Dirty John Season 2 Review: The Betty Broderick Story Review - A compelling story of betrayal

Aparnna Hajirnis -

Dirty John Season 2 Review: The Betty Broderick Story Review - A compelling story of betrayal
Movie Rated


how a romance with the charismatic John Meehan spiralled into secrets, denial, manipulation, and ultimately, survival – with horrific consequences for an entire family.

Format:   Original Series
Platform:   Netflix
Movie Rated:   16+
Genre:   Crime, Anthology
Language:   English
Digital Premiere Date:   14 August 2020

What is it about?
There have been several tv and movie adaptations on the life of Betty Broderick. Betty Broderick Case was infamous in California in the 1980s when she shot her ex-husband and his second wife Linda Kolkena dead. The Netflix series provides a sympathetic eye to the Betty Broderick case, as we are introduced to the facts that how Betty's husband Dan Broderick cheated on her, forced her to have children, gaslighted her throughout the marriage and used loopholes in the law and his contacts in the California legal system to avoid paying her huge alimony and eventually winning the custody of their four children. Driven by rage and desperation, Betty killed Dan and his second wife. Betty was sentenced to 32-years-to-life in prison and as of her last parole hearing in 2017, remains behind bars for what the district attorney referred to as a lack of remorse or insight into her crimes.

The series offers a disclaimer that they have used certain artistic licenses to portray the life of Betty Broderick on the small screen. Amanda Peet plays the titular role of Betty Broderick and Christian Slater plays Dan Broderick. The series gives us a glimpse into the lives of a seemingly normal and perfect marriage, except it is a smokescreen. It has not been established if Dan had more than one affair, but he did leave Betty for another woman, driving her to the edge of killing him and his new wife. Your heart goes out to Betty, who due to lack of legal knowledge and clout struggles to fight a legal battle against her own husband for alimony and child support. Christian Slater plays a conniving and manipulative Dan to the T. Amanda Peet, too has given her heart and soul for the role. The series has a perfect 70s and 80s feel and vibe to it. Special mentions to the costume and makeup department who have ensured that the actors look their part. 
The series belongs to Amanda Peet. She has perfectly nailed the role of a housewife turned murderer. We can certainly say that she has given her careers best performance in the series. Christian Slater, to has done a magnificent job in playing Dan a man who wanted to climb the social ladders using his education degrees. There are a lot of other familiar faces you will see in the 6 episode series who also have played their parts well. A special mention to the child artists who have done a fantastic job, especially when the boy breaks down on the phone while talking to his mother, who clearly is having a meltdown of her own. 

Music and other departments
The series has a retro vibe to it and the music too is reminiscent of the 70s and the 80s. The rock n roll songs used in the show are quite memorable. 
While the season 2 is not suspenseful and thrilling like season 1 starring Eric Bana, it still has some dramatic moments. It makes you think about the trope of the 'crazy stalker ex' which men often use to deny any accountability of their actions. It makes you ponder over why people are driven to rage and they commit crimes. Is it really how they are wired or is it due to the circumstances? The show is also an excellent case study for gaslighting in marriages and mental health of women going through divorce and custody battles. 

Season 2 isn't as chilling as the first and at times makes you want to see more than what is shown of Betty's life. For eg, certain artistic liberties were taken and did not show the possible romance of Betty with a businessman. That could have added more tension to the series, in my opinion. 
Did I Enjoy It?
As a standalone drama, I did enjoy it. But if I compare it with season 1, it was less thrilling but definitely engaging. It isn't murky, but yes definitely dirty. 
Do I Recommend It?
Only if you are a fan of dramas and soap operas, which is the general tone of Season 2 of Dirty John. 

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