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Dirty John is a true crime podcast based on the life of John Meehan. The podcast is hosted by Christopher Goffard and was created by Wondery and the Los Angeles Times. The first two chapters were launched on October 2, 2017; the following four chapters were released over the following days. The podcast was downloaded over 10 million times within six weeks of release.[2]

Dirty John Podcast Logo.jpeg
Hosted byChristopher Goffard
Genre
  • Investigative journalism
  • Serialized audio narrative
  • True Crime
LanguageEnglish
Production
  • Karen Lowe
  • Jeffrey Glazer
  • Hernan Lopez
Audio formatPodcast (via streaming or downloadable MP3)
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes8[1]
Original releaseOctober 2 (2-10) – October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08)
WebsiteDirty John - Wondery

Contents

TitleEdit

The title Dirty John is one of the nicknames John Meehan's classmates gave him during his time at the University of Dayton. Other nicknames from this time included "Filthy John" and "Filthy". The exact origin of these nicknames is never divulged during the podcast.[3]

SynopsisEdit

Dirty John is a true crime story focusing on the life and exploits of John Meehan. L.A. Times journalist Christopher Goffard first heard of Meehan when he learned that the police were investigating a possible murder in Newport Beach. Upon investigating, Goffard discovered a bizarre web of deceit and abuse.[4]

The main focus of the story is Meehan's relationship with businesswoman Debra Newell, whom he met via an Internet dating site and married within months, as well as her immediate and extended family. The podcast deals with themes of abuse and manipulation, as well as the behaviors of those being abused.[5]

Meehan was killed by Newell's youngest daughter, Terra, who acted in self-defense when he tried to abduct her on the rooftop parking lot of her apartment building on August 20, 2016. He was hospitalized and died on August 24.[6] The story was covered by Dateline NBC on January 12, 2018 and included interviews with Goffard.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

Persons involvedEdit

  • Christopher Goffard - the host, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist[13][14]
  • John Meehan - the titular "Dirty John”
  • Debra Newell - a successful businesswoman looking for love online
  • Jacquelyn Newell - Debra's older daughter
  • Terra Newell - Debra's youngest daughter
  • Cash - Terra's dog, a miniature Australian Shepherd
  • Shad Vickers - Debra's nephew, the son of her late sister Cindi
  • John Dzialo - Attorney
  • Tonia Sells - John's first wife

Season 1 (2018)Edit

EpisodesEdit

# Title Length (minutes:seconds) Original release date
I"The Real Thing[15]"40:33October 2, 2017 (2017-10-02)
Debra Newell, an interior designer in Southern California, meets John Meehan on an over-50 dating site. His profile looks exciting: anesthesiologist, divorced, Christian. She falls in love fast. But her children dislike him and warn her that his stories don’t add up.
II"Newlyweds[16]"36:09October 2, 2017 (2017-10-02)
After an intruder appears in John and Debra’s livingroom, John insists that they install security cameras. Debra begins to wonder whether he is spying on her. Her nephew, Shad, looks into John’s background and confronts him with what he finds. Debra’s vision of an idyllic marriage is shattered when she discovers a stash of paperwork in John’s home office.
III"Filthy[17]"46:43October 4, 2017 (2017-10-04)
Debra grapples with the question, “Who did I marry?” The story of John’s mysterious past unfolds through the eyes of his sisters, his law school housemate, his ex-wife, and an Ohio cop who hunted him. The origins of John’s nickname are revealed. Bed-ridden in an Orange County hospital, he pleads with Debra to take him back.
IV"Forgiveness[18]"42:20October 5, 2017 (2017-10-05)
Debra is in hiding, living out of hotels and disguising herself with a wig. She fears she will meet the fate of her sister Cindi, who was killed by her husband as she tried to escape a bad marriage. John has explanations for the accusations against him. He weeps and apologizes. Three decades earlier, that had helped Cindi’s killer walk out of prison.
V"Escape[19]"47:06October 7, 2017 (2017-10-07)
John finds a lawyer and plots to unleash a blizzard of lawsuits against his enemies, with the aim of proving to Debra that he is the victim, in case after case. The lawyer believes Debra's life is in danger. As her painful isolation from her family deepens, Debra secretly plans her escape from the marriage.
VI"Terra[20]"40:35October 8, 2017 (2017-10-08)
Debra's daughters, Jacquelyn and Terra, suspect John has been watching them. But, when Jacquelyn tells Debra that John is in town, her mother believes she is mistaken. Jacquelyn warns Terra to carry her pocket knife and to look out for cars matching John's rental. But Terra is preoccupied by a country music concert, and Jacquelyn‘s rough description has her watching for the wrong car.

ReceptionEdit

Dirty John proved to be very popular with audiences, and spent over three weeks at the top of the US iTunes podcast charts,[21] whilst also topping the charts in Australia,[22] Canada,[23] and the UK[24] and was downloaded over 5 million times in 3 weeks.[25] It was downloaded over 10 million times within 6 weeks of release,[26] and as of November 23, 2017, is the 6th most downloaded podcasts on iTunes America.[27]

Critical reception was also positive, with the NME calling it "the best true crime podcast since Serial",[28] whilst The Guardian listed Dirty John as their podcast pick of the week.[29] Dirty John also received positive reviews from Mashable,[30] The New Yorker,[31] Rolling Stone[32] and The Daily Telegraph[33] amongst others.

