Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Soiled John: The Betty Broderick Story’ On Netflix, The Second Season Of The Love Gone Mistaken Anthology Sequence

The second season of the Dirty John anthology focuses on the real-life Betty Broderick case. In 1989, she murdered her ex-husband Dan and his new spouse Linda, and it took two trials to convict her of homicide, with the primary having a hung jury. Like the primary season of Soiled John, this season is predicated on a podcast produced by the Los Angeles Occasions. This model of the story (there was a TV film starring Meredith Baxter in 1992) was created by veteran TV author Alexandra Cunningham, debuted on the USA Community in June 2020, and simply landed on Netflix.

Opening Shot: As Cyndi Lauper performs, we see closeups of a girl brushing her hair and perfecting her make-up, as if she’s about to go on a date.

The Gist: It’s 1986 in La Jolla, California. Betty Broderick (Amanda Peet) isn’t going out on a date, she’s having a gathering together with her lawyer, Bob Munro (Andy Buckley). Munro flew right down to San Diego from Los Angeles to have a gathering together with her soon-to-be-ex-husband Dan (Christian Slater) and his attorneys to determine tips on how to break up the proceeds from the sale of the home they purchased collectively. One drawback: Betty doesn’t need to go into the lawyer’s workplace and face Dan… and he or she doesn’t need to promote the home. When Munro will get annoyed by Betty’s refusal to signal the settlement, Dan tells Munro that he’s lastly getting how irritating his spouse could be.

Betty nonetheless holds out a flicker of hope that her marriage could be salvaged and that their 4 youngsters can have their household again collectively as a substitute of being shuttled from Dan’s new home to the home he mentioned they need to purchase in La Jolla. However when Dan, who received an MD then instantly went to Harvard Legislation Faculty, and is now a famous person legal professional, needs one thing, he’s fairly crafty in relation to getting it. Which is why, as Betty is speaking together with her visiting mother and father after the assembly, she will get a name from Munro to inform her that Dan received a court docket order to promote the home with out her permission.

This sends her right into a rage. She actually drives her truck into the entrance door of Dan’s new home, together with her daughters inside. Dan calls himself a physician, although he has an MD however not a license, and tells the cops that arrive that she must be placed on a 72-hour psychiatric maintain. We see her being interviewed by the consumption physician as she’s in her pink gown. It seems like she’s been supporting Dan throughout their complete marriage, sacrificing her desires for his. And when she meets with associates, they inform her that she shouldn’t be so obsessive about Dan or getting him again and simply rebuild her life.

However she’s decided to inform Dan simply how a lot he’s harm her, and when she finds out {that a}) he’s not paying Munro his retainer, regardless of blocking Betty from many of the household cash, b) despatched their sons to a psychiatrist to take care of their “loopy” mom, and c) he’s determined to go for a “bifurcated” divorce, the place the divorce is granted first and the property settlement is labored out later, there may be little or no stopping her at this level from leaving a collection of curse-filled, ranting messages on his answering machine… and worse.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story
Photograph: Isabella Vosmikova/USA Community

Our Take: Cunningham has given us a really juicy retelling of Broderick’s story, and made a sensible alternative by beginning it when their divorce is about to be finalized, as Dan refuses to inform her about court docket dates so he can begin the bifurcated divorce and get foremost custody of their youngsters with out her presence. Whereas Slater performs Dan with the suitable quantity of conceitedness and smarm — he and his divorce legal professional chum it up with the choose proper earlier than their one-sided divorce listening to — Peet very successfully communicates the barely-contained rage that’s continuously effervescent out of the perfectly-coiffed and put-together Betty.

Rocking ’80s mother denims and a blonde wig, Peet’s placing collectively top-of-the-line performances of her profession, and it’s evident from the primary scene. It stitches collectively what has made her so watchable in previous roles. Generally she’s been intense (Studio 60), different instances susceptible (Brockmire) and nonetheless different instances barely holding her anger in (Togetherness). Right here, she does all three, and he or she’s good doing so.

Peet doesn’t play Betty as purely batshit loopy, which might be the temptation. Betty’s unhinged nature comes from 20 years of getting to push down her desires and pursuits to help Dan’s desires and their household. That ache, coupled with the irrational want to salvage her marriage, come to the fore after we see Betty ponder every thing that’s gone down between them, as much as and together with Dan having her dedicated.

However that doesn’t imply that when the batshit does come out, Peet underplays it. Simply the other; she leans into Betty’s loopy, making her rants much more manic and pressured than you’d count on from somebody in Betty’s place. Peet is adept at going forwards and backwards between being justifiably wounded and irrationally lashing out, and it makes the fictional model of Betty into somebody greater than only a lady scorned.

What the eight-episode season will do is return to when Betty and Dan met and married within the sixties, then rocket ahead to when Dan employed Linda Kolkena (Rachel Keller) to be his assistant — after which begins an affair together with her — which begins Betty down the trail that may lead her to murdering the each of them. It’s a construction that will likely be intriguing to observe, as we get to see Betty at her peak of stress and irrationality earlier than we get to see how this all received constructed by each halves of the Brodericks’ marriage.

Intercourse and Pores and skin: Nothing, until you take into account blind rage horny.

Parting Shot: Betty is speaking about Dan within the current tense, then you definitely hear somebody say, “However he’s useless, proper?” Then we see she’s being questioned by a detective. “I can’t consider it solely took one bullet to kill Dan Broderick,” she says.

Sleeper Star: We’re at all times comfortable to see Missi Pyle, who performs Karen Kintner, the good friend who encourages Betty to get a pastime and date. There’s additionally Lena Georgas, who performs Betty’s widowed good friend Janet Ravis, who encourages her good friend to exit and get laid to assist her neglect about Dan. Her affect must be fascinating to observe going ahead.

Most Pilot-y Line: After she will get residence from the singles’ bar she was at with Janet, a drunk Betty calls up Dan and begins telling him a couple of mutual good friend who popped into her head when she was on the bar (although it seems to be extra like she noticed Dan in a tux). Dan begins laughing and sharing the reminiscence together with her, then says, “Thanks for that, Bets. I wanted that,” then hung up. Sure, it exhibits how susceptible Betty is, however is it additionally supposed to point out how ruthless Dan is? That he can provide her hope about their marriage or at the least their divorce proper earlier than he yanks all hope away? We’re undecided in regards to the function of that scene.

Our Name: STREAM IT. Amanda Peet’s efficiency is greater than sufficient to place Soiled John: The Betty Broderick Story on a season move. However Broderick’s story is an intriguing one, and it seems to be prefer it’ll be informed in a method that may present that a few of her simmering rage didn’t simply come out of the blue.

Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about meals, leisure, parenting and tech, however he doesn’t child himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared within the New York Occasions, Slate, Salon,,, Quick,, Billboard and elsewhere.

Stream Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story On Netflix

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