Warning: Major spoilers from seasons 1 through 4 ahead. Trigger warning: This article contains language related to rape, sexual assault and suicide.
Since its inception in March 2017, 13 Reasons Why has always been a show that deals with real issues. From suicide and substance abuse to sexual assault and rape, the Netflix original series — based off a Jay Asher novel of the same name — was created as a means of opening up a dialogue with teens, parents and educators.
Because of that, many of the characters on 13 Reasons Why die over the course of the 49 episodes beginning with Jeff Atkins (played by Brandon Larracuente), followed by season 1’s female protagonist, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford).
In both the show and the 2007 book, Hannah commits suicide. However, in the text, she takes pills. In a June 2017 interview, Jay explained why he chose for Hannah to kill herself that way versus what transpired on the series. “They wanted to show it as a very horrific experience. And I think the reason I chose pills in the book was going back to my relative, that’s how she did it,” the 44-year-old said, referring to a loved one who attempted suicide 10 years before his novel’s release.
“You know, we’re used to, when it comes to sexual assault or suicide, things happening in another room. Or things going black at that point. We’re more comfortable with that. That’s how we’ve been doing it for so long — and yet people still then wonder why some people aren’t grasping how horrific these things are,” Jay continued. “So we felt we need to show how horrific it is, and how horrific it is to find that body when you’re the parents.”
The California native added that as a result of the graphic nature of Hannah’s suicide scene, “so many people” reached out to him to say they’ve contemplated suicide but “never really envisioned what that hurt was going to look like.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see the character deaths on 13 Reasons Why seasons 1 through 4 explained.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing, recovering and more.
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