'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story' Episode 6: Was Dan's manipulation of ex-wife, patriarchy or egotism?
Dan's need to always make after a conquest, whether a graduate degree or a divorce proceeding, made him the shark in this case
Spoilers for 'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story'
The story of Dan (Christian Slater) and Betty (Amanda Peet) Broderick's divorce is one that definitely called for media attention, with the end result being a double murder. The USA network series 'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story' takes us behind the true crime story and uncovers the nooks and crannies that drove the hate in this case. Considered to be one of the most infamous divorce cases in America, Peet and Slater aim to chronicle the events that took place before Betty murdered Dan and his second wife Linda Kolkena (Rachel Keller) on November 5, 1989.
Watching Episode 6 titled 'The Twelfth of Never' and hearing Betty say she "was purposefully manipulated with malice before the case was filed by an expert attorney [Dan Broderick, himself]", we start to wonder if Betty thought Dan's behavior and win in court was due to patriarchy or egotism? If you've watched all six episodes, you would have noticed that Dan's apparent behavior includes a nonchalant confident smirk that he even wore in court. His confidence in his intelligence can't be denied, but would he have gotten all that he had without the help of the law?
Betty's actions seemed to always be bound by Dan's acceptance, she couldn't make a move without his knowledge having being tied to him through spousal support. In the episode, we see Betty's life being controlled by Dan as he railroads and disrespects her in public and in court. Was it her lack of law knowledge that he took advantage of or was it her lack of identity?
Peet's Betty explains that Dan had wanted someone to take care of his home and family while he worked to be successful, and he had disrespected her by lying about how her sacrifices had brought his dreams of being a doctor and lawyer to fruition. It's no denying that Dan has a big ego, but his need to always be in control of his ex-wife definitely makes us wonder if he cared for her worth?
As Dan stroked his ego with every court order he organized against his wife, we saw the level at which he'd go to, to make sure Betty paid for her irrational reactions to all the stops he'd pulled to have her question her sanity. His extreme gaslighting is another characteristic of his personality that can be called into question. Deeming Betty "crazy" even though she was right about his affair with Linda was something he did as he calculated all his moves before he had a guaranteed "date of separation."
Knowing that the date would be used in court to determine logistics, he had placed all his ducks in a row before he entered the legal battle he knew he'd win. He was aware Betty would struggle, he was aware Betyy would react, and in that way had he not controlled the entire fallout of this divorce? While we don't condone murder, it was interesting to see how the series had taken an emotional approach while dramatizing this true-crime tale give Betty a voice.
Dans need to always chase after a conquest — whether a graduate degree or a divorce proceeding - made him the shark in this case. His apparent importance as a wealthy man shows when we see his relationships with the judge that had granted his bifurcated divorce resemble that of a friendship. "I'm amazed it only took one bullet to kill Dan Broderick," said Betty making a point as to how exhausting it was to go against a man that had not only the law and his intelligence on his side but also friends in high places.
While Dan may not degrade women, he most certainly disrespected his wife in ways that he knew would irk her soul. His demeanor that reeked with superiority argues that his purposeful manipulation of his ex-wife had elements of both patriarchy and egotism. "Image, confidence, success," Dan had told Betty as they had started their life of riches which he had continued to abide by refusing to believe he was once poor living in a New York City apartment with frozen water pipes.
"The men write the rules. You're allowed to defend your home, family, and property if you're a man. If you're a woman you're supposed to go in the corner, cry, take pills and kill yourself," said Betty at the end of this last episode mirroring her statement in Episode 1 where she has said, "I'm a woman being divorced in America, I have no rights."
'Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story' airs on Tuesdays on the USA Network at 10 pm ET