When authorities found Scott Johnson’s body at the rocky base of a cliff in Australia in 1988, they declared his death a suicide. The gay American mathematician’s tragic demise and the murky circumstances surrounding it set his older brother Steve Johnson’s decades-long pursuit for answers in motion. “Never Let Him Go,” a new docu-series from ABC News Studios, paints an intimate portrait of Scott’s life and untimely death through never-before-seen evidence from the investigation, personal home videos and rare archival footage from 1980s’ Sydney. As Steve’s probe gained international attention, it sparked a public reckoning in Australia, shedding new light on a pattern of violence against the LGBTQ+ community.
While the series was in production, the filmmakers captured a breakthrough in real-time: 35 years after Scott’s death, his killer confessed and was sentenced in June of this year in the New South Wales Supreme Court. The series features an interview with Helen White, the confessed killer’s ex-wife, who breaks her silence for the first time after tipping off the police. The docu-series also features exclusive in-depth interviews with Steve and his family and first-ever interviews with key law enforcement officials who worked on the case. Over four episodes, “Never Let Him Go” traces the intense journey to cracking Scott’s case. With dozens of similar unsolved cases involving gay men in Australia, Steve has been left to decide if his search for justice was complete — or if it had just begun. “Never Let Him Go” begins streaming on Wednesday, Sept. 6, only on Hulu.
“Never Let Him Go” is produced by Show of Force and Blackfella Films for ABC News Studios. Jeff Dupre and Maro Chermayeff are executive producers, and Saralena Weinfield is series producer for Show of Force. Darren Dale and Jacob Hickey are executive producers for Blackfella Films. “Never Let Him Go” is directed by Jeff Dupre and Jacob Hickey. David Sloan is senior executive producer, and Beth Hoppe is executive producer for ABC News Studios. ABC News Studios is led by Mike Kelley, and Reena Mehta is the SVP of Streaming and Digital Content.
A Disney+ release date for other countries has not been announced yet.