Nancy Drew gave us plenty of mysteries to solve during its four-season run on The CW — the greatest of all being Ace’s secret last name.
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As confirmed in the Aug. 23 series finale, Nancy’s boyfriend’s initials were A.H., confirming the popular fan theory that the titular sleuth has had a Hardy Boy by her side this whole time.
And the big reveal got us thinking: Just how many TV characters’ names have been kept under wraps over the years? Not just on current or recently ended shows (such as Grey’s Anatomy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Ted Lasso), but on shows from yesteryear (including timeless treasures like Columbo, Quincy and Seinfeld, and modern classics like The Big Bang Theory, House and Sex and the City) that continue to hold a special place in all of our hearts.
What follows is an extensive small-screen history consisting of the following:
🔹 Characters whose first, last or full names have never been revealed.
🔹 Characters whose names were kept secret for multiple seasons. (Angels, aliens and other inhuman entities were not included.)
Keep scrolling to see which characters made the cut, then chime in below and give us your best guesses for any of the names not disclosed.
ANNYONG, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
The Bluths always assumed Lucille’s adopted son was named the Korean word for “Hello.” As revealed in the Season 3 finale, they weren’t far off: His actual first name was Hel-loh.
MR. BEAN, MR. BEAN
The beloved eccentric was never given a proper first name in the original series. In Bean: The Movie, his passport had his first name listed as “Mr.,” while Mr. Bean’s Holiday had him down as “Rowan” — as in portrayer Rowan Atkinson. Both seem to be inside jokes, so neither can be taken seriously.
PENNY, THE BIG BANG THEORY
If we were ever going to learn Penny’s maiden name — no, it wasn’t hidden in plain sight! — it probably would have happened before she became Mrs. Hofstadter.
Angela Montenegro she most definitely was not. As revealed in Season 10, her birth name was — wait for it! — Pookie Noodlin.
ALICE, THE BRADY BUNCH
It wasn’t until midway through Season 2 that the Bradys’ maid was given the surname Nelson, which allegedly happened after guest star John Wheeler pointed out to producer Lloyd J. Schwartz that the character didn’t have one.
SARAH WALKER, CHUCK
Sarah Walker was just an alias. So was Jenny Burton. We eventually learned that her first name was Sam, and her middle name was Lisa. Too bad she probably wouldn’t remember her last name in any hypothetical revival.
LT. COLUMBO, COLUMBO
The detective’s first name was never mentioned, though a brief glimpse of his badge in Episode 3 seemed to reveal that it was Frank.
Fans waited five seasons to learn Turtle’s first name was Sal. The Entourage movie would later reveal his last name was Assante.
MRS. ARI, ENTOURAGE
It wasn’t until the third-to-last episode of the series that Ari’s wife was referred to by her given name: Melissa.
MR. ROARKE, FANTASY ISLAND
It was unclear whether Roarke was the character’s first or last name, since many of those closest to him simply referred to him as “Roarke,” dropping the “Mr.” altogether. But Fox’s 2021 sequel series confirmed it was his last name with the introduction of a grand niece, Elena Roarke.
AGENT 99, GET SMART
The name of Maxwell Smart’s partner-turned-wife was never disclosed. The show would later follow tradition when she gave birth to their twins — a boy and a girl — and never revealed the daughter’s name.
GILLIGAN, GILLIGAN’S ISLAND
The series never made clear whether Gilligan was the character’s first or last name. During a 1988 cast reunion, portrayer Bob Denver said that the character’s first name was actually Willy, which was revealed to him during later discussions with series creator Sherwood Schwartz.
JO WILSON, GREY’S ANATOMY
In Season 12, it was discovered that Jo Wilson was not in fact the character’s real name, but rather an alias that she gave herself after fleeing an abusive marriage. Not until Season 13 did we learn that Brooke Stadler was the name she’d left behind along with violent husband Paul.
Drew, the police sergeant’s given name, was not disclosed prior to Season 3’s “Mommy Dearest.”
The character’s surname, Hadley, was not revealed until the penultimate Season 4 episode, “House’s Head.” Her given name, Remy, was finally disclosed in Season 5’s “Emancipation.”
THE MOTHER, HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
It took 184 episodes to meet the eponymous Mother… and until the closing moments of the series finale to learn that her full name was Tracy McConnell. It was upon learning her full name that fans realized her first name was revealed in the series’ ninth episode ever, when Ted tricked his kids into believing that a stripper he met on Thanksgiving was their mom.
DETECTIVE CHIEF INSPECTOR MORSE, INSPECTOR MORSE
Morse’s first name, Endeavour, wasn’t mentioned prior to 1997’s “Death is Now My Neighbour.”
MAC, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA
Not before Season 7 was it made known that Mac’s full name is Ronald McDonald. Yes, really! All these years later, we still get a kick out of that one.
If you think MacGyver’s first name has always been common knowledge, then you don’t Mac! Though it was said to be Stacey, according to an early Paramount press release, it wasn’t until Season 7 that it was actually revealed to be Angus.
ACE, NANCY DREW
Ace’s last name remained a mystery until the very end. As revealed in the series finale, Nancy’s boyfriend’s initials were indeed A.H., confirming the fan theory that the titular sleuth had a Hardy Boy by her side the entire time.
SCHMIDT, NEW GIRL
Schmidt’s elusive first name wasn’t just similar to bestie Winston’s. It was Winston — a name the producers decided on early in Season 5, but kept secret until the penultimate installment of Season 6.
MR. GOLD, ONCE UPON A TIME
Don’t bother trying to guess Gold’s first name. According to series scribe Jane Espenson, a first name was never been established for the fan-favorite character.
QUINCY, QUINCY M.E.
The closest we got to finding out the Los Angeles coroner’s first name was in the Season 3 episode “Accomplice to Murder,” where a business card listed him as “R. Quincy.”
THE JANITOR, SCRUBS
The kooky custodian revealed to J.D. that his name was Glenn Matthews in the Season 8 finale, but was later referred to by another Sacred Heart employee as “Tommy.” Series creator Bill Lawrence has since clarified that in this instance, the Janitor was telling J.D. the truth.
It wasn’t until six seasons in that we learned that Kramer’s first name was Cosmo.
friendly neighborhood mailman Newman? To this day, it’s unclear whether Newman was his first or last name.
MR. BIG, SEX AND THE CITY
It wasn’t until the final episode that Carrie’s caller ID revealed his first name was “John” — and not until the trailer for Sex and the City: The Movie that fans discovered his full name was John James Preston.
COACH BEARD, TED LASSO
The football comedy’s Season 3 finale confirmed that Coach Beard’s first name was Willis. We say confirmed, not revealed, because the series already revealed Beard’s first name in Season 2. We just didn’t know it yet.
STILES, TEEN WOLF
Sheriff Stilinski finally remembered his son’s first name in Season 6: Mieczyslaw. (Say that one three times fast!)
FEZ, THAT ’70S SHOW
For eight seasons, Eric Foreman & Co. only referred to their foreign friend by the made-up shorthand for “Foreign Exchange Student.” The one time he did disclose his real name, it was drowned out by a school bell. (It’s up to you, That ’90s Show!)
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