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You are a lot of things, Dewey. But you are NOT a coward.

Gale Weathers to her ex-husband, Dewey in their final conversation together.

Dwight "Dewey" Riley was the deuteragonist of the Scream series (Scream 15). He serves as a protective figure to the franchise protagonist Sidney Prescott, amid the first five films and is a narrow survivor in the first four entries. Along the way, he sustains multiple lifelong injuries and nine stab wounds, but works on physical therapy between entries.

After losing his younger sister, Tatum, Sidney's best friend in the original film, he becomes Sidney's surrogate older brother figure. Throughout the film series, he has an on-off again love affair with an older news reporter and author, Gale Weathers, who he eventually marries. They separate and are out of contact a few years before his death.

After narrowly surviving the Windsor College Murders and feuding with Gale over her commentary on him in her book, he and Gale briefly have a serious romantic relationship before she leaves for career pursuits. They reconcile amid the events of the Hollywood killings, for the fictional (later cancelled) Stab sequel, Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro. Amid this killing spree, he saves Sidney from Ghostface and kills the trilogy mastermind, before proposing to Gale after they work out their long-distance and personal issues yet again. The two get married a year later.

During the Woodsboro Massacre Remake, Dewey is a ten-year married Woodsboro Sheriff, Burke's successor and has a flirtatious Deputy Sheriff, Judy Hicks. As the remake murders occur, he struggles to cope with Gale's burgeoning professional comeback, following a writer's block downturn and settling down. They reconcile their feud, as he tells her, "No more going rogue". A few years later, Gale's career resurged, and she relocated to her native New York, where Dewey struggled to adjust due to problems with substance abuse. He abandoned his marriage two months after the move, then relocated back to Woodsboro.

On the 25th anniversary, Sam Carpenter, the illegitimate daughter of Billy Loomis, approaches him. Dewey is now 50, depressed in his trailer and is requested for help as an expert on yet another killing spree in Woodsboro, the 25th anniversary. After immediately suspecting the killer is Richie Kirsch, he is proven correct postmortem. He dies saving Sam's half-sister, Tara's life from a second impending attack, killed by Amber Freeman after he is distracted by Gale's phone call. Amber declared it an honor to kill Dewey. Gale and Sidney get revenge and set Amber on fire at the former Macher Residence, before Tara, the girl Dewey gave his life for, kills her.

Dewey was the fifth character to fall victim to the fifth Ghostface killing spree. He was portrayed by David Arquette.


Early life[]

Dewey was born to Mr. and Mrs. Riley in 1971. Seven years later, they had a younger daughter, Tatum Riley. At some point after high school, Dewey began working for the Woodsboro Police Department and made his way up to Deputy Sheriff. He was a big fan of Gale Weathers on Top Story.

The Woodsboro Murders (1996)[]

"If I may say so, Miss Weathers, you are much prettier in person. (...) I'm 25. I was 24 for a whole year

–Dewey flirting with his future wife, after talking outside Woodsboro High, following school being cancelled & the town being placed on curfew after Sidney's near attack the night prior and her attack at school the next day, Scream (1996)

In Scream, 25-year-old-Dwight "Dewey" Riley is the timid deputy sheriff of Woodsboro, making it his main duty to protect Sidney Prescott, who is also the best friend of his sister Tatum.

Dewey Scream 1

Dewey as seen in the original Scream (1996 film).

He butts heads with his younger sister, who does not respect his authority. After Sidney punches Gale Weathers, he delivers the former an ice pack. Meanwhile, Sheriff Burke informs Dewey of Neil Prescott's possible involvement in the murders, but Dewey is skeptical. Later, when it seems all but certain, he appears profoundly upset for Sidney.


Dewey gets stabbed in the back.

During the film, Dewey develops feelings for 32-year-old Top Story reporter, Gale Weathers. During the film's climax, he is stabbed in the back by the killer, though he narrowly survives.

Dewey was originally supposed to die after being stabbed in the back by Ghostface, but Wes Craven liked the character so much, that he decided to film a shot of Dewey being carried into an ambulance in case audiences also liked the character. Sure enough, Dewey was a hit with the audiences, primarily due to how cool he thought he was, and Wes Craven decided to use the ending where Dewey lives. If you look closely, you can see that whenever Dewey is lying unconscious, he isn't breathing, because he was supposed to be lying dead.

