My Lovecraft Country Season 1 Reviews

Check out my Lovecraft Country Season One reviews! I write about the amazing complex women characters in this brilliant HBO Horror Fantasy television show that wrestles with racism.…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/…/lovecraft-country-season-1…/

My review for the entire Lovecraft Country Season One:

The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 2 Episode 7 & 8 Review


The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 2 Episode 7 & 8 Review

Sara Howard, Laszlo Kriezler, and John Schuyler Moore discover the childhood trauma that mentally scared Libby Hatch enough to turn her into a serial killer.


The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 2 Episode 7 ” Last Exit to Brooklyn” and Episode 8 “Better Angels” is directed by David Caffrey. Sara’s team, with the help of the brutish Retired Chief of Police Thomas F Brynes, finally brings Libby to justice. Sadly, Detective Sergeant Marcus Issacson is shot to death by Miss. Hatch. John Schuyler Moore decides to marry Violet Hayward after learning she is pregnant partly because Sara Howard has no desire to be a mother. Sara will not be forced by social conventions to marry and have children, especially after living with a mother who had no desire to have her. She will not allow another child to suffer. At the end of the finale, Laszlo decides to move to Vienna to be with Karen Stratton, a fellow Alienist.

Libby’s mother should never have had a daughter. Libby a.k.a. Elspeth Hunter’s family came from money but lost everything, including their mansion when her father committed suicide. Sara, Laszlo, and John learn that Libby’s mother was never loving toward her daughter. Mrs. Hunter was incapable of properly loving a child, so when Libby got pregnant as a teenager, she gave her daughter’s baby girl away to an orphanage. But first, the mother had to prove that Libby wasn’t mentally competent enough to look after the baby, so she cut herself.

Mrs. Hunter falsely claims to the police that her daughter attacked her.  Libby gets locked up in an insane asylum, and her baby is taken away. Libby was abandoned by her mother and, felt like she lost the one being that truly loved her. She mourned her biological daughter Clara leaving as if she had died. In the 19th century, society told women that they had to have children to be whole, which led to a lot of traumatized children like Elspeth, who were never adequately nurtured. Libby most likely would not have become a serial killer if she had proper love and compassion from the one who was supposed to protect her.

“Last Exit to Brooklyn” and “Better Angels” feature Sara Howard wrestling with her demons. Sara feels a continued connection with Libby since their lives are so similar: Both come from money and have mothers who could not nurture them. Both their fathers were the only ones who showed genuine affection for them. The fathers committed suicide, leaving their daughters with emotionally distant mothers. Sara uses her understanding of Libby’s psyche to determine where the baby boy Vanderbilt has been hidden.

Sara shows compassion toward Libby. She covers the murderer with a blanket to warm her up. The private detective quietly listens when Libby tells her about how her mother’s lie ruined her life. Sara asks if Mrs. Hunter was one of those women who should not have children. Libby nods. Sara shares how her mother also did not love her. Libby comforts Sara by telling her that her father loved her. By comforting the private detective, Libby is assuring herself that her father also loved her. Sara nods but then confesses to Libby that as a child, she also wandered that if her father loved her, then why did he leave. She knows that the serial killer must feel the same way about her own father’s suicide. Libby feels unloved. Sara and the murder both share that they last time they felt happy was before their fathers died. Clara’s birth made Libby feel joyful again. The murder uses surrogate babies to feel the love that was stolen from her by her father’s suicide, the removal for baby, and her mother’s abandonment. She is unable to feel a deep emotional connection with another person because of the multiple layers of trauma.

Sara uses that emotional connection with Libby one last time to bring the end to the whole tragedy to a end. The private detective finds Libby holding Clara hostage in her childhood mansion. Libby has already started to break down because her biological daughter won’t show her any affection. After all, they have no real bond. When Sara and Laszlo busts into the home, Libby threatens to commit murder-suicide.

Sara pleads for Libby to stop hurting Clara. The broken women can’t understand this comment because she is stuck in the mind of a child. The trauma of Libby’s daughter being stolen based on a lie has left her mentally stunted at teenagerhood. She thinks that loving her daughter gives her permission to “keep” Clara no matter what. Laszlo and Sara breakthrough when they tell her that Clara can have a real future. Libby lets her daughter go. She confesses that she has only felt the love or joy from innocent babies, but those feelings never lasted. Libby keeps on chasing positive emotions, which leads to her kidnapping and killing babies. Sara relates because even though she is not a serial killer, she struggles with fulling expressing or feeling her emotions. She visits Libby in prison one last time. Sara recognizing that if not for a couple of lucky breaks, she could have been like Libby.

The feminist ending of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Two is perfect with Sara at her private detective agency. Bitsy notifies Sara about several significant new cases, including a bank robbery that the NYPD wants help with when a new hire named Kitty walks in. Sara instructs Kitty about how right now the newspapers will not be celebrating women detectives. She reflects on all the innovations that at one time were unimaginable, but in the future women investigators, will be normal. She reminds everybody that men might attack them just for being women, but they must focus on their jobs as detectives. Their clothes or genders has nothing to do with how they fulfill their duties. The women will not always be perfect at solving crimes, but they will always do their best. Sara Howard smiles throughout the speech, happy to be doing the type of cases she wants without needing male validation.

The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 2 Episode 5 & 6 Review

Sara solves one of her cases, but another baby is lost. John, Sara, and Laszlo’s lives get more complicated as they pursue Libby.


