On Wednesday's episode of Riverdale, "When A Stranger Calls," Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) met Veronica's rich kid friend Nick St. Clair (Graham Phillips). However, by the end of the episode, it's clear that Nick is a predator: While at a party, Nick drugged Cheryl's glass of champagne and took her back to his hotel room to sexually assault her. It's one of the darkest (and, sadly, most true-to-life) stories that Riverdale has ever told. Now, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has revealed his inspiration for the deplorable Nick — and, apparently, it's a fictional serial killer.
In his interview with Variety, Aguirre-Sacasa named author Bret Easton Ellis as a main source of inspiration for the character portrayed by former Good Wife actor Graham Phillips.
Ellis' novels, which include Less Than Zero, The Rules of Attraction, and American Psycho, tend to focus on the extraordinarily wealthy — and, often, extraordinarily awful. Nick checks both boxes. However, there is one particular character created by Ellis that seems particularly in line with Nick.
The protagonist in American Psycho, Patrick Bateman, is a serial killer — or, at the very least, an emotionally bankrupt Wall Streeter whose murderous fantasies offer up a satirical look at the fragile male ego. Patrick also shows up briefly in the novel The Rules of Attraction, as the brother of the main character, Sean. Could this be the person Aguirre-Sacasa is specifically referring to in his interview with Variety?
"We wrote that story before the Harvey Weinstein stuff broke, and the conceit of it was 'Let’s take the Archie characters and put them in a story with a Bret Easton Ellis character and let’s see what happens,'" the showrunner told Variety. "So Nick, in our minds, was a Bret Easton Ellis character from Rules of Attraction or American Psycho. He’s a certain kind of person who’s entitled and basically has no empathy."
Nick definitely has the ability to charm those around him, just as Patrick did in both the novel and the 2000 film version, in which he is portrayed by Christian Bale. However, while Patrick is never caught for his crimes (if they actually happened, of course), it seems that Nick will get what's coming to him.
"Nick is going to get his due — 100%," teased Aguirre-Sacasa to Variety.
Will the Black Hood really kill Nick after Betty (Lili Reinhart) gave up his name? A serial killer-inspired character being murdered by an actual serial killer would be a heavy dose of irony.