Does The CW’s Nancy Drew Believe in Ghosts?

The CW's new adaptation of Nancy Drew has no problem going supernatural.

Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew on The CW

The Nancy Drew pilot, which aired tonight on The CW, strongly suggests that it is possible that the murderer plaguing Horseshoe Bay is, in fact, a ghost.

The ghost in question is Lucy Sable, aka “Dead Lucy,” a local prom queen who died under mysterious circumstances back in 2000. At first, the story of Dead Lucy seems just that: a story. Then, as the pilot progresses and Nancy finds a creepy message, “Blink”-style, written behind the wallpaper of her house, and a ghost pops up behind her, Nancy Drew appears to be making a confident mission statement: we are all in on the ghosts.

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Den of Geek had the chance to chat with the cast and creators of Nancy Drew at this year’s NYCC. Our main mission? To get to the bottom of whether or not this adaptation of the bestselling book series is going supernatural. Here’s what they told us…

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“We’re going to pretty quickly realize that this ghost is real,” said Nancy Drew showrunner Noga Landau. “And, in our show, the ghosts crossover with the living because a mystery needs to be solved, at a very basic level. So they always have something to do with something that Nancy has to dig into.”

While Nancy Drew will have some supernatural elements, executive producer Stephanie Savage emphasized that, every story the series will tell will be grounded in emotion.

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“In all of our shows we tried to do everything coming from a grounded place of: if this was really happening, what would it look like, how would it feel, how would people react?” said Savage, who also acts as an executive producer on Marvel’s Runaways. “That’s where we started, and I think things do escalate in a way, but we always try to drive everything through what we understand in real life.”

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To talk about Nancy Drew’s ghost story elements is to talk about this show’s setting: in the apparently very haunted Maine town of Horseshoe Bay.

“It’s a seaside town,” said Scott Wolf, who plays Nancy’s dad Carson. “It’s very much a town that’s full of people who have lived here for generations. And I just think all of that just has such great texture to it and really feeds the deep sense of mysteries that are existing on a surface level, but that are buried way deep beneath the ground, literally, that we’re walking on.”

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Wolf commented on the visual and narrative specificity of Horseshoe Bay on screen, and how the story of Nancy Drew could only be told in a small town, saying: “There’s so much interconnectedness. These mysteries happening in Manhattan would make less of an impact, right? And so the mythology of this place, the things that have happened here for years and years and years, how those people have grown into other people, and now the uncovering of a lot of those things.”

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“That the dynamic of different core families within the community,” added Kennedy McMann, who plays Nancy, “and how they interplay throughout the last hundred years and how those dead mysteries sort of come back to life in ghostly form… or not.”

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Cleverly, the Nancy Drew pilot uses the potential of ghosts to give us more information about this core cast of characters we are meeting—in other words, how do they each respond to the theory that Tiffany Hudson could have been killed by Dead Lucy?

“Even though she’s been in Horseshoe Bay for a long time, you’ll start to realize why [George]’s not a huge fan of the supernatural,” said Leah Lewis, who plays George. “I don’t want to spoil it, but George wants nothing to do with that, and is just so anti-ghost. But the supernatural aspect… it’s a real thing in Horseshoe Bay. Horseshoe Bay is alive and breathing some sweet ass stuff. And I see why George is taking a backseat.”

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“Bess loves it,” laughed Maddison Jaizani. “She is all for it. She’s happy to be haunted at any day.”

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Bess will have a lot to look forward to in the first season of Nancy Drew because it sounds like things are only going to get spookier as the season progresses.

“It’s a journey,” said executive producer Josh Schwartz. “As the show goes on, those elements become more heightened and things are going to be… I think that’s something you have to earn and take that audience on that journey, but it’s going to be pretty spooky. Creepy stuff coming.”

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Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.