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‘Justice Wasn’t Really Served In Real Life’: Under The Bridge EPs Reflect On Finale And Criticise True Crime Norms FSalinks

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Mercy Alone, the series finale of Under the Bridge. 

The ending of Under the Bridge differs from typical true crime endings as per Variety. Showrunner Samir Mehta stated, “Justice wasn’t really served in real life, so it couldn’t ever be that type of story where you get to the finale and the bad people go away.” 

In the penultimate episode, Warren Glowatski (Javon Walton) is sentenced to life in prison for the 1997 murder of Reena Virk (Vritika Gupta). However, in the end, Kelly Ellard (Izzy G), the white, wealthy ringleader, is sentenced to only five years. This stark contrast in sentencing shows the series’ effort to present the complexities and flaws of real-world justice. 

Finding peace and mercy 

Instead of focusing on conventional justice, the finale focuses on the characters’ individual journeys to peace and mercy. Mehta describes this approach as: “The episode focuses more on the characters finding their best shot at peace and finding a little bit of grace in their suffering. Exhibiting a bit of mercy isn’t ever going to make the horror go away, but might allow movement towards a better place.” 

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A pivotal moment occurs when Reena’s mother, Suman (Archie Panjabi), visits Warren in prison to begin making amends. She tells him it is “the only way out” of her pain. Series creator Quinn Shepard states the significance of this scene, saying, “Suman’s radical forgiveness of Warren needed to be the centerpiece of the episode.” 

Suman’s forgiveness in the episode 

Suman’s act of forgiveness is based on actual events. Mehta explains that in Canada, victims or their next of kin write victim impact statements that detail their emotions in the aftermath of a crime. Suman Virk’s statement was particularly moving because it expressed the depth of her grief in the weeks and months after Reena’s death. 

Mehta continues, “A lot of Suman telling Warren what she’s going through came from that.” Shepard continues, “Statements are something they give to the perpetrators. That was something she wrote that would then be given to Warren, so we put that on screen.” 

Critiquing the true crime genre 

Under the Bridge also critiques the true crime genre. The series is based on Rebecca Godfrey’s book of the same name, and Riley Keough portrays Rebecca. Rebecca’s writing process and interactions with a fictionalized Native police officer, Cam (Lily Gladstone), serve as the narrative’s framework. 

This framing allows the show to consider its own position within the true crime genre. Cam’s comment about Rebecca’s book, Bad for the World is good for You, conveys the ethical issues inherent in true crime writing. Mehta and Shepard aimed to create a series that avoided sensationalism while critically examining the justice system.

ALSO READ: Guy Ritchie To Direct Prime Video’s Young Sherlock Holmes Series Starring Hero Fiennes; Deets Inside

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