In the world of Nancy Drew, everyone has to be at least somewhat more intelligent than the average person. It’s necessary to be able to put the puzzle pieces of a murder mystery together – and to deal with all of those pesky supernatural entities haunting the small town of Horseshoe Bay.
Of course, when spending all of their free time solving mysteries, some characters have more of a knack for it than others. That’s why this list is measuring the intelligence of the characters of the CW’s most recent Nancy Drew adaptation based on their ability to solve a complicated mystery.
Ryan leads off the list because he’s probably the one person in the show who never actively tries to solve a mystery. He appears to at least be competent in the business world, though his addition to the family business did cost them a lot of money.
Ryan is also really good at keeping the family secrets. He might not be great at putting together the pieces of any puzzles together, but he’s definitely good at reading his family and knowing just what they need him to do. Ryan also has a knack for manipulating the women in his life, but whether that makes him intelligent or a creep is up to the audience to decide.
For the most part, Owen stays out of the mystery solving as well, which is why he’s ranked so low on the list. Owen shows himself to be able to follow clues – when he has Nancy or Bess leading him to them.
Other than that, Owen seems to have plenty of his own secrets, but fans haven’t seen enough of him in the series to know what kind of secrets he’s keeping. We also haven’t seen enough of him to know if he could eventually inch his way higher up in the rankings.
Karen is smart enough to be a detective in a small town like Horseshoe Bay. As a result, we know that she can contribute to the solving of a mystery, but so far, her track record isn’t that great.
Instead of following clues and doing her own work to track down criminals in Horseshoe Bay, she’s stealing the diary of a girl trying to work out whether or not she can trust her father. The biggest break of Karen’s career came as a result of her stealing Nancy Drew’s own notes.
Bess has shown a lot of promise on the mystery-solving front. She’s able to put in the research and figure out patterns during an investigation, though she doesn’t quite have the knack for it most of the other characters do just yet.
If Bess is placed in the middle of a case that involves gossip about the elite, high fashion, or very sparkly jewelry (by her own admission), she excels. Bess has a very specific set of interests, and while she’s great at pursuing them, she isn’t yet great at the mysteries as a whole.
Laura Tandy doesn’t have plans to spend a lot of time in Horseshoe Bay, but she would certainly be a good asset to Nancy’s growing team of investigators. Despite her appearance as a shallow socialite who just wants to have a good time in Paris, Laura is anything but.
Laura isn’t quite as good as her dearly departed big sister at puzzles, but she’s no slouch. She knows that her sister is murdered and returns to town to prove it. Laura also knows where to go to find proof, and she doesn’t give up. She doesn’t have quite the finesse as others on the series, but she could certainly grow as an investigator.
When the audience first meets Nick, he’s a football player with a past who also happens to be good at figuring out how things work. Unlike pretty much everyone else on this list, he’s mechanically inclined, which earns him a slightly higher spot.
He’s also much more academically inclined than the show would first indicate. He’s better read than most of the other characters, understanding literary clues left by Tiffany when no one else does. While Nick is good at memorization and regurgitating information, he is not, however, as adept at putting all of that information together as everyone else.
When it comes to quips, sarcasm, and holding their own against Nancy Drew, George might be the only main character who is truly a match for her amongst her friends. She isn’t always someone who is going to jump right into a mystery-solving session, but she’s certainly someone who could.
George is able to follow Nancy’s own mystery trail better than most. As Nancy stands in the middle of the room and puts pieces together, it’s often George, while multitasking and running The Claw, whose input ends up being the most valuable. George is also the one who has been singlehandedly keeping the business afloat when literally all of her employees leave to pursue leads, so she’s certainly one capable woman.
Ace only edges out George because he has a couple of skills that she lacks. One of those is his ability with computers. His hacking – and his general knowledge of how to access databases – has come in handy quite a few times in the first season.
His other skill is that of observation. Ace is the first to realize that Bess has been living in her van. He’s also quick to notice that Nancy doesn’t tell them everything in her investigations. Ace is even much more open to the world of the supernatural than George, even though she grew up with a mother who enjoyed investigating ghosts.
Carson Drew is the biggest lawyer available to the citizens of Horseshoe Bay. Though that might typically mean settling property disputes, he also deals with some very secretive clients over the years. In some cases, that means he has to think like a detective well enough to be able to hide even the hint of a crime from people.
So far, the series has mostly featured Carson as a person hiding the truth instead of uncovering it, but remarks from Nancy over the course of the first season would indicate that a lot of what she learned came from her parents.
In a series named for Nancy Drew, is any other character ever going to truly outwit her? Nancy is always ready for a mystery, even when she protests that she’s no longer in a position to solve them. Nancy jumps into investigations with both feet, searching for the truth, even if it hurts.
Via flashbacks in the first season, we know that Nancy starts her crime-solving days when she’s just 13 years old. Over the years, she’s become good enough at investigating on her own that she’s capable of solving mysteries before the police. Of course, as of the first season of the show, Nancy learns that sometimes it pays to ask for help. She’s learning just what she’s capable of – and when she can use someone else’s expertise. Willing to call Ace when she doesn’t understand the technology, or George when she needs supernatural assistance, or Nick if she needs help with the legwork, Nancy figures out how her friends fit together just as she figures out how the pieces of a mystery do.
Nancy Drew is certainly the puzzle master of the show so far, which is why she lands at the top of the list.
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