Scream Wiki
Scream Wiki

Sheriff Dwight "Dewey" Riley is the main deuteragonist of the Scream series. He's best known for trying to protect his little sister, Tatum Riley, and her best friend, Sidney Prescott, during the first murder spree. He flirted with Gale Weathers and was nearly killed by Ghostface. When another killing spree started at Windsor College, Dewey rushed there to once again protect Sidney and stop the killers. He reconnected with Gale and was almost killed once again. When it looked, as if Sidney was in danger again, Dewey left Woodsboro for Hollywood, where he involved himself in the Stab 3 set. He investigated this killing spree as well and assisted in saving Sidney from Ghostface. When it was all over, he proposed to Gale. They were married and had after that a few peaceful years until another killing spree started. Dewey was now Sheriff of Woodsboro and had a deputy named Judy Hicks. He, Gale, and Judy then saved Sidney's life once again and it was (probably) all over.



Dewey as seen in Scream

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.

During the film Dewey develops feelings for Gale Weathers and 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.

Scream 2

Dewey in Scream 2.

Together Again Dewey and Gale in Scream 2

He 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.

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 realise, 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.

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.

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 and she accepted.

Scream 4

Dewey and Gale in 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. Dewy informs him that the policemen he told to protect the Roberts house are both dead, along with Kate Roberts, Sidney's aunt. 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. Dewey then visits Gale, who asks him how Jill knew where Gale was stabbed. Dewey realises 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.

Kills Committed


  • "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."
  • "Don't you think that's what a killer would say?"
  • "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!
  • 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.


Dewey had initially shown signs of being timid and somewhat not to smart. His intelligence and maturity has grown throughout the movies though. Dewey has always shown signs of being extremely caring and protective. He is a good-natured guy who takes his job as sheriff super seriously and is there to immediately come to the rescue when anyone is in danger. He's willing to do whatever it takes and what ever task needs to be done to protect someone. When he feels he couldn't protect someone, especially someone he cares about, he is immediately traumatized by it.


  • He was described "a big guy, 20s, handsome in a scrubbed-clean boyish way" in the Scream script.
  • 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.
  • 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 was the only Scream survivor not to break one of the Rules in the climax of the first film.
  • Ross 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.
  • He was thought to be a possible third killer in Scream according to Wes Craven. Coincidentally, there is a fan theory, that suggests, that Dewey possibly was the third killer in Scream and got away with the murders. 
  • Dewey Is one of the main characters to get attacked in all four films.

Character Guide