25 Unsolved Lesbian TV Mysteries Sarah Shahi’s Nancy Drew Should Investigate

Today CBS announced that Sarah Shahi will play a grown-up Nancy Drew in an upcoming reboot of the beloved book series. According to Entertainment Weekly:

Now in her 30s, Nancy is a detective for the NYPD where she investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world.

It’s hard to oversell what a big deal it is for CBS to greenlight a female-fronted mystery series, and even harder to oversell the brilliant coup of casting a woman of color to play a character who has always been depicted as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl. CBS has traditionally been a network for straight white men, rolling out NCIS after NCIS and CSI after CSI. They’ve certainly enjoyed critical acclaim with The Good Wife, but even with that show’s ratings and awards season successes, CBS has only recently begun testing the female-fronted waters with shows like Madam Secretary and Supergirl.

Why the big leap forward with a drama fronted by a woman of color? A quick look at ABC’s Shondaland ratings and social media prowess answers that question!

I admit to feeling doubly optimistic by the fact that Sarah Shahi has played a queer woman not once, but twice in her career. As  Carmen de la Pica Morales on The L Word she was left at the altar by Shane McCutcheon. And as Sameen Shaw on Person of Interest, she has investigated the complexities of the universe while falling for Root. (It’s interesting to note that Root and Shaw are the only two characters on POI who have really enjoyed a romantic storyline.)

All of which means Sarah Shahi is perfectly positioned to solve these other 25 lesbian TV mysteries when she takes up the mantle of Nancy Drew.

1. Who killed Jenny Schecter?

2. Why does every Liar in Rosewood get a boyfriend, but Emily can’t keep a girlfriend?

3. Why wasn’t Quinn Fabray at Santana and Brittany’s wedding, and why did no one even mention her?

4. Did a bear eat Erica Hahn in the Seattle Grace parking lot or what?

5. When are Clarke and Lexa gonna do it, but like for real do it?

6. What evil, horrible, malevolent demon spirits possessed the creators of Skins to do what they did with Skins Fire?

7. Are you kidding me that Jessica Jones and Trish Walker aren’t in love?

8. What happened between Archie Panjabi and Julianna Margulies that made the The Good Wife‘s writers destroy Kalinda?

9. Why is Ryan Murphy still allowed to write about trans women?

10. How come One Big Happy felt like it was made in 1994?

11. Was mowing Cat down with a car really the best way to write her off of Lip Service?

12. Why can Canadian TV lesbians make out with the lights on, but in the United States they have to lip-peck in the dark with hair covering their faces?

13. Is Mulan wearing an invisibility cloak or did she drink an invisibility potion?

14. When is CBS going to put Person of Interest season five on its schedule?

15. Is Delphine actually dead?

16. How does Laura not burst into flames when Carmilla looks at her like that?

17. Why did ABC Family let the CW usurp its title a Gayest TV Network?

18. Seriously, what did Annalise and Eve do to Wes and his mom?

19. If Karma isn’t gay for Amy, why does she act so gay for Amy?

20. How come Nicky went to max and never came back?

21. Why did Mimi Whiteman go from being the poor man’s Helen Peabody into the lecherous sloppy man’s Helen Peabody?

22. Did Peggy Peabody turn gay because of Sarah Paulson or did The L Word make her gay long before that?

23.Why perfect, innocent, beautiful, revolutionary, singular Tara, though? WHY?

24. When’s Betty McRae coming to Legends of Tomorrow to hook up with Sara Lance?

25. Really, Papi? Really?

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. #14 is an irony? Because this anouncement means that her character is out or that PoI is cancelled.

    • The 13 episodes of the 5th (and most likely final) season of PoI have been filmed. They just need to be broadcast.

      • I know… I was kinda hoping for a 6th season, or at least have it announced that there won’t be a 6th season before announcing the cast’s next projects with the same broadcaster.

        • Yes! This exactly.
          My heart just broke.
          Unless Nancy Drew gets a quirky sidekick played by someone formerly known as Root and cryptic phone messages by a loveable AI,I’ll be over here, in the corner, weeping.

  2. “What evil, horrible, malevolent demon spirits possessed the creators of Skins to do what they did with Skins Fire?”
    I remember that somebody once theorized that the show runner was very proud of his story line with one of the other characters on the show. When the audience larger ignored it, and instead went wild over Naomily, he decided to kill Naomi.

  3. 26. Why did Helena leave Univille and shack up with that guy, instead of staying with Myka?
    27. Why did Stahma kill Kenya instead of Datak?
    28. Why does Belle keep on going back to Gold?

        • What they did to Helena in season four is one of the greatest crimes ever committed on TV and is why I refuse to believe season four happened. Fuck those writers eternally.

          • Oh and then they have her be with some random woman in her very last appearance (an episode where she never shared the screen with Myka no less) like they’re doing us some favor. Like they’re throwing us a bone. Uugghh fuccck off! Yeah I’m still bitter.

