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Here's why '13 Reasons Why' Shifts to being a Complicated Whodunit for Season 3

Raising the bar in several possible ways.


Netflix's 13 Reasons Why continues to be a talking point amongst several viewers and critics alike especially how the series shifts to being a whodunit in the third season. The show revealed the central conceit of season three ahead of the return of the Netflix young adult breakout hit: The villain of the series is dead.

Actor Justin Prentice, who plays Bryce Walker in the show talked about this with The Hollywood Reporter, where he said, "We had sort of told the whole story with Hannah Baker [played by Katherine Langford]. The source material had been run through and this is a new, fresh twist to the show. Season three definitely has a different vibe and feel from the first two seasons, but still has a lot of the same rewarding elements. The season still talks about a lot of cultural touchstone points and does a lot of spotlighting on issues in society. We still have all those elements in there, just in a new package."

"No one felt that this issue had been resolved," says Prentice of Bryce's light punishment at the end of season two — one that is reflective of how rape and sexual assault cases are handled in the American criminal justice system. "Bryce got a little slap on the wrist, so our characters at Liberty would very much like to right the wrong themselves."

Though Bryce's death is revealed relatively early in the season, 13 Reasons Why utilizes flashbacks to explore the complicated past of the character as the story continues. "It’s an interesting journey," says Prentice of what viewers will learn. "I don’t know that death necessarily is a just punishment. I think that’s up to the viewers."

The shift into the whodunit mystery will also propel the series forward. Netflix handed out an early renewal for the fourth and final season earlier this month and Yorkey and his team of writers are already at work on wrapping up the series. The final season, which does not yet have a return date or episode count, will pick up shortly after the events of season three and is set to feature the core cast's graduation from high school. The series was originally developed as a one-off limited series before it was renewed for a surprise second season and the new death mystery plot is sure to provide ramifications to explore in the show's final run.

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