 Clare Kilner directed The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Two Episode FiveBelly of the Beast.” Episode Six “Memento Mori” is directed by David Caffrey. Libby escapes capture, Sara Howard finds baby Anna Linares. Libby kidnaps the Vanderbilt baby boy in the middle of the park, and Sara is hired to find the child. John Schuyler Moore feels romantically split between his work partner turned lover Sara Howard and his fiancé Violet Hayward who wants more of his attention. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler’s medical license is suspended after he finds one of his charges, Pauly hanging from a noose in his office. Thankfully Laszlo saves the boy’s life, but now the institute is closed. The gangster Goo Goo Knox is dating Libby, so he will do anything to protect her.

One of the more engaging parts of these two episodes is the exploration of Libby’s dangerous psyche because this is the first time we see her revealing her true self on screen. We learn that she has been drinking a small amount of poison each day, then eating charcoal to render her breast milk safe. Libby stops eating charcoal, meaning she is preparing to murder Anna.

As she is drinking her daily dose of poison, Anna starts crying. Libby muses that only cats and babies mewl. She says maybe the baby is a cat. Libby is starting to dehumanize the baby so she can kill her. When the nurse starts breastfeeding, Libby tells the “little cat” that she will never forget her. She remembers all “her babies.” There are close-up shots of photos of dead babies with eyes drawn on their eyelids—trophies of all her victims. Sara and Laszlo muse that Libby murders the babies when they grow older than her dead child, perhaps Anna has outgrown her purpose.

Sara Howard goes on a feminist journey throughout “Belly of the Beast” and “Memento Mori.” First, in “Belly of the Beast,” Libby breaks into the private detective office to seal Sara’s father’s rifle. John cajoles Sara into staying in his apartment for her safety, but she refuses to remain hidden until they find Libby. She is a strong independent woman who doesn’t need anybody’s protection, especially since this is her case. Sara and Libby are in a cat and mouse game.

Sara sneaks down to Goo Goo Knox’s territory, where she finds Libby breastfeeding her gangster boyfriend. Knox drinking her breast milk raises a question for me. If Libby poisons her breast milk, then how is Knox not dead yet?

Sara follows Libby to an apartment where the two fight for the stolen gun. Thankfully, Sara wrestles the gun away from the murder but cannot stop her from running away. She finds baby Anna in a drawer just before John comes running in after hearing Sara went to track Libby in the sketchy part of New York.  Sara is the only one of the team who faces Libby straight on.

At the end of “Belly of the Beast,” the team returns Anna to the happy Linares family. Sara and John retire to his apartment. He congratulates his friend on finding the baby girl on her own, but Sara is hard on herself because she did not capture Libby. John has been attracted to Sara’s independence, intelligence, and strength for a long time. John tells Sara that he loves her. After witnessing the love inside the Linares family home, Sara can finally hear John’s affection in a positive light.  The couple makes love in the guest room. For a long time, Sara saw marriage as a trap that would force her to conform to societal rules of femininity. She finally understands that John loves her, but still respects her as a detective.

“Memento Mori” starts with Sara shutting down any discussion of their night together because John engaged with Violet. Violet sees her fiancé’s love for Sara and is delighted when her father publishes a scandalous article about the other woman. The article mentions Howard’s brutish “masculine” detective techniques. Hearst calls Sara out of letting Libby escape even though she saved Anna. He hopes that writing about her “unnatural” behavior as a working woman will lead to the socialite’s business failing. The opposite happens, the publicity from the article leads to Sara’s detective agency booming with case requests.

Cornelius Vanderbilt hires Sara to find his kidnapped grandson. Sara, John, and Laszlo track down the apartment where Libby kept Anna and the Knapp’s baby. The apartment is full of cribs and trophies, such as hairbrushes and jewelry chests with the Linares’ family crest and the Vanderbilt family crest. Libby watches wealthy families for a long time before stealing the babies. The team knows that the jewelry chest with the Vanderbilt crest means she is about to kidnap a new baby. Sara and the team try to discover which Vanderbilt owns this particular jewelry chest, but they don’t figure out which one until after the baby boy is kidnapped. Because of success, one of the most powerful men in New York trusts a woman detective to find his baby grandson during a time when women of her social standing are meant to stay quiet.

Sara and Libby have an unspoken connection because both their fathers committed suicide. When the team finds out Libby’s name is an alias, they try to find out who she really is. Sara recollects that Libby’s vulnerability made her feel comfortable enough to share that her father shot himself in the head with a rifle. Then Libby revealed to Sara that her father hung himself from the Brooklyn bridge. They look through newspapers to find an article about a man who hung himself from that particular bridge. They find out her real name is Elspeth Hunter. John and Sara believe that Libby is hiding from the NYPD in Brooklyn, where they now know she is raised.

The episode ends with Libby, the baby boy, and Goo Goo Knox sleeping on a roof facing the Brooklyn bridge. If anybody can bring Libby to justice, it is Sara, who, instead of letting the trauma of her father’s death corrupt her mind, became mentally tougher after the loss.ob_d824de_mztxkl3sq5eolsh1dj1m3ygyaxk

The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 2 Episode 3 & 4 Review

Sara, Laszlo, and John figure out the murderous kidnapper is most likely a nurse who works at the “lying-in” hospital. “Lying-in” hospital is another way of saying a maternity ward.


The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Two Episode Three “The Labyrinth” and Episode Four “Gilded Cage” directed by Clare Kilner follows our three investigators as they search out the clues that lead them to the suspect nurse Libby Hatch (Rosy McEwen). The team believes that the kidnapper is a woman who had a stillbirth baby girl or a miscarriage. At first, she dotes on the surrogates. Eventually, this killer views these babies as “changelings,” then kills them. Sara Howard digs into Dr. Markoe’s “lying-in” hospital catered to needy women. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler uses hypnosis and art on Senora Linares to pull out information about who could have possibly kidnapped baby Anna. John Schuyler Moore focuses on his bachelor and engagement party with his fiancé Violet Hayward.