          • No, the character assassination that they pulled on Myka in order to get Pyka was a much worse crime. At least the Helena stuff made logical sense.

          • I’m convinced the only reason they didn’t let Myka share a screen with Helena was because no one would believe Pyka versus their chemistry. Not that we did.
            And, ugh, what they did to Myka in that last episode. Just, why?

      • Idunno, you guys. If Warehouse 13 taught me anything, it’s that if there’s no logical explanation for a thing, there must be an artifact involved. So I figure, sooner or later, somebody in the warehouse – probs Claudia, because duh – had to have found and neutralized whatever artifact was messing with Myka and HG (my money is on Puck’s flower from Midsummer Night’s Dream, which convinces you that you’re in love with the first person you see, whether that person is some random dude you meet at a cooking class, or Pete F-ing Latimer) at which point Pyka got divorced and Myka and HG lived happily ever after THE END!

  4. Ah! This is amazing! Such a good list of investigative questions. I feel like Nancy needs a nerdy gay analyst to help her with her investigations.

    They can pull out ‘keeping it real’ stats like “Well Nancy it makes sense you are always investigating gay women dying because their average life span in TV land is only 1.3* episodes”

    *Made up but seriously someone should work this out because it’s probably not far off.

  5. 26. Why is Ilene bad at writing bisexual and trans characters?
    28. What happened to that planned L Word movie?

  6. I can’t complain about more Sarah Shahi on my TV, but if this means what I think it means, I will miss Shaw like an intestinal parasite. And even if #14 means that it’s the last we’ll see of POI, I at least want to know *that* we’ll see it. Soon. Please?

    And might I add: did Buffy know just how gay for her Faith was? I mean, come on, B, she drew a heart on windowglass and stole weapons from a sporting goods store for you.

  7. omg, I totally forgot about Erica Hahn and now I will be haunted by her vanishing until I forget about her again.

    Also, yes to #12, because the terrible decline of the plot of Lost Girl was almost way too high a price to pay.

  8. I think Sarah Shahi is the Jesus saviour we all need and her playing Nancy Drew is giving me heart flutters.

    Also yes to this whole list, especially the last one.

  9. I haven’t thought about Lip Service in a long time, but #11 just re-traumatized me w/r/t Cat’s exit from the show. What kind of monsters kill a main character on her birthday???

  10. #1
    Last week I sat next to Jenny Schecter at a cafe!! I gasped when I saw her walk in! I played it so cool for two hours while we worked next to each other. We even shared a laugh at the obnoxious ringtone of the guy next to us! Before I left, I worked up my courage to talk to her and told her that my gf and I were rewatching The L Word and getting to the “who killed Jenny” saga. She said “Oh, I can tell you.” And this is what she said:

    Mia Kirshner said that she doesn’t think Jenny died. She thinks she realized that she messed up every relationship she had in LA so she faked her death and moved to another city to probably do it all over again!!!!!

    • The fact that Mia Kirshner has thought about this, and the fact that THIS is her answer, is ALMOST worth rewatching season 6 to see if it pans out. This is my headcanon from now on. Thank you for doing the Lord’s work by asking her!

    • I interviewed Mia Kirshner a couple of years ago and fell in love with her. She was one of the kindest, sharpest, most engaging people I’ve ever spoken to in my life.

    • If Mia Kirshner turned those huge eyes and that amazing mouth in my direction, and then used that mouth to make words that were aimed in my direction, I think I would faint dead away. I could look at her forever, even in the moments that Jenny was most intolerable.


    27. If so does it mean no s6 with Shaw!?!?! Because that would be worse than no s6 at all.

    28. Will Nancy Drew be gay in this incarnation? Because I always thought something was up wit her her and George ;)

    29. I don’t want to complain about more Sarah Shahi, but seriously, ANOTHER detective show? Aren’t there enough of those already? Couldn’t Sarah Shahi be a barista, or a pilot, or a gender studies professor, or the director of a rape crisis centre, or literally ANYTHING more original?!

  12. Many of these aren’t LESBIAN mysteries, though. They are queer lady mysteries. Some of these characters are very likely (or canon, like Shaw, and Clarke) bisexual. Bi erasure is a thing. Not a nice thing.

    • Comment policy, section H (http://www.autostraddle.com/comment-policy/):

      “H. A Note On Language: Ours and Yours

      The people who read this site go by a variety of labels — lesbian, queer, bisexual, gay, pansexual, dyke, homosexual, sexually fluid or none/all of the above. Although many humans believe that queer is a catch-all, it actually isn’t — lots of women ID as “lesbian” or “gay” or “bisexual” but not “queer” (and vice versa, of course). Many consider “queer” to be a slur. Until we can get that meeting we requested with the Oxford English Dictionary or those dead white men who created this language, we’re in quite a conundrum when it comes to picking the “right” words to use on this website. Please trust that if you had walked even half a mile in our shoes, you would understand that we’re doing the absolute best we can.

