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Is Dirty John based on a podcast?
Yes, the series is a dramatisation of the true story originally documented by journalist Christopher Goffard into the con man John Meehan.
The hit podcast from Wondery and the Los Angeles Times is available for free on iTunes and most podcast services.
What is Dirty John about?
The series follows a true story originally documented by journalist Christopher Goffard in his investigation of John Meehan and the reign of terror he inflicted on Debra Newell and other victims over several decades.
Newell was a successful businesswoman, looking for love on various dating applications after four failed marriages. It’s there she met John Meehan.
Meehan – posing as an anaesthetist at the time – easily charmed Newell with his charisma and good looks and the two enjoyed a whirlwind romance, marrying in Vegas two months after they met. However, all was not as it seemed.
Without giving too much away, Meehan’s easy-going nature soon started to slip. As Newell’s daughters, Jacquelyn and Terra, spotted inconsistencies in his lavish stories, Meehan gradually unleashed a cycle of abuse and psychological manipulation. It’s this downward spiral that led to crime, drugs and the deadly events of 20th August 2016 (which we won’t spoil here).
Who is in the cast of Dirty John?
Munich and Troy star Eric Bana stars as the titular con man, while Connie Britton (American Horror Story, Nashville) stars as Debra Newell.
The cast also includes Atonement’s Juno Temple (Veronica Newell), Ozark’s Julia Garner (Terra Newell), 13 Reasons Why’s Keiko Agena (Nancy) and Gossip Girl’s Kevin Zegers (Toby).
Eric Bana as John Meehan and Connie Britton as Debra Newell in Dirty John
Is there a trailer for Dirty John?
Yes, and it’s as creepy as you’d expect.
Who was the real John Meehan? Why was he called Dirty John? (Beware: spoilers!)
John Meehan learnt how to be conman from a young age. As the podcast documents, he learnt from his criminal father how to run insurance scams and get deliberately hit by cars.
It was at the University of Arizona where Meehan got the nickname “Dirty John” for the many women he slept with and the way he spoke about them afterwards. He was also called “Filthy John” or just plain “Filthy”.
He married his first wife Tonia Sells – a practising nurse anaesthetist – in 1990. He was married for 10 years and had two children with Sells in Ohio before filing for divorce.
After discovering Meehan had stolen a box of surgical anaesthetics, Sells called the police. Meehan then fled the state, but was found by police barely conscious and surrounded by drugs in Michigan some days later. After unsuccessfully trying to escape from custody, Meehan was sentenced to 17 months in prison.
On his first day out of prison, he created a Match.com profile and searched for female victims. This led him to Newell and the events of Dirty John.
Where is Dirty John now? (Major spoilers ahead!)
Meehan was killed by Newell’s daughter Terra in an act of self-defence. Meehan attacked Terra with a knife in a car park, but she managed to kick the weapon out of his hand, eventually managing to use the blade against him.
Meehan died in the hospital a few days later after the incident.