Every episode of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story paints an even uglier picture of Dan Broderick.
By the end of Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 1 Episode 4, redemption for Dan wasn't even a possibility.
He wasn't just screwing over Betty but making a mockery of other women in the workplace, too. No, thank you.
The thing that I most appreciated about this episode was the inclusion of testimony from a therapist at Betty's trial. But what I least appreciate is that I can find no evidence such a man ever existed or testified on Betty's behalf.
Gaslighting. It's named after a famous motion picture in which a man who wants something from a woman pretends to be her friend, marries her, but in fact, is her enemy. And in the process being very kind to his victim, but in truth in every money, he is undermining her sanity.Therapist
What he said, whether true or not, surely would have swayed jurors for the defense.
He painted a picture of being emotionally kidnapped by a person and driven to a point that you can't even believe the truth when it hits you square in the face because your viewpoint is so skewed by gaslighting that you're unable to see the truth any longer.
Betty: Are you sleeping with her?
Dan: Why would you even ask me that?
Betty: Are you?
Dan: If this is where your head goes if you don't get your way, that's the real problem. You should get some professional help for that.
Betty: A lawyer would say that you still haven't answered the question.
Dan: I am not sleeping with Linda Kolkena. I haven't, and I'm not.
If what we're witnessing is true, then there's no doubt that Betty was manipulated horribly.
Hopefully, someone somewhere did research with the key players to ensure we're getting the clearest picture available. But since Betty was convicted denied parole twice and not eligible for parole again until -- get this -- 2032, I feel like we're just part of the gaslighting theme.
There was a therapist who testified at Betty's trial, who said he believed she had two personality disorders, labeling them narcissistic and histrionic, two disorders that she controls instead of the other way around. Is that even possible?
His idea was that Betty was thin-skinned, and when her ego got bruised, she lashed out at Dan.
Certainly, some of what we see here suggests that, but we're also seeing Dan sending her lifelines to keep their love alive when he had no intention of staying with her. Who WOULDN'T be bruised in those circumstances?
The date of separation has to be ratified through a two-part test. First, physical separation of spouses as in one has moved out of the family home, and second, at least one spouse must have intent to end the marriage. If these two conditions are met, court will order reimbursement of any and all traceable funds expended on the other spouse from that date forward. Such as when someone makes a downpayment on a new house that they never intended to live in.Doug
It's sickening watching Dan plot a legal takeover of Betty's life with such precision.
He did so many ugly things, such as going along with the early stages of reversing her tubal ligation to try for more kids before he put the breaks on it with a wayward excuse and lovingly looking at new homes together, when he intended to pull that rug out from under her, too.
If we're reading it right, Dan knew very well he was supposed to have told Betty he didn't want to continue the marriage before buying that house, but he didn't care. Dan thought he could do what he wanted, and nothing would ever catch up to him.
But unless something is extended to the victim that says you're not crazy, this has happened. You're not wrong to have these feelings of absolute unsupport, self-hatred, anger toward everyone, but here they are, let's go on. As long as there is no resolution for the victim at all, healing does not take place.Therapist
But inflicting that kind of cruelty onto another human being doesn't get you what you want, like Dan, and unfortunately, Linda, learned the hard way.
Linda was no prize, either. Promoted to a position well beyond her capabilities only because Dan wanted to get into her pants was an affront to the hardworking women in the office.
I'll give her points for teaching herself to type, but she loses points for speaking of turn about an affair in the office. The whole point of an affair is to keep it quiet. She failed.
And Dan's admission that he was doing exactly what he wanted only made the whole thing uglier.
I appreciate your honesty, but I've been miserable for years, and I'm doing this the way I want to do it. And you're right. It's not your business.Dan
It doesn't help that Betty's friends are relatively worthless, either. She has nobody to confide in who takes her seriously. Part of that is because the other wives are just as gaslight by their husbands as Betty was by Dan but to different degrees.
The men's club was a lot more powerful than the wive's club because the men held all of the money, and money is power. They can buy lawyers, close accounts, and steal the children out from under their wive's noses before they even have a chance to see what's happening.
Betty had to circle around Dan to trick him into admitting there was another woman, and that woman was Linda, but that admission, while Betty laughed at it gleefully in triumph for her sanity, was short-lived.
Betty: But if I'm wrong about her, that means I'm not wrong. That there IS a her, that I'm not crazy! Why don't you just admit it? There's no reason not to, now. Was. I. Imaging. It.
Dan: No. I'm in love with her.
Betty: K. Was I ever imagining it?
Dan: No. You were right the whole time. [Betty laughs out loud]
By then, the damage was done. The situation between them was brimming with tension, and neither one of them was the kind of person to give an inch.
We still have a long way to go in this story, though, as the divorce is known to be one of the most bitter ever fought, and Betty's behavior only made the proceedings increasingly difficult.
And if your first thought is maybe they got it wrong this time, Betty served as her own lawyer for the proceeding.
Sure, they've already offered the groundwork to show that she couldn't find a lawyer, but I'm getting the impression she would stop the search as a way to rub Dan's nose in her misery when the only person suffering is Betty!
In fact, that was the problem. They were taken off the market, pressure cookers. Eventually, the tended to explode.Therapist
Who I really feel sorry for in all of this is the kids.
They don't give the impression they mind all that much with the custody situation, and they are, even when the story is slanted toward's Betty's viewpoint, markedly uncomfortable when she comes and goes in the house.
They will ultimately get robbed of their parents because they were so bitter and self-centered. Because if Betty is narcissistic, Dan is right there beside her. Maybe that's why they were destined for disaster.
Working on marriage from a place of self-interest doesn't seem advantageous for any couple.
One thing is for sure; Amanda Peet is giving her all as Betty. It's an incredible performance.
Even Christian Slater has started chewing away at the scenery with his nasty turn as Dan.
They sure are a lot of fun watching in these somewhat diabolical roles!
Where do you stand after the latest developments?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.