Dirty John is returning to TV with another twisted tale of murder and betrayal. Season 1 told the true story of con artist and killer John Meehan, who swept an Orange County woman off her feet before turning on her and her daughters. Season 2 looks at another notorious Southern California crime: Betty Broderick’s murder of her husband Dan. A trailer for the series — which is moving to USA for season 2 — dropped on March 25.
Who was Betty Broderick?
In the early 1980s, Betty Broderick was a San Diego housewife married to a prominent local medical malpractice attorney. Her husband Dan had both a law degree from Harvard and an M.D. from Cornell University. She was a stay-at-home mom focused on raising her and Dan’s four children. But then Dan hired a young woman named Linda as his legal assistant.
Dan and Linda began an affair, and in 1985, he announced he was leaving Betty. Their split was long and ugly. She was angry that she had supported her husband during his schooling and raised their children, only to be thrown over for a younger woman once he’d achieved success. She also claimed he was abusive; he said she was the one who was violent and unstable. The divorce wasn’t finalized until 1989.
Then, in November 1989, Betty showed up at Dan’s home, where he was living with his new wife Linda. She snuck into the house and shot both of them in their bed. Shortly after, Betty turned herself into the police. She was found guilty of murder and is currently incarcerated at the California Institution for Women; she was denied parole in 2017.
Amanda Peet plays Betty Broderick in ‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’
The Broderick murder case was a tabloid sensation. Betty did a jailhouse interview with Oprah Winfrey and also appeared on Hard Copy and 20/20. Her second trial (the first ended in a hung jury) was one of the first covered by Court TV.
Now, a new generation of television viewers are about to be introduced to the Betty Broderick story. In the new series, Amanda Peet plays Betty and Christian Slater stars as Dan. Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story will feature both the early days of the Broderick’s marriage as well as the events leading up to Betty’s murder of Dan and Linda.
“I was married for 16 years. Then he turns 40 and he’s walking out with a 19-year-old and a sports car,” the character of Betty says in the trailer.
“I’ve been robbed of my children … Dan had me committed to a psych ward. I’m not the crazy one, he is,” she adds, shortly before she’s seen spray-painting the inside of someone’s house and driving her car into someone’s front door.
This isn’t the first time Betty Broderick’s story has been told on screen
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story is not the first take on the infamous double murder. A 1991 episode of Law & Order, “The Wages of Love” was inspired by the case. And in 1992, Meredith Baxter starred in A Woman Scorned: The Betty Broderick Story, with Stephen Collins playing Dan. Baxter was nominated for an Emmy for her performance.
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story premieres in Summer 2020 on USA.