A spooky and mature adaptation of the book series created by Edward Stratemeyer and written by Carolyn Keene, the new CW series Nancy Drew features familiar characters from the novels, remixed to appeal to modern day audiences. While fans of the original novels may recognize some of the names in the show, they're not exactly the characters Stratemeyer created for his novels. The CW's Nancy Drew cast is full of relative newcomers, and the characters they're taking on are all older, jaded, and more haunted than their book counterparts.
In the new Nancy Drew, viewers first meet Nancy after she's made a name for herself as a sleuthing prodigy. Unlike the affluent, proper Nancy of the novels, the CW's Nancy works as a waitress at The Claw, the local diner in their foggy town of Horseshoe Bay, Maine. Following the sudden death of her mom, Nancy is estranged from her dad and friends, and hides a secret relationship with bad boy Ned "Nick" Nickerson.
This Nancy has no interest in crime-solving anymore, but when a socialite is murdered in front of the diner, Nancy and her coworkers all become embroiled in the case, which may just have a ghostly culprit.
Kennedy McMann — Nancy Drew
At the Nancy Drew 2019 San Diego Comic Con panel, writer Noga Landau told audiences that Nancy is not the "prim" character fans know from the books. “Nancy Drew isn’t perfect in the year 2019,” Landau said. “She did everything right in the early books, but now she’s complicated, you know? She has tragedy, she’s lost things. She has complicated relationships with her family and her friends.”
Playing Nancy is Kennedy McMann, who's a TV newcomer (and, according to Cosmopolitan, a diehard Nancy Drew fan). She's had bit parts in Gone and Law & Order: SVU, but Nancy Drew is her first breakout role.
Tunji Kasim — Ned "Nick" Nickerson
Nick in Nancy Drew is not the well-off, squeaky clean Ned from the books. Whereas the old Nick was known for playing varsity sports at a prestigious college, Tunji Kasim's Nick is the town mechanic and a convicted criminal — which obviously puts him on the outs with Nancy's father, a former attorney.
"We reimagined Ned Nickerson significantly," Kasim told Entertainment Tonight at Comic-Con. "As we go, mysteries will be revealed about what he's got hiding."
Kasim has a rather classical background, gaining fame by starring in London plays. He was part of the Royal Shakespeare company for several years, and acted as Caesar in a 2018 stage production of Anthony and Cleopatra.
Leah Lewis — George Phan
George in Nancy Drew is described as a "tough, tattooed girl from the wrong side of the tracks."
"She's this really tough girl who comes from a really rough family. Her and Nancy have got some beef to deal with," Lewis explained to Entertainment Tonight. Lewis recently played Angela Wu in the Charmed reboot, and recently featured on The Gifted, Station 19, and the movie Playing Dead.
Maddison Jaizani — Bess Marvin
According to Deadline, Nancy Drew's Bess is "a refined young woman whose wealthy background sets her apart from Nancy."
"She, from the outside, looks like she knows what she wants, who she is. She looks very prim and proper," Jaizani explained to Entertainment Tonight. "But she's definitely going through a lot of anxiety about her own identity." Jaizani is most known for her roles as Sophie in Versailles and Odessa in Into the Badlands.
Alex Saxon - Ace
According to Deadline, Alex Saxon's Ace is The Claw's "charming dishwasher with a philosophical bent" who will provide Nancy with "provocative insights." Saxon has had roles in The Fix, The Fosters, and MTV's Finding Carter.
In all, the cast of the new Nancy Drew looks more than ready to take on Horseshoe Bay's most recent murder — and a ghost, to boot.