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You're a brave man, Dewey Riley.
― Gale to her fiance, Dewey after defeating Roman. [src]

Deputy Dwight "Dewey" Riley is the former tritagonist of the Scream series. He aids his late younger sister Tatum Riley's best friend, Sidney Prescott throughout the franchise as a Ghostface entity targets her.

His on-off romance with reporter, Gale Weathers spans 25 years, as she also aids the pair in the investigations. After being stabbed "nine times", and narrowly surviving four Ghostface massacres, Dewey is killed in the 25th anniversary massacre after he and Gale are divorced. Sidney returns to avenge his death, alongside Gale.



Dewey and Tatum

In Scream, 25 year old Dwight "Dewey" Riley is the Deputy Sheriff of Woodsboro, making it his main duty to protect Sidney Prescott from the killer. He appears close to Sidney, as Tatum keeps a spare room for her in their house.

During the film, Dewey develops feelings for Gale Weathers. In the film's climax, he is stabbed in the back by the killer, though he survives.

Scream 2[]

Dewey and Sidney

Dewey arrived once again to protect Sidney. Only this time, he has a limp due to a severed nerve caused by his injury in the previous film.

Angry at Gale, 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't. 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 he and Gale become a couple.

Scream 3[]

Between Scream 2 and Scream 3, Gale waited for Dewey's recovery, but could not stay in Woodsboro. So the pair split up, as Gale got offered 60 Minutes II, but it "didn't work out", so she went to Total Entertainment.

During this time, he also began to treat Martha Meeks as a surrogate friend in memory of Randy. Dewey is a "technical advisor" on the set of the film Stab 3: Return to Woodsboro and living with Jennifer Jolie, the actress who portrays Gale in Stab and Stab 2. After a new killer has surfaced, Dewey aids in the investigation. He and Gale butt heads more than ever, but he saves her life and they become even closer. In the climax, Dewey kills Roman, ordered by Sidney to shoot him in the head.

After they see Sidney walking across her lawn with her dog Cherokee, he proposes to Gale and she accepts. They go to watch a movie with Sidney and Detective Mark Kincaid, her future husband.

Scream 3 marks the only film, where Dewey kills Ghostface. He shot him in the head, when he tried to kill Sidney.

Scream 4[]

Dewey and Gale

Dewey is now the Sheriff of Woodsboro 15 years after the original murders ended, and married to Gale for ten years, 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 investigating the newest slew of murders.

He drives Gale to the hospital after she is stabbed in the shoulder, and later receives a phone call from Judy while he is in the car afterward. Judy informs him that the policeman 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 ground, near the corpses of Trevor Sheldon and Charlie Walker. They assume that Trevor and Charlie were the killers 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 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).

By the time Scream 4 rolls around, he has mostly recovered from his limp through physical therapy.

Scream 5[]

At some point between the events of 2011 and 2021, Dewey and Gale split up. Dewey's life went downhill whilst Gale's went up. Dewey retired from the Woodsboro Police and lived a reclusive life in a small trailer park in Woodsboro.

When Ghostface returns once more, Dewey is approached by Samantha Carpenter and Richie Kirsch, seeking his help. He gives them two minutes and tells them the rules to survive Ghostface killings. He then kicks them out of his trailer and calls Sidney and Gale to inform them about the new murders.

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 "requel" 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 from Ghostface. Dewey is able to shoot and subdue the killer but then goes back to shoot him in the head, however the killer is able to catch Dewey off guard and uses multiple knives to slice him open and kill him. As Dewey dies, Ghostface tells him that "it's an honor".

Later, Sidney returns to avenge his death, and to ensure her children and husband are safe. in the climax, Richie, who Dewey immediately suspected and gave as his first warning, was revealed to be the killer. Dewey's killer, however, is his accomplice Amber who used a bulletproof vest.


  • "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 affectively 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."
  • "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!"
  • "And by the way, Nice streaks"

Behind the Scenes[]

  • He was described as "a big guy, 20's, handsome in a scrubbed-clean boyish way" in the Scream script.
  • As revealed on the Directors in 2007, 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. This is an obvious reference to the fact that Courteney Cox, whom plays Dewey's on-screen wife, Gale Riley, plays the sister of David Schwimmer's character on the show Friends.
  • 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. This caused an additional scene showing Dewey being taken into an ambulance on a gurney, clearly alive, to be filmed and added to the end of the film.
  • 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.


  • He is the second main character of the franchise to be killed as the first one was Randy Meeks.
  • He has been stabbed 9 times, has permanent nerve damage, and a limp as revealed in Scream 5 (2022).
  • Dewey is the older brother of Tatum Riley.
  • He was married and divorced in real life to fellow actress Courteney Cox.

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