Both “The Labyrinth” and “Gilded Cage” did a great job peppering the episodes with red herrings, so the ending is surprising. John uses his connection to the heir of one of the hospital’s donors Auggie Gildersleeve to help Sara gain access. Sara is quietly disgusted with what she sees at the lying-in hospital.  The women in the maternity ward are treated like children or animals. The grouchy matron doesn’t care about the dignity of her patients and abuses the staff. The misogynistic Dr. Markoe dismisses Sara by stating that many young, uneducated girls often harm their unwanted babies instead of looking further into what happened to Martha Knapp. She automatically suspects the hardened matron and the patriarchal Dr. Markoe of being part of the kidnapping. The matron takes Sara to the room where Martha Knapp slept the night of the crime.

Sara connects with Libby after she witnesses the nurse being rebuked by the matron.  Meek Libby seems to care for her patients. She is a woman who’s been beaten down by a system controlled by wealthy men. When the matron leaves the room, Libby reveals that Martha slept somewhere else the day her baby girl was taken. The private detective believes the nurse could be a legitimate source of information, so Sara invites her to lunch.

Libby doesn’t give her much information, but the two connect since both their fathers committed suicide. Sara is an authority in her chosen profession because she came from a wealthy family while Libby was left with little opportunity but to be a punching bag for the matron. After lunch, the young nurse reveals that the matron kept the Linares baby sequestered.

The private detective finds the matron’s apartment with Libby’s help. Sara can’t gain access to the apartment, but the landlady reveals that the older woman has brought home babies in the past. The matron doted on the babies before she had to return them. Her forceful behavior and her desire for children convince both Sara and the audience to suspect her. Sara tells Laszlo that she thinks that the matron might simply be an unpleasant person but still warrants more attention.

“Labyrinth” ends with a creepy peek into what’s happening to baby Anna as the investigation continues. There is an out focus wide shot of a woman picking up a crying Anna from a crib as she hums a lullaby. She sits down in a rocking chair and breastfeeds the baby. This fact makes sense since the Isaacson brothers found breast milk and the poison in the Knapp baby’s stomach. The “sequence killer” the investigators are looking might be a wet nurse or recently pregnant woman.

In “Gilded Cage,” Sara sends one of her assistants Bitsy Sussman to infiltrate the “lay-in” hospital. She instructs Bitsy to spend time with the maternity assistants who were ex-patients and from the more deprived areas of New York. Sussman gains a job as one of the maternity assistants, saying she has looked after many babies. Meanwhile, Libby brings Martha Knapp’s patient folder to Sara. She is risking her job to help the private detective. Libby seems like an ally to Sara standing up to her bullies and the young women thrown away by the men who impregnated them.

Bitsy learns that Dr. Markoe has a particular research wing where he keeps pregnant mistresses of New York’s elite. They give birth, then the doctor sterilizes the women and sends their babies off somewhere. The mistresses are thrown away by these men. Dr. Markoe tells them the babies were stillborn. Dr. Markoe’s donors are wealthy men who take advantage of these poor young women and then leave them unable to have a family of their own. These mistresses are just tools of pleasure to these men.

Sara comes to suspect a maternity assistant with a vicious temper named Collen. Bitsy tries to get closer to Collen, but she clamps up whenever she asks her questions about how she lost her baby. We learn that she used to be a mistress to a New York elite, maybe even Dr. Markoe, but became pregnant. Collen is one of the lucky ones who can still have children after being a maternity patient at the hospital.

There is a sequence with parallel action where the red herring is revealed, and we learn the shocking truth. When Bitsy pushes Collen too far, she attacks her violently. The undercover investigator appears to be in real danger from the killer, so she locks herself in an examination room. Bitsy turns to see Libby is inside the locked room with her. Meanwhile, days after the hypnosis, Senora Isabella Linares remembers that Libby creepily stared at her at the lay-in hospital. She spotted her again at the park before the kidnapping. The diplomat’s wife realizes Libby took her daughter.

Libby poisons Bitsy with a syringe but is scared away by the innocent Collen before she finishes the job. The nurse escapes, but thankfully the investigators rush over right in time to save Bitsy. The episode ends with the murderer stabbing the matron to death. Libby draws eyes on the matron’s eyelids with blood. We now see the anger that has been hiding underneath Libby’s submissive behavior the whole time. She is the baby kidnapper and murder.

The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season 2 Episode 1 & 2 Review


Friends Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), and John Schuyler Moore (Luke Evans) take on two new cases. The disappearance of baby Ana Linares the daughter of the Spanish Consular, and the kidnapping of Martha Napp’s baby girl. These cases happened in 1897 when hostilities between Spain and the United States were high.


The Alienist: Angel of Darkness Season Two Episode One “Ex Ore Infantium” and Episode Two “Something Wicked” directed by David Caffrey is a couple of years after the team’s first ” sequence killer” case. Sara Howard quit her job as a secretary at the NYPD and now runs her all-female detective agency, where she mostly works for dowagers who worry their servants are stealing from them. The New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore now writes for the crime beat and is engaged to Miss. Violet Hayward, who’s the illegitimate daughter of William Randolph Hearst. Dr. Laszlo Kreizler still runs rehabilitation school for mentally troubled boys. He is trying to help Martha Napp. She was executed for the death of her baby even though a body was never found. Napp’s sick daughter was taken from her crib at a hospital. Before the execution in the electorate chair, Dr. Kreizler promises Martha that he will discover what happened to her baby girl.

