Hulu’s latest true crime series, Under the Bridge, captivated viewers with its first two episodes released on April 17, 2024. Though fans will have to wait for weekly episodes to drop in order to see how the story unfolds, they can gain insight into what happened to teenager Reena Virk by looking at the real-life case that the show is based on.

What Is Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge’ About?

Under the Bridge, created by Quinn Shephard, tells the story of Reena Virk (played by Vritika Gupta), a 14-year-old teenage girl who lived in a small town in British Columbia, Canada. One night in 1997, Virk went to a party and never returned home. The series jumps back and forth between the days leading up to her murder and the days after as journalist and author Rebecca Godfrey (Riley Keough) and police officer Cam Bentland (Lily Gladstone) investigate the teens accused of being Virk’s killers. Godfrey becomes particularly intrigued by Josephine Bell (Chloe Guidry), whom the author describes as a “blonde, delicate girl” who idolizes the Mafia boss John Gotti.

Under the Bridge also stars Ezra Faroque Khan, Archie Panjabi, Javon Walton, Izzy G. and Aiyana Goodfellow.

Is ‘Under the Bridge’ Based on a True Story?

Under the Bridge is based on the 2005 true crime book of the same name by real-life author Godfrey, who died in October 2022. Godfrey pulled back the curtain on Virk’s accused killers and the bullying she experienced before her death by lung cancer.

In 2019, Godfrey explained to Interview Magazine how she came to write the book, revealing, “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. 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.”

Is Under the Bridge Based on a True Story
Darko Sikman/Hulu

What Happened to Reena Virk in Real Life?

Godfrey wrote in her book that Virk was bullied by her schoolmates prior to her death because of her weight, appearance and religion. Her parents, Manjit and Suman, were devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. Manjit was also an Indian immigrant, while Suman was from a Canadian-Indian family. In an attempt to gain freedom from her family, Virk falsely accused her father of sexual molestation and was temporarily placed in foster care in 1996, but the charges were dropped and she was later returned home.

Weeks before her murder, Virk began spending time with a local teen named Nicole Cook and five others. She allegedly spread rumors about Cook, including that she had fake breasts and had AIDS. Cook invited Virk to a party on the night of November 14, 1997, where she confronted the bullied teen about the rumors. Virk was then “swarmed” by eight individuals who punched and kicked her and burned her with a cigarette under the Craigflower Bridge in Saanich, British Columbia, according to the Supreme Court of Canada. The primary suspects in the murder became known as the “Shoreline Six.”

Is Under the Bridge Based on a True Story
Jeff Weddell/Hulu

After the assault, Virk got up and reached the other side of the bridge. She was followed by two of her attackers, Kelly Marie Ellard and Warren Glowatski, who assaulted her again and drowned Virk in the Gorge Waterway under the bridge, according to court documents.

Glowatski, who was 16 years old when involved in Virk’s murder, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Shockingly, he expressed remorse for his involvement and created a friendly relationship with Virk’s parents, and was released on full parole in 2010.

Ellard was 15 years old when she drowned Virk, and was eventually convicted of second-degree murder. She remains behind bars as of publication.

Virk’s body was found on November 22, 1997. An autopsy found multiple injuries in her abdominal area and face and concluded that she had died by drowning, Godfrey noted in her book.

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