The Windsor College Murders[]

How do you know that my dim-witted inexperience isn't merely a subtle form of manipulation used to lower people's expectations, thereby enhancing my ability to effectively maneuver within any given situation?

–Dewey to Gale as he criticizes her for writing about him in her book which was adapted into the film Stab, based on the 1996 murders, Scream 2

Dewey Park

Dewey in Scream 2.

Dewey arrived once again to protect Sidney, who he now sees as some kind of surrogate sister after the death of his sister in the first killing spree. Only this time, he has a limp due to a severed nerve caused by his injury in the previous film.

Scream g amd d

Together Again. Dewey and Gale in Scream 2.

Angry at Gale Weathers, who had depicted him as inexperienced in her new book about the murders, Dewey constantly tries to avoid Gale's presence and is rude to her, whenever he can. Still, they work together, because they know they could be the next target of the killer, especially after Randy's death. Later on, Gale and Dewey have a brief emotional moment, only to realize, that Ghostface is, in fact, in the same building. After being separated, Dewey is stabbed several times with Gale a witness in a soundproof room directly on the opposite side of a window showing Dewey's location. However, once again, Dewey survives the ordeal, and this time Gale follows him into the ambulance.

Hollywood (2000)[]

Is that a threat, Detective? (...) Was that a threat?!

–Dewey to LAPD Homicide Detective Mark Kincaid following Tom Prinze's death, who was going to portray Dewey in the cancelled Stab 3: Return to Hollywood, Scream 3

Dewey Scream 3

Dewey in Scream 3.

Between Scream 2 and Scream 3, Dewey has begun to treat Martha Meeks as a surrogate friend for being Randy's sister. Dewey is still a police officer in this one, seemingly on leave to act as a "technical adviser" on the set of the film Stab 3. In reality, he was investigating the appearance of a new potential killer, because he found out, that someone was searching for Sidney with bad intentions. After the new killer has surfaced, Dewey aids immediately in the investigation like Gale and later Sidney.

By this point, things are still a little bit tense between Gale and Dewey, and it appears, that there are feelings between him and the actress portraying Gale, Jennifer Jolie. By the end of the film, however, things are patched up yet again between Dewey and Gale.

Dewey Shoots

Headshot! Dewey kills Roman.

He and Gale arrive at John Milton's mansion following a phone call, that they thought was from Sidney. However, it was actually from the killer, using a voice changer to sound like Sidney. Later, they burst in after Sidney has defeated (and stabbed) Ghostface, who was director Roman Bridger. After Roman jumped to his feet, Dewey shot him in the chest several times, but it wasn't effective due to Roman wearing a bulletproof vest. Sidney shouted for Dewey to shoot Roman in the head and Dewey did, killing Roman.

Afterwards, Dewey proposed to Gale, by asking her to sign a copy of her firs and she accepted.

The Second Woodsboro Murders (2011)[]

One generation's tragedy is the next one's joke.

–Dewey to his former deputy Judy Hicks as murders take place in Woodsboro almost 15 years since the first, Scream 4

Dewey is now married to Gale Weathers, who is adjusting to small-town life with great difficulty. Alongside his deputy, Judy Hicks, and the rest of the Woodsboro police force, Dewey is in charge of the newest slew of dead bodies. He drives Gale to the hospital after she is stabbed while he is in the car afterward. Dewey informs him that the policemen he told to protect the Roberts house are both dead, along with Kate Roberts, Sidney's aunt.


Dewey and Gale in Scream 4.

Dewey stops the car and drives there. He, Judy, and the rest of the police arrive to find Sidney and her cousin, Jill Roberts, unconscious on the floor, near the corpses of Trevor Sheldon and Charlie Walker. They assume that Trevor and Charlie were the murderers and take Sidney and Jill to the hospital. Dewey visits Jill and they talk, with Dewey revealing to Jill that Sidney survived, but might not remember anything when she wakes up. Jill states that she and Gale should write a book together, as both of them were stabbed in the shoulder.

