Dirty John season 2 is based on the true-crime story of the real-life Betty Broderick, whose murder trial and conviction made headlines in the late 80s and early 90s. Quickly making its way to Netflix’s top 10 list, Dirty John “The Betty Broderick Story” is currently one of the streaming platform’s most popular shows.

Telling the story from Broderick’s point of view, the show highlights the psychological trauma she reportedly endured over decades of manipulation and abuse by her ex-husband, Dan Broderick, leading up to the murder of Dan and his new wife, Linda Kolkena, who Broderick shot and killed at their home in November 1989. In 1991, Broderick was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. The murder case and conviction portrayed in Dirty John season 2 are considered controversial due to the circumstances surrounding Broderick’s turbulent marriage and divorce. Here’s what happened to the real Betty Broderick after the time period depicted in the series and where she is today.


While no one, including Broderick, disputes the fact that she shot and killed her ex-husband and his new wife, what led her to murder, and whether or not the alleged abuse played a role, remains a topic of debate. Soon after her conviction, Broderick told the Los Angeles Times that she had “never had emotional disturbance or mental illness — except when [Dan] provoked a ʻdisturbance.’” Since then, Broderick has doubled down on these statements over the years, continuing to claim that her erratic and increasingly violent behavior was the result of gaslighting by Dan Broderick, who she felt had control over her life throughout their volatile divorce and custody battle portrayed in Dirty John season 2.

In her 2015 memoir, Telling On Myself, Broderick addressed her actions two decades after the double homicide. Contemplating her guilt, she wrote, “Do I feel guilty?  In my 2010 parole hearing, I said that I should not have killed them. Of course, I should not have killed them… But when you are trying to save yourself, maybe it is explicable: If you don’t control them, they will control you.”  

By continuing to justify her actions, Broderick has been repeatedly denied parole over the years. In 2011, she appeared before the board for a second time. “Your heart is still bitter, and you are still angry,” Board of Prison Terms Commissioner, Robert Doyle said, according to a CBS News report. “You show no significant progress in evolving. You are still back 20 years ago in that same mode. You’ve got to move on.” During the five-hour hearing, discussing her murder case, Broderick explained that she had “one choice: to shoot them or myself. I couldn’t let them win.” Her children also testified at the hearing. Broderick’s daughter, Kathy, pleaded for her mother to be let free, while her son, Dan, said that releasing his mother “into society could be a dangerous mistake.” In Bella Stumbo’s 2013 book, Until the Twelfth of Never: Should Betty Broderick ever be free?, the author reported that Broderick’s children did not visit her in prison, but that she continued to see Brad Wright, a man Broderick met during her separation from Dan Broderick.

When Dirty John season 2 ends, Broderick is in her mid-40s. Now, at 73, she is currently serving out her sentence at the California Institution for Women in Chino, California. After her last parole hearing in 2017, the board denied her for the longest term possible, 15 years. Broderick will be 84 years old at her next parole hearing, which is set to take place in 2032. Without remorse, Broderick will spend the rest of her life in prison.

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