of town… maybe this is why Nancy hadn’t known him from school… besides being almost four years older. And it didn’t take Nancy long before she broke into her father’s “locked” files to discover more on Ned’s crime! I can see why Chief McGinnis looked to Nick for this murder.

While Horseshoe Bay, Maine is similar to River Heights in the regards being it’s a town where generations of families have lived for years… it’s also a town where Nancy Drew was well known as the local teen sleuth who solved many of Chief McGinnis’s crimes…  but now it seems that he’s slightly agitated with her… and now not wanting any involvement of her help.

Nancy’s second ghost sighting is in leaving the police station… staring in the dress window shop she sees a reflection of a ghostly image! But turning around… it’s gone! It seems that Dead Lucy is following her!

Another clue soon comes in the recording of the fireworks she tried to record on her cellphone the night of the murder… instead of fireworks she sees a ghostly dark image coming toward Tiffany Hudson… and then Tiffany slumps behind the car. Nancy is soon questioning supernatural visions and her conscious questions… “did I really see that?”

Dead Lucy is blamed for everything eerie in Horseshoe Bay! The ghost’s real name is Lucy Sable… aka “Dead Lucy”, the local “Sea Queen” of the year 2000 who disappeared after that night… the only clues found was blood and a pink piece of her gown found on the rocky shore below the cliff. How did that not wash away with the waves pounding up and over the rocks?

After Nancy, donned her hat (nod to her cloche hat), messenger bag and flashlight… she broke into the home of Tiffany Hudson to look for clues in her death. In the bedroom she discovered a secret compartment in a drawer that held only a sea locket charm and a scrap of paper. She later showed it to George, and was told that it was a “mariner’s good luck charm.” George, who is very knowledgeable on maritime lore, also said… “these charms were given by girlfriends to their boyfriends when they went to sea.” They would leave a message inside and the only way their boyfriend could read it… was to place the charm in seawater to open. I love this idea and kudos to whomever came up with this idea!


The note with the mariner’s medal!

I bet your already thinking… Go to the beach!

Nancy, George and Bess head down to the beach and after Nancy dips the charm in the water, it opens to reveal a seahorse charm inside… and George scoffs the message to read… “725 Gallows Lane”… which Nancy googles… it’s the home of a medium!

charm inside

I’m not sure of the significance of the seahorse inside the medallion, but it’s also on the crown that Nancy sat on top of the gravestone… so it seems that the sea queen’s crown has the seahorse on the crown!

While Nancy is not best friends with Bess and George immediately… we can all see that a friendship is slowly developing… actually you see it beginning when they gathered at the water’s edge with the mariner’s charm… and later going to the medium together!

twisted candles at seance 2

The Twisted Candles at the medium’s house

It was a great addition to the series to have Pamela Sue Martin as a guest… and the choice of her playing Harriet the medium was perfect. The first thing you notice are the twisted candles on the table, but it soon became spooky when she began speaking in another voice……. “find the dress… find the dress.” There also looked to be a statue behind her that might be a nod to the book… The Whispering Statue (1937). When she was questioned on what she spoke, she immediately said, “I didn’t mean to say that.” Now, you know you can’t just say something like that! We soon learned at the very end, when Nancy opened the attic… picking up a blood stained dress… which we surmised to be blood stained! Now who’s dress could this be, other than Dead Lucy?

Nancy quickly asked her father about the dress, but I felt he gave her a ridiculous explanation… we all know who’s dress that was… and it’s certainly making Carson Drew look very suspicious… is he the crooked bannister for real in this series? He’s definitely not like the father in the book. In all the books, Carson is listed as tall and distinguished… this Carson is a bit shorter than Nancy and looks more like an older brother.

In watching and rewatching the pilot, maybe more times than I’d like to admit… I’ve noted such an amount of similarities between the Nancy Drew series here and the books… often known as “Easter Eggs”. I’ve listed as many as I could figure out… but I’m sure I’ve missed a few!