” Ex Ore Infantium” and ” Something Wicked” inhabits the 19th century fully. Fantastic period dramas don’t just have realistic costumes, but the dialogue and the cadence of the performer’s voice take you back in time. All the characters from private detective Sara Howard to psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler don’t merely use old fashioned vocabulary but also have a way of speaking that captures the late 1800’s. Many sub-par historical television shows stop their audiences from buying in because they don’t take the time to create a realistic, immersive world. The Alienist cast and crew do that from their acting style to the detailed costumes of the lower and upper-level class characters, and the dark world of these three serial killer hunters. Everything on screen is cast in shadow since the team led by private detective Sara Howard goes into the dark recesses of the human brain to hunt the baby killer.

Sara Howard is the feminist hero that we all need right now. As a professional woman who owns her own business, during a time when husbands still essentially owned their wives, and most men discount women’s emotions or thoughts, Sara is the perfect person to take on Isabella Linares’ case. She is brought into the case by the famous Suffragette leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Even though Elizabeth Cady Stanton believes that women are equal to men, she still only sees Sara as a way to get to a brilliant man Dr. Kreizler who can help her friend Isabella Linares. Sara has to point out that what they broadly need is a detective who understands how to investigate crime, not just a master of criminal psychology. Unlike a man, Sara won’t just brush off Isabella because she’s emotional after her daughter was kidnapped. Isabella hires Sara for the case.

In the first two episodes of The Alienist: Angel of Darkness, Dr. Laszlo Kreizler fights against Dr. Markoe and uses all of his unusual talents to help prove that Martha Napp is innocent. Dr. Markoe locks women up against their will who become pregnant after adultery or behave outside the social norms. He is the one testified that Martha Napp had a psychotic break, then killed her baby. Kreizler blames Markoe for Martha’s execution and thinks he is a quack.

The end of “Ex Ore Infantium” shows the NYPD detectives brother team Marcus Isaacson (Douglas Smith) and Lucius Isaacson (Matthew Shear) finding a dead baby girl in a toy shop dressed like a baby doll. The brothers are like modern-day pathologists. John and Sara come to investigate to see if the death is connected to the kidnapping of the Linares baby, especially since the kidnapper left a bloody baby doll in her crib.

The dead baby has eyes drawn on her closed eyelids like the bloody doll. Sara doesn’t think the baby is Ana Linares but knows the cases are connected. The Isaacsons tell John and Sara that the cause of death was poisoning. Dr. Kreizler identifies the baby girl as Martha Knapp’s daughter. The three investigators realize that the markings remind them of Posthumous Portraiture, where parents draw eyes on their dead children’s eyelids, so they look awake in photographs. Demonstrating that the killer has some faux care for the victims. He or she objectifies the babies before harming by making them into dolls in their mind.

In “Something Wicked,” the police and the establishment want to dirty the name of the Spanish, which means that Isabella’s behavior has to be above reproach. Sara and Laszlo fight over, asking Isabella if they can hypnotize her to discover more about the kidnapping since she has blocked all memories of the event. Sara doesn’t think asking a foreign dignities wife to try such an untested method is a good idea, especially since having a woman investigator is already pushing things. Laszlo goes against her wishes, offending Isabella. Their disagreements are forgotten when they get a call informing them that the police are arresting Isabella. Thankfully Sara persuades them to let her go because Isabella has immunity as a foreign dignitary. Isabella’s name will not be all over the press.

John Schuyler Moore convinces his editor to let him write a story about the two cases if he can find proof that they are connected. The editor feels that since the babies are from different social circles, their connection is dubious. He warns John that his future father-in-law Hearst will not like him looking into the case. Hearst gathers data like the Linares’ not reporting the kidnapping to the police planning to write articles that feed into the American public’s xenophobia toward the Spanish creating “fake news.”

Next week we will continue to follow the three forward-thinking investigators fighting against sexism, xenophobia, and the underrepresented like children.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 2 Episode 8 ” Perception is Reality” Review

Betty Broderick faces two trials for the murders of Dan Broderick and Linda Kolkena.


Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Eight “Perception is Reality,” directed by Maggie Kiley, documents the two trials that lead to Betty being sentenced for two counts of second-degree murder. The first trial ended with a hung jury because a couple of the jurors thought that she was pushed to the mental breaking point and can’t be legally blamed for her actions. In the second case, the prosecutor was able to show that Betty broke into Broderick’s house with the intent to shoot Dan and Linda. The jurors did not all agree it was first-degree murder, but they decided she deserved the second-degree charge meaning two consecutive 15 years to life sentences.

In the first trial, Betty became too confident that she would get away with killing Linda and Dan. She enjoys testifying in front of the court. The prosecutor Well’s questions backfire when she asks Betty how she lost all her friends because she was always complaining about Dan. The defendant explained how she quit all of her activities because all she could think about anything but the next court date. Betty muses that she doesn’t know if she lost friends or they lost her.

Meanwhile, back in the jail, Betty glows with glee with the amount of fan mail she receives from women from all over the country. Betty has zero remorse for murdering two people; instead, she giggles as she looks through letters from women who can empathize with her divorce struggles. She outright laughs as she shows other inmates a little handkerchief with the phrase ” Free Betty Broderick so She can Kill another Lawyer” stitched on. When the judge declares a mistrial because the jury is deadlocked, Betty is convinced that she won’t ever be found guilty.