Scream 4 Dewey shoots

Dewey then visits Gale, who asks him how Jill knew where Gale was stabbed. Dewey realizes that Jill is the killer and calls Judy over to help him and Gale save Sidney from Jill. As soon as Dewey arrives however, Jill knocks him out by bashing his head with a bedpan six times. Dewey survives and Gale runs off to get doctors for him after Jill has been killed by Sidney and Dewey tells by radio about the new events. By the time Scream 4 rolls around, Dewey is more confident and serious. He has also mostly recovered from his limp through physical therapy.

Divorce from Gale and Returning to Woodsboro[]

At some point between the events of 2011 and 2022, Dewey and Gale moved to New York so Gale could take her turn at focusing on her career. Dewey couldn't keep up and after two months called their marriage quits and returned to Woodsboro alone whilst Gale stayed in New York where she eventually became the host of her own morning show.

Dewey's life subsequently went down, and he was eventually forced to retire from the Woodsboro Police Department, and he then lived a secluded life in a small trailer park where his life continued to go downhill as he turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism.

2022 Woodsboro Legacy Murders[]

Give me one good reason why I should talk to you. (...) That's a terrible reason for me to talk to you.

–Dewey when Samantha Carpenter arrives to his trailer home alongside her boyfriend, Richie, much to Dewey's suspicion on the latter after Samantha tells Dewey that she's Billy's daughter, Scream (2022)

In 2022, a new Ghostface starts killing in Woodsboro. Assuming Dewey was retired a year after the Remake Massacre, it would be a decade since Dewey had dealt with Ghostface as a sheriff, due to him struggling from his divorce from Gale, and being alone, after Sidney had survived and left Woodsboro following her book tour, reconciled with and married Mark Kincaid and had 3 children with him, as well as living in Monterey, California with his now ex-wife Gale becoming a famous anchorwoman in New York City, making him the only member and survivor of the Legacy Trio (and male) to have stayed behind in Woodsboro.

Approached by Samantha Carpenter[]

Scream 5 Dewey meets Sam and Richie

Dewey is at home and opens his refrigerator, closing it. He turns around and pours himself a cup of coffee. Dewey sits down on his couch and turns the channel on his television to Gale's show. He smiles as she introduces herself and takes a sip of his coffee, leaning back on the couch. Dewey is startled by a knock on his door, and yells for whoever is outside to go away. Sam apologies for bothering him and explains that they just want to ask him a few questions. Dewey furthers that he does not give interviews, which Sam denies they want. Dewey, looking at Sam and Richie Kirsch through a peephole, orders her to give him "one good reason" he should talk to her. Sam reveals that she is the daughter of Billy Loomis, Dewey opening the door as he asserts that this is a terrible reason for him to want to talk to her.

Sam introduces herself, explains that she and her sister have been attacked over the past two day, adding that she knows Dewey knows what it's like to be attacked. Sam says she is just trying to protect her family and asks Dewey for five minutes of his time. Dewey responds that he will give her two minutes, noting that he is missing a show he likes. Richie and Sam come inside, Richie noticing Gale on the television and asks Dewey of their past romance. Dewey says, "Yeah", and closes the door. Dewey sips his coffee and asks Sam who Richie is. She identifies him as her boyfriend. Dewey asks how long they have known each other. Dewey questions if Richie knew who her father was and if he expressed interest in either Ghostface or the Woodsboro killings. Richie asks Dewey what he is talking about.


Dewey says that the killer is obsessed with the Stab movies and mentions that there are certain rules to surviving the Stab films. The first rule, according to Dewey, is to never trust the love interest. He adds that they seem sweet, caring, and supportive, but by the third act, they are trying to rip your head off. Richie, defending his innocence, notes that he was with Sam when Tara was attacked. Dewey sarcastically guesses that Richie was in another room "'conveniently unaccounted for" when Sam was attacked at the hospital. Richie, insulting Dewey as "Sam Elliot", questions if he has to take this from him. Dewey cites the second rule as the killer's motive always being something connected to the past. Sam notes that she is related to Billy, and a skeptical Richie questions why Ghostface would randomly kill Vince Schneider. Dewey tells them that this is for them to figure out and says that the third rule, which he cites as the most important one, the first victim always has a friend group that the killer is a part of.

