TV & Movies

What Happened To Rebecca’s Brother In Under The Bridge?

The Hulu series is based on the 1997 murder of Reena Virk, but it also touches on a different loss.

Riley Keough on 'Under the Bridge.' Photo via Hulu
Darko Sikman/Hulu

Hulu’s new true crime series, Under the Bridge, isn’t just about a brutal 1997 murder — it’s the telling of the telling of that murder.

The late Rebecca Godfrey, who penned the nonfiction book the series is based on, is portrayed on screen by Riley Keough. The series (which premiered on April 17) follows Godfrey as she returns to her small Canadian hometown and reports on the chilling death of a 14-year-old girl, Reena Virk, who was attacked by a group of her peers.

But it slowly becomes clear that the writer is processing her own loss along the way. Indeed, in real life, that did inform how she approached reporting Under the Bridge. Here’s what happened to Rebecca’s brother, Jonathan (named Gabe in the series).

A Family Tragedy

The New York Times obituary for Godfrey — the author passed away in 2022 due to complications from lung cancer — notes that her brother, Jonathan, died when he was only 16 years old. He fell from a local bluff and drowned, according to the paper.

His death impacted Godfrey in several ways. She was only 13 years old at the time, and told The Believer that the loss contributed to a “fraught and very difficult teenage experience.”

Darko Sikman/Hulu

“I went a little wild after that and lost interest in high school, and got into the punk scene in downtown Victoria,” she explained in 2019. “Being in that scene was great because I could hide behind this mask of anger and coolness and toughness, and think, ‘Oh, I look scary, so everyone will leave me alone.’”

Writing Under The Bridge

This harrowing time led Godfrey to write her first book, The Torn Skirt, a “very autobiographical” work that she actually sent to some of the accused teen attackers in the process of writing Under the Bridge. According to Mary Gaitskill’s introduction for the later book, it helped Godfrey establish herself as someone who understood the complicated throes of adolescence and could be trusted with their stories.

Jeff Weddell/Hulu

Similarly, having been through such a devastating loss, Godfrey knew “it was incredibly hard to intrude into the sorrow of others,” she told The Paris Review.

“I remember a reporter knocking on the door and asking me, ‘Did you know the boy who died?’ It was just unbelievably horrible,” she recalled in 2019. “I didn’t want to be that intrusive or voyeuristic, so I was quite tentative by journalistic standards.”