Post Mortems

Nancy Drew's Riley Smith Has Always Known That Twist Was Coming — It's 'One of the Reasons' He Took the Role

Nancy Drew Riley Smith

Fresh off that mother of a paternity twist, Nancy Drew returned to The CW on Wednesday with yet another reveal about the titular sleuth’s parentage. You could argue that it was more of a confirmation than a reveal, but either way, it’s now a fact: Ryan Hudson is Nancy’s biological father.

And while the news understandably rocked Nancy’s world, it came as less of a shock to actor Riley Smith, who has known Ryan’s secret since Day 1. “That was one of the reasons I decided to do the show,” Smith tells TVLine. “When they offered it to me, they said they had a secret to pitch me. I was hoping this was it, so when I got on the phone with everybody, I was like, ‘I’m totally in.’ I had to wait 17 episodes before I could really talk about it with anyone, so I’m glad we’ve finally gotten to this point.”

Though Smith admits that Ryan’s less admirable traits were fun to play out, he always made sure to keep his character in check, knowing the journey he would have to go on. “He really came off as an antagonist at the beginning, but I always wanted to somehow keep him redeemable,” Smith explains. “He was always a suspect and always caught up in stuff, but I made sure he was always real. I wanted to make sure that when we got to this point, he’d have a place to go.”

But not everything about this big reveal played out as expected, especially when it came to Ryan and Carson’s uncomfortable face-to-face encounter this week. “In the original script, they had Ryan punching Carson,” Smith reveals. “I was like, ‘Let’s take that down a notch. Instead of him just being angry, let’s get to the root of why he’s angry — the hurt, the betrayal. It softened the scene and internalized it more, instead of just doing another Hudson knee-jerk reaction. This is the time for Ryan to start making different choices now that he knows he’s a father.”

It hasn’t yet been announced how many episodes of Nancy Drew‘s first season will air as scheduled — as we all know, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the entertainment industry to a screeching halt — but Smith promises that we’re in for some exciting twists either way. For starters, “George definitely still has some stuff to hammer out with Ryan. Everybody does. This kind of thing turns all of the relationships on their heads. Everybody has a lot of readjusting to do.”

One character who won’t be seeing Ryan again, however, is Owen, who was found dead at the end of Wednesday’s episode. It turns out the Drew Crew’s ritual to appease the Agleaca only ticked it off more, resulting in the senseless murder of another true CW beauty.

Your thoughts on this week’s episode? Drop ’em in a comment below.