“Easter Eggs”

  • The use of always having a flashlight… nice nod to the classic books.
  • At least all the characters names remain true… Nancy, Bess, George, Ned… aka Nick now, Carson, Chief McGinnis, and Katherine… although in the books her mother was never fully identified… and so far, no Hannah has surfaced!
  • Nancy has the same “blue” eye color and red hair as Nancy in the books… for the most part; she originally began as blonde.
  • Nancy lives at 118 River Heights Drive… a nice nod to her hometown of River Heights and her age of 18… could the first “one” refer to only “one” child?
  • Nancy first began chasing the shadows as a young 7-year-old Nancy in solving the mystery of a young girl, Rose Turnbull… discovered under a hidden staircase. Loved this nod of the name Turnbull from the book, The Hidden Staircase and Rosemary Turnbull, one of the owners of the mansion where Nancy helped to solve a mystery.  The hidden staircase mention was also in remembrance of the book, The Hidden Staircase… and also nodded to the new movie (2019), so named.
  • Early in the show, a corkboard was shown of clippings shown of Nancy’s sleuthing… so many nods here… The Mystery of the Ivory Charm, The Secret of the Wooden Lady, The Hidden Staircase, The Secret of the Old Clock, The Clue in the Diary, The Phantom of Pine Hill, The Mysterious Mannequin, The Crooked Bannister, and The Secret of Mirror Bay. Did I miss any? 
  • Nancy doesn’t seem to have the same repore with Chief McGinnis as she did in the books… it was very apparent when he brought her in for questioning and the Chief dissed Nancy’s mention of a clue she offered him… George quickly said… “you mean do it for you“.
  • In breaking into the Hudson house, Nancy dons a hat, and a messenger bag… more nods to the storylines as Nancy always carried a bag with essentials needed. The hat was a nod to the well known 1930 cloche style hat.
  • The first look of a locket around her mother’s neck… a nice mention back to the book…  “The Clue of the Broken Locket” (1934).
  • We see Nick working on a blue convertible car when suddenly under the seat he pulls out a box… it’s said to be Nancy’s mothers car and Ned is repairing it. Oh, I so wanted him to open that box… how long will it take for us to see what’s inside?
  • The “twisted candles” on the table at the seance… a nod to the book, “The Sign of the Twisted Candles (1933).
  • Behind the medium (Pamela Sue Martin) was a statue that looked similar to the one in “The Whispering Statue” (1937).
  • The medium, (Pamela Sue Martin aka Harriet Grosset) at the seance was none other than the Nancy Drew from the television series… The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977). Hope the girls visit her again in future episodes! The name of Grosset nods back to the publishers, Grosset and Dunlap.
  • Ned Nickerson now goes by “Nick”… More like a shortened version of his last name of Nickerson.
  • In the attic, at the end, Nancy finds Dead Lucy’s words written under wallpaper she peels up… nods to both The Secret in the Old Attic (1942),  and The Quest of the Missing Map (1942).
  • As Nancy looks in the trunk in the attic, she almost strikes the same pose as from the book… The Secret in the Old Attic (1942). I do like how they used an attic scene of Nancy looking through a trunk… another nod to my favorite book.
  • Was all the ghostly images shown of Dead Lucy… could there be a nod to… The Ghosts of Blackwood Hall (1948).
  • Bess lives with her aunt in a mansion on the bluffs… possibility a nod to… Mystery of Moss Covered Mansion (1942).
  • Carson Drew looks to be a little crooked… does that nod to The Crooked Bannister (1971).
  • How many times did Nick tell Nancy… Be Safe? Darn it, I didn’t count them!
  • Nancy doesn’t seem to have that loving relationship with her father in this series as she did with him in the books… but it might materialize over time.
  • Nancy has a job in Horseshoe Bay, Maine at The Crab in the series. In all the classic 56 books, Nancy never had a job… and school or even college was really never mentioned.

Clippings on Corkboard!

cork boardFIX

Corkboard above Nancy’s desk!

  • Clipping on corkboard… “Horseshoe Boy’s own “girl detective” identifies to the television series, “The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries” (1977).
  • Clipping on corkboard… Daughter of Local Attorney Discovers Client’s Missing Will in Antique Clock… Book: “The Secret of the Old Clock“.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Stolen Horse Returned… Book: “The Sky Phantom” and possibly Nancy Drew computer game, “The Haunted Carousel”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Nancy Drew, ‘Girl Detective’… Uncovers Counterfeiting Ring Operated at Red Gate Farm, Exposing Horseshoe Bay Connection to Hale Syndicate… Book: “The Secret of Red Gate Farm”… the word “syndicate” refers to The Stratemeyer Syndicate.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Missing Girl Found Alive Behind Hidden Staircase by 7th Grade Honor Student: Local Realtor Arrested For Kidnapping… Book:The Hidden Staircase”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Wooden Lady Missing From Ship: Young Detective Investigates Historical Relic… Book:The Secret of the Wooden Lady
  • Clipping on corkboard… Kidnapping Plot Uncovered — Ivory Charm Key… Book: The Mystery of the Ivory Charm”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Girl Detective Aids Police: Hollow Oak Mystery Solved… Book:The Message in the Hollow Oak”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Girl Detective Uncovers Secrets of Pine Hill… Book: The Phantom of Pine Hill”.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Precious Sapphire Still Missing… Book:The Spider Sapphire“.
  • Clipping on corkboard… Daughter of local attorney solves dancer mystery at Heath Castle… Book: The Moonstone Castle Mystery (1962).
  • Clipping on corkboard… Boy Found – girl detective follows leads at local museum.  Where is this from?
  • Clipping on corkboard… Horseshoe Bay’s Own ‘Girl Detective’ Identifies Serial Arsonist Based on Clues from Decades-Old Livejournal Posts… Book: The Clue in the Diary (1932).