Dewey questions if Sam's sister has a close-knit group of friends, which she confirms, and tells her to look for the killer there. Dewey adds that they can figure out who the killer's next target is if they can figure out the latter's motive for murdering. Sam pleads for Dewey to help them find out who is behind the killings. Dewey rhetorically asks if she is kidding him, citing his nine previous stabbings and the permanent nerve damage and limp he has sustained from his injuries, asking her if she thinks he wants to do that again. Sam reminds him that he said one of the rules was the killing has ties to the past, Dewey nodding his head. Sam concludes that they are both in danger and requests that they do this together. Dewey tells her that her time is up and kicks her and Richie out.

Warning Sidney and Gale[]

Dewey prepares to fight one last time

One last time.

Dewey sips his coffee, turns his television off, and goes over to his phone to call Sidney. Sidney answers and Dewey identifies himself. Sidney asks Dewey, "How are you?", and he says that he is good before inquiring about Mark. Sidney tells Dewey that she thinks she will keep him and asks how are "things in the sheriff business", Dewey saying that they are fine. Sidney cuts him off mid-sentence to ask if he has spoken to Gale, which Dewey denies and notes that they haven't talked in a couple of years. Sidney begins to comfort him when Dewey interrupts her to say that it is happening again. Sidney asks what he is talking about, and Dewey responds that it is some idiot in a Ghostface mask and notes that there have been three attacks and one murder so far. Dewey says that something about this one feels different. Sidney asks Dewey if he is okay, and he says that he is and that she knows him. Sidney cites this as the reason she is asking and Dewey reiterates that he is fine, telling Sidney that he wants her to be safe and asks if she has a gun.

Sidney confirms that she has one, attributing this to her being Sidney Prescott, which causes Dewey to laugh. Dewey says this is good and she asks him if Gale knows. Dewey tells her that she is his next call. Dewey tells Sidney to promise him that she will not come there no matter what she sees or hears on the news. Sidney affirms that she has no intention of returning to Woodsboro again and she tells Dewey that she is glad whoever the killer is after has him to protect them. Sidney tells Dewey to be safe and he says, "Will do", with the pair agreeing that it was good to hear each other's voices before hanging up. Dewey then tries to text Gale about the murders. Once this is finished, he turns to a picture of Gale and himself on his wall and moves it to retrieve his gun.

Helping the Teenagers and Death[]


Dewey later changes his mind and meets the rest of the teenagers at Martha Meeks's house to get them up to speed on the murders and the history of Stab. They deduce the Killer's motive is to create a "sequel" to Stab 8 and Dewey informs them that the Killer is amongst them. When Judy and Wes Hicks are killed, Gale reappears. They discuss the divorce, and we learn Dewey ended things. Gale learns about Dewey's internal struggles and says it would have mattered then. She also tells him that he is "a lot of things," but not a coward.


Dewey is informed about the loss of his friend and then races to the hospital with Samantha to save Tara Carpenter and Richie from Ghostface. When they arrive, Dewey shoots Ghostface (who is wearing a bulletproof vest) repeatedly and evacuates the teenagers. However, remembering the rules to "go for the head", Dewey goes back alone to finish off the killer. As Dewey approaches the fallen Ghostface and aims his gun, Gale calls Dewey to find out where he is, and the ringing distracts him enough for Ghostface to recover.


Meeting his doom.

Ghostface proceeded to stab Dewey repeatedly with multiple knives before slicing him open, causing Dewey to rapidly bleed to death. Dewey doesn't look at Ghostface on principle and the last thing he sees is Gale's face on his phone, he's smiling before he dies. As Dewey dies, Ghostface tells him that "it's an honor". Gale and Sidney were devastated, mourned his death and resolved to stop Ghostface together in his honor.


The New York Ghostface Murders[]

Richie and Amber managed to butcher Dewey. Carved him up like a Christmas goose. How does it feel to lose the only man that ever loved you?

Ghostface taunting Dewey's ex-wife, Gale, in her penthouse in New York City, about his death a year later in the new murders, Scream VI

S6 Dewey shrine

Photos and drawings of Dewey from the shrine.