Vulture.com meanwhile praised the story as "stunning" but questioned the necessity of using a podcast as a way to share the story.[34]

TV adaptationEdit

A limited series based on the podcast debuted on Bravo on November 25, 2018. It was created, produced, and written by Alexandra Cunningham, and stars Connie Britton and Eric Bana.[35][36][37][38][39][40][41]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Dirty John". rss.art19.com.
  2. ^ "The Creator Of True Crime Podcast 'Dirty John' Is Coming To Australia". Junkee. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  3. ^ "Dirty John Part 3: Filthy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  4. ^ "'Dirty John': Inside Hit 'L.A. Times' Podcast". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  5. ^ Verdier, Hannah; Slaney, Rowan (2017-10-13). "Dirty John, your chilling new true crime obsession – podcasts of the week". The Guardian. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  6. ^ Fry, Hannah. "Man dies after being stabbed by woman he assaulted with knife, police say". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  7. ^ "See Terra Newell describe her showdown with 'Dirty John' Meehan in exclusive 'Dateline NBC' clip". EW. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  8. ^ "'Coercive control' potential factor in 'Dirty John' case of psychological abuse". NBC News. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Dirty John". Dateline NBC. KNTV. January 9, 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ "Former Dayton woman to talk about marriage to 'Dirty John' on Dateline". Dayton.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  11. ^ Podcasts Dirty John by Wondery (21 January 2018). "Dirty John - Christopher Goffard speaks about his story". Dirty John Podcast. Retrieved 14 November 2018 – via YouTube.
  12. ^ "Podcasts Dirty John by Wondery". YouTube. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  13. ^ "2007 Pulitzer Prize Winners & Finalists". The Pulitzer Prizes. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018 – via archive.org.
  14. ^ "2014 Pulitzer Prize Winners & Finalists". The Pulitzer Prizes. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 14 November 2018 – via archive.org.
  15. ^ Goffard, Christopher (October 1, 2017). "Dirty John Part 1: The Real Thing". Los Angeles Times.
  16. ^ Goffard, Christopher (October 1, 2017). "Dirty John Part 2: Newlyweds". Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Goffard, Christopher (October 1, 2017). "Dirty John Part 3: Filthy". Los Angeles Times.
  18. ^ Goffard, Christopher (October 1, 2017). "Dirty John Part 4: Forgiveness". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ Goffard, Christopher (October 1, 2017). "Dirty John Part 5: Escape". Los Angeles Times.
  20. ^ Goffard, Christopher (October 1, 2017). "Dirty John Part 6: Terra". Los Angeles Times.
  21. ^ "L.A. Times - Wondery - 'Dirty John' American iTunes Chart Performance". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  22. ^ "L.A. Times - Wondery - 'Dirty John' Australian iTunes Chart Performance". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  23. ^ "L.A. Times - Wondery - 'Dirty John' Canadian iTunes Chart Performance". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  24. ^ "L.A. Times - Wondery - 'Dirty John' British iTunes Chart Performance". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  25. ^ Saunders, Tristram Fane (2017-10-23). "Dirty John: the hit podcast changing our queasy relationship with true crime". The Telegraph. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  26. ^ "The Creator Of True Crime Podcast 'Dirty John' Is Coming To Australia". 2017-11-21. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  27. ^ "Podcasts Top Entries - Wednesday, 22nd". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  28. ^ "Liked 'Serial'? Try 'Dirty John', your new true crime podcast fix". 2017-10-18. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  29. ^ Verdier, Hannah; Slaney, Rowan (2017-10-13). "Dirty John, your chilling new true crime obsession – podcasts of the week". The Guardian. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  30. ^ "The insane true story of 'Dirty John' is your next podcast obsession". Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  31. ^ ""Dirty John": Journalism as Noir Entertainment". The New Yorker. 2017-10-19. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  32. ^ "'Dirty John': Inside Hit 'L.A. Times' Podcast". 2017-10-26. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  33. ^ Saunders, Tristram Fane (2017-10-23). "Dirty John: the hit podcast changing our queasy relationship with true crime". The Telegraph. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  34. ^ "Dirty John Is a Stunning Story, But Why Is It a Podcast?". 2017-10-18. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  35. ^ Turchiano, Danielle (8 August 2018). "'Dirty John' Team Talks Expanding Perspective of Bravo Adaptation". variety.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  36. ^ Otterson, Joe (3 April 2018). "Eric Bana to Star Opposite Connie Britton in Bravo Anthology Series 'Dirty John'". variety.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  37. ^ Petski, Denise (8 October 2018). "'Dirty John': Bravo Unveils New Trailer & Premiere Date". deadline.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Bravo's 'Dirty John' True-Crime Series Wants to Cast a Spell on Viewers". hollywoodreporter.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  39. ^ "Eric Bana scares as John Meehan in Dirty John trailer". marieclaire.com.au. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  40. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne. "You liked the stories and podcast. Here's what to expect from 'Dirty John' as a Bravo scripted series - Los Angeles Times". latimes.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  41. ^ "It's Time for the Eric Bana-issance". vogue.com. Retrieved 14 November 2018.

External LinksEdit