It Starts On The Page: Read ‘Under The Bridge’ Finale Script “Mercy Alone” By Samir Mehta

Editor’s note: Deadline’s It Starts on the Page features standout limited or anthology series scripts in 2024 Emmy contention.

In Hulu’s adaptation of the late Rebecca Godfrey’s true crime page-turner from 2005, Riley Keough plays the author who, along with a local police officer (Lily Gladstone), uncovers the mystery behind the death of Reena Kirk – a 14-year-old misfit who disappears after attending a party with kids who she thought were her friends.

More from Deadline

The duo’s quest culminates in the eighth and final episode, “Mercy Alone,” written by the series’ showrunner Samir Mehta and directed by Kevin Phillips.

In the forward to his script, Mehta talks about the “pivotal true-to-life” scene in the finale that convinced him to tackle the true crime genre with Under The Bridge and explains why this is not really a story about a girl’s death.

Should I be writing true crime? Should anyone? These were the first questions I asked myself when taking on Under the Bridge, wrestling with the portrayal of Reena Virk’s murder in the name of entertainment.

But when I learned about a truly superhuman act performed by Reena’s mother, Suman Virk, the story suddenly felt essential. To me, this episode — and really this entire series — had to build to this one pivotal true-to-life scene: a mother looking her child’s killer in the eyes and saying, “I forgive you.”

The climax of a crime story promises us some truth, some justice. But in “Mercy Alone,” it never comes, as it never really did for Reena Virk. Instead, we get a wrecking ball of compassion.

At the curtain call, you realize you were never watching a story about a girl’s death. It was never really about the crime. It was about reckoning with a vicious cycle that began long before this victim was even born. Reena’s life was snatched by forces beyond her, something decidedly not human — but it took an action that was painfully human to break the cycle forever.

I hope this episode is worth the cost of writing true crime. I hope it shows us that forgiveness doesn’t erase a moral debt, that it doesn’t contradict justice, but that it empowers those who have suffered to grow larger than the rest of US.

Click to read the script.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.