“Perception is Reality” does a great job of showing why all these different jurors can’t decide a verdict. The judge asks each juror if they agree that they are hopelessly deadlocked, then there is an edit to them in front of the press explaining why. For example, Juror Number One tells the media that he doesn’t think that Betty went to the house to kill herself like the defense claims, but that she was provoked. There is an edit showing Juror Number Ten saying, “Yes, your honor,” then explaining to the press that he thought that everybody has a breaking point. There is a voice-over of the older man speaking as Betty cries tears of joy, nodding as the jurors agree that they are deadlocked. The sequence ends with Juror Number Ten, stating that he wondered what took her so long to shoot them by the end of the trial.

Betty enjoys all of the love and support from her fans too much. The rest of the episode demonstrates how mentally deranged she is throughout this process. Her lawyer Jack warns Betty not to get too confident, but she doesn’t listen. The defendant focuses on the fact that she is now receiving packages of support from all over the world. Betty thinks the next trial will end with a hung jury; then, they will let her go. She wants Jack to fight for bail, but he points out that the court will never give one to a double murderer. Betty uses Jeffrey Dahmer receiving an impossible one million dollar bail as a reason why they should fight for bail. She jokes that they would set her bail if she had eaten her victims. Betty playfully bites at her lawyer.

Press swarm around Betty for interviews because of all the true crime buzz. In the interviews, she discusses how Dan mistreated her during the end of their marriage, revealing that he was able to walk all of her because of gender disparity. I agree that Dan emotionally abused Betty, but that is not the whole story. Her behavior before and during the murder was destructive. Jack warns her about doing these interviews because he has a bad feeling about the reporters. Betty enjoys the adoration and attention, so she disregards his advice. She arrogantly thinks that the way she tells her story on the stand and in the press will gain sympathy.

When Betty speaks to the People Magazine reporter, she makes a critical mistake. The reporter flatters Betty by talking about how her supporters empathize with her plight because she is a woman “scorned.” She tells Betty that one woman near San Diego said that the shooting was a bit of “prairie justice.” The reporter asks what Betty thinks. Betty giggles into her hand, saying she can’t tell her what she thinks. She should have said no comment. There is no excuse in murdering anybody, especially Linda, who was stuck between two vindictive spouses.

In the first trial, the prosecutor Wells never asks Betty what happened in the bedroom, but she fixes that omission in the second trial. The prosecutor proves that at the very least, Betty intentionally shot Linda and Dan. The defendant states that her hand accidentally tightened around the trigger in the dark bedroom. She couldn’t even see them. Wells points out that she shot Dan and Linda several times with a revolver that required Betty to squeeze the trigger several times and aim since each of her victims were on different sides of the bed.

The finale ends with Betty sitting in prison. There is a voice-over of Betty singing her and Dan’s “song.” She hallucinates Young Dan in the cell with her. There is a sequence with scenes that show versions of past events where Dan or Betty treated each other and their family with more respect. For example, Betty doesn’t leave her kids at Dan’s house. Then Betty stares at Dan and Linda, holding each other. She is stuck in prison for the rest of her life with the couple she murdered in cold blood.

Betty wanted peace, but those twelve jurors made sure she was stuck with her victims for the rest of her life.dirty-john-betty-broderick-story-episode8-580x387.jpg

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season 2 Episode 7 “The Shillelagh” Review


Betty murders Dan and Linda after nobody takes her declining mental health seriously.


Dirty: John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Seven “The Shillelagh,” directed by Alexandra Cunningham, is about the murder of Linda Kolkena and Dan Broderick. The real or fictional Betty has no real excuse for murdering two people, but the television show documents how there were many warning signs. Instead of helping Betty, both Dan and Linda played with her mind. Betty is not a victim, but she could have been stopped. Her friends only try to contain her. Dan and Linda emotionally or legally destroy Betty.

Betty’s gun purchase should have been the first significant warning sign. Instead, everybody decided Betty was acting overdramatic. Betty shows her sons the handgun. She tells them never to touch the gun or tell anybody about it. Ryan informs Dan that Betty now owns a gun, but he still refuses to buy a home security system, even though Betty has threatened to kill him several times. Dan thinks that Betty is just playing mind games with him.

During his bachelor party, one of Dan’s lawyer friends asks him if he is nervous now that Betty owns a gun. Dan flippantly states that all Betty cares about is money. She would never kill the “golden goose.” Dan doesn’t realize that money is just part of why she is so crazed about the divorce. Betty wants the whole marriage back. She doesn’t know who she is without being Mrs. Broderick. She feels like Dan stole her entire identity. Betty worked hard, building the perfect family. Dan’s arrogance blinds him, and he doesn’t report her to the police. If Betty is willing to keep on leaving offensive voice messages even though it leads to her serving jail time, she is not acting logically.

Linda doesn’t help matters either. The new bride has enough after she steals her wedding guest list. Linda takes her anger out on the sons, attacking them for letting Betty into the house when she dropped them off. Dan stands up for his sons, knowing that they cannot control an adult. She and Dan fight over how they are going to get the guest list back. At the end of her rope, Linda breaks into Betty’s house while she is at her job. Betty now assists at a pre-school. She doesn’t find the guest list but steals Betty’s diary instead. Linda bumps into Betty’s cleaning woman as she leaves home.

