Under the Bridge: Is CMC or Crip Mafia Cartel Based on a Real Gang?

Image Credit: Jeff Weddell/Hulu

In Hulu’s ‘Under the Bridge,’ a terrible crime shakes a small Canadian town when it turns out that both the victim and the culprits are teenagers. The brutality of the murder raises several questions about the people capable of doing such a thing, and the fact that everyone involved in it turns out to be a mere child shocks everyone. The TV show translates the real-life case almost accurately on the screen with a few creative liberties taken with here and there details. However, these changes are mostly limited to the characters who don’t have a direct bearing on the case. The people involved in the case and the circumstances surrounding it are portrayed as close to reality as possible. This also holds true to the youngsters’ obsession with criminal gangs and the part it played in Reena Virk’s tragic death. SPOILERS AHEAD

Crip Mafia Cartel Points Towards the Girls’ Obsession With Gangs

Image Credit: Darko Sikman/Hulu)

In the Hulu series, when Reena’s dead body is found, CMC is found written on her one hand. This isn’t something new for the cops as they know of the “Crip Mafia Cartel” that Reena was desperate to be a part of but was completely shut out of by her friends, especially Josephine Bell. This part of the story is quite close to how things were in real life. In her book, ‘Under the Bridge,’ on which the Hulu show is based, Rebecca Godfrey wrote about Josephine Bell and other teenagers’ obsession with mafia and cartels. Her particular affinity for John Gotti and her desire to move to New York and join his gang were also notable things about her. While she hoped that these things would happen to her in the future, she decided to make her own mafia cartel in the meantime.

The word “Crip” in the title comes from the Crips, the infamous Los Angeles gang notorious for committing many crimes, ranging from murders and robberies to drug dealing, among other things. Founded in LA in 1969 by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams, the group was known to stick to blue as their color of choice, completely giving up red as it was a rival color. Their animosity with the Bloods was also one for the books, apart from the long list of crimes attributed to them.

The teenagers in Saanich at the time, especially Nicole Cook (real-life Josephine Bell) and the people in her orbit, fantasized about the LA street gangs. They believed that being a part of the gang would make them a legit badass, and they would live and someday die, just like those glorified crime lords in the movies. Of course, they forgot that this was real life, not Hollywood and that their actions would have severe consequences.

In the show, Josephine forms the Crip Mafia Cartel after she and her friends feel left out when the boys won’t let them join the gang because they are women. This may have been because the real Crips also didn’t have a lot of female members, and even when they did, the number of women in their group was not enough to make it count. The boys in Saanich were also under the same impression. So, the girls decided to make their own group, and Warren Glowatski, who had tried to join the boys’ club but failed, was also let in on it. But Reena wasn’t.

All Reena ever wanted was to fit in and be a part of the crowd, any crowd, and when she met Nicole Cook and others in the group, she hoped she could finally do it. To prove to them that she was ready to be a part of their group, she did everything to please them. Her parents noted that she’d started ignoring her studies and had become a smoker, among other things. But they didn’t realize that all of this was so that she could get into Nicole’s good graces and become a part of the Crip Mafia Cartel.

Unlike the real Crips in LA and the boys’ group in Saanich, the Crip Mafia Cartel didn’t really have a huge following. Only six people were a part of it, and all six of them were taken to court after Reena Virk’s beaten-up dead body was found floating in the river, and it became clear that one or two of them had to have killed Reena.

Read More: Kelly Ellard: Reena Virk’s Murderer is a Mother of Two Today