      Because the word “lesbian” is the only word specifically defined as a descriptor of female homosexuals, that’s the word that makes our content easiest to find on search engines — queer, gay, bisexual and LGBT can all turn up a bunch of male-oriented results. So we use “lesbian” in a lot of headlines, but also we often use it as an adjective describing a thing rather than a person. For example, a lesbian storyline features a love story between two women, regardless of either women’s chosen label. When we say “lesbian sex,” we’re talking about sex between two women, regardless of those women’s orientations. Furthermore, we can’t list the actual sexual orientation of every person in an article in the headline, because headlines can only be 12 words long. The relatively recent launch of Buzzfeed LGBT and HuffPo Gay Voices have killed our search engine referrals (in a roundabout way, big companies can essentially pay for higher search rankings), so making our content as easy to find as possible is really important to us.

      Mostly, we switch it up! We use gay sometimes, queer sometimes, other words at other times. All our writers are free to use whichever words feel right to them in their writing. Most of us here don’t really care which label you use to describe us, and for that reason and many others, we aren’t interested in spending our finite time on earth on intracommunity debates over language choices, especially debates that condemn female pronouns or the word “lesbian” or involve fictional characters. If you wanna do that then that’s cool, just do it somewhere else.

      We hope y’all can trust us that we’re not attempting to “erase” anybody, we’re just human beings doing the best we can with the words we have. When readers police us or each other for not using the “right” words, that can be very alienating to readers who aren’t privy to the generational attitudes or the academic communities where “queer” is considered a catch-all. We want this to be a place where you can be proud to rock whatever label you want (we do!): lesbian, queer, bisexual, bananasexual, awesomesexual, and we will never tell you that you’re using the wrong word to describe yourself, intentionally mislabel a real human being in context (for example, if you’re included in a list post headlined “Top Ten Queer Politicians Rocking Our World” and you identify as bisexual, we’ll identify you as bisexual when we talk about you specifically in the post itself) or invalidate your own freedom to identify as you see fit.”

      • Sorry I really shouldn’t have pasted the whole thing here it’s so long! But I was trying to just quote a bit and the whole thing seemed important :-)

  13. So, let’s see, 25 mysteries. It seems like a lot of work, maybe Nancy needs a partner… it’s Amy Acker available?

  14. I loved all of these! And I nearly can’t pick a favorite. I would be happy to spend a lifetime solving any one of these mysteries either fine folks of the AS comment section.

    But first, I have to pause and give thanks for the lone that made me snort my cofffe:

  15. #15 Delphine is not dead.

    I’m clutching at my theory that the Orphan Black writers respect their queer fan base too much to do so and will avoid the tropes. I also think there’s still room in the narrative for her character.

  16. Jenny killed herself.. she was quite hated but it wouldn’t make sense for anyone to kill her, although L word wan`t making any sense since season 4.

  17. Aaahhh, 14… feels like we’re never going to see it.

    I was super excited at first, but now I’m also really sad because I was still naive enough to hope for season 6 of Person of Interest (and IF there is season 6 but Sarah is not in it, that’s maybe even worse). I’m going to watch the hell of this, though.

    PS. Delphine is definitely alive.

  18. #11 reminds me how cruel it was when Kate from Last Tango in Halifax died. Was that really necessary? I’m still smarting. Sigh.

    • It still hurts. This was the worst one for me. I’ve never cried so hard over a fictional character’s death. I felt so stupid but couldn’t help it. Especially the reason the writer said she did it. Ugh.

  19. Is number 23 a Walking Dead reference, Heather? Because I think the greater mystery is why she and Rosita don’t hook up. Rosita is hot and she feels really, really queer to me!!

  20. This was amazing, thank you for your awesome brain space Heather. And seriously can they just bring Harold and Root over to Nancy Drew after they eventually give us S5 of POI? Oh and the dog too.

  21. Sarah Shahi’s awesomeness is the only thing consoling me right now because I’m still Gross Sobbing over the demise of Person of Interest.

  22. Well shit, I did not realize how extremely gay and addicted to TV I am until reading this list and having WAY too many feelings about every single item on this list. I’m slowly getting my all my straight friends don’t understand my obsession with what just happen to be the queerest shows around.

  23. #23 ?

    Most of this list is damn funny, but Tara… that still stings after all these years.

  24. Nancy Drew is just at the pilot stage at this point. CBS has to decide if it’s going to be a series, and then if it gets a full season order. If there’s no Shaw in season 5 of Person of Interest I’d rather not have a season 6. And if Root or Shaw are killed in season 5 I don’t care about the show anymore.
    And #23. There’s no mystery there. Joss Whedon loves to destroy all joy and love. Which explains the deaths of Tara, Cordelia and Fred, etc.

    • Fred, Anya… Bastard Joss Whedon.
      But Shaw will be in PoI season 5. And I’m blythely optimistic there will be a Shoot happy ending. The creators seem to like them.

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