Who is Jeff in '13 Reasons Why'? The important role he plays in the Netflix series
[Editor's Note: Spoiler's ahead for Netflix's 13 Reasons Why.]
Netflix's 13 Reasons Why certainly features its fair share of largely unlikable characters. After all, many of those that are featured prominently in the series contributed in some way to Hannah Baker's decision to take her own life. Still, there are some characters to root for, one of which is Jeff Atkins, played by Brandon Larracuente.
In a series that highlights the ruthlessness of some students in high school, Jeff Atkins serves as a beacon of light. On paper, he appears to be cut from the same cloth as some of the characters who bullied Hannah. After all, Jeff is a popular jock. But watch just one scene with him, and you realize that he is more — he is the exception.
Unlike his peers, he is not a bully, but rather appears to be an all around good kid. In the early episodes, Jeff is not much more than a supporting character, but still an important one. He is seen in the flashbacks where he is frequently being tutored by Clay Jensen, and the two are actually quite friendly. In fact, it is Jeff who tries to tutor Clay in subject of girls, ultimately pushing him closer to Hannah.
Unlike many of the other characters in the series, Jeff does not appear in the present storyline. For some time, the reasoning behind this was unclear. Perhaps he just didn't play an important role in Hannah's life. We soon learn, however, that Jeff played a monumental role in Hannah's decision to commit suicide, and there is a good reason why he does not show up in the present: He too is dead.
During Jessica Davis' party — an event that can be seen as the catalyst for Hannah's decision to kill herself — Jeff is killed in a car collision while going on a beer run. While his parents, and Liberty High, are lead to believe that Jeff died as a result of drunk driving, it is actually because Hannah and Sheri had previously knocked down a stop sign at the intersection where he was killed.
The incident culminated an already horrible night that ultimately led to Hannah's eventual suicide. And while Jeff was more of a supporting character in the series, his role on 13 Reasons Why does illustrate that not all high school students are "bad." Rather, good can be found almost anywhere.