WATCH: Gay man’s murder that went unsolved for 34 years gets explored in shocking new docuseries

WATCH: Gay man’s murder that went unsolved for 34 years gets explored in shocking new docuseries

You are currently viewing WATCH: Gay man’s murder that went unsolved for 34 years gets explored in shocking new docuseries
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Image Credit: “Never Let Him Go,’ ABC News Studios/Hulu

For as bracing and as grisly our culture’s true-crime obsession can be, there are instances where the genre’s tendency to dig up cold cases or re-litigate long-unsolved mysteries have lead to answers, justice, and real, positive change.

One such instance is the tragic death of Scott Johnson, a gay man whose body was found at the bottom of a cliff in Australia in the 1980s.

At the time, local authorities declared Johnson’s death a suicide, but there were some murky details around the event that left his brother, Steve Johnson, unsure. And so began his 35-year long search for resolution.

The story of Johnson’s passing, his brother’s unwavering push for answers, and the pattern of anti-LGBTQ+ violence it uncovered are detailed in thew upcoming ABC News Studios four-part docuseries Never Let Him Go, which begins stream September 6 on Hulu.

Through interviews with family and friends, the series paints an intimate portrait of the late Johnson’s life, a shy but brilliant mathematician who came out at time when many folks felt resigned to a life in the closet.

He eventually moved to Australia to carve out a path of his own, but it was along the northern beaches of Sydney that he met his untimely fate, leaving his loved ones stunned and saddened.

Despite the local police’s hurry to dismiss the case, Steve stayed vigilant and wound up learning about a series of attacks and violence against gay men that largely went ignored by the media, recalling a similar mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community in the States. Johnson’s brother’s perseverance brought international attention to the case, and is said to have “sparked a public reckoning” in Australia.

But when the filmmakers behind Never Let Him Go set out to tell the story, they never expected to capture a breakthrough in the 35-year old case: Johnson’s killer confessed and was sentenced to prison time this past June, Steve Johnson’s unwavering personal investigation instrumental in bringing him to justice.

In addition to archival footage and interviews with Steve, family members, and law enforcement officers involved with the case over the years, the docuseries also features an exclusive conversation with the killer’s ex-wife, breaking her silence after tipping off the police.

As long-held questions get answered and new information comes to light about similar unsolved cases surrounding gay men, it’s said Steve Johnson “has been left to decide if his search for justice was complete—or if it had just begun.”

Never Let Him Go premieres September 6, streaming exclusively on Hulu. Watch the docuseries’ trailer below:


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