When Betty comes back, the cleaning woman tells her that a blonde woman who is not her daughter was in the house. She knows its Linda when she can’t find her diary. Betty becomes more outraged. Back at her home, Linda shows Dan the journal telling him how she broke into Betty’s house. She doesn’t see the problem since Betty has broken into their house so many times. Dan correctly scolds Linda telling her that they don’t stoop to her level. They don’t violate laws by trespassing and stealing his ex-wife’s property. He tells Linda to return the diary.

Linda returns the journal after a judge forces Betty to fork over the guest list. If Betty didn’t, then Dan wouldn’t have to pay spousal support. But breaking back into the home to give back the diary leaves the ex-wife even more paranoid. She hallucinates Linda and Dan mocking her journal entries. “The Shillelagh” evokes Betty’s paranoia with an eerie voice-over of her internal hallucinatory dialogue as she stares obsessively at the diary.

Betty’s friends do their best to stop her from doing anything rash. They make up beeper codes to warn each other if they lose sight of her during Dan’s second wedding ceremony. Karen hangs out with Betty during the ceremony. Even though Betty continues to act up, her friends think that her not ruining Dan’s wedding means she is no longer obsessed.

I think that everybody is fooled by the fact that Betty seems to be making some progress. She is going to therapy. The therapist urges Betty to work toward getting her sons back instead of acting on her impulses. Betty looks for a new home to buy. But Dan’s happiness leads her further into manic depression.

After returning from a relaxing honeymoon in Cabo, Dan refuses to engage in any serious talks about shared custody until Betty stops leaving vile voice messages in contempt of court. Instead of changes her actions, Betty wallows in her pain. She steals keys to Dan and Linda’s house from her eldest daughter. Bringing it one step closer to the murder. If only Kim had remembered the keys or had realized she left them, then maybe there would have been no shooting. Dan could have changed the locks or finally called the police.

Betty finally snaps after Linda and Dan decide to try to conceive. Betty feels she has no real purpose after learning that Dan wants to have a child with somebody else. Betty breaks into tears, frustrated, and resentful that her son has to give up Disneyland to spend time with her. She doesn’t realize that the important thing is that her children love her more than a theme park, plus she can fight to gain more custody.

That night Betty lets her rage at Dan take control. She drives over to their house with the stolen keys. Thankfully the episode doesn’t show the actual murder. The loved ones of the victims don’t need to see the glorification of the killing. Instead, Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story shows Betty telling everybody about the shooting over the phone. “The Shillelagh” ends with Betty sitting in jail. Next week, we will see the theatrics of the trial.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Six “The Twelfth of Never” Review


Betty represents herself before the judge in the Broderick divorce court proceedings.


In Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Six “The Twelfth of Never,” directed by Shannon Kohli, we see what led directly to the murders of her ex-husband Dan Broderick and his fiancé Linda Kolkena. Betty decides to have Pro se legal representation to control her fate. Dan continues to use legal loopholes to gain the upper hand in choosing the terms of their divorce. Linda is the victim of the mental war that the two Broderick’s are waging against one another.

The most chilling moment in “The Twelfth of Never” is when Linda asks if she and Dan can add some security measures to their home to protect themselves from Betty, who has continuously harassed the couple. She has recorded threatening derogatory voice messages on their voicemail machine, broken into their house, and destroyed their personal property. Within the episode, Betty calls Linda a whore or slut in front of everybody, including her children. The divorced wife has even told one of her lawyers that she would rather kill Dan than become a single mother. Betty once rammed a car into their home, knowing they were inside. Dan and Linda should take the threat to their lives and property seriously.

But, Dan Broderick decides against adding a security camera or sensors to his property. He doesn’t want Betty to know that she has gotten to him. Dan’s hubris led to the murders. If only they had some security in the home, then maybe Betty would have been caught before anything happened. My heart stalled when I saw Dan arrogantly brush off the real concerns of his fiancé Linda.

Instead, Dan continues to gaslight Betty in court. Dan and his new divorce lawyer first argue that they did not know about the Epstein Credits until the divorce proceedings even though we know from earlier episodes that he did. Epstein credits are where the courts will reimburse one spouse from the community account spent on the upkeep of the other. Second and most importantly to Betty, Dan downplays how much she both financially and emotionally supported him during Medical and Law School. He scoffs at the fact that family was on food stamps, not liking to appear weak in the Law community. Dan implies that any financial support she offered was for selfish reasons. Dan forgets the fact that both he and Betty aspired to wealth.

They both enjoy living the high life. Broderick argues that Betty is greedy because she spent more and more of his money as his law practice grew. Dan disregards that much of the money Betty spent went to the children, and even before they were wealthy, he would spend so much on himself, they did not have money for food.

The only fair argument that Dan and his divorce lawyer make is that Betty is mentally imbalanced and should not gain full custody of their children. Throughout Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, Betty has threatened Dan and Linda in multiple ways, including stalking Linda by taking photos of her at their eldest daughter Kim’s graduation. She refuses to get professional help. During the trial, she keeps on bringing up questions about Linda even though the judge warns her that they are not pertinent since California is a no-fault divorce state. The fact that Betty spends all of Kim’s high school graduation seething at Linda’s presence, intimidating her instead of celebrating her daughter, makes it evident that she should not gain custody of her minor children.

When the judge rules that Betty will only have custody of the children every other weekend and 16,000 dollars per month, she loses all hope. At the start of the episode, Betty feels empowered after meeting with HALT, a group that helps people who feel crushed by the legal system. One of the leaders encourages her to keep on fighting. Betty meets with a reporter to tell her side of the story, but Dan shuts down the publishing of the full article by threatening to sue the reporter.

