It’s been over two years since Netflix released the first season of 13 Reasons Why, and after all that time the streaming service has decided to alter the graphic and controversial scene in the season 1 finale. The scene in question is the one that depicts Hanna Baker’s (Katherine Langford) suicide.
The first season of 13 Reason’s Why follows the story of a teenager who committed suicide, but not before recording 13 cassette tapes explaining her decision. Each episode focuses on a different character that she at least partially blames for her decision. The series was adapted from Jay Asher’s 2007 YA novel of the same name, and spawned a sequel that was released the following year. While the series depicted some very adult, and serious things throughout, it was the final episode that really had people talking.
In the episode, about half way through, you see a Hanna climb into a bathtub of water and slit her wrists with a razor blade, before screaming out in pain before lying back and dying as tears stream down her face. Netflix displayed a message before the episode, warning viewers that “The following episode contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing and/or may not be suitable for younger audiences, including graphic depictions of violence and suicide. Viewer discretion is advised.”
At the time Netflix stated that they wanted to depict as the suicide as realistically as possible, because it was their responsibility to tell the truth. Things have changed though, and now Netflix has altered the scene to exclude the moment Hannah slits her wrists. The scene jumps from Hannah contemplating the act, to her parents finding her body.
In a statement Netflix said “We’ve heard from many young people that 13 Reasons Why encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help—often for the first time. As we prepare to launch season 3 later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season 1.”
Yorkey also released his own statement. He said, “It was our hope, in making 13 Reasons Why into a television show, to tell a story that would help young viewers feel seen and heard, and encourage empathy in all who viewed it, much as the bestselling book did before us. Our creative intent in portraying the ugly, painful reality of suicide in such graphic detail in season 1 was to tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it. But as we ready to launch season 3, we have heard concerns about the scene from Dr. Christine Moutier at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and others, and have agreed with Netflix to re-edit it. No one scene is more important than the life of the show, and its message that we must take better care of each other. We believe this edit will help the show do the most good for the most people while mitigating any risk for especially vulnerable young viewers.”
This third season of 13 Reasons Why is expected this summer, but as of yet an exact premiere date has not been given.