The first season of Dirty John, based on the Wondery and Los Angeles Times true crime podcast and series of articles of the same name, followed interior designer Debra Newell (Connie Britton on the series) as she fell hard for John Meehan (Eric Bana). After a whirlwind romance became a quickie marriage, Newell discovered that her husband was not the man she thought he was. Instead, Meehan was a con artist determined to ruin her life and steal her fortune. Her relationship with Meehan ends in a shocking act of violence.
There is no second season of the Dirty John podcast, so it was initially unclear that TV series would have a sophomore season. Now, we know that season 2 of the show will focus on a marriage gone horribly awry. The story of convicted murderer Betty Broderick will play out over the next installment of the anthology series, which moves from Bravo to USA Network for its second season. Amanda Peet will play Betty, while Christian Slater will play her ill-fated husband, Daniel Broderick.
"The first season of Dirty John was a story of twisted love and coercive control — and both these insidious elements are also present in and integral to the story of Betty Broderick, whom I have wanted to write about since I became a writer," said series creator Alexandra Cunningham in the press release from USA Network. "I can’t wait to see Amanda and Christian bring it to life."
Betty Broderick was the wife of Daniel Broderick. She worked and cared for their San Diego-based family as Daniel attended medical school and later law school. When Daniel hired then 21-year-old Linda Kolkena as his legal assistant, Betty was convinced Daniel was having an affair. Daniel denied Betty’s claims — but she was right. Years later, Daniel and Betty's marriage ended, and Daniel and Kolkena married.
As the couple underwent divorce proceedings, Betty began acting erratically. According to a 2017 Los Angeles Times article on the Broderick case, Betty spray painted Daniel’s house, drove her car into Daniel’s front door, and left “obscene” messages on his answering machine.
Betty saw herself as a victim of Daniel, who, as a lawyer, had considerable legal pull in the community. Daniel had Betty briefly committed to a mental hospital, neglected to pay support payments, and filed a restraining order. Betty believed that Daniel wanted to drive her crazy so he could more comfortably divorce her.
After years of drama, Betty shot Daniel and Linda execution-style in their home on November 5, 1989. Betty, however, believes Daniel had it coming.
“I bought into a 1950s Leave It to Beaver marriage...and [Daniel] stole my whole life,” Betty told The Los Angeles Times. “This was a desperate act of self-defense.”
The public was divided over Betty's case: While some saw her as a cold-blooded killer, others sympathized with the woman whose husband left her for a younger woman after she stood by him and supported his career ambitions.
Betty is currently serving her prison sentence for the crimes at the California Institution for Women in Corona She was denied parole in 2017.
Season 2 of Dirty John is currently filming.