Season 2 of Dirty John is based on the story of Betty Broderick, a SoCal socialite who murdered her first husband and his new wife. She is being played by actress Amanda Peet in the new series airing on USA Network.
Broderick confessed to killing her ex-husband, 44-year-old Daniel Thomas Broderick III and his new wife, 28-year-old Linda Kolkena Broderick. During their marriage, Broderick had suspected Daniel was having an affair with his co-worker (Linda) but he denied the allegations. They divorced in 1985 after 16 years of marriage and then Dan married Linda in 1989.
Broderick Was Diagnosed with Dual-Personality Disorders
Broderick, who was two years younger than her ex-husband, maintained that Linda and Daniel drove her to kill them. At her 1991, a prominent psychiatrist testified that Broderick suffered from dual-personality disorders, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Park Elliott Dietz testified that Broderick suffered from two personality disorders–narcissistic and histrionic–but maintained that she was not mentally ill or insane. “The disorder is not controlling her,” Dietz said.
According to the May Clinic, Narcissistic personality disorder “is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”
The Mayo Clinic defines Histrionic personality disorder as someone who is constantly seeking attention; excessively emotional, dramatic, or sexually provocative for the sake of gaining attention; excessively concerned with their looks and thinks their relationships with people are closer than they actually are.
Broderick did not consider Linda or Daniel as victims. “It always makes me mad when people call them the victims. Me and my kids were the victims,” she told the Los Angeles Times in 1990. “There are two dead people, but there were five victims.”
‘Dirty John’ Explores Broderick’s Personality Disorders
Amanda Peet, who plays Broderick in the USA Network series, wanted to explore the killer’s dual-personality disorders. “The bottom line is, she’s a murderer,” Peet told Entertainment Weekly. “She did it, and there are no two ways about that. Part of my job was to try to relinquish all judgment as soon as possible and try to understand where she was coming from.”
“We weren’t interested in doing an imitation of her real life,” the actor continued. “What Alexandra was really passionate about was the psychological torture and how she showed signs earlier in her life that this could have happened.”
To portray Broderick, Peet donned oversized jewelry, big hair and blue eyeshadow–iconic fashion staples from the ’80s. “I came home with this ’80s makeup. I had been working for 13 hours,” Peet told EW. “I look in the mirror. I look like a middle-aged Joker. I was like ‘Wow, I might be losing it.'”
Don’t miss Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, when Cunningham’s version of the true-crime murder will debut on Tuesday, June 2 at 9 p.m. ET on USA Network.