LOS ANGELES - Nancy Drew is back on the case, and this time, the ghosts of the past aren’t just metaphorical.
The CW is bringing the beloved literary teen detective back to television for a new series that doesn’t shy away from answering the question that loomed large over the book series.
Yes, these ghosts are very real, but don’t expect the supernatural series (premiering at 9 p.m. Oct. 9) to lose its footing in reality.
“Most of the things that are supernatural are rooted in something that’s happening mysteriously in the real world,” executive producer Noga Landau said Sunday during the show’s panel at the Television Critics Association summer press tour. “Everything is rooted in emotion or some mystery amongst the living that has been unresolved.”
Kennedy McMann takes on the role of Nancy Drew, who works in a small-town diner part time and solves mysteries with the rest of the hours in the day. McMann was working as a nanny in New York when she auditioned for the part, and even had the kids run lines with her.
Luckily, she didn’t have to start from scratch learning the lore of Nancy Drew. She read the books as a kid and even played the video games through her teens.
“I was pretty well versed when (the show) came about,” she told press during the panel. “But I intentionally did not reread them because I was confident in the history that I had with the character, and I felt like I knew her pretty well. I feel like I wanted to just be true and dedicate myself to the Nancy that we were creating.”
The new series starts off with Nancy and some of friends and frenemies being implicated in a death outside the diner where she works, setting them off on a case of whodunit where the answer may very well be one of them. There’s also the possibility the death came at the hands of the ghost of a beauty queen who mysteriously fell off a cliff two decades before.
Add in Nancy’s continued grief from the loss of her mother and the secrets her own father (Scott Wolf) is harboring, and there’s a lot going on in the seaside world of Horseshoe Bay.
As with most adaptations that have made their way onto The CW’s schedule, the new “Nancy Drew” is darker than book readers will remember and will play with the benefits of more adult themes. In addition to the death that jump starts the series, there will be menacing supernatural presences and sex will also factor into Nancy’s life.
But more than anything, the detective will battle the constricting nature of her world as she works to uncover the motives of everyone around her.
“Nancy has a lot of mysteries to solve, and some of the biggest ones are who are her friends really,” Landau said. “As she’s becoming friends with them, she’s kind of knocking them off the suspect list.”
Even with the updates to the Nancy Drew world, executive producer Melinda Tsu Taylor said the show is still firmly focused on its heroine – how she sees the world and, more importantly, how she deciphers it.
“Some people go to therapy, Nancy Drew solves mysteries,” she said.
Hunter Ingram can be reached at Hunter.Ingram@StarNewsOnline.com. Hunter is a member of the Television Critics Association.