The first episode of The CW's infinitely more modern take on Nancy Drew may have already revealed that Ace is, in fact, the season 1 killer. Developed by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (Marvel's Runaways), an adaptation was announced last year. Starring Kennedy McCann as Nancy Drew, the first episode established the town of Horseshoe Bay in which she reluctantly still inhabits. Still grieving the loss of her mother to pancreatic cancer and attempting to leave sleuthing behind, the show picks up with Nancy working her way through a gap year. Unfortunately, the suspicious death of Tiffany Hudson drops a mystery right into Nancy's lap. Equally, it puts Nancy and her friends immediately in the crosshairs of local police.
Upon discovering the body, the core group was questioned and bitterly defined by the sheriff. Nancy's former rival and current boss, George Fan, was labeled the town screw-up. Nancy's beau, Ned 'Nick' Nickerson, was deemed nothing more than an ex-con. Bess Marvin was coldly dismissed as a city girl. And Nancy Drew herself was merely called Nancy Drew, except delivered by the sheriff as the biggest nuisance to ever come into his life. One character, however, who avoids categorization (and, even more ominously, being given a surname) is Ace. Described by the showrunners as an amiable stoner and seen in the episode as the restaurant's dishwasher, Ace is barely even considered a suspect. This is, in large part, due to an alibi - which has him supposedly serving the restaurant's sole table of customers while everybody else was elsewhere.
Related: Nancy Drew Cast & Character Guide
Unfortunately, it's this very alibi that paints Ace as the most suspicious. Nancy insists that those investigating the case should look to the victim's husband, local businessman Ryan Hudson (True Detective's Riley Smith). But he was one of the aforementioned customers sat at the table Ace (Ray Donovan's Alex Saxon) was said to have served. If that's the case, Ace should be able to either back up Nancy's declaration or vouch for Ryan. The fact that he does neither, however, feels somewhat noteworthy - considering the fact that placing the husband at the table would allow Nancy to focus her attention on other suspects. Similarly, confirming that Ryan wasn't there would help steer the police investigation from his supposed friends.
Unless, of course, he wants that status quo maintained because he is himself the killer. Those at the table would obviously not contradict Ace's story, because it simultaneously shields them. But Ace remaining silent is effectively keeping the heat off of himself and preventing inconsistencies from opening up in his statement. His motive for the crime will have to remain up for debate until more information is revealed in future Nancy Drew episodes. But the suspects already revealed to have solid motives and incriminating secrets had the unmistakable air of setting up a host of red herrings while overtly leaving him to go unnoticed in the background. Even the culmination of the episode saw him using his seeming invisibility to his advantage. After all, who would ever look at the "amiable stoner" as a seriously viable threat?
Of course, as the only character not stemming from the original source material, it could be that the writers are using fans' knowledge against them and will ultimately unmask a character known to that world as the culprit. Equally, it could ultimately be revealed that the aforementioned hole in Ace's story is a sign of unintentionally shoddy writing rather than a pre-planned inconsistency. If so, that would be a whole other kind of crime. Whatever the case, though, there's no doubt that Nancy Drew will get to the bottom of things before season's end.