Under The Bridge

Yes, there is too much true crime, and yes, the genre too often relies on the violence inflicted on women and girls as entertainment. Under the Bridge creator and co-writer Quinn Shephard is aware of both these liabilities and of how easy it would be for the miniseries to dehumanize its central victim, Reena Virk, and to overly dramatize the events surrounding her death. To counteract expectations, Under the Bridge tackles them head on, experimenting with episodic form to give Reena (Vritika Gupta) her own fourth-wall-breaking voice; creating a cop character (Lily Gladstone) whose own First Nations heritage gives her a nuanced, complicated perspective on Reena’s life; and placing author Rebecca Godfrey (Riley Keough), whose same-named book inspired the miniseries, into the narrative to consider how media coverage helps reinforce certain stereotypes and prejudices. What those deliberate choices do is push Under the Bridge from a by-the-numbers recitation of a crime to an exploration of the many contradictory aspects of the feeling of belonging. Under the Bridge is captivated by the impacts of loneliness and loss and what they do to the relationships between a parent and a child, two friends grown apart, and lovers unsure of each other’s loyalties, and its collection of fantastic performances gives the series’ abstract concepts devastating life. —Roxana Hadadi