An Amanda Arkebauer Production


The Northern Exposure Nancy Drew Episode

Northern Exposure Season 5 Episode 2 The Mystery of the Old Curio Shop, directed by Michael Fresco and written by Rogers Turrentine.
Original air date: September 27, 1993

Northern Exposure was a classic "fish out of water" scenario tv show about a New York City doctor practicing in a small Alaska town. Maggie O'Connell, a tomboyish Grosse Pointe debutante turned Alaska bush pilot, was played by Janine Turner.

The character of Maggie O'Connell was inspired by the real-life aviator Norah O'Neill, who wrote the book, Flying Tigress, about her experiences flying in the Alaskan Bush in the 1970s.

Turner's work on Northern Exposure would earn her an Emmy nomination in 1993 and consecutive Golden Globe nominations from 1992 to 1994. The role was a positive experience for Turner, following the "damsel in distress" roles that had been offered to her in the past, "I've found my ideal character in Maggie", she told reporters. "She's smarter and stronger than all the men she meets." The same could be said about Nancy Drew.


The episode opens with Maggie at Ruth Anne's Store to buy a unique gift for her Father's Wedding. Maggie's Dad is getting married and she is not invited to the wedding. Maggie defends her Dad's choice to have a simple wedding in Venice with his fiance and just a priest.

Maggie then goes to the Old Curio shop, owned by the LeFluers to hunt for a wedding present for her Father's wedding. She considers an Anubis statuette, a mortuary god of Eygpt. She says mY Dad would love it! He loves Ancient Egypt. She overhears an argument between the Lefluers about selling the statuette and Mrs. LeFluer returns to say that the statuette is not for sale. Anubis is name of a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion, usually depicted as a man with a jackal head. Since jackals were often seen in cemeteries, the ancient Egyptians believed that Anubis watched over the dead.

Next we see Maggie in Dr. Joel's office delivering a package and talking about her trip to the Curio Shop.

A Death god as a wedding gift, pretty hostile, Says Dr. Joel. Maggie does not understand why the LeFluer's would not sell the statuette to her.

A little girl at the Doctor's office says that it could have been stolen from a pharoahs tomb...that's what it would have been in a Nancy Drew book and she is holding Secret in the Old Attic.

Maggie remembers talking about the Scarlet Slipper Mystery with another little girl on a recent flight. "I read the whole series," says Joel's secretery, Marilyn. "She was competent"

Message in the Hollow Oak was Marilyn's favorite and Maggie agrees, the little girl says Nancy's Mysterious Letter was better because George used Judo and threw a bad guy over her shoulder. Maggie remembers Carson Drew saved Nancy from a falling ladder and says "when they were in danger, they made a great team."

"It was a stable single parent household," says Marilyn.

Maggie goes back to the Curio shop and Mr LeFluer says they never had a statue of Anubis. Then someone leaves the shop abruptly in a convertible roadster!

Mr. LeFluer tells Maggie to come back another time.

Next, Maggie has a dream where she is Nancy Drew and a message is mysteriously put under her door and a roadster drives off. Her Dad has been kidnapped and he will meet with harm if she does not stop her investigation... but which one? Bess says The Mystery of Crocodile Island? No, I solved that one!! Ned says Whispering Statue? Because Basswood was using the alias Thomas Mott and has a bank account in New York City where your father goes. Nancy counters and there is the question of the old antique store and of the missing canisters of Nitrous Oxide. Ned and Bess in her dream don't remember an antique store and Maggie wakes up.

Maggie comes home and her window is open and her coffee mug is moved... more mysterious happenings.

Mysteries Abound

Maggie connects her dream of the Nitrous Oxide to the local dentist, Dr Summer, because she remembers that some tanks of Nitrous Oxide were stolen 2 weeks ago.

She is worried about Mrs. Lefluer because her husband lied about the statue....she thinks the nitrous oxide and the Lefluers are connected. Maggie goes to spy on the Lefluers with her flashlight and gets a tree branch snapped into her eye, and discovers nothing. She goes to Dr. Joel about her eye.

Joel tries to reason with Maggie. He says there is no case to be solved. Who was in the speeding car? Maggie asks. They have a teenage son, he just got his drivers license. Joel replies. In real life there are no fog bound moors, no clues on match books...Solutions to things in life would be nice, Joel says. Everyone likes a good detective story.

In life our mysteries are depressing... everyone wants to have a mystery to solve, it makes sense of the universe.

Maggie admits that she is not happy about her father's wedding.

She chooses a gift that is more traditional at Ruth Anne's store and asks Ruth Anne about Nancy Drew.

Ruth Anne says that Nancy Drew came along after her time, but her sons read the Hardy Boys.

Maggie says that Nancy Drew had a big influence on her. "She was a pilot you know," says Maggie. "And she lived alone with her dashing father who she helped with his cases and who would rescue her in the nick of time."

Ruth Anne says that is a dream, the absent mother, having Dad all to yourself. Maggie says yes, that she did dream about being with her father and helping Dad and making Dad laugh.

And then she addresses the wedding gift to Mr. and Mrs. Frank O'Connell

The end of the episode and we never do find out about the missing Nitrous Oxide or the Lefluers!!!

This episode of Northern Exposure reinforces the ideal of Carson Drew as the perfect Father. Maggie, unhappy with her father remarrying and leaving her out of the festivities, reverts to a fantasy about a perfect father-daughter relationship. Nancy Drew and Carson Drew.