Comparing the Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story Stars to Their Real-Life Counterparts

A closer look at the Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story stars and the real people they play!
By Alyssa Ray Jun 23, 2020 4:50 PMTags

Call her, "Betty."

Earlier this month, Dirty John kicked off its second season on the USA Network, which tackles the story of an American divorce that turned deadly. Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story, which airs its latest episode tonight at 10 p.m., stars Amanda Peet as the titular character, a perfect Southern California housewife who is driven to murder.

The victims? Betty's first husband, the unfaithful Dan Broderick (played by Mr. Robot's own Christian Slater) and his second wife Linda Kolkena (portrayed by Rachel Keller).

Specifically, following a four-year-long divorce, Betty gunned down her ex and his new bride in their sleep on November 5, 1989.

So, what exactly happened? For those unfamiliar with the case, during Betty's highly publicized trial, her legal counsel claimed she had been a battered wife.

"I wanted a husband and a family. Dan needed a wife that could wait on him," Peet as Betty lamented in one trailer for the show. "I would've been treated better if I'd been a dog and served my master."

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Yet, after one mistrial, a second panel of jurors found her guilty on two counts of second-degree murder.

"[Alexandra Cunningham] wrote a really great script and it felt like she really wanted to dig into these people and what leads to a murder," Peet told E! News this month. "How this seemingly normal suburban couple end up in this horrifying [situation]."

As we've seen in the episodes these last several weeks, Peet and Slater have impressively transformed into these complicated characters. Not only mastering their voices and looks, but by also understanding the complexity of this story.

"I think the story is really complex," Peet continued. "Just because Alexandra wanted to show the ways in which Betty was a victim, I don't think that means she's condoning or justifying the fact that she became a murderer. I think she just thinks it's a story worth telling to explore why. How could this have happened? What were the components and factors that lead up to someone who is seemingly so normal becoming mad, insane."

For a closer look at the actors portraying these captivating real-life people, scroll through the images below.

Amanda Peet Vs. Betty Broderick

The titular character is played by Amanda Peet, who is known for her work in Something's Gotta Give, A Lot Like Love and Brockmire. As for her role in the USA Network anthology series, Peet tackles Betty Broderick, who is a convicted murderer for killing her ex-husband and his second wife. There was quite a bit of media attention surrounding this case as the deadly divorcée's first trial resulted in a hung jury and mistrial.

Eventually, she was retried and found guilty on two counts of second-degree murder. Betty is currently serving a 32-years-to-life sentence at the California Institution for Women.

Christian Slater Vs. Daniel Broderick

Christian Slater is portraying Betty Broderick's ex-husband and victim, Daniel Broderick. It's safe to say that Betty and Dan had a messy divorce. While the medical student turned lawyer took custody of their children, as well as had an affair and married his much younger secretary, the blonde housewife broke several restraining orders and vandalized her ex's home.

During the high profile murder trial, Betty made claims that Dan had been abusive.

Slater isn't new to the USA Network as he won a Golden Globe for his work in Mr. Robot. He is also known for his work in HeathersInterview with the Vampire, The Wife and so much more.

Rachel Keller Vs. Linda Kolkena

Rachel Keller, who is best known for her roles in Legion and Fargo, is playing mistress turned second wife Linda (née Kolkena) Broderick. At 21, former flight attendant Linda was hired by Dan to be his assistant. A year into her job, Betty accused Dan of having an affair with Linda. Once the marriage fell apart, Dan confirmed the affair and went on to marry Linda in April 1989.

Seven months into their marriage, the newlyweds were gunned down by Betty.

Tiera Skovbye Vs. Betty Broderick

Riverdale and Once Upon a Time's Tiera Skovbye is also portraying Betty Broderick. Specifically, Tiera will play a young Betty as the latter's early days with Dan are examined.

The former flames met at the University of Notre Dame in 1965. By 1969, Betty and Dan were married and pregnant with their first child. They went on to have four kids together daughters Kim and Lee and sons Daniel and Rhett.

Chris Mason Vs. Daniel Broderick

British-born actor Chris Mason, known for Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists and Vampire Academy, will also play Daniel Broderick, albeit a young Dan.

Dan was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and went on to get degrees from both Harvard Law School and Cornell School of Medicine. It's said Betty supported Dan by becoming the main provider during this time.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on the USA Network.

(E! and the USA Network are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)