Why 'Dead to Me' Season 2 must delve deeper into the abusive relationship between Judy and her ex-fiancé Steve

Why 'Dead to Me' Season 2 must delve deeper into the abusive relationship between Judy and her ex-fiancé Steve

Spoiler alert for season one of 'Dead To Me'

Netflix's tragicomedy 'Dead To Me' is full of twists and turns. Created by Liz Feldman and starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini, 'Dead To Me' follows the lives of two women, who despite their polar opposite personalities, are united by grief. 

Applegate's Jen is a sardonic widow who runs on chardonnay and is investigating the recent hit-and-run accident that killed her husband. She meets Cardellini's Judy at a grief support group. The women quickly form a deep bond, which grows into a close and unlikely friendship. 

But 'Dead To Me' is a show that is more than a mysterious hit-and-run. It is a tragedy binding two women together. There are many things about Judy that make her a sorry character, but this never takes away from her endearing personality. A true friend through and through, Judy is the "friend in need, friend indeed" type. 

One of the most hard-hitting aspects of the show is its treatment of the strenuous relationship between Judy and Steve (Wood, played by James Marsden), her ex-fiancé. 


At first, the audience is informed that the reason behind the couple's split is the fact that Judy couldn't conceive despite repeated attempts. But if you pay close attention to the dynamics that the duo shares with each other, the inference is drawn slowly but it comes like a blunt force. 

There is a recurring exchange between the couple that subtly points to the years of emotional abuse that Judy faced when she was in a relationship with Steve. Every time that Judy points out that he is being cruel, Steve offers a sorry excuse for an apology, to which she immediately responds, "It's okay". No matter the situation, if Steve apologizes to her, she will instinctively respond with an "it's okay". This response is almost a reflex – she forgives Steve like clockwork every time he raises her voice at her. 

A still from 'Dead To Me' (Twitter)


"I just want to point out how well 'Dead To Me' portrays abuse and gaslighting with the character Judy. Notably, her often repeated, knee jerk, deadpan "It's okay" response whenever her abuser hurts her," says a Reddit user. 

This is a classic abuse dynamic behavior. It was a situation that not only people who have experienced it recognized but also those who haven't. 

Another user pointed out Steve's narcissistic characteristics and how he derives his power from Judy. "Narcissists need validation from their victim. That was the only "power" she had over him if you even want to call it that. He was controlling her, she's his target. By making her feel insecure and less than him, he validates himself and he knows he can do it with her."


We hope that the second season delves deeper into their relationship. A flashback would also give us answers into Judy's past since we know so little about her.  The first season is currently streaming on Netflix. 

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