During the New York Murders, Gale attempted to interview Sam, who reacted negatively due to the fact that Gale had written a book about the 2022 Woodsboro Murders, asking what Dewey would think. Later, Gale discovered a shrine that was being used by the latest Ghostface killers. Once Gale entered the shrine, she discovered photographs and drawings of Dewey as well as his badges and gun. Ghostface later called Gale and brought Dewey up, causing Gale to become upset.

Kill Count[]

The following is Dewey's Ghostface kill count:

RomanDeath Roman Bridger Shot in the head Scream 3






  • "How do you know my dimwitted inexperience isn't merely a subtle form of manipulation, used to lower people's expectations, thereby enhancing my ability to effectively maneuver within any given situation?"
  • "I'll smile when I catch the killer."
  • "Surprise, surprise. Someone dies and Gale comes running."
  • "One generation's tragedy is the next one's joke."
  • "You're not scared, are you?" (to Gale)
  • "Don't you think that's what a killer would say?"
  • "No, ma'am. 'Cause of my boyish good looks, muscle mass has increased my acceptance as a serious police officer."
  • "If I may say so, Miss Weathers, you are much prettier in person."
  • "I'm 25. I was 24 for a whole year."
  • "(Screams) Sorry, I found this! (Calls for backup) Come on!"
  • "I have some oozing to do."
  • "She's with me!" (to Tatum)
  • "What did mama tell you? When I wear this badge, you treat me like a man of the law!"
  • "I've read somewhere once, 'Just when you think things couldn't get any worse. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes they get better.' Out of Darkness by Sidney Prescott page 220."
  • "Something about this one just feels different." (to Sidney)
  • "Well maybe you're the killer, because that cut deep." (to Wes Hicks)
  • "Ugh, are you kidding me? I've been stabbed nine times, I've got permanent nerve damage, and a fun little limp."
  • "Not today!"
  • "Ghostface is back, don't come here."
  • "I do." (last words, spoken to Samantha Carpenter)


Evolution of Dewey

Dewey is described as a good-natured, kind-hearted and brave man. His intelligence is sometimes mocked throughout the series but proves to be adept when it comes to overcoming dangerous situations regardless. He matures from a young 25-year-old Deputy Sheriff to a forcefully retired 50-year-old Sheriff, filled with grief and trauma.

Despite his warm, soft personality, he falls for the sharp and edgy Gale Weathers, his polar opposite. However, Gale considered it their strength at one point. They were married for 18 years.

He has always shown signs of being extremely caring and protective. He's willing to do whatever it takes and whatever task needs to be done to protect someone. When he feels he cannot protect someone, especially someone he cares about, he is immediately traumatized by it.


Dewey with a gun

Dewey was one of the few characters in the franchise who used guns on a regular basis.[1]

