Hulu Series "Under the Bridge" to Explore 1997 Murder of Reena Virk

"Hulu's 'Under the Bridge' dramatizes the tragic 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk in Canada, exploring themes of teenage violence, bullying, and racism. Lily Gladstone and Riley Keough star in this sensitive yet compelling limited series."

Sakchi Khandelwal
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Hulu Series "Under the Bridge" to Explore 1997 Murder of Reena Virk

Hulu Series "Under the Bridge" to Explore 1997 Murder of Reena Virk

In 2024, Lily Gladstone and Riley Keough will star in the Hulu limited series "Under the Bridge," which is based on the 1997 beating and murder of Reena Virk, a 14-year-old Indo-Canadian girl, by six teenage girls and one teenage boy in British Columbia. The series aims to untangle the brutal mystery with a sensitive touch, though it occasionally glosses over its most interesting elements.

Reena had a troubled relationship with her parents and lived in a foster home at the time. The group, known as the "Shoreline Six," invited Reena to a party under a bridge, where they severely beat her. Two of them, Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski, followed and killed Reena. Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 and later granted parole, while Ellard's conviction was initially overturned on appeal before a second trial.

The true story behind the drama sent shockwaves throughout Canada and inspired the 2005 book by Rebecca Godfrey, which the show is based on. Godfrey passed away in 2022 after a battle with cancer. The series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, using multiple Canadian filming locations to recreate the Saanich setting.

Riley Keough will play journalist Rebecca Godfrey, while Lily Gladstone will play the largely fictional character of police officer Cam Bentland, who is among the first to realize there's more to Reena's disappearance than just a runaway teen. The series will also feature Vritika Gupta as Reena Virk, Archie Panjabi as her mother Suman Virk, and Ezra Faroque Khan as her father Manjit Virk.

The show, created by Quinn Shephard, tells the story behind "Under the Bridge" through the lens of a journalist who was working on a novel about teenage girls in her hometown when she learned about the murder, and a local police officer who investigated and solved the case. Virk, who grew up feeling like an outsider and was bullied, was invited to a social gathering where she was confronted by one of the girls, Nicole Cook, about spreading rumors. This led to a physical altercation, and Virk was eventually killed by two of the teens, Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski.

Why this matters: The tragic murder of Reena Virk and the subsequent trials of her killers brought issues of teenage violence, bullying, and racism to the forefront in Canada. The upcoming Hulu series aims to explore these themes and the impact of the case on the community, shedding light on a dark chapter in Canadian history.

The six girls involved in the initial attack were convicted of assault, while Ellard and Glowatski were tried as adults and convicted of murder, with Ellard's conviction later being overturned and retried multiple times. The showrunners emphasized the importance of casting young actors to portray the real-life killers, and the show's production included social workers and trauma counselors to support the cast and crew due to the heavy subject matter.

Key Takeaways

  • Hulu's "Under the Bridge" dramatizes 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk.
  • Lily Gladstone and Riley Keough to star as a police officer and journalist.
  • Reena was beaten by a group of teens, then killed by two of them.
  • Convictions of killers Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski were complex legal cases.
  • Series explores themes of teenage violence, bullying, and racism in Canada.