Nancy Drew (2019 TV series)
Warning: This article contains spoilers for the series finale of Nancy Drew.
After years of buildup, Nancy Drew‘s big romantic moment between Nancy (Kennedy McMann) and Ace (Alex Saxon) in the series finale was well-earned. And as satisfying as it was to see these two star-crossed lovers finally break the death curse and — after learning the damage to their souls meant they’ll never reincarnate again — choose to spend their last life together, it turns out the actors actually shot more in that scene than what fans saw on TV.
Amanda Row, who directed the series finale, and Larry Teng, who directed 16 episodes including the pilot, tell EW that a lot of that crucial scene was left on the cutting room floor. “The Ace and Nancy scene, which I made as long as I possibly could because I loved it, we couldn’t fit it all into the episode,” Row says. “Otherwise it would be an hour-and-a-half long.”
As for what didn’t make the final cut? “Lots of joy,” Row says. “Ace dips Nancy in a little dance thing — not a full dance but it’s very cute and cheeky and it was very much just about the two of them finally being able to enjoy each other without the stakes and the stress of the world ending around them. I just wanted to keep it simple and just be about the giddiness of being in love and having your love requited. In my cut, I definitely was like, ‘Well, I’m just going to do the longest version possible because I love it.'”
Below, Row and Teng break down that series finale ending, where Nancy and the rest of the Drew Crew say goodbye to Horseshoe Bay to go onto various new adventures.
Nancy Drew — “The Light Between Lives”
Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was this always the plan for how Nancy Drew was going to end?
LARRY TENG: We didn’t get the official word until we were filming episode 10 or right before that. There were a lot of ideas that were in place already but we had to figure out how to fit them into the existing season 4 storyline in the remaining episodes we had left. It was a bit of a jigsaw puzzle and the writers did a tremendous job making it all work.
AMANDA ROW: When we were shooting the finale I had a lot of chats with the cast, especially with Kennedy, about this. As much as we were shoehorned into wrapping all of this up in a couple episodes, in the end, I believe that the conclusion was actually what [it] was intended to be. Nancy Drew is a detective, she’s always looking for answers and the next mystery, and ultimately she’s trying to find herself. As cliche as it is, it’s about the journey and not the conclusion, and we end the series being at peace with that idea, that we’re never going to be done. That’s what our amazing writers have been doing since the beginning.
Before you had to pivot to make it a series finale, was the original plan for season 4 to end on a cliffhanger instead of this resolution?
ROW: I wish the writers and the actors could speak to this point because I don’t know for sure. I’m sure they had a million ideas but what they ended up with was ultimately pretty awesome for the circumstances they were dealt.
TENG: We definitely felt like there were more episodes that we could have done that we wanted to do.
ROW: Like the musical episode! [Laughs] Which [showrunner] Melinda [Hsu Taylor] never wanted to do, but I really wanted it to happen.
TENG: There were a lot more stories we wanted to tell that unfortunately we won’t get to but we’re really happy with how this all turned out.
Henrique Saga, Kennedy McMann, Leah Lewis, Tunji Kasim, and Maddison Jaizani as Bess on ‘Nancy Drew’
Henrique Saga as Tristan, Kennedy McMann as Nancy Drew, Leah Lewis as George, Tunji Kasim as Nick, and Maddison Jaizani as Bess
| Credit: Colin Bentley/The CW
What was it like directing the big moment where Nancy and Ace realize they broke the death curse and finally get to kiss?
ROW: When it happened, every single person on set was very aware of how special a moment it was. It was very bittersweet and magical. Everyone was crying. It was really wonderful. It was a cathartic experience for everyone involved. It was such a big special moment for the crew and Kennedy and Alex, and the whole story and how their story has built since season 1. It was very satisfying and all about joy.
What was the last scene you shot before the series wrapped?
ROW: We scheduled it so that the very last scene we shot is actually the last shot in the series finale, when you see them all say goodbye and the camera goes under the table and you see all their initials. I called cut on that scene and that was a series wrap on Nancy Drew. We wanted to make sure the whole cast was there, so Riley and Scott were in the scene prior so they could be there as well. It wasn’t until the moment I called cut that everyone realized it’s over. But it was very special. It was hard for me. I was like, “Can we do another take?” I didn’t want to call cut because it felt like a massive responsibility to call cut on this amazing series for everybody involved. Larry is the one who set the precedent from the beginning and it was such an honor for me to be able to take that home.
Who was the first person to shed some tears?
ROW: [Laughs] Kennedy. 100 percent.
What was it like choosing what went into the time capsule on the bar?
ROW: That was a really fun experience. There were so many details in that [you don’t see]. My favorite thing is Nancy puts her name tag in between two polaroids, one of which has me wearing lobster claws, and the other is Larry and our associate producer Dee LeBlanc who have been there since the beginning. That was a nice shout-out to our whole crew who are on the ground making it.
Did you take anything from the set?
ROW: [Laughs] Yeah. I have the top half of the wraith from season 2, I have a soul splitter —
TENG: You have a soul splitter? That’s sweet.
ROW: Yeah! I also have this background prop that they never highlighted that Tom made that’s a book from the historical society that’s a human hand encased in amber. It’s so awesome.
TENG: I have one thing: I have Nancy’s flashlight. That was the one thing I wanted. That was an iconic, special piece for me. I remember the first time when we did the camera test with Kennedy holding that flashlight and we all started crying, like, “It’s real!” So that’s the one thing I took.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Nancy Drew (2019 TV series)
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