During the trial, Betty believes that she has a chance of getting everything she wants. She spends a lot of time preparing for court every day. She goes through all of Dan’s paperwork that she has saved throughout their years together. Other than the questions about Linda, Betty does a great job interrogating Dan on the stand. She makes a moving closing statement about how Dan has dishonored their marriage and the sacrifices she made for their family. All Betty wants to be is a wife and mother. She already feels devastated because her parents refuse to come to support her. When Betty hears the verdict, she breaks from reality.

At home, Betty looks through the photos from Kim’s graduation, smiling away until she reaches the images that she took of Linda. She then stares up to a newspaper clipping, pinned to the wall, that she got in a mail announcing Dan and Linda’s engagement. The words, “You are a fat pig.” are scrawled across the clipping. While it is ambiguous who wrote the message, Betty believes that Linda sent the clipping. Her rage toward Linda and Dan lead her to seek revenge.

Amanda Peet does a brilliant job playing Betty Broderick at the gun store buying the murder weapon. She has a blank, confused look on her face as she purchases the gun, uttering some comments about how she used to be a marksman in high school. The scene has a voice-over of Betty talking about how she has a right to defend her family. She comments on how legally men can protect their property and family with violence, but women are not supposed to get mad. Society wants women to kill themselves instead of “bothering” anybody else.

I think Betty has a point; society privileges men over women. Especially in the 1980s, women are expected to stay passive and compliant with the men in their lives. Women should challenge how society tries to socialize us, but not by killing others. Dan takes advantage of Betty, but there is no excuse for cold-blooded murder.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Season Two Episode 5 ” Scream Therapy” Review

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Season Two Episode 5 “Scream Therapy” Review

With the “help” of her ex-husband Dan, Betty Broderick destroys any civility or common sense in their divorce proceedings.


In Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Five “Scream Therapy” directed by Maggie Kiley, Betty’s erratic behavior leads to her downfall. Dan Broderick is not entirely blameless in how their divorce proceedings fall apart. Broderick officially divorces Betty in court without giving her any notice knowing she doesn’t have a lawyer to defend her. Dan doesn’t allow his ex-wife to see her children or gives her any alimony. He got a bifurcated divorce from Betty, meaning they nail out all the terms after the legal separation. But Betty only hurts herself through her actions and words.

First, “Scream Therapy” successfully portrays Betty losing all high ground or sanity through a series of edits of Dan handing his secretary recorded tapes of her leaving visceral hateful messages calling Linda a “whore” and threatening their lives. The episode also uses Betty’s POV as she periodically writes in a diary to document her mental decline. She falls further into her obsession with ruining Dan’s life, devastated that he is dismantling her wealthy “housewife” fantasy. She continues to break into Broderick’s home to destroy his property, including Christmas presents and ornaments.

Betty’s friends keep questioning why her responses to Dan are so out of proportion to his actions. Dan offers to pay for Betty to take their children to their traditional skiing resort for Christmas, but she refuses to take him up on his offer. Supposedly, Dan is trying to dictate terms to her, but it is because if she goes on a Christmas trip without Dan, she will have to face that they are no longer together. Betty is correct to stand up to Dan since he has been controlling her life from the start of their marriage, but he offered an olive branch to her. Instead of taking the peace offering, Betty screams at him over the phone and defaces his property.

Dan doesn’t help Betty’s fragile mental state by starting to unofficially dox hundreds or thousands of dollars from her spousal support every time she leaves a scathing voice mail, visits the children without permission, or breaks into his property. Since they have not legally set the terms of their divorce, Dan doesn’t have to support her financially, but he has no right to penalize Betty. Betty’s penalties for one month are so bad that she owes him 1,300 dollars. Thankfully, her friend Evelyn gives her some money to survive.

“Scream Therapy” explores how much Betty truly loves her children. Her friend Evelyn recommends a female lawyer named Hilary after Dan shuts her down for asking why he penalizes Betty. Hilary is tough, but fair with Betty. She uses logic to persuade Betty to attend therapy to gain custody of the children even though Betty wants one-third of Dan’s money before fighting the children. She wants to live a luxurious lifestyle with the children that they had before the divorce. Betty rightfully points out that Dan would not be the lawyer he is today without her. Hilary tells Betty that she will win the argument for more money from Dan if she first regains custody of her children.

The world seems brighter for Betty with her new divorce lawyer. The judge orders Dan and his divorce lawyer to stop filing nuisance claims against Betty. Betty visits one of her sons secretly so she can help him with a school project. Betty’s therapist points out that since Betty was the primary caretaker and Dan works such long hours, she should be able to get back custody if she attends therapy. Betty finally seems to be putting her affairs in order and acting as the wonderful mother she has always been though her stubborn mindset holds her back. She threatens Dan in front of Hilary, saying he will die before she becomes a single parent. I find this bizarre since she has been acting like a single mother most of the marriage.

When Hilary tells Betty that she will get her two younger sons for Easter, she is overjoyed. She decorates her home with all these Easter decorations and hides eggs full of treats all over the house. We can see how much Betty loves her sons when she describes the Easter Wonderland to the boys over the phone. Potentially if Betty won custody even for that weekend, maybe she could have had the mental clarity to act congenially toward Dan to gain custody of her children. But we will never know because Dan picks his sons up from school, blocking Betty access during her court-appointed time.

Betty loses any plot that she had left. One of the young sons, Ben, calls his Mom begging her to behave so they can all come home. He doesn’t like living with his Dad and Linda, but instead of listening to his concerns, Betty yells at her son. She babbles about Linda being a whore, how Dan corrupted his mind, and that she didn’t choose to be divorced. In Betty’s mind, she is still married. Ben correctly tells his Mom that only she can stop herself from acting insane.

