What Happened to Reena Virk’s Parents?

under the bridge, suman and manjit
What Happened to Reena Virk’s Parents?Darko Sikman


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Under the Bridge ends with a moment of silence. We see Manjit and Suman Virk listening to their daughter’s Biggie Smalls CD while cleaning her room. The murder trial is over, and for a brief few seconds, they find solace in the music she loved. Then, the tape cuts—and they’re left to absorb the gravity of what has happened.

Manjit and Suman’s story is one of the many tales portrayed in Under the Bridge, which chronicles the disappearance and death of their daughter, Reena Virk. The Hulu series was adapted from Rebecca Godfrey's book of the same name, and the show jumps through time to piece it all together. If you’ve been keeping up with Esquire’s coverage, then you’re likely familiar with the story. If not, here’s a refresher. One night, after a petty fight with her friend, Josephine, Reena was invited to a party. She was then attacked and found days later in the gorge. She was 14.

Following Reena’s murder trial, her parents became local advocates against bullying. Keep reading for everything we know about Manjit and Suman Virk.

Who are Reena Virk's Parents?

Reena’s father, Manjit, was an immigrant, and her mother, Suman, was a Jehovah’s witness. They’re depicted in Under the Bridge as gentle and kind, but they often sparred with Reena over their family values. Manjit and Suman wanted a quieter life for their kids, but Reena was desperate to explore. Her pursuits led her to a clique of troubled teens, which resulted in her tragic death.

under the bridge
Archie Panjabi (left) and Ezra Faroque Khan (right) as Suman and Manjit Virk in, Under the Bridge. Darko Sikman

What Happened to the Virk’s After Reena’s Trial?

Following the trial—which convicted Kelly Ellard and Warren Glowatski of second-degree murder—the Virks became anti-bullying advocates. “Bullies thrive on keeping you quiet,” Suman said in a speech about Reena. “That’s how they get their power. So I can’t stress that enough. If there’s a problem you’re having, talk about it.”

Suman and Manjit also kept in touch with Glowatski, who participated in restorative justice programs in jail. This relationship is loosely portrayed in Under the Bridge, when Suman visits Glowatski in prison and forgives him. In 2007, the Virks supported Warren’s request for day parole and attended his hearing. Afterward, Suman spoke with reporters. “He was an angry, scared little kid who was trying to prove something in a negative way, she said. “Today, I think we see a young man who has taken responsibility for his actions and is trying to amend the wrong that he did.”

Two years later, the Virks received the Anthony J. Hulme Award of Distinction, recognizing their dedication to community safety. Suman spoke to the Times Colonist after the award ceremony. “I never thought we would be doing this type of work, but we felt very passionately and very strongly that we wanted others to learn from our tragedy.” The Virks' anti-bullying efforts were recognized again in 2011 when Suman was contacted by the Canadian government and asked to support a youth-justice-focused crime bill. According to Times Colonist, Suman supported aspects of the bill, specifically provisions that kept violent offenders in custody while awaiting trial and mental health treatment.

Suman died in 2018 from a choking accident. She was 58. Manjit continued their advocacy work after Suman’s passing and worked briefly with Under the Bridge's showrunners, who read and optioned his book.

What is Manjit Virk’s Book About?

In 2008, Manjit published Reena: A Father's Story, which is a tell-all about Reena’s tragic death. Manjit told CBC that he wanted the public to understand his frustration with the legal system. “I think people have to also see that any normal family, no matter how hard they keep their family intact, they can be derailed by this system,” said Manjit. “I think that’s what has happened here, and I hope others can find something about the book that they can use in their lives.”

Years later, Under the Bridge co-showrunner Samir Mehta turned to Manjit for insight about Reena, which was included in Under the Bridge. “I was in touch with Reena’s father, actually, and we also optioned his book,” Mehata told Decider. “That was a big part of telling the story.”In his book, Manjit describes the day Reena was born. “She was red in the face and screaming, unaware of the tears of joy on her parents’ cheeks,” he wrote. “We named our child Reena, which means queen.”

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