In late 2017, the Los Angeles Times and the Wondery podcast network joined forces to create and release Dirty John, a true-crime podcast about John Meehan. Called Dirty John by his classmates at the University of Dayton, Meehan was the subject of local and national press following his death in 2016. The podcast, which garnered 10 million downloadsin its first six weeks, dove into the nature of Meehan’s death, which came at the hands of Terra Newell, the daughter of his girlfriend, Debra Newell. This weekend, the Dirty John Bravo TV series based on the podcast is set to premiere.
Dirty John cast
The Dirty John Bravo series stars Connie Britton and Erica Bana as Newell and Meehan, and will spend the next eight episodes digging into the nature of the pair’s relationship, the meaning behind Meehan’s apt nickname and how his abuses and manipulations of the Newell family lead to his confrontation with Debra’s daughter, played here by Julia Garner.
What is the Dirty John Bravo series about?
The series follows Newell (Britton) as she tries to balance her successful career and life in Newport Beach, California with her complicated past and current loneliness. Enter Meehan (Bana), a doctor who quickly charms her and inserts himself into her life, much to the dismay of her daughters Terra (Garner) and Veronica (Juno Temple). The pair does some digging and soon realizes that Meehan is not all he seems to be, but find it next to impossible to confront him now that his control over their mother is practically impenetrable.
Dirty John is definitely another in a long line of true-crime forms of entertainment, be they podcasts, documentary series or fictionalize dramatizations. From My Favorite Murder to The Jinx and Making a Murderer, its arrival on Bravo this weekend shouldn’t come as a surprise. Unlike most of its genre counterparts, however, the Dirty John Bravo series is premiering at a time when the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are still trying to shed more light on our culture’s long-running, gendered power imbalance between men and women.
That is to say, men like Meehan are not unique by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, they are the norm, and situations like the one that really went down between him and the Newell family aren’t as uncommon as many would prefer to believe. So while the Dirty John Bravo series is, in effect, yet another form of true-crime-inspired entertainment, it’s also a testament to the cultural zeitgeist that the public condemnations of figures like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. have set in motion.
Dirty John release date
The Dirty John premiere is set for Sunday, Nov. 25, at 10 p.m. on Bravo.