  • He was described "a big guy, 20s, handsome in a scrubbed-clean boyish way" in the Scream script.
  • Despite portraying a 25-year-old in the original film, Arquette was still only 24 (turning 25 after filming). All of the teenage male cast members (Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard and Jamie Kennedy) who portray characters 7 years younger than him were actually one or two years older.
  • As revealed on the Directors in 1997, David Arquette claimed that he presumptuously turned down the role of Billy Loomis for the role of Dewey.
  • David Schwimmer played "Dewey Riley" in Stab.
  • David Arquette's character was originally written to die at the end of Scream. However, feedback from test screenings suggested that the audience would rather see Dewey alive at the end of the film instead of dead. A similar case occurred in Scream 2.
    • Dewey eventually dies in Scream (2022), the fifth film. He sacrifices his life to save the half-sister of Billy Loomis' daughter, the man who killed his own sister. His death parallels his near-death experience in the first film, where after multiple occurrences of being rolled away in an ambulance truck in recovering capacity, he now appears in a body bag.
    • Nevertheless, Dewey's death provoked an extremely lively, contradictory and mixed reaction among fans. Courteney Cox was vehemently opposed to the decision and begged the filmmakers to let Dewey live. She also asked the filmmakers to shoot an extra scene on the stock hinting at Dewey's possible survival: "I just thought it was a big mistake not to have the option. I understand why you want [to do it] — it makes it really serious. But then wouldn't it be great if just [in] the last three minutes: text from the hospital.' I wanted that to happen".[2]
    • Interestingly, the scene was filmed, at the studio's request, but it is highly unlikely that it will be used in the future, as the filmmakers have no intention of revisiting it: "We very begrudgingly got one shot that you could put some voiceover over, like, 'He woke up from surgery, he's gonna be fine,'" Gillett told the publication. "With no intention of ever fucking using it. Just to describe the shot, it was it was an over-the-shoulder from behind Gale and Sid of a doctor's legs," Bettinelli-Olpin revealed. "It was absolutely not really a usable shot." He added: "'Shot' is very generous".[3]
    • Nevertheless, David Arquette has hinted more than once that the return of Dewey in one form or another is still possible: "Who knows, anything is possible. I mean, how many movies have Jason or Mike Myers been in? Not that Dewey’s a killer, but there is a coming-back-to-life element within these horror films".[4]
      • Amidst the Scream 7 rumors, during the Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen show, David expressed renewed interest in his return as Dewey and answered a fan's question on the topic: “I don't think so — I mean, I don't know! I guess there's a chance, but I haven't gotten any calls or anything”.[5]
      • It is extremely unlikely that Dewey will come back to life, but his appearance in future films is still possible in the form of hallucinations or videotape (similar to that of colleagues Skeet Ulrich and Jamie Kennedy) or through flashbacks (for example, during the process of Gale writing the promised book about Dewey).[6]
  • David felt that Dewey had "the potential of a real hero, like Clint Eastwood's characters". Dewey's theme, taken from Broken Arrow, is also reminiscent of Ennio Morricone's work for westerns — the composer of the first four films of the franchise, Marco Beltrami, deliberately made this musical analogy.
  • In 1999, David starred alongside fellow Scream co-star Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed, which also starred future Scream 4 co-star, Marley Shelton.
  • Dewey with Gale don't have any children, but in real life, David Arquette and Courtney Cox have a daughter named Coco, who was born on June 13, 2004.
  • Dewey was the only Scream survivor not to break one of the Rules in the climax of the first film.
  • Deputy Hoss initially appeared to be the "new" Dewey in Scream 4 but by the end of the film Judy Hicks seems to fill that role.
  • In Scream 4 we can hear that the sound he set to be his alarm is actually Crazy Frog.
  • He was thought to be a possible third killer in Scream according to Wes Craven. A fan theory from this persisted, and was parodied with his Scary Movie counterpart, Doofy.
  • Dewey is one of the main characters to get attacked in all five films.
  • Dewey correctly surmises that Richie is one of the killers in the 2022 Scream film as he warns Sam to never trust the love interest.
  • Amber Freeman is his killer, a Stab fan who declares it an "honor" to kill him. Despite her small stature, weight and height, she gets a lucky opportunity to stab Dewey off-guard, her opponent in a chance occurrence.
    • However, fans have debated her ability to incapacitate Dewey. Despite this, it is not the fact that she outmuscled Dewey; in the fight Dewey overpowers Amber completely.
      • Amber surprise hits him from his side, but he still manages to block her stab, force her back and toss her to the ground where he overpowers her.
      • Dewey is able to do this, even with permanent nerve damage, having been stabbed 9 times in the previous films (mentioned in the film), and the return of his limp following his neglect for physical therapy after quitting the police.
      • At this point, Dewey is also 50 years old and struggling with alcoholism.
      • Despite Amber's smaller, feminine frame and stature, her advantageous youth, sneak-attacks and notable, adrenaline torso-stabbing would give her a potential opportunity against him should he falter for a second.
      • Dewey being surprised killed also mirrors another female Ghostface killer, Nancy Loomis almost killing Dewey in the second film.
  • In Scream VI, Quinn refers to Dewey as a "fan favorite", which is a meta-commentary on both actual fans of the character in the fandom and fans of the Stab movies, within the fictional universe of the movies themselves (where Dewey appears in several movies played by David Schwimmer).
  • Despite his absence in Scream VI, Dewey is mentioned several times by other characters (including Ghostface) and we also see pictures of him. His theme music is also heard during Sam's conversation with Gale.[7]


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Dewey Riley has a Photo Gallery.


Character Guide[]