This summer, the USA Network is airing the second season of Dirty John, subtitled “The Betty Broderick Story.” It dramatizes the real 1989 murders of Daniel Broderick (Christian Slater) and his wife, Linda Kolkena Broderick, at the hand of his ex-wife Elisabeth “Betty” Broderick (Amanda Peet). At the time, the murders came on the heels of what the Los Angeles Times described as “five years of battles so violent that Broderick vs. Broderick became known as the worst divorce case in San Diego County.”
In episode three, titled “Marriage Encounter” and premiering Tuesday, June 9, viewers are introduced to Daniel’s legal assistant Linda Kolkena, who went on to become his second wife. Here’s what you need to know about Rachel Keller, the actress who plays Kolkena on the USA series.
Rachel Keller is Best Known For Starring On Two FX Dramas
Keller, age 27, is a relative newcomer to the entertainment industry. She had a couple of small roles in some short films and guest-starred on The Mentalist and Supernatural in 2015 before landing a recurring role on FX drama Fargo in season two.
Keller played Simone Gerhardt, daughter to Jeffrey Donovan’s Dodd Gerhardt. The Gerhardts were one of Fargo’s leading organized crime families, led by matriarch Floyd Gerhardt (Jean Smart) after her husband Otto (Michael Hogan) suffered a stroke. Dodd was the oldest of the Gerhardt brothers and Simone was his rebellious daughter.
Following her run on that anthology series, Keller was cast in another FX drama created by Noah Hawley, Legion, where she starred opposite Downton Abbey alum Dan Stevens as David Haller. Keller played Sydney “Syd” Barrett, David’s girlfriend, a mutant who could trade minds with anyone she touched.
Daniel Broderick Always Maintained He Didn’t Start Seeing Linda Until After His Divorce
Daniel Broderick left the law firm Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye in 1978 and opened his own practice, eventually becoming one of the most successful medical malpractice attorneys in San Diego. According to the Los Angeles Times, in 1983, Daniel hired Linda Kolkena as his legal assistant and that was when his marriage to Betty really began to fall apart, according to Betty. She told the LA Times, “The people who knew me before 1983 knew the real me. Nineteen eighty-three was like an ax through my life.”
Betty always maintained Daniel was having an affair with Linda, something he always denied. But in 1985, Daniel filed for divorce, a proceeding that dragged on in the courts for nearly five years. According to the LA Times, Betty drove her car into the front door of Daniel’s house, she spray-painted the inside of a home they had shared, and she left obscene messages on his answering machine, after which Daniel had Betty arrested and briefly committed to a mental hospital.
Daniel and Linda were married on April 22, 1989. Betty shot them while they slept in the early morning on November 5, 1989. Police Lt. Gary Learn told the Los Angeles Times that Linda, 28, was shot twice, once in the back of the head and once in the chest. Daniel was shot once in the back. Two other shots were fired, one hitting a bedside table and one hitting a wall.
Betty’s first trial ended in a hung jury, but the jury at her second trial found her guilty of second-degree murder. She was sentenced to 32-years-to-life in prison. Betty was denied parole in 2010 and again in 2017. Both times, the parole board did not think she demonstrated remorse for her crimes.
Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on USA.