Dirty John, A Bravo TV show

After watching this series and knowing the true story, you might want to be cautious with who you get involved with.


Dirty John is a psychologically messed up show based on a true-crime story. It follows Debra Newell, a successful woman, who felt like she was just missing one thing– love. So she goes on a dating website to meet men who are over 50 and she ends up finding John Meehan. At first, their relationship was great and according to Debra Newell, herself, it was a whirlwind romance. However, as she falls deeper into their relationship, she uncovers dark secrets about John.

The events all happened around 2014-2015 and first came out as a series of articles and podcasts. The articles and podcasts are based on the perspectives of Debra, her family, and even some of John’s exes. They also interviewed attorneys, investigators, and even read court documents, police reports, prison records, and restraining orders.

The fact is, some people are just born bad. And from everything I wrote about Mr. Meehan, he’s one of those guys.”

— Matt Murphy, from the Dirty John podcast

John Meehan is considered a con man as well as a sociopath. He deceived many people, mainly women, for his own gain. What John Meehan really wanted was money and even drugs, depending if the person worked in the hospital or just had money. He used to be an anesthesiologist until the board found out his crime. I don’t want to spoil the whole plot for you guys but just know that this man is a drug addict, 100% not religious, and full of nonsense.

I watched this production before even listening to the podcast and watching the documentary. In my opinion, it made the show 10x’s more dramatic than it was supposed to be. It makes you want to scream at Debra, who is played by Connie Britton, and hit a pillow. At least, that’s what it made me want to do.

Her children, especially Jacqueline, who is named Veronica in the show, did not feel comfortable around John. Jacqueline voiced her opinions about John to her mother, calling him homeless and an impostor. Terra, at first, tried to get to know him but after a situation happened between the two of them, she no longer trusted him. During a Christmas gathering in her grandmother’s home, Terra was hysterically crying and even stated “there’s just something wrong about him. [She] doesn’t like him.” Despite this, not everyone did not feel what Terra was feeling, especially her mother. Essentially because when she was 6 years old, she woke up screaming, believing that someone was trying to climb her window. Debra, however, believed that Terra was just in distress because of what was happening in their house at the time. Debra’s other two children were briefly mentioned in the podcast but only the son was shown in the series.

Honestly, since the beginning, I felt like something was wrong with John. It seemed really strange that someone would show up to a date in shorts and a preppy shirt. He looked like he just threw on those clothes or it was the only clothes he owned. Then, I realized those weren’t the only clothes he owned because he also owned scrubs. That wasn’t the only thing that was weird though. After their date, he literally flopped himself onto Debra’s bed and said “This is such a nice bed.” I felt really creeped out because it was just a mattress. There was nothing too special about it, unless it was a mattress with no springs or those really fancy mattresses that adjust. Jacqueline, when she first met John, she started referring him as a “loser” half the time. She also analyzed him as he was in the apartment, waiting for Debra. Personally, Jacqueline kind of annoyed me but at the same time, I understood where she was coming from. She’s extremely was mistrusting towards people and seems snobby but in reality, she really is just protective. If you tend to get annoyed with Californian preppy type of voices, Jacqueline definitely has one as does Terra. They both are portrayed as a bit bratty at the beginning, in my opinion, but afterwards, their intentions are shown.

I don’t trust anything you say. You’re evil.”

— Debra Newell to John Meehan

As the show went on, I kept seeing John in the same clothes until Debra took him shopping. He wore the same ugly grey collared shirt, the same khaki shorts, and the same blue scrubs. Once Debra started being suspicious of John and what he hides, it was when the flashbacks of his life before Debra showed. It was a little confusing, at first, because nothing much really changed about it except the fact that he actually had a career and he was married to Tonia Sells. The history between Tonia and John is shown in the series. During their marriage, they had two children together, who are briefly shown in the series. However, they do appear on the podcast and in the documentary. As they were getting a divorce, tension between Tonia and John increased because John kept threatening her. To me, he wasn’t really thorough with his threats, he just kept repeating the same thing over and over again, which really left me puzzled. This also confused Tonia because she didn’t understand what she meant until he explained to her the reason. I’m not going to reveal the reason because it also deals with his lies to Debra.

In the series, John’s old college friends were only shown in the video of Tonia and John’s wedding day but they appear in the documentary and podcast. The nickname “Dirty John” came from these friends, possibly indicating that he was a womanizer. He was also called “Filthy John” or just simply “Filthy”. That is where they got the title Dirty John from.

Honestly, I really do love this series and the story line itself. Even though, the flashbacks, at first, really bothered me because I was very confused. Afterwords, though, it was pretty good. It was also really insightful and makes me more aware of people and their body language.