The true story behind the new series Under The Bridge will keep you up at night.

The new true crime series Under The Bridge is based on a story that will stay with you long after you've watched the show. 

Starring Oscar nominee and breakout star of 2023, Lily Gladstone and Daisy Jones & The Six actress Riley Keough, this series is driven by some stand-out performances.

What is Under the Bridge about?

Under the Bridge takes us back to 1997 when a 14-year-old girl named Reena Virk goes missing in the British Columbia province of Canada. The premise of the young Canadian-Indian girl's disappearance is an intriguing one which catches the eye of novelist Rebecca Godfrey who returns to her hometown to write about Reena's story.

Under the Bridge. Image: Hulu.


While delving into the world of local teenagers, Rebecca begins to unravel a much bigger story than she could ever have imagined. Throughout her research Rebecca also strikes up a relationship with Cam Bentland who has served as the investigating detective in the disappearance of Reena. 

At its core Under the Bridge is a gripping tale of a teenager who falls prey to an unlikely group of killers but the series also sets out to tackle racism and a broken justice system along the way.

Who is in the Under the Bridge cast?

Showrunners and fans alike have agreed that Golden Globe nominee Riley Keough was the perfect choice to step into the shoes of Rebecca Godfrey. Not only does she have a very impressive CV (which includes Zola and Mad Max: Fury Road) but it was her previous work advocating for youth rights that really drew her to this character.

The other big name on the bill for Under the Bridge is Lily Gladstone who plays the detective at the centre of this story. After a star-making turn in 2023's Killers of the Flower Moon (which earned her an Oscar nomination), Gladstone takes steals the show in the role of Bentland.

Elsewhere in the cast is Vritika Gupta who does a wonderful job bringing heart and soul to the tragic story of Reena Virk and Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) gives a fantastic performance portraying Reena's mother.


Under the Bridge was developed by Quinn Shephard and Samir Mehta.

Is Under the Bridge based on a true story?

Sadly, the tragic events that led to Reena's death in the series were in fact all real-life occurrences that inspired the Under the Bride miniseries. 

On November 14, 1997 14-year-old Reena Virk was invited to a party. Despite suffering horrible bullying about her heritage and appearance, Reena just wanted to fit in — so off she went to the gathering which took place under the Craigflower Bridge in Saanich, British Columbia.

It was here that an altercation broke out between a few of the teenagers which resulted in some of the part goers hitting and kicking Reena. Battered and bruised, Reena tried to make an escape from her attackers but Kelly Ellard, 15, and Warren Glowatski, 16 continued following the young girl.

According to official documents, Ellard and Glowatski then continued to brutally attack Reena before drowning her in the nearby body of water. Eight days after she was killed, police found Reena's body. Corner's reports said that when Reena's body was discovered and examined she had sustained "convulsion injury as often seen in car crash victims."

Both Ellard and Glowatski were convicted of second-degree murder with both serving time in prison for their crimes. The remaining "Shoreline Six" as they were branded by the media, also served time for their involvement in the attack with many of them being released before 12 months.


So devastating and harrowing was this story, it caught the eye of novelist Rebecca Godfrey who had grown up in the same surrounding area. She returned to the small community in the hopes of figuring out exactly what led to the tragic events of November 14, 1997. 

"I was living in New York City. This would’ve been in the late 90s, and I was working on a novel about teenage girls in my hometown of Victoria, British Columbia," Godfrey told Interview Magazine in 2019. "Then I started getting all these calls from friends that there had been a murder in Victoria. I went home soon after and went into the prison. I was just stunned because the girls all looked like normal, cool, young teenage girls, not particularly like killers."

She immediately became immersed in the tale of this brutal murder and even began befriending many of the young people who had been involved in the tragic events. As a result, she then turned her research into a non-fiction book called Under the Bridge which also served as source material for the showrunners of the series.

What have cast and crew said about Under the Bridge?

When creating the screen interpretation of Reena's story, showrunners Quinn Shephard and Samir Mehta were determined to ensure they were careful about how they brought these tragic events to life again.

"We had many conversations just kind of beforehand, not only in rehearsal, but just in meetings to talk about the subject matter and really make sure we were all on the same page in terms of responsible portrayal," Mehta told Variety.


When asked about how she hopes this series has an impact, Lily Gladstone told Variety she wants audiences to focus on not erasing the victim at the centre of the story.

"I really hope that looking at the series, we focus on the true part of true crime a little bit more than the crime aspect," she said. "Sensationalizing the crime elevates the perpetrator to celebrity status and erases the victim in the process. And when we do that, we also lose the opportunity to talk about what made that person, what in society enabled it so that vulnerable person became the victim."

Riley Keough and Lily Gladstone in Under the Bridge. Image: Hulu.


In that same vein, Riley Keough has also spoken out about how true crime stories with female victims can often be grossly sensationalised in the media — something she wants to actively avoid adding to. With that in mind she was initially weary about whether or not to sign on to this project.

"I was a little bit apprehensive, because when you just get the one line true-crime story about a missing and murdered girl, for me, I was a little like, I don’t know if that’s something I’m particularly interested in doing, because I’m trying to be thoughtful about what I put into the world in my art more and more as I get older," she told Deadline. "I think that there are many [true crime] stories that are really important, but I think the way in which they’re told can be problematic."

However, after meeting the showrunners and learning more about their vision for the series, Keough felt compelled to get involved with the project to help give nuance to the true crime genre.

How can I watch Under the Bridge?

You can now stream all eight episodes of Under the Bridge on Disney+.

Feature Image: Hulu.

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