Television In Review: ‘Dirty John’
If you’re looking for a new Netflix series to binge watch then ‘Dirty John’ is the one for you. This eight-part American true-crime drama and thriller has been raking in positive reviews and has stayed on the ‘popular’ and ‘trending now’ lists on Netflix since it’s release on the streaming service in February. This mini-series stars familiar faces such as Connie Britton (‘Nashville’, ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘American Horror Story’) as Debra Newell, a successful interior designer and Eric Bana (‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’), as John Meehan, an anesthesiologist. What makes this series even more engrossing is the fact it’s based on a real-life story, about actual people named Debra Newell and John Meehan. This results in making it even more creepy and unsettling for viewers to watch (I would advise you to not google the real-life story and characters as it may spoil the series for you).
Debra, who is getting sick and tired of living the single life decides to venture into the waters of online dating. Disappointed and fed up of being unimpressed by date after date with a string of indifferent men she finally meets a man who is charming, handsome and makes her laugh. This man is none other than John Meehan. The pair meet for dinner in a Californian restaurant and hit it off really well. The relationship moves fast, much to both Debra’s teenage daughters resentment. Debra sees John as the perfect man – a man who brings her smoothies in bed every morning and prepares hot showers for her – what else could a woman ask for? However, her daughters, Terra and Veronica have their suspicions about John from the very beginning and are not fooled by his ‘nice guy’ act. As a result of this, they both set out to try and find out what he’s hiding, to prove to their mother that all is not what it seems with John Meehan.
Each episode, different layers of John are peeled back and we see Debra getting psychologically manipulated by him and his lies, which results in tension and distance growing between herself and her family. However, as John is an expert at lying and covering his tracks he is able to successfully charm and lie his way out of anything to a somewhat gullible Debra, despite both her daughters’ pleads. He certainly does not let any of Debra’s family members get in the way of his relationship with her and will do absolutely anything it takes to prevent something or someone messing up his carefully constructed plan.
This series will grip you and have you at the edge of your seat from the very start. It really portrays how someone can appear the perfect catch when actually, underneath their facade, they can be an evil, sinister monster with nothing but malicious and selfish intentions towards even the best of people, such as the innocent Debra Newell and her family. After finishing this series, you will definitely think twice about online dating as you come to the realisation that no one can actually be sure of who is hiding behind their pictures and persona and ultimately, what their intentions really are.
I highly enjoyed this series and would definitely recommend to anyone who is currently searching for something to indulge in.
By Amy Higgins – Film Editor