The Claw Fix

The Bayside Claw’s Advertising Placemat!

  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… The Pine Hill Construction Co. nod to The Phantom of Pine Hill (1965).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Lilac Inn Bed and Breakfast listing… nod to The Mystery at Lilac Inn (1930).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Fortune Telling Seances by Harriet… nod to both Pamela Sue Martin as the medium and Harriet Stratemeyer Adams (editor and writer (Carolyn Keene) of many Nancy Drew stories.
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Horseshoe Bay Yacht Club… nod to The Secret of Mirror Bay (1972) & The Secret at Shadow Ranch (1931).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… J. Dodd’s, Marine Services & Repair: A Mr. Dodd, owns the neighboring estate to the (1959 revision) Turnbull sisters mansion of Twin Elms.
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Bears Paw Notary Public since 1987… nod to The Case of The Twin Teddy Bears… Book 116. (It was published in 1993, so I’m still searching why they wrote 1987… LMK… if you know the answer! The “Bear” nod also goes to Emily Bear who wrote two songs specifically for The Hidden Staircase.
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat… Become an Artist… nod to The Scarlet Slipper Mystery (1954).
  • From The Claw’s advertising placemat…   Hudson Shipping Company… nod to the first murder victim, Tiffany Hudson, on the new series of Nancy Drew on the CW.
  • From The Claw’s paper placemat… Carson Drew, Attorney at Law… nod to Nancy’s father being a lawyer in the books and show.
  • It took me awhile, but I feel the Horseshoe Bay word hunt nods to The Clue in the Crossword Cipher (1967).


While I managed to get a fairly clear photo of the “word hunt” of the television screen… I can’t make out the words on the bottom or even see any that I might recognize as a Nancy Drew word! Can You?

 By the end of Nancy Drew‘s pilot episode, Nancy is being guided by a medium and may be at risk by the many ghost sightings… that only she sees. While there are many fans who say, they aren’t tuning in again… I for one, am most certainly watching. I love Nancy Drew and even though I’m not onboard with every aspect of the direction in which the CW has chosen… I’m willing to give it a chance as I want Nancy to survive… in making new fans.

What I first thought about George and Bess in the beginning soon changed near the end when I saw George make a late night visit to Ryan Hudson’s house, husband of dead Tiffany Hudson… they clearly are having an affair! But what really surprised me, and it shouldn’t have… Bess went to a VW bus, which seemed to open into a sparkly bedroom… does she really live here secretly and not with the aunt in the mansion… or does she come here to enjoy the pretty things she shoplifts… like the sparkly diamond ring she pulled out of a bag… sure looks like dead Tiffany’s missing ring! So many questions!

While Nancy writes a list of clues and suspects in the Tiffany Hudson mystery… the lights go out… with flashlight in hand she heads down the stairs… but Dead Lucy is summoning her to the attic when the attic pull-down stairs suddenly clammer down… very loudly!


My favorite scene of the movie is when Kennedy, as Nancy, takes up the flashlight pose in semblance to my favorite art cover of The Secret in the Old Attic! While Nancy searched through the trunk… Dead Lucy was again watching from across the room.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts… do drop me a message below!

Nancy with lucy in attic

Hope to see you back for my take on Episode 2… The Secret of the Old Morgue

Click HERE for more Nancy Drew!

magnificator ThanksForReading© 2019, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved


About Jeanne Bryan Insalaco

My blog is at:
This entry was posted in Daily Writings and funnies..., Nancy Drew and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Nancy Drew Episode 1: Pilot

  1. scr4pl80 says:

    I saw that there was a Nancy Drew coming but didn’t remember when. Thanks for this great write up. I do remember the one with Pamela Sue Anderson. I’ll have to try and find this one.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.