Betty refuses to continue therapy because she is worried that if she stops being angry with Dan, she will lose all will to go on. Hilary drops Betty’s case because she isn’t being paid. Dan was willing to pay for Hilary through selling their family home, but Betty won’t go for it. Hilary shows how much she cares about her client by standing up for Betty in court one last time. The lawyer points out how Dan is finding every loophole to hoard his money. Hilary wins some battles for Betty like Linda’s voice being removed from Dan’s home voicemail to stop trigging the divorcee, but because of all the contempt charges, she has to face a few days in jail.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story does a great job documenting both the unfairness of society’s treatment of women who challenge men’s authority and Betty’s mental instability, which ultimately leads to the murders. Dan’s dominating behavior and legal maneuvering cannot be entirely blamed for Betty Broderick’s violently refusal to accept the divorce.


Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Four “More To It Than Fun” Review


Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Season Two Episode Four “More To It Than Fun” Review

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Linda Kolkena (Rachel Keller) enters the picture while Dan slowly pushes a frenzied Betty Broderick out of his life.


Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Episode Four ” More To It Than Fun,” directed by Maggie Kiley, is the most linear episode to date. The episode focuses on Dan Broderick’s affair with Linda and his plan to begin divorce proceedings. “More To It Than Fun” is framed by testimony by a divorce & infidelity psychologist whose left unnamed. He illustrates how Betty Broderick felt when her husband gaslit her.

“More To It Than Fun” does a great job humanizing Linda. The Betty Broderick Story could have easily shown Kolkena in the background or not given her any screen time, but throughout this episode, she has scenes that show she was a young woman with dreams. When Dan hires Linda as a paralegal, she practices her typing over and over until she doesn’t make any mistakes. She is so thrilled when she is provided with her own office. At the start of the episode, we see Linda admire Dan from a distance, but she never makes any moves on him. The show does not make her the villain of this story. Dan seduces his paralegal, pretending that Betty is okay with the affair. In truth, it seems like Dan tries to find any excuse to leave Betty since she is no longer any use to him.

The Psychologist makes the perfect analogy describing the victim of the infidelity as a pressure cooker ready to explode as the husband refuses to admit to his affair. To Betty, at first glance, her husband appears to be trying to mend their marriage. He is coming home earlier, acting kinder, and even still having sex with her. But Betty’s instincts are telling her that Dan is sleeping with Linda. Meanwhile, everybody in her life, including Dan, tells Betty that nothing is happening. Betty acts crazed because her friends will not believe her, and Dan continues his suspicious behavior.

Betty tries to fight for Dan by dressing up in a gown and bringing flowers to his law office for his birthday. She hopes her gorgeous appearance will lead to a romantic birthday night. But when Betty comes to Dan’s office, she finds the secretary and some leftover cake, but Dan is not there. Betty waits for hours, but her husband never returns. She storms back to their home and burns the majority of his suits.

That night, Dan wanders into the backyard where Betty, still in the gown, watches his possessions burn. Betty angrily confronts him about why he was out of his office most of the day. He makes some excuse about having had lunch with Linda and other lawyers, then spending the rest of the day at the courthouse. Dan, pretending to be frustrated, asks how he could prove that he is not cheating on Betty when she seems to want him to be doing it desperately. At this comment, Betty breaks down crying.

Dan prepares to divorce his wife, finding ways he can hold onto his money. The Psychologist explains the only way to release the pressure cooker is for the cheater to admit to his affair then show remorse. Instead, Dan talks to his divorce lawyer colleague. Betty doesn’t suspect that Dan will divorce her. In fact, she thinks that he has stopped cheating on her. They are even purchasing a new home together in Playa Vista.

After Dan declares he wants to legally separate from Betty and moves out of the house, any money he spends, including 150,000 dollars on a new home (which Dan never planned to move into), will get reimbursed from their community funds. In other words, Betty will lose money, but Dan will keep all of his.

The lawyer tells Dan to be compassionate toward Betty. Instead, Broderick insidiously holds his plans close to the vest. First, he tells Betty he needs some space away from the family. He moves out of the house, leaving her alone with the kids. Then the family moves into the new home without Dan. Dan drunkenly comes to have sex with Betty one last time. The next day, he tells her that he is moving back to their old home. Betty takes the kids to their vacation home at Lake Henshaw but quickly becomes overwhelmed by a family of rats living there. Dan refuses to come to help Betty, saying she has credit cards to pay for an exterminator.

Betty punishes Dan by sending the kids back home while she goes to her Dad’s 76th birthday party.  She thinks he won’t be able to handle caring for four children. The “punishment” backfires on her. Because she “abandoned” the children, Dan gets full custody of them. Betty remains at the mercy of Dan since she has no legal knowledge and doesn’t know what to do without her family.

When Betty visits the children at their original home, she defaces the property, starting with smashing Dan’s favorite cake all over their bedroom that he now shares with Linda. He secures a court order that only allows Betty to see the children when he is present, so she can’t mess with his possessions. Betty begs Dan to take her back, arguing that they have such a perfect family. Her identity is so wrapped into being Mrs. Broderick that she is unable to see Linda taking her place. Betty presses Dan to admit he was cheating on her when they were together. Dan finally acknowledged that she was right the whole time but showed no remorse.

Episode four masterfully uses the Psychologist’s testimony to explain how Dan’s manipulative actions affected Betty’s mindset. Perhaps if Dan had acted like a compassionate human being toward his ex-wife, she would not have had a mental breakdown and still be alive.