Bravo’s scripted show, Dirty John, will start airing on the network on Sunday night with Eric Bana in the lead role as John Meeham – or the crazy dirty John who steals the title. The show is based on a real-life story, which was told via a Los Angeles Times podcast by the same name.
Christopher Goffard from The Los Angeles Times spent a year researching the story of John Meehan for a special, and he shared it all in a podcast called Dirty John.
The podcast was released in 2017 and for those who have listened to it know the ending to the story. But for those who have not, please note that there are spoilers in this article about what happened to John Meehan.
When Debra Newell met Meehan on a dating app, she had no idea that he was lying about his past. In fact, he had a criminal record, a drug problem, and had troublesome relationships with women. In the podcast, you get to hear those details, but he told Debra that he was a doctor.
Newell, on the other hand, runs a successful interior design company called Ambrosia Home. She is very successful and John may have noticed that right away, as he seemed to move into her home almost immediately. They would get married after just two months of knowing one another.
The real Debra Newell has private social media accounts, but she uses her photo on her company’s website.
On the first episode, fans get to see how Debra and John meet and how she eventually falls in love with him despite having an odd feeling about him in the beginning.
Spoiler alert: This is where you need to stop reading if you haven’t listened to the podcast.
What listeners learned in the final episode called Terra, and what will happen on the Bravo show if the writers stay true to the real story, is that John is dead.
John Meehan died on August 24, 2016, after being stabbed four days before on August 20. This happened after Debra filed for an annulment of their marriage. She didn’t want him, so he went after her daughter Terra.
As Terra was leaving her job, Meehan was waiting for her in the parking lot. As she exited the car, Meehan attacked her with a knife in his hand. She managed to get the knife from him, stabbing him 13 times in self-defense.
As the podcast listeners will know, she was a huge fan of The Walking Dead and she stabbed him in the eye, as the characters do this to ensure that the zombies are killed.
“I guess that was my zombie kill. You need to kill their brain. That’s what I did,” Terra explains on the podcast.
He was declared brain-dead. Police would later learn that he had a kit in his car that they would dub the kidnap kit. In other words, the last scene of his life was part of the Newell story.
As for Dirty John, the story doesn’t seem to end here. The first season is about Debra Newell and John Meehan, but Bravo has already pushed ahead with the second season, which will include a brand new cast and story.
Dirty John premieres Sunday, November 25 at 10/9c on Bravo.