13 Reasons Why has received a lot of criticism for the horrific suicide scene. But Katherine Langford and the crew went to great pains to ensure the moment would be as realistic and unglamorous as possible.
To prepare, Langford said,
“I talked to healthcare professionals. I worked with a psychiatrist who specializes in adolescent mental [illness] to try and understand what someone would be going through at that point in time.”
The scene in questions is when Hannah decides she has finally had enough and decides to slit her wrists at home. The point was to make the scene as painful to watch as possible, so if you felt uncomfortable, it worked.
“We wanted it to be very clear that there is nothing, in any way, worthwhile about suicide.”
“I felt like it would have sugarcoated the severity of the issue. It’s not pretty, it’s not romanticized, it’s not a beautiful tragedy — it’s agonizing, and it’s physically painful to watch.”
Langford says she’s extremely proud of the result and that they covered issues that are so relevant to young viewers.
“I feel proud of the series, but I also understand that when you do a show that covers really serious, personal and relevant issues, there’s going to be a difference of opinion. I think that difference of opinions and discussion is the important part, and it’s where the show makes a difference, being able to talk about things and share opinions, and the reasons why we think that way.”
Katherine returns as Hannah Baker in season 2 of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix.