The story of Daniel T. Broderick III is being featured on Season 2 of Dirty John. In real life, Daniel Broderick is not alive. He was murdered by his first wife, Betty Broderick, on November 5, 1989. She confessed to the killing and was sentenced to 32 years-to-life in her 1991 trial. She also shot and killed Dan Broderick’s second wife, Linda Kolkena.
The Brodericks were married in 1969 and had four children together. But after 16 years together, Daniel Broderick filed for divorce in 1985. He had been having an affair with his receptionist, Kolkena, who he later married in 1989, though Dan Broderick denied the relationship to his first wife.
Betty Broderick had displayed erratic behavior during their relationship and after their split. At her trial in 1991, her daughters talked about how she lit their father’s clothes on fire and smeared cake on his bed. She also drove her car into the front of his house.
Despite her volatile nature, Dan Broderick wasn’t concerned that Betty Broderick would kill him. She was described by her friends as “materialistic” and Daniel Broderick, a medical malpractice attorney, told friends he was her “golden goose.” At the time of the double murders, she was receiving $16,000 per month from her ex.
Christian Slater portrays Daniel Broderick in USA Network’s adaption of the story, and perceived the medical malpractice attorney as having a large ego. “It felt like he had built up this wall around himself that was impenetrable and that nobody could ever get in there,” Slater told Oxygen in an exclusive interview. “His ego was big that he thought nothing could ever really happen to him.”
Betty Broderick Drove Her Car Into Dan’s House
The first episode of the series shows Betty Broderick driving her car into her ex’s home, and it was one of Slater’s first scenes with Amanda Peet, who plays the convicted killer. “We started with a physical fight,” Peet told Oxygen. The incident ends with Peet’s Broderick in a straitjacket.
“She’s clearly not in control of herself,” Dan says. “She should be under someone’s care.”
Slater, best known for his roles in True Romance and Dr. Robot, was hesitant to get physical with his co-star. “Those things kinda always make me a little bit nervous,” Slater told Oxygen about the scene. “I think we both obviously wanted to make sure that neither one of us got hurt … it was a good way to start, I think. We kind of set the tone that as crazy as these people were, we were going to do our best to keep our own heads together, not hurt each other.”
Dan’s bio on USA Network’s website describes him as a “cunning and sharp-witted powerful lawyer in Southern California. With Betty serving as the main family provider, he was able to get through both medical and law school until he finally exploded into the San Diego legal community as a powerhouse.”
Like the description states, Betty Broderick helped take care of their family while Dan went to medical and law school. She was ready to reap the rewards of her hard work in the ’80s, but she soon started to suspect that he was having an affair with his younger new employee.
Slater Reveals The Brodericks’ Fatal Flaw
While their characters had a fatal end, Slater and Peet enjoyed working with each other. “I’ve always admired him and had a huge crush on him when I was younger,” Peet gushed in an interview with TV Insider.
Slater mused that the Brodericks’ fatal flaw was that they wouldn’t get help. “They both just stewed in ill thoughts and thought they could figure it out themselves,” he told TV Insider.
“They didn’t know how to communicate,” Peet added. “I also think Betty was mentally ill. She had these rageful feelings and wasn’t ever able to crawl out of that place.”
Don’t miss Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story when the true-crime murder debuts on Tuesday, June 2 at 9 p.m. ET on USA Network.
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