The Hulu original docu series titled Never Let Him Go, directed by Jeff Dupre, revolves around a brother’s pursuit of justice and his stand against violence targeting homosexuals. Steve Johnson, a resident of Los Angeles, tragically lost his brother Scott while Scott was studying at Canberra University in Australia nearly 32 years ago. Overcoming numerous obstacles, Steve tenaciously worked towards bringing the perpetrator to justice. After years of dedication, he successfully ensured that the perpetrator was imprisoned. This four-part documentary series portrays Steve’s commitment and the emotional journey that he and his family endured.
What Happened To Scott Johnson?
The documentary series began by showing old videos of Steve, his brother Scott, and their sister Terry reminiscing about their happy times together. Steve and Scott were both very dedicated to their studies and had promising futures. Steve pursued his education, earning a degree and even going on to get a doctorate. Scott, on the other hand, attended Caltech University and later studied at Cambridge before heading to the University of Canberra in Australia.
The family, including Steve’s wife, Rosemary, Terry, and their half-sister, Becca, shared their family history. Scott and Terry recalled, how it wasn’t always easy for them when they were growing up. Their biological father had left them a long time ago, leaving their mother to handle all the financial responsibilities on her own. Making ends meet was tough, and the children even had to deliver newspapers to help support the family. But despite these challenges, Steve and Scott worked incredibly hard in their studies, recognizing that education was their ticket to a brighter future. Their determination and dedication eventually paid off, leading to successful academic careers and a more stable life.
During Scott’s time in Cambridge, Something important happened in his life. He gathered the courage to reveal his sexual orientation to his family. He told them that he had fallen in love with an Australian man named Michael Noone. At first, this was a bit surprising for his family, but above all else, they cared about Scott’s happiness and well-being. They wanted him to be true to himself. But during this already challenging time, a terrible tragedy occurred. After Scott moved to Australia with Noone and pursued his PhD from Canberra, his life was cut short, and his lifeless body was discovered near a cliff in Sydney, specifically in Manly. The rescue officer who found him believed it was suicide, which was a devastating shock to his family.
However, Scott’s family couldn’t bring themselves to accept that he had taken his own life. They knew him well and couldn’t believe he would do such a thing. His partner, Michael, mentioned that Scott had talked about having suicidal thoughts before, which added to the family’s confusion and grief. Life moved on for the family, but Steve, in particular, couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. He knew deep down that Scott wasn’t the type of person to end his own life. Then, in 2001, a shocking truth came to light: Scott hadn’t committed suicide; he had been pushed. This revelation brought closure to the family, but it also opened up a new chapter in their quest for justice and answers about what had truly happened to Scott.
Steve reached out to Journalist Dan Glick for help in unraveling the mystery. Together, they started collecting information and digging into the case. They discovered that the area near Manly, where Scott’s body was found, was a gay beat, a place where gay men would often go to spend time with their partners. This information sheds new light on Scott’s last moments. As the docuseries unfolded, some people began to judge Scott for being on the beat, and their concerns were evident. However, Steve was undeterred. He started an online campaign and even offered rewards for anyone who could help capture his brother’s murderer. It was a passionate and relentless effort to bring justice to Scott.
However, the Australian law enforcement officers didn’t provide the level of assistance and sensitivity that Steve and Dan expected. The behavior of one of the officers, Pam Young, became a point of contention. Her approach clashed with Steve and Dan’s, creating more frustration and obstacles in their pursuit of the truth. Steve’s determination and the support of Dan Glick became instrumental in finding out the real story behind Scott’s tragic death. Their journey was far from easy, but they were driven by their love for Scott and the pursuit of justice.
Who Was Scott White?
After years of campaigning and with the help of the dedicated investigator Peter Yeomans, a 42-year-old white man named Scott White was arrested and charged with the murder of Scott Johnson. This was a significant breakthrough in the case, and it brought a ray of hope to Steve and his family.
In the year 2022, justice was finally served when Scott White was found guilty and subsequently imprisoned for his heinous crime. Finally, the truth was revealed: Scott didn’t kill himself; He was a victim of hate crimes against homosexuals. It was a momentous occasion for Steve, who had fought tirelessly for this day to come. It wasn’t just a victory for his brother Scott, but also for all the gay men who have faced Hardship and Discrimination in this world.
Steve believed that the homophobic Scott White’s arrest and conviction sent a powerful message. It demonstrated that justice would prevail, even in cases where marginalized communities like the LGBTQ+ community often faced injustice and indifference. It was a moment of closure for Steve, his family, and all those who had supported their quest for truth and justice.
‘Never Let Him Go’ Review:
Never Let Him Go is a documentary series that takes you on a lengthy but incredibly detailed journey. What sets it apart is its ability to provide ample space for the representation of the emotional aspect of the story, making it profoundly human rather than just an information dump.
The heart of the series revolves around Steve’s pursuit of justice and his indomitable determination. It’s a story of resilience and love, where the family stands by him through thick and thin. The emotional depth is what makes this series so gripping. One of the most striking aspects that the documentary sheds light on is the flawed legal system. It highlights, how such cases were often avoided and how the reputation of an ‘Australian story’ seemed to take precedence over the true concept of justice and the value of a human life.
The series does a commendable job of bringing all these critical issues to the forefront and allowing the audience to deeply connect with Steve’s journey. In fact, Steve becomes more than just a protagonist; he becomes a character that everyone roots for and ends up liking. Never Let Him Go is not just a documentary; It’s a story that leaves you not only informed, but also deeply